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The Brief: Texas Valedictorians Stoke Debate on Immigration

The debate over illegal immigration and what to do with undocumented immigrants, many of whom arrived in the country while still very young, has carried over to this year’s graduation season.

Larissa Martinez, valedictorian at McKinney Boyd High School, revealed that she is undocumented last week during her graduation speech.

The Big Conversation

The debate over illegal immigration and what to do with undocumented immigrants, many of whom arrived in the country while still very young, has carried over to this year’s graduation season.

Two high school valedictorians, one in Austin and the other in McKinney, have drawn national attention after identifying themselves as undocumented.

The Austin high school valedictorian, Mayte Lara, went public with her immigration status via a tweet.

She told the Austin American-Statesman that “I didn’t want all this to happen,” referring to the often times angry responses online to her admission. “My tweet wasn’t made to mock anyone. I just wanted to show that no matter what barriers you have in front of you, you can still succeed.”

Meanwhile, Larissa Martinez of McKinney talked about her immigration status in her valedictorian address to her graduating class.

She told WFAA-TV that she welcomed the attention “because before they had no reason to listen to me.”

She added that she’d like to meet with Donald Trump, who will be in North Texas next week.

"Yes, I would love to talk to him," she told WFAA-TV. "I think he even needs to know we are people, too."

Trib Must Reads

How a Tiny Texas Town Took Down its City Council, by Ike Sriskandarajah — Earlier this year, Crystal City's Popeye statue had a front-row seat to a citywide purge. Scores of FBI agents stormed the tiny City Hall and arrested most of the city’s leaders in connection with a bribery and kickback scheme.

Analysis: Straight-Ticket Voting Could Shake Swing Districts, by Ross Ramsey — Straight-ticket voting is usually an advantage for the majority party, which is one reason why a Republican Texas Legislature has left that voting law in place in spite of steady attempts to change it. But what if the person at the top of the ballot is unpopular?

Paxton Lawyers Seek Dismisal of SEC Case, by Patrick Svitek — Lawyers for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have asked a federal court to dismiss the federal securities fraud charges against him.

State Rep Asks Attorney General if Community Colleges May Ban Handguns, by Khorri Atkinson — A year before Texas' campus carry law takes effect at community colleges, state Rep. Abel Herrero has asked Ken Paxton to determine whether such institutions that offer programs for minors may prohibit concealed weapons. 

GOP Insists Library of Congress Retain "Illegal Aliens," by Julián Aguilar — U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro on Thursday lost his battle with Congressional Republicans that want to stop the U.S. Library of Congress from removing controversial immigration terms from its search headings.

Texas Valedictorians Draw Attention for Saying They're Undocumented, by Aman Batheja — In Austin and North Texas, two high school valedictorians are drawing national attention — and some ire — for publicly identifying themselves as undocumented.

Austin Drivers File Suit Against Uber, Lyft, by Madlin Mekelburg — A pair of former drivers for Uber and Lyft filed dual class action lawsuits Thursday against the ride-hailing companies over their abrupt exit from the Austin market last month.

Testing Vendor Loses State Exams Taken by Eanes Students, District Says, by Kiah Collier — Add one more thing to the long list of reported problems with the administration of this year’s STAAR exams.

Texas Rep Demands Removal of Judge in Stanford Sexual Assault Case, by Aneri Pattani — U.S. Rep. Ted Poe took to the House floor on Thursday to denounce the “pathetic” sentencing of Stanford sexual assailant Brock Turner and to demand the removal of the judge who oversaw the case.

Texas Launches Lawsuit Against Delaware Over Unclaimed Checks, by Abby Livingston — Standing on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Thursday morning that his office launched a lawsuit against Delaware over millions of dollars he argued are owed to Texas and 20 other states.

Comparing Nondiscrimination Protections in Texas Cities, by Alexa UraEdgar Walters and Jolie McCullough — The city of Mesquite earlier this week joined the short list of Texas cities that protect city employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. We've updated the Tribune's comparison of nondiscrimination protections in the state.

The Day Ahead

• The House Committee on County Affairs meets at 10 a.m. at the Texas Tech University School of Law to hear testimony on potential gaps in Texas businesses' cybersecurity policies, the effects of publishing and disseminating mug shots and individuals’ criminal histories, statutorily mandated services provided by sheriffs and constables, the impact of Proposition 5 on the quality of public roadways and legislative oversight of legislation passed by the 84th Legislature.


(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)

The past and future of the immigration debate in Texas, Houston Chronicle

California concealed carry gun ruling doesn’t affect Texas, Austin American-Statesman

Mayor Turner: State should declare Zika public health emergency, Houston Chronicle

Garcia: Trump campaign has paid $2 million to S.A. web designer, San Antonio Express-News

Paxton hires ex-SEC legal chief as defense counsel, Houston Chronicle

Fort Worth school district’s transgender guideline debate continuesFort Worth Star-Telegram

Texas anti-transgender group launches new campaign over Target’s bathroom policy, The Dallas Morning News

3 dead after plane crashes into car near Houston airportThe Associated Press

With others away, Austin council’s conservative trio prevails for a day, Austin American-Statesman

Trump fundraiser in Houston to be hosted by Perry lawyer, Houston Chronicle

Company: Proposed Jim Wells facility not a detention center, Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Texas zoos, animal parks cited after inspections, fix some problems, Austin American-Statesman

Quote to Note

“I think this term will be taken out of both federal code and the Library of Congress eventually, whether it’s six months from now, five years from now or fifteen years from now.”

 — U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro after the House Committee on Rules rejected his motion to allow the U.S. Library of Congress to stop using the terms “illegal aliens” and “alien”

Today in TribTalk

Trump's racist comments prove he's unfit for office, by State Sens. José RodríguezRodney EllisSylvia R. GarciaJosé MenéndezCarlos I. UrestiKirk Watson and Royce West — Texans will not be bullied. The eyes of Texas are on Trump, and we are seeing, like everyone else, that the would-be emperor is unclothed on the great stage.

Let's pump the brakes on license plate readers, by Greg Glod — Although license plate readers are potentially life-saving technology, proper safeguards are necessary to prevent misuse.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23-25 at the University of Texas at Austin

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