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The Brief: Sept. 8, 2015

A couple of reports on the state of the surge at the Texas-Mexico border published over the Labor Day weekend got our attention.

Texas Department of Public Safety officers patrol Anzalduas Park as part of Operation Strong Safety. Texas National Guard soldiers deployed to the area on Monday will help DPS in its mission, officials said.

The Big Conversation

A couple of reports on the state of the surge at the Texas-Mexico border published over the Labor Day weekend got our attention.

Reporting from Starr County, the Houston Chronicle's Brian Rosenthal writes about what happens when the state and the federal government both guard the same border. In one instance, a Border Patrol operation to catch 15 border crossers is stymied inadvertently by a state trooper.

The border agent later tells Rosenthal:

He said he respected the troopers and believed most do good work, but he admitted he was not excited about the looming increase.

"In a way it makes it harder," he would say. "It's hard to say that it would make it easier, because like you saw awhile ago, we were set up for it. … If DPS wouldn't have been there, they would have come across. So, in a way they kind of hurt our operations because we were all in place to catch them."

National Public Radio's John Burnett also reports from Starr County where he captures the ambivalence of local residents to the law enforcement surge at the border.

ROSALINA MUNOZ: We don't have no mining or no oil wells. We got nothing, none of that, you know, here. But we got them, and they bring us business.

BURNETT: Her son, Clyde Guerra, manages the Denny's in Rio Grande City and serves on the local school board. He says the hungry troopers have boosted his margins 30 to 40 percent. But the high-intensity policing wears on him, too. His pickup truck was recently pulled over because a trooper said his license plate light was out.

CLYDE GUERRA: Sometimes you get upset. I do (laughter) because I got stopped one night - eight cars surrounded my truck, OK? So sometimes I feel they overreact.

Trib Must-Reads

The Unlikely Friendships for Texas' Congressional Delegation, by Abby Livingston – There's no way that conservative Republicans in Texas could forge strong friendships with New York Democrats, right? Think again. Several members of the Texas delegation share some unexpected across-the-aisle friendships on Capitol Hill.

Detained Immigrants Face Challenges Despite Ruling, by Julián Aguilar– After a federal judge ruled that most women and children being held in Texas immigration detention centers should be released, attorneys say they are making some progress on their clients' cases. But they argue the government is making their work harder because it hasn't established a clear set of rules.

Texas Bullet Train Moving Forward Despite Obstacles, by Aman Batheja – The private firm hoping to build a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston has been celebrating a summer of successes. But three years after Texas Central Partners first revealed its ambitious venture, challenges remain.   

In Lege Primaries, Cruz's Support Already Causing Buzz, by Patrick Svitek – The next wave of Republican legislative primaries is still six months away, but some GOP insiders are already buzzing about whether U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, will play a role in shaping the results. 

Border Toll Roads Face Enforcement Issues, by Sophia Bollag – As El Paso prepares to open new toll roads, officials' inability to mail bills to Mexican drivers means only U.S. drivers will be required to pay.

EPA Water Rule Applies to Texas After All, by Jim Malewitz – The Obama administration’s controversial new clean water regulations apply in Texas after all. Clarifying an injunction issued last week, a federal judge says he blocked the federal Waters of the U.S. rule in only 13 states. Texas is not one of them.    

Confederate Group Tries Again on Davis Statue, by Matthew Watkins – The Sons of Confederate Veterans is seeking to overturn a previous decision allowing the University of Texas at Austin to take down a statue of Confederate Jefferson Davis. The group hopes a new judge will order the university to put it back up. 

The Day Ahead

•    Robert B. Reich, who served as Secretary of Labor under former President Bill Clinton, will deliver the 2015 Liz Carpenter Lecture at the University of Texas at Austin.  

•   Gov. Greg Abbott concludes a three-day trip to Mexico intended to bolster economic and cultural ties between Mexico and Texas.


Racing commission fight driven by powerful lobbies, Houston Chronicle

Fracking boom on UT’s West Texas lands linked to spills, air pollutionAustin American-Statesman

Need for safe border common ground, Abbott says during Mexico visitThe Dallas Morning News

Rick Perry ‘on life support’ in South CarolinaCharleston Post and Courier

Texan declares own brand of secession The Dallas Morning News

Diesel prices fall to lowest level since 2009Fort Worth Star-Telegram 

Quote to Note

“There are so many other cheaper, easier ways to cook bacon.”

— Celebrity chef Alton Brown on the video released of Ted Cruz using a machine gun to cook bacon

Today in TribTalk

Holding women's health hostage is no way to legislate, by Mark Veasey — As Congress prepares to reconvene in September, House Republicans cannot hold the fiscal purse of our nation captive in favor of reviving the failed fight to defund Planned Parenthood.

Why Trump is making a connection, by Tom Pauken – There's a reason that Donald Trump is leading the field of Republican presidential candidates. His message resonates with Americans who feel that our country is in the midst of a steep decline. 

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    The Ticket: A Live Recording and GOP Primary Debate Watch Party on Sept. 16 in Austin

•    A Conversation with UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves on Sept. 21 in Austin

•    A Conversation on The Road from Hurricane Rita on Sept. 22 in Beaumont

•    A Conversation on God & Governing on Oct. 7 in Austin

•    The Texas Tribune Festival on Oct. 16-18 at the University of Texas at Austin

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