Nov 18th - 1:54 pm
The University of Texas is joining critics of a planned ‘Catch an Illegal Immigrant” game planned for Wednesday. The event, organized by the Young Conservatives of Texas, involves people walking on campus wearing signs that say “illegal immigrant.” Students who “catch” them win a $25 gift card.
The University has been critical of other YCT events, including an affirmative action bake sale held last month. In a statement today, UT called the tactics “inflammatory and demeaning.”
“Once again in trying to be provocative, the YCT is contributing to an environment of exclusion and disrespect among our students, faculty and staff by sending the message that certain students do not belong on our campus…”
“If the members of YCT carry out their plan for “Catch an Illegal Immigrant,” they are willfully ignoring the honor code and contributing to the degradation of our campus culture. And once again, they will have resorted to exercising one of the university’s core values to the detriment of others. Such actions are counterproductive to true dialogue on our campus, and it is unrepresentative of the ideals toward which our community strives.”
UT Austin President Bill Powers also responded to the planned event. In a statement posted on the university’s web site, he said:
“The proposed YCT event is completely out of line with the values we espouse at The University of Texas at Austin. Our students, faculty and the entire university work hard both to promote diversity and engage in a respectful exchange of ideas. The Wednesday event does not reflect that approach or commitment.
As Americans, we should always visualize our Statue of Liberty and remember that our country was built on the strength of immigration. Our nation continues to grapple with difficult questions surrounding immigration. I ask YCT to be part of that discussion but to find more productive and respectful ways to do so that do not demean their fellow students.”
The university Staff Council voted unanimously to endorse the statement shortly after it was released.
Nov 18th - 1:13 pm
A planned “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” game at the University of Texas is sparking outrage from Texas Democrats.
The Young Conservatives of Texas, whose chairman is a former Greg Abbott staffer, is hosting the event on Wednesday. People wearing “illegal immigrant” signs on their clothes are planning to walk around the UT campus. Students who “catch” them will receive a $25 gift card.
YCT Chairman Lorenzo Garcia says the purpose of the event is to “spark a campus-wide discussion about the issue of illegal immigration and how it affects our everyday lives.”
Garcia no longer works with the Abbott campaign. However, that did not stop Democrats from using the event to criticize the GOP frontrunner in the governor’s race.
The Lone Star project released this statement:
“The “game” at the University of Texas Campus goes far beyond a display of bad taste or insensitivity. It reflects Greg Abbott’s open hostility to Hispanic Texans. As State Attorney General, Greg Abbott played the lead role in advising the Texas Legislature to adopt redistricting plans that intentionally discriminated against Hispanic and other Texas minority voters. He has spent millions of dollars in Texas taxpayer money to defend the discriminatory plans and to argue that key US Voting Rights Act provisions designed to protect minority voters against discrimination be overturned. “
Here’s what Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa had to say:
“Greg Abbott has already put fear into the hearts of hardworking college students in Texas, through his refusal to take a real position on the Texas DREAM Act. While Abbott has said he doesn’t support the DREAM Act as it is, he refuses to say what he would change and if he supports it at all. And now one of his staffers is organizing theatrical arrests on campaign. Our young and promising DREAM Act scholars already live in enough fear of Abbott, without his staff also forcing them to watch mock arrests.
This is an incredible shame. Greg Abbott owes Texas DREAM Act scholars an apology, and he must come out and immediately denounce Wednesday’s event. This style of hatred and fear is not the type of leadership Texas deserves.”
The YCT has been criticized in the past for similar events, including an “affirmative action bake sale,” where students are charged different prices based on their ethnicity.
Nov 15th - 12:50 pm
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sen. Wendy Davis is voicing support for fellow Sen. Letica Van de Putte. She released this statement following official word that Van de Putte will make an announcement about her future, next week.
“We’ve already seen the level of excitement that Sen. Van De Putte generates. Sen. Van de Putte has a strong record of putting Texans first. She has delivered for veterans, small businesses, and working families and will make a powerful candidate – should she choose to run.”
It is expected that Van de Putte will join the race for lieutenant governor. Should she run and win the democratic primary, she will face one of four Republican candidates. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Sen. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture commissioner Todd Staples are in a four way race for the GOP nomination.
Nov 15th - 11:40 am
Sen. Leticia Van de Putte will make her future political plans known at an event in San Antonio, Sat. Nov. 23. It is widely assumed she will announce a run for lieutenant governor.
Van de Putte has said she is considering a run for higher office, but struggled with the decision in the wake of several deaths in her family. “Our infant grandson in May, and my dad, and just less than a month ago, my mother-in-law. And so a statewide race is very grueling, and very contentious, and unfortunately very toxic,” she said in an October interview. ”So I want to serve my state and I love being in the Texas Senate, but I really have to look at, first, my family, and if we would be up to this, and we’re really taking in a lot of data and looking at it if it’s possible.”
In an email to her supporters today, Van de Putte said:
“I understand that the future prosperity of Texas families is dependent upon the path we choose to take today. So after much prayer, reflection and discussion with my family and friends, I’m ready to let you, my grassroots supporters, know what is next for me.”
That announcement is scheduled next Saturday, at San Antonio College. If Van de Putte does decide to run, she will be the second Democrat to join the race. She will face Maria Luisa Alvarado in a primary election.
Nov 14th - 7:55 pm
In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we look at whether Sen. Leticia Van de Putte can make a viable run for the state’s second highest office.
DOING THE MATH
Republican Debra Medina settled speculation that she might run for governor Wednesday. Now, a recent poll has her leading the crowded race for state comptroller — with one major caveat. We sat down with Medina to talk about her candidacy, and our Capital Commentators weighed in on her odds for 2014.
In Washington, members of Congress took a closer look at airport security policies in the wake of this month’s shooting at Los Angeles International Airport. Our Washington bureau reported on the questions being asked by the Homeland Security Committee
Nov 13th - 8:03 pm
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the Fisher v. University of Texas case yet again, following a U.S, Supreme Court decision to remand the case. Fisher, a white Texan, sued the University of Texas at Austin when she was denied admission back in 2008. But even after the lengthy legal process, UT Austin President Bill Powers says he’s cautiously optimistic.
And in Washington, House Speaker John Boehner is putting the final nail in the coffin of immigration reform — at least until the new year. The Senate already passed a comprehensive bill that includes tighter border security and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented residents, but Boehner is making it clear that any hope that the Republican-led House might do the same is dead.
Nov 13th - 4:10 pm
After downplaying expectations for weeks, federal officials say fewer than 3,000 Texans were able to sign up for coverage in the health insurance marketplace in October. Nationwide, the total comes to just over 100,000 people.
The Department of Health and Human Services released the totals Wednesday afternoon, following a rocky start to the healthcare.gov enrollment website. Since its launch on October 1, the site has seen widespread technical issues. Federal officials have testified about the problems and say they’re working to fix them.
Enrollment through state-run websites — implemented by 14 states and Washington, D.C. — makes up three quarters of the total number. Texas is one of 36 states that opted not to create its own exchange website, meaning residents have to go through the federal marketplace.
Nov 12th - 8:13 pm
All three of the regents who were set to testify showed up voluntarily, but following a meeting Monday night, their counsel requested that lawmakers issue “friendly subpoenas” to protect their testimony from spurring new litigation.
From Voter ID to redistricting, the NAACP has been front and center in many key political battles in Texas. Now, the organization that focuses on protecting civil rights has a new leader, who hails from the Lone Star State.
We spoke one-on-one with the new national president of the NAACP, Lorraine Miller.
With the country facing massive overcrowding in its federal prisons, members of Congress are taking up the issue of sentencing reform, and at least one of the proposed solutions is inspired by changes that started here in Texas.
Nov 11th - 7:53 pm
In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at one program meant to ease the transition to civilian life and possibly a new career path.
Texas has more than 1.6 million veterans, with more coming back every day. We sat down with Texas Veterans Commission Executive Director Thomas Palladino about what his agency is doing to make sure veterans get the resources they need.
ON THE AGENDA
And a new ad is putting Gov. Rick Perry’s name out once again. TheQuorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg joined us to talk about the group behind the promotion and why it marks a significant transition.
Nov 8th - 7:42 pm
In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at where the movement is headed and what it means for the state’s senior senator.
Governor Perry returned to the place where he launched his failed 2012 presidential bid.
Is he testing the waters in Iowa for yet another run? We talked to Jay Root of the Texas Tribune and Karen Brooks Harper of Reuters about what the trip really means.
CHECKING THE FACTS
And while fixes to the federal health care website continue, one lawmaker is raising new questions about its security. We went straight to the source code with Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas and the Austin American-Statesman.