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The Brief: March 31, 2014

Delegates to the GOP state convention in June could find themselves with another big immigration battle on their hands.

The Republican Party of Texas says the guest-worker program it backs in its platform is a practical solution, denying claims by Democrats that they are merely pandering to Latinos

The Big Conversation

Delegates to the GOP state convention in early June could find themselves with another big immigration battle on their hands. Although this time, as the Houston Chronicle's David Saleh Rauf reports, it would be about rolling back guest worker language inserted into the party platform two years ago.

"Viewed by some Republicans as a giant leap forward in the public relations play for the hearts and minds of Hispanic voters, the guest-worker plan was dubbed the 'Texas Solution,' and earned overwhelming approval as the official party platform on immigration. ... But some tea party activists and influential outside groups are jockeying to revert back to hard-line language the state party consistently adopted in conventions prior to 2012," Rauf wrote.

One group pushing new hard-line language for reinsertion is the Texas Eagle Forum, whose leader, Cathie Adams, said she has always rejected a guest worker program because she views it "as a path to citizenship." Rauf reports that lite guv candidate Dan Patrick is also behind removal of the guest worker plank, while his opponent in the upcoming runoff, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, backs a limited guest worker program after the border is secured.

Those who backed inclusion of the language in 2012 are pointing to the fact that delegates at the last convention supported adding the guest worker language. One of those, Art Martinez de Vara, suggested that those pushing the hard-line language are not in the majority at the convention.

Last month's University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll found that a plurality of Texans — 24 percent — named immigration and border security the two most important problems facing the state.

The Day Ahead

•    GOP gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott is in Weslaco on Monday afternoon to unveil the first of a three-part education policy.

Today in the Trib

Analysis: For the GOP, This is the Year of the Hunter: "The Republican establishment is finding itself in the role of the hunted, as conservatives — especially in statewide races — dominate the political conversation."

Operation Crackdown Hits Laredo: "For the first time on the border, the National Guard is teaming up with the Border Patrol in Laredo to help rid the city of dwellings that were once havens for drugs and smuggling."

Despite Successes, Water Still Vexes San Antonio: "Despite its internationally renowned successes in water conservation, San Antonio is still struggling to quench its thirst amid explosive growth. Will its search for new water supplies risk its reputation as a green city?"


With online solicitation cases, Attorney General Greg Abbott has a preference for Williamson County, Austin American-Statesman

Galveston Bay spill never should have happened, experts say, Houston Chronicle

Texas economy strong, but how to keep it that way, The Associated Press

Lawmakers seek funds to fix roads, Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Tying teacher evaluation to STAAR scores stirs controversy, Austin American-Statesman

How the Texas Testing Bubble Popped: Part 1 & Part 2The Dallas Morning News

Hopes Frustrated, Many Latinos Reject the Ballot Box Altogether, The New York Times

Rangel: Van de Putte putting on a fight, Amarillo Globe-News

Quote to Note

"There's an element of the party that feels that way. But they're not the majority. They clearly lost on this issue in the last convention."

— Texas Federation of Hispanic Republicans co-founder Art Martinez de Vara on the push by some Texas Republicans to take out a guest worker plank inserted two years ago into the party platform

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With Mike Collier, Candidate for State Comptroller at the Austin Club, 4/17

•    A Conversation With Rep. Dan Branch, Candidate for Attorney General at the Austin Club, 5/8

•    A Conversation with U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway at Midland College in Midland, 5/13

•    A Conversation With Steve Patterson, UT Men's Athletic Director at the Austin Club, 5/15

•    Save the date for the 2014 Texas Tribune Festival: 9/19-9/21

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Politics Dan Patrick David Dewhurst Greg Abbott