Tags: Immigration | texas | republicans | immigration | education | law

Texas Republicans Fighting Over Crucial Immigration Education Law

By    |   Saturday, 18 Apr 2015 10:05 PM

A contingent of Texas Republicans are trying to repeal a 14-year-old law that allows immigrants to attend the state's colleges at in-state tuition rates, but Latino party members in the state see keeping the state's "Dream Act" crucial to growing the party with Hispanic voters, reports The Wall Street Journal.

"This is a mission to uphold what we believe is Republican heritage, a Republican legacy," said GOP activist Artemio Muniz, who sees maintaining the law vital to the party's voting bloc in Texas, where Latinos equal nearly a third of the state's voters.

Muniz, who was born in the United States to Mexican parents who were at first illegal immigrants, says education is vital for Latinos to advance in the United States.

And through the years, members of his political party supported the Texas Dream Act, which then-Gov. Rick Perry signed in 2001. However, the state's newly elected Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and other lawmakers want the measure killed.

"It’s a question of fairness to American citizens," Patrick has said about the repeal bill, which made it through a state Senate committee this month.

For a short time after the 2012 presidential election, there was a Republican shift nationally to attract Hispanic voters, who had overwhelmingly supported President Barack Obama's reelection bid.

But after the House blocked the Senate "Gang of Eight" immigration bill in 2013, GOP lawmakers have since refused other pre-immigration measures, including Obama's executive actions on immigration. until the U.S.-Mexico border could be better secured.

With the 2016 election approaching, there are some Republicans, like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who support a pathway to citizenship. However, on the other side, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and others oppose such laws.

Then there is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who helped the Senate pass its immigration bill in 2013, but later dropped back from supporting it after conservatives denounced it.

Immigration reform is not a new thing, and Republicans for some time, including President Ronald Reagan, have said the party could do more to attract the Latino vote.

"Hispanics are Republicans. They just don’t know it," Reagan told Lionel Sosa, one of the consultants with Reagan's campaign in 1980.

And Muniz agrees. His father, Artemio Muniz Sr., came into the country illegally, while his mother came legally but stayed after her work visa expired.

The elder Muniz did quite well for himself, working his way from being a $3 an hour floor sweeper at a mattress factory to eventually run the A&M Mattress Co. full-time from his garage.

Then in 1986, Reagan signed amnesty legislation for some three million illegal immigrants, and Muniz' parents became citizens. These day, the elder Muniz is a business owner who employs 70 people and has made more than $10 million in sales.

The younger Muniz developed a deep interest in politics, and says he does not share the assumption that all Latino voters choose Democrats.

"The Democratic Party was all about identity politics: ‘The Mexican community is poor because the white man is putting you down,’" he said. "We don’t have time for that."

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A contingent of Texas Republicans are trying to repeal a 14-year-old law that allows immigrants to attend the state's colleges at in-state tuition rates, but Latino party members in the state see keeping the state's Dream Act crucial to growing the party with Hispanic...
texas, republicans, immigration, education, law
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2015-05-18
Saturday, 18 Apr 2015 10:05 PM
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