News Roundup: ‘Selena For Sanctuary’ Concert In New York Draws Texas Musicians

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines from across the state.

By Becky FogelJuly 27, 2018 12:10 pm

A Mexican journalist and his son have been released from a west Texas immigrant detention center after nearly eight months.

Emilio Gutierrez Soto has been seeking asylum in the United States for almost 10 years after facing death threats over his reporting in Mexico.

The Texas Tribune reports the two were released before federal officials were supposed to turn over documents detailing why Gutierrez was placed on a “non-detained target list.”

Gutierrez will now head to Michigan to complete a prestigious yearlong journalism fellowship he was awarded, as he continues his case for asylum.

Texas drought conditions released Thursday show that the recent heat-wave has offset slight improvements seen last week.

KACU’s Hayden Baggett reports that more than half of the state is now in moderate to extreme drought. In contrast, only 9 percent of the state was in this level of drought at this time last year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.The latest map shows a four percent increase in the areas of the state affected by drought.

Experts say the heatwave effectively cancelled out progress made by scattered showers in North Texas. Dr. Mark Wentzel, hydrologist with the Texas Water Development Board, says things are likely only going to get worse in the next few weeks.

“It’s not really a time of year that we get much drought recovery,” Dr. Wentzel says. “Even in a normal year it would be hot and dry.”

Currently 164 counties have burn bans in effect.  Wentzel says that recent hot temperatures have heightened wildfire danger.
Experts predict that only coastal Texas, the tip of the panhandle, and the El Paso area will be drought free by the end of October.

The share of workers in Texas earning the minimum wage or less has declined each year for the last eight years, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

They now make up about 3 percent of all hourly-wage workers in the state, down from 9.5 percent in 2010.

University of Texas economics professor Sandra Black says it may be because people are earning more – or it could be from people becoming discouraged and leaving the labor force.

“When you look at who are these low income workers, they are disproportionately women,” Black  says. “They are disproportionately under-represented groups, minority workers, so when you think about equalizing the playing field, those are the workers who would be most helped by an increase in the minimum wage.”

Opponents of raising the minimum wage argue it would reduce the number of jobs available. The Texas unemployment rate is currently 4 percent, near historic lows.

The Queen of Tejano’s music was front and center during a concert in New York Thursday night.

The event – called “Selena for Sanctuary” – was aimed at raising awareness about the challenges undocumented immigrants face, including the possibility of deportation.

Among the performers were San Antonio musician Nina Diaz, who took the stage with Selena’s widowed husband, Chris Perez. She posted a video of their performance on Facebook.

Last night’s concert was hosted by the Lincoln Center, after several smaller versions of the event were put on in California.