Texas divided on immigration issue

The election of a new Texas governor had the whole country watching because of huge implications for all parties involved.


With a Greg Abbott win, the republicans keep Texas a red state while a Wendy Davis win would ultimately change the whole make-up of our country’s voting patterns, sending Texas to the democratic side.


One of the major issues on the minds of voters this election is immigration, continually making headlines not only in Texas but across America. Pressure has been put on the administration in Washington but little action has been taken regarding the problem, reinforcing the importance of the gubernatorial race.


With about 1,810,000 illegal immigrants residing in Texas according to fairus.org, this puts a burden on the public school system as well as the economy.


Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis have both made their stance on immigration clear when it comes to their home state. Abbott is the first one to tell voters that something has to be done with the current immigration laws.

“The law as it’s structured is flawed. All these laws like the in-state tuition law — those are symptoms of larger problems. We have a broken immigration system,” Attorney General Greg Abbott said. And when asked if he would veto a repeal of the Dream Act, Abbott answered no.


Davis’s stance on immigration more takes a more laid back approach. She believes the illegals should be allowed to pay in-state tuition.


“I’ve met immigrants who are dreamers who work hard. I support it and will veto attempts to repeal the Dream Act because it makes sense for students and the economy,” she said.


Both candidates believe that the immigration laws need to be improved. But Republican Greg Abbott has made it clear that he is in favor of immigration as long as it is done within the law. Otherwise it puts the safety of the immigrants themselves as well as the citizens of Texas at risk.


“What the administration must do is make clear [to those seeking to cross the border], don’t risk your lives. No way should the U.S. have an open-door policy to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras,” he said.


“Immigration does seem to be a key issue in the mid-term elections because most of the competitive gubernatorial and congressional races are not in states/districts where Hispanics represent a significant percentage of voters,” UMHB Professor of History and Political Science, Dr. David Holcomb said.


With the majority of Texans voting Republican in the past, outsiders are beginning to see that trend slow down. The reason for this is that a great deal of the Hispanic community has been voting Democratic.


“Republicans need to work on how they are perceived by the Hispanic community if they want to retain their political strength in the state. The Hispanic population is booming and votes largely Democratic. Republicans are aware of this. Greg Abbott is campaigning regularly in the border region and is touting his Hispanic family ties. George W. Bush did this as well knowing that Republicans needed to appeal to the Hispanic community,” Holcomb said.


Karen Morrow, who works with a Refugee Advocacy and Ministry program through Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, does in fact believe that the stance that Texas takes on immigration will effect the national outlook on immigration.


“Texas has always played a key role in influencing some of the legislation that is happening. But in order to do that there has to be an across the board coalition that includes people from all sides of the table to enforce the systems that are in place to give the people that are crossing our borders illegally options.”


But Morrow also explained that although Texas’s stance could play a role in shaping the perception of immigration reform for years to come, the gubernatorial race this year would not necessarily force the administration to act in accordance with the state.


Morrow said, “The governor position could send the National Guard and other actions that they could take but really it all lies within the legislation. We could make specific legislation for Texas but if it is against or in conflict with U.S. legislation already on the books it will probably be overturned anyway.”


No immediate changes may be made on immigration reform within Texas due to the election of a new governor, but last night’s decision will, in fact, give the nation an insight on where the majority of Texans stand on the issue.

Author: Leif Johnston

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