DALLAS (AP) – Immigration officials have confirmed that a Salvadoran woman seeking asylum was returned to a Texas detention center after spending almost two weeks in a hospital. Attorneys for 26-year-old Sara Beltran Hernandez say she was being treated for a brain tumor after collapsing at the detention center earlier this month. Paralegal Melissa Zuniga says Beltran Hernandez has waited 13 days to have surgery and the lawyers in her asylum case are asking for a humane release to receive that care. A spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Thursday that Beltran Hernandez was returned to the detention center to await a medical appointment Monday because doctors had decided she was in stable condition. Zuniga says the woman’s condition is worsening with nosebleeds, loss of memory and other symptoms increasing.
AUSTIN (AP) – A federal appeals court says Texas landlords and humanitarian workers shouldn’t fear prosecution under a sweeping state border security law that targeted people “harboring” immigrants who are illegally in the U.S. The decision Thursday was unusually celebrated by both Republicans who drafted the 2015 law and civil rights attorneys who sued over concerns it could sweep up people other than human smugglers or kidnappers. Some landlords and shelters worried the anti-smuggling crackdowns could make them criminally liable for renting an apartment or offering a bed to undocumented immigrants. Republican state Rep. Dennis Bonnen called the lawsuit “a joke” and says that was never the intent. But the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund says the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has now assured their clients they won’t be targeted.
PASADENA (AP) – Police in the Houston suburb of Pasadena say a man walked into a restaurant and ordered everybody out, then shot two women, killing one. Pasadena police spokesman Vance Mitchell says the incident happened about 7:45 p.m. Thursday at the Tierra Caliente restaurant. Mitchell says the slain woman apparently had a relationship with the gunman. Mitchell says the slain woman’s sister also was shot but was wounded in the arm and her life isn’t thought to be in danger. The man then shot himself. He was airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. His condition isn’t known, but Mitchell said he appeared to be critically wounded at the crime scene. No motive has been established, and Mitchell says no identities have been established.
HOUSTON (AP) – Houston police say an 18-year-old sandwich shop employee has been fatally shot during an attempted robbery as he tried to protect his mother, who also worked at the store. Police say Javier Flores and his mother were the only people in the southeast Houston Subway restaurant near closing time Wednesday night when two assailants rushed in and pointed a gun at the woman. Detective David Crowder says Flores “attempted to push (her) out of the way as the suspect was firing, and he was hit and the mother was not.” The high school junior was pronounced dead at a hospital. The robbers fled empty-handed. Crowder says authorities hope Flores’ distraught mother can help them with information about the attackers but it’s “very hard for her to talk about this.”
WASHINGTON (AP) – A West Texas Republican is criticizing women who carried explicit signs at the Women’s March in Washington last month. Rep. Mike Conaway said women were carrying signs and wearing costumes “in the foulest, nastiest, crudest, crassest manner possible, talking about female body parts.” Conaway acknowledged some of the signs were a reaction to the October release of a recording from 2005, in which now-President Donald Trump made a series of vulgar and sexually predatory comments about women. In the tape, Trump bragged to then-“Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush that his fame allowed him to force himself on women. Conaway said Americans have to be a “moral, religious people.” He made the comments Thursday at an annual government forum on the agricultural economy that turned into a political discussion about values.
EL PASO (AP) – An El Paso woman will remain in jail after a federal magistrate denied bond following testimony that she abducted another woman because her “lifestyle brought shame to the Muslim community.” The judge determined Wednesday that 35-year-old Norma Juarez Taha was a flight risk and a danger to the community. Court records show Taha was charged with one count of kidnapping after allegedly abducting the 20-year-old woman from her home, drugging her and taking her to Juarez, Mexico. People in the home where she was taken took her to the border crossing earlier this month and turned her over to U.S. officials. A court-appointed attorney for Taha says the victim’s allegations are a fabrication and that Taha has always been law-abiding. Taha is a naturalized U.S. citizen who’s described in court documents as Mexican-Muslim.
LAREDO (AP) – A South Texas sheriff says a police officer whose body was found at a law enforcement shooting range had suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar said Wednesday the gunshot wound to the chest of Lt. David Medina was “not consistent with foul play.” The Laredo Morning Times reports the findings are based on a preliminary investigation by the Webb County medical examiner’s office. Medina’s body was found Tuesday at the shooting range by a U.S. Border Patrol agent. Authorities at the time didn’t categorize the death as a suicide and said only that they weren’t looking for any suspects. Medina was a 13-year veteran of the Laredo school district police force and was the second in command.
AUSTIN (AP) – The Texas agriculture commissioner has approved the use of a poison that he says may herald a “feral hog apocalypse” in a state where an estimated 2.5 million hogs roam. Commissioner Sid Miller said this week that bait food will be laced with warfarin, which is used as a blood thinner but has proven lethal to hogs. Hunters already are allowed to kill the animals from land or air – Miller as a state senator authored legislation that allowed for the aerial killing of hogs. The animal, which can produce three litters in two years, has long been seen by farmers as a nuisance that shreds fields and pastures. It’s estimated they do $50 million in damage to crops and property each year.
COPPELL (AP) – Retail gasoline prices in Texas have dropped by 2 cents while the national average price remains unchanged. AAA Texas on Thursday reported the average price at the pump statewide fell to $2.08 per gallon. Nationwide gasoline prices remained at $2.28 per gallon. The association survey of metro regions in Texas found that drivers in El Paso are paying the most on average at $2.13 per gallon, while motorists in Corpus Christi and San Antonio are paying the least at $2.02. AAA experts say prices continue to remain flat due to low driving demand and an oversupplied market as a result of increased U.S. production. Gasoline prices are expected to increase with the arrival of spring as more people take to the road and drive up demand.