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Texas Republicans are Leading the Charge to End DACA and Block Legislative Fix for Dreamers

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On 10th Anniversary of DACA, TX GOP Silent on TX Dreamers; Loud on Invasion and Deportation

Washington, DC – This week’s ten year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program’s implementation is an opportunity to reflect on the success and importance of this life-changing program. It’s also a moment of mounting frustration, given the tenuous future facing Dreamers due to Republicans’ continued legal challenges to DACA and the GOP’s legislative obstruction to a permanent solution.

Texas Republicans are leading the charge against DACA and Dreamers. Because of this, the full slate of Texas GOP elected officials and candidates on the ballot should define their position toward DACA and a legislative solution for Dreamers. Vague statements of support are insufficient when the Texas GOP is leading the charge to make Dreamers with DACA deportable.

How Texas Republicans are leading charge against DACA and permanent fix for Dreamers.

  • As a reminder, the State of Texas is leading the latest legal challenge against DACA, recently heard in front of a conservative panel on the Fifth Circuit. 
  • Meanwhile, the Texas Republican Party platform makes clear its hostility to Dreamers, calling for Texas to strip in-state tuition eligibility for Dreamers who graduated from Texas high schools and the platform declares the Republican Party’s blanket opposition to “any form of amnesty … including the granting of legal status to persons in the country illegally.” 
  • In Congress, Texas lawmakers are among the leading obstacles to a long overdue legislative fix for Dreamers, with Senator John Cornyn up to his usual “Cornyn Con” tricks and trotting out the age-old “border security first” excuse to try and justify inaction on legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers. 
  • And the GOP members of the Texas delegation are in overdrive trying to fearmonger about the border, including the continued conflation of record-high apprehensions and border encounters with an “open border” and support for Trump era policies like Title 42 that make border enforcement more difficult, as well as advancing white nationalist conspiracy rhetoric about an “invasion.” The Texas Republican Party issued a “declaration” of an “invasion” and is aggressively raising money on it.

This despite the reality that Texas voters overwhelmingly support DACA and Dreamers. A new poll from the Dallas Morning News/UT Tyler shows that while public sentiment on border security questions is largely divided along partisan lines, protections for Dreamers is broadly popular among Texas voters. The poll asked, “Do you support or oppose granting permanent legal status to immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally when they were children?”

  • Overall, Texas likely voters support legal status for Dreamers 61-27%, with a plurality of 31% saying they “strongly support.”
  • This support extends across party lines, with Democrats backing 80-11%, Independents 59-27%, and Republicans 48%-40.

Texas GOP candidates and elected officials, especially those representing districts with lots of DACA recipients, should detail where they stand. The America’s Voice bilingual campaign, “Show Me Your Friends,” includes a focus on four Texas House Republican candidates in districts that run along parts of the U.S./Mexico border: Monica De La Cruz (TX-15), Rep. Mayra Flores (TX-34), Cassy Garcia (TX-28) and Rep. Tony Gonzalez (TX-23). Each of these candidates should detail their views on DACA and Dreamers. For example:

  • Rep. Mayra Flores has stayed vague, telling Newsweek: “I support Dreamers, I support immigration reform, but it must include border security.” She should detail if she would hold out against legislative progress for Dreamers until unrelated border measures were attached, knowing that the “secure the border first” claim is an excuse for perpetual inaction. 
  • Meanwhile, Rep. Tony Gonzalez (R-TX) voted against the “Dream and Promise Act,” which would provide citizenship for Dreamers.
  • Relatedly, with House GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy pledging no amnesty under a potential Republican Congress, any vague support for Dreamers rhetorically should be followed up with questions about their views toward McCarthy’s. If elected, one of the first acts of these Republican House Members would be to vote for or against McCarthy as GOP Leader or potentially, as Speaker of the House.

According to Mario Carrillo, Texas-based Campaigns Director for America’s Voice:

“The Texas GOP not only doesn’t care about the fate of young immigrants and their families’ countless contributions to our state, they’d rather drive us out of Texas. I know this from first hand experience. My family is one of thousands that are mixed-status in Texas, who have relied on DACA throughout the last decade, with my wife being a longtime DACA recipient. We’ve married, purchased a home, started a family all while DACA has remained a constant, albeit an uncertain aspect in our life. We’re far from alone. Just think how much the lives of DACA recipients have changed in a decade. 

People have grown up under a shadow of uncertainty, in a frail sense of security that can change at any time. We need certainty, but our state’s leaders are unfortunately leading the charge against Dreamers.

How can any Texas Republican candidates defend the anti-immigrant nativism and governing philosophy of the Republican Party and its hostility toward families like mine? DACA and the stories of its recipients demolishes the lies that Republicans use to justify their hostility to immigrants and every single Texas candidate should detail where they stand on these important questions.”