tags: Press Releases

Houston Chronicle Immigration Editorial Calls Out Texas GOP and Calls for Real Solutions Instead of Political Photo Ops

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Washington, DC – A must-read editorial in the Houston Chronicle offers a pitch perfect indictment of Texas Republicans Senator John Cornyn and Governor Greg Abbott’s roles in scuttling or opposing real immigration and border solutions in favor of politicized photo ops and disingenuous rhetoric.

While the editorial goes farther in its praise of Biden’s new border and asylum policy than our view, the Chronicle’s assessment of the current moment and call for real bipartisan legislative solutions instead of cheap politicized talking points is right on.

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice: 

“We desperately need to modernize our immigration system. We must address not only the challenges we’re seeing at our southern border and changing hemispheric migration patterns, but also the long-settled and hard working undocumented population already here contributing to the best interests of the American economy. Yet unless and until Republicans like John Cornyn and Greg Abbott place the national interest ahead of their politicized opposition to real solutions, we’ll continue to play around with band-aid solutions instead of the major overhaul needed to fix the patient once and for all. Both Texas Republicans called out by the Chronicle editorial have played an outsized role in preventing solutions and in keeping President Biden’s policy options limited with regards to pursuing plans to help Texas and the country.” 

Read excerpts below from the Houston Chronicle editorial: “Is Biden’s new border policy a reasonable compromise?

“Strolling beside the high mesh fence separating downtown El Paso from Juarez, accompanied by two U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, he [Biden] must have known as he was briefed that there’s only a limited amount he can do about immigration policy chaos and border security without bipartisan cooperation. Eternally elusive bipartisan cooperation.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, showed up, as well. He played tour guide to a bipartisan bunch of senators … “We need an immigration system that is safe, orderly, humane and legal,” Cornyn said at a news conference in El Paso. “We keep hearing from President Biden and others that we need Congress to step up and provide answers, and I’m happy that we are.”

Our senior senator ignored the fact that he and his fellow Republicans have thwarted every serious immigration-reform package lawmakers have considered since a fellow named Ronald Reagan was president. For nearly four decades, they have stepped up – to oppose, most recently killing immigration-reform legislation that had bipartisan support in 2013. “Safe, orderly, humane and legal,” to be sure, but given that dismal record, it’s hard to take seriously a man who’s done next to nothing to fix the problem since becoming a U.S. senator in 2002.

Showing up too was Greg Abbott, the eminent border performance artist playing the role of Texas governor. (Peckinpah would have been impressed.) In keeping with his penchant for high-drama stunts – busing immigrants to so-called “sanctuary cities,” wasting billions on a border boondoggle called Operation Lone Star – the governor met Biden at the El Paso airport and, with cameras rolling, presented him with a handwritten letter. “Your visit to our southern border with Mexico today is $20 billion too little and two years too late,” he chided.

Abbott had some ideas, most of them variations on the punitive approach the Trump administration took when anti-immigrant zealot Stephen Miller was the self-designated border enforcer. … Abbott does not do nuance, nor does he deign to address the interrelated issues that make border security and immigration policy so difficult. The status of millions of undocumented immigrants already living in this country, thousands of Dreamers whose immigration status is in limbo, this nation’s economic need for immigrants and cooperation with Mexico and other Latin American countries – not to mention border-state cooperation with their own federal government – are of no interest to our governor and other immigration hard-liners.

…However useful the Biden plan turns out to be, we vastly prefer the possibility that lawmakers forgo the border photo-ops and dare to do their jobs. We ask Cornyn, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (the Texas Republican chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee) and other members of the Texas delegation: Why not work with Democrats to provide the funding needed for staff and resources to process asylum claims? Why not provide for additional work visas and expanded citizenship opportunities for law-abiding immigrants? Why not resolve once and for all the needless immigration dilemma the Dreamers face? Why not be an actual “wild bunch” and get something done?”