News Roundup: Hispanic Caucus Wants Answers About 7-Year-Old’s Death In Border Patrol Custody

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelDecember 18, 2018 1:19 pm

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus leads a delegation to Lordsburg, New Mexico Tuesday. That’s where a seven year-old Guatemalan girl, who died in border patrol custody, was first detained earlier this month.

Ahead of the trip, caucus chairman-elect and U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro explained to Texas Standard what he’s hoping to learn. The San Antonio Democrat says he’s concerned that Jakelin Caal Maquin fell ill during a 94-mile bus trip to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, and it appears there was no medical staff on board.

“So we want to figure out whether CBP is reevaluating their standard procedures about putting somebody with medical training, or medical personnel on those buses during those long journeys in case this happens again,” Rep. Castro says.

CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan will be joining the delegation. He’s faced criticism from lawmakers, including Castro, for not immediately informing Congress of Jakelin’s death, as required by law.

Castro says when Democrats take control of the House next year they’ll look to get more details on a variety of immigration issues and policies.

“The Trump Administration has limited information a lot over the last few years,” he says. “And as I’ve mentioned before, to some extent the Department of Homeland Security has also been a bit secretive but I do feel like it’s gotten worse over the last few years. So in January, we’re going to have a chance to change that.”

All of the U.S. Representatives traveling with the delegation are Democrats. In addition to Congressman Castro, there are several other U.S. Representatives from Texas, including congresswomen-elect Veronica Escobar of El Paso and Sylvia Garcia of Houston.

Following a tour of the Border Patrol Station in Lordsburg the lawmakers are holding a press conference. A livestream will be available on the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Facebook page.


A Central Texas speech pathologist is suing the Pflugerville Independent School District after her contract was not renewed. It’s because she refused to sign the state-mandated pledge not to boycott Israel.

Bahia Amawi’s family is from Palestine and she participates in the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” movement in protest of Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Gadeir Abbas is an attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations and he tells KUT News in Austin, “there’s really not much that’s more American than engaging in boycott activity.” Abbas adds “the BDS movement is a protected liberty that Bahia and others are engaged in, and she wants that right for herself and all Americans.”

The Texas law that bans the state from contracting with any entity that boycotts Israel went into effect last year.


Two billionaire-backed commercial space companies with facilities in Texas are closing out the year by launching some rockets into space.

…Or at least they’re trying to.

SpaceX, which is run by Elon Musk, and Blue Origin, which is headed by Jeff Bezos, had launches scheduled within minutes of one another today. But neither blasted off.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will be carrying a U.S. Air Force GPS satellite into space. Its launch in Florida was cancelled after the rocket’s onboard computer triggered a hold. SpaceX engineer Thomas Praderio described the issue during a livestream of the attempted launch, saying the delay “pushed us past our launch window today.”

Blue Origin said on Twitter it “scrubbed” today’s New Shepard launch in West Texas due to a ground infrastructure issue.

That spacecraft will be carrying several NASA-back experiments.

SpaceX has already scheduled its do-over for 9:07 a.m. Eastern time.