News Roundup: Tent Detention Center For Unaccompanied Minors To Keep Operating Until September

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelAugust 16, 2018 3:48 pm

A temporary detention center for unaccompanied immigrant minors in West Texas is set to continue operating until at least September 13.

The tent facility in Tornillo falls within the district of State Rep. Mary Gonzalez. She toured the site, along with fellow Democratic members of the Texas House, this past Friday, August 10. She explains the more than 100 kids there, who are all boys, are ready to be released.

“All the kids in Tornillo, who were there as of Friday, had a place to go,” rep. Gonzales said. “They all had paperwork, they all had sponsors, they all had families, they were just waiting for the federal government to finish it’s bureaucracy and let them be with their families.”

Gonzalez says last week’s visit was challenging.

“Being there was difficult because you walk through and you walk through the tents, and you’re reminded that they’re children, because you see, they had these colorings of cartoon characters, anime characters, or religious figures and they hang them next to their bed.”

This shelter was initially constructed in June in the wake of the Trump Administration’s so-called “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

None of the children being held at this site now are ones who were separated from their parents as a result of that policy. At the height of the immigration crisis, several girls were temporarily housed at Tornillo, which is primarily a facility for boys.

Rep. Gonzalez, who is a member of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus in the Texas House of Representative, says the continued detention of immigrant children and families in Texas is an issue she will be working on during the 2019 state legislative session.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has approved Sam Houston State University’s proposal to build a medical school in East Texas. The plan is to launch an osteopathic medicine program at a campus in Conroe.

The Texas Standard’s Alexandra Hart has been covering the school’s efforts and explains why they wanted to start a medical school in the first place.

“A lot of hospitals in rural East Texas have closed and when those hospitals closed, they lost a lot of doctors as well,” Hart says. “So, there’s a really big gap in care in rural parts of the state, especially in East Texas, where Sam Houston State is hoping to build this school. So what Sam Houston state is thinking if they build in school in East Texas where this gap in care is, that they’ll be able to train doctors in the community and instead of them going off to practice in big cities or elsewhere, that they’ll want to stay in the community and fill in that gap in care.”

The new program, which now needs accreditation, is expected to enroll 150 students starting in 2020.

The State Fair of Texas has announced the ten food finalists for the 14th annual Big Tex Choice Awards. The top dishes have got things like bacon, ice cream, chili – and all but one has got something that’s fried.

At the end of August, judges will have the enviable job of determining the winning dishes in three categories: Best Taste Sweet, Best Taste Savory, and Most Creative.