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New Polling: 4-in-5 Texans Support Dreamers’ Citizenship

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More Reminders Why Senator John Cornyn Should Seize Opportunity To Finally Follow Through on His Longstanding Promise to Deliver Permanent Status for Dreamers

Washington, DC – In his 2020 Senate re-election campaign, Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn ran a Spanish-language ad portraying himself as a strong supporter of legalizing Dreamers (see the ad here). Later that year, in December 2020, Cornyn endorsed a bipartisan DACA/Dreamer fix as a priority, stating: “I personally think the most important starting point is DACA … I believe we need to take action and give these young men and women the certainty they deserve.”

So Senator Cornyn should be thrilled by the opportunity at hand to finally deliver on his longstanding promise to help shepherd a legislative breakthrough for Dreamers to the President’s desk – and by the new polling that shows that citizenship for Dreamers is wildly popular with Texans. Right?

As Todd Gillman writes in the Dallas Morning News, Vast Texas support for Dreamer citizenship as lame duck Congress weighs immigration deal,” new Texas polling conducted by Republican polling firm and former Cornyn pollster GS Strategy Group on behalf of moderate Democratic think tank Third Way finds:

“Although the vast majority of Texans say illegal immigration is a problem, more than two-thirds also support a ‘tough but fair’ path to citizenship for the 11 million or more undocumented immigrants living in the United States, according to a new poll. Support is even stronger for allowing 2 million young ‘Dreamers’ to become citizens – and for a broader deal of the sort being kicked around during the lame duck Congress this month.

…Is illegal immigration a problem? 84% of Texans say it is. Many said it makes them uneasy or angry. Even so, 68% said they’d support a ‘tough but fair’ path to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants in the United States – an idea not under discussion now that has been part of many a failed ‘comprehensive’ deal in the last two decades. Even more Texans – 79% – support citizenship for Dreamers, if they attend college or serve in the military and pay any back taxes.”

Despite his past comments, the popular sentiment in Texas, and the opportunity at hand to enact a legislative breakthrough, Senator Cornyn is backing away from his past pro-Dreamer pledge. Recently, he told Bloomberg: “I think until the Biden administration owns up to its responsibilities on the border it’s not possible to pass an immigration bill.” 

This seems just the latest in Cornyn and Republican attempts to dust off the “border security first” excuse for inaction. It’s a coded way to say “legalization never” and has always given a policy-sounding argument for Republicans to continually move the goalposts so that nothing is done for Dreamers. It goes something like this: We can’t reform immigration until the border is secure, but the border can be deemed ‘not yet secure’ because some people still get across or are able to lawfully claim asylum at ports of entry. As the Wall Street Journal once editorialized: the real goal of Republicans who claim we must ‘secure the border first’ “isn’t border security. It is to use border security as an excuse to kill immigration reform.”

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

“Senator John Cornyn has long called himself a champion of Dreamers and now has the chance to prove it, knowing that the vast majority of Texans strongly support the concept per the new polling. While we aren’t surprised by Cornyn’s latest round of ‘border first’ excuses for inaction and backtracking on his supposed support for Dreamers, we hope he does surprise us by finally seizing the opportunity to do what’s he’s long promised and enacting permanent status for Dreamers.”