News Roundup: Two Texas Congress Members Visit Tornillo Immigrant Detention Facility

`Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJune 25, 2018 1:43 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Several members of Congress toured a tent encampment in the border town of Tornillo over the weekend. Among them were U.S. Reps. Beto O’Rourke of El Paso and Joaquin Castro of San Antonio. The west Texas facility currently holds about 300 undocumented minors. As Marfa Public Radio’s Sally Beauvais reports, O’Rourke and Castro say some of the children’s parents have already been deported without them.

Both the Texas Democrats were able to talk directly to children living in the Tornillo facility while on the tour. Congressman O’Rourke asked questions like:

“Where did you come from? Guatemala. Where are your parents now? They’ve been deported back to Guatemala. Are you able to talk to them? These children, we understand, we asked the kids directly, are allowed two 10-minute phone calls every single week.”

O’Rourke says 23 of the kids in the facility were separated from their parents at the border. The rest arrived alone as unaccompanied minors. According to Castro, there are now girls living in the tent encampment as well. As of Saturday there were seven of them, ages 13-17.

“They quite honestly seemed sadder. Because they just got here,” Castro said.

Castro says the Health and Human Services officials running the tour were unable to confirm specific locations where most migrant girls are currently being held in the U.S.

The White House is hosting a summit, starting Monday, that brings together state and federal officials to develop a strategy for promoting science, technolgy, engineering and math education. Representatives from across the country, including Texas, are attending the event organized by the White House Office of Science and Technogoly policy.

The Texas Standard’s Amber Chavez has more on the summit.

One of the goals is to figure out how to get more students to pursue STEM fields.

Ruth Ruggero Hughs is with the Texas Workforce Commission. At the summit, she wants to make clear that STEM programs need to be flexible because even within Texas employers’ needs vary from region to region.

“Certainly our state is a great example that one-size does not fit all. So if the federal government will give us the flexibility to figure out the best way to allocate resources toward STEM education, that’s going to be the best way to really make an impact in our state, and improve the lives of Texas families,” she says.

The State-Federal STEM Education Summit will be held through June 26 in Washington, D.C.

Texans can now buy fireworks in anticipation of the Fourth of July.

But the sale and use of fireworks isn’t permitted everywhere.

Certain local governments bar their use within city limits such as Houston, Austin, and Waco.

The National Fire Protection Association estimates that fireworks start over 18-thousand fires per year, nationally. On Independence Day, itself, fireworks typically account for two out of five reported fires.

If fireworks are allowed where you live, they will be available until midnight on July 4.