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The Brief: May 20, 2010

Calderon and Obama talk immigration and cartels, fun times with the SBOE, Bill White's cheat sheet and the smoking ban that wasn't in San Antonio.

A boy waves an American flag at an immigration rally held in Dallas on May Day.

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

Mexican President Felipe Calderon used his invitation to a state dinner at the White House on Wednesday to publicly reaffirm his displeasure with Arizona’s immigration law, joining President Barack Obama in denouncing the measure. The Houston Chronicle reports that Calderon said the law “criminalized” immigrants, but he also reiterated the two nations’ needs for comprehensive immigration reform.

“We can do so if we create a safer border, a border that will unite us instead of dividing us,” he said.

Some Texas lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio,  pounced on what they saw as Mexican meddling. Smith, according to the report, said “President Calderon and other officials of the Mexican government have crossed the line and are interfering in the internal affairs of the United States.”

The tough talk came the same day the State of Arizona threatened to avenge a boycott against it by the City of Los Angeles, whose city council voted to cease its business dealings with the state. In response Arizona is threatening to halt its supply of electricity to Los Angeles, reported the Telegraph Media Group, which accounts for a quarter of the city’s power.

Today, Calderon is expected to discuss his county’s efforts to curb cartel violence, which continued during his visit with Obama. In central Juarez, an early Wednesday morning shootout claimed the life of a 12-year police veteran, reported the El Paso Times. That was followed by a midday shootout in one of the city’s busiest sectors. Wednesday ultimately ended with at least six more people dead in the border city, bringing Juarez’s death toll this year to about 980, according to the report.

“While we in Texas know firsthand the real security threats that exist, President Calderon’s visit is an important opportunity for President Obama and leaders from across the country to hear from him directly on the grave security crisis in Mexico, which has serious implications for the United States,” said U.S. Sen. John Cornyn on Wednesday.

CULLED: 

  • The pivotal times at the State Board of Education continue today as the board’s social conservatives will try again to “launch attacks on the church-state wall,” the Tribune’s Brian Thevenot reports. A final vote on the controversial curriculum is scheduled this week, although many, including for U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige, have called on the board to postpone its decision.
  • Is Bill White borrowing from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison? According to the Dallas Morning News, the former Houston mayor and current gubernatorial hopeful is “gambling” with issues Hutchison used in her failed bid against Gov. Rick Perry in March. Reporter Wayne Slater writes the similarity is unmistakable after a review of commercials, speeches and position papers. 
  • San Antonio’s proposed expansion of its municipal smoking ban hit a snag on Wednesday after the city council’s Governance Committee decided the issue needed to be vetted more, reports the San Antonio Express-News. Restaurant and bar owners in the city argue the ban could cripple businesses, while advocates for tighter restrictions claim they only have the people’s best interest in mind.

MUST READ:

Obama, Calderón say Arizona law invites bias, but others say border security has been ignoredThe Dallas Morning News

Houston millionaire charged in deadly Florida crashHouston Chronicle

The Republican Party's biggest enemy: Itself - Politico

Mafia-linked trio's fate in jury's handsSan Antonio Express-News

Separation AnxietyThe Texas Tribune

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