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Texas Republicans Cornyn, Roy, and Abbott Blocking Real Solutions and Advancing Extreme Immigration Policy

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Washington, D.C- Texas Republicans are once again defining themselves by their anti-immigrant extremism and, in the process, defining the larger Republican party by its nativism. Just look at this week’s news:

  • Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) up to old, “Cornyn Con” tricks: Senator Cornyn has been busy trying to burnish his image as an honest broker and bipartisan dealmaker on immigration. Unfortunately, Cornyn always (always) finds a way to scuttle immigration solutions in favor of obstruction, opposition, and empowering the anti-immigrant wing of the GOP.  Witness Cornyn’s comments yesterday asserting that the “the most logical and realistic sequence of events would be for the House to pass a bill first, and then we can put pressure on Sen. (Chuck) Schumer here in the Senate to take it up” – aka, giving a green light for the House GOP to advance extreme, anti-immigrant legislation and a red light to the prospect of a bipartisan reasonable Senate effort. It’s not exactly a surprising development from Sen. Cornyn – in fact, it’s so typical that we at America’s Voice call the pattern the “Cornyn Con.” The senior Texas Senator goes to great lengths to sound reasonable on immigration and border issues – differentiating himself to some degree from the xenophobic border firebrands who run the Texas GOP – but every move Cornyn makes is carefully crafted to make sure real immigration reform never happens.
  • Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) hellbent on ending asylum – threatening debt ceiling to do so: Rep. Chip Roy’s extremist legislation that would effectively ban asylum is thus far the signature House Republican immigration bill. Yet it’s so extreme that some fellow House Republicans are expressing qualms – as Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) assessed: “Trying to ban legitimate asylum claims — one, it’s not Christian, and two, to me, it’s very anti-American.” Due to opposition from Rep. Gonzales and several other Republicans, GOP leadership has scuttled plans to fast track a floor vote for the time being. In response, according to the Texas Tribune, Rep. Roy is pledging to use the threat of blocking the debt ceiling expansion and causing economic calamity as leverage to try and push through his extreme bill seeking to end asylum.
  • Texas AG Ken Paxton again relying on anti-immigrant judicial pipelines to challenge legal immigration pathways – with racial animus behind opposition laid bare: Texas and AG Paxton are leading the charge on the 20 GOP state legal challenge to the Biden Administration’s new parole program, which provides some Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan asylum seekers a legal process to safely enter the United States, if they are pre-approved by the U.S. government. It’s another example of the anti-immigrant judicial pipeline, allowing a small number of Republican-run states to attempt to dictate and drive national immigration policy from states they control. It’s also a revealing lawsuit – note that Paxton’s tweet announcing the new lawsuit asserted that the parole program was a Biden plot to “destroy our nation,” and only singled out Haitians. Meanwhile, the lawsuit is the latest reminder that 2023 Republicans now openly oppose even legal immigration pathways.

According to Mario Carillo, Campaigns Manager for America’s Voice: 

“From John Cornyn to Chip Roy to Ken Paxton, Texas is full of Republican bad-faith actors who are not proposing real solutions and are instead intent on advancing extreme anti-immigrant policies that are bad for Texans and the nation. Thankfully, other Texas lawmakers are helping to oppose this extremism and are proposing a better way forward. From freshman Rep. Greg Casar to Congressman Joaquin Castro to El Paso’s Rep. Veronica Escobar, to even some border Republicans who are sounding alarms about the policy and political damage of following the Chip Roy approach, Texas is once again the epicenter. It would be so much more helpful for Texas and the country if Texas Republicans spent more time working towards solutions and compromise as opposed to blocking them or trying to drive political wedges. Instead of extremism and nativism, our state demands results backed by Texans and the American people.”