Immigration to Be Key Topic at Texas GOP Convention
by ALEXA URA, The Texas Tribune
Jun 05, 2014 | 725 views | 5 5 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print


Immigration to Be Key Topic at Texas GOP Convention







With the long and contentious 2014 primary season over in Texas, it's state party convention time. And as Texas Republicans meet this week in Fort Worth to work on their party platform, immigration is set to be a key point of discussion.

Two years after approving an unprecedented change to the official state party platform that called for a national guest-worker program, Republicans are split on keeping the language. An early draft of the new platform, which The Texas Tribune obtained Wednesday, did not include the same language for a guest-worker program, setting the stage for a spirited floor debate.

Immigration is among several topics that the Republican Party of Texas will address as it puts together its platform, a nonbinding set of principles for the party. Other platform topics to be discussed at the convention, which runs through Saturday, include homosexuality and medical marijuana. Delegates will also hear from their party's leadership and other featured speakers. Among those scheduled to speak are Gov. Rick Perry; U.S. Sens. John Cornyn, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul; and Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott.

At the convention, influential Tea Party activists will call for removing the guest-worker language from the platform, arguing that it doesn’t address the undocumented immigrants who are already in the country. But supporters of the guest-worker plank say keeping that language would help satisfy the need for workers in Texas, without offering blanket amnesty, while reaching out to the state’s Hispanic population.

When it was passed in 2012, the “Texas Solution,” which called for the guest-worker program, was hailed by some Republicans as a breakthrough for the party, which had been struggling to appeal to Hispanic voters. The program would allow foreign nationals to come to the U.S. when jobs are available but citizens are unavailable.

Activists like Cathie Adams, president of the Texas Eagle Forum, say they are preparing to go to the convention and campaign against the guest-worker language, which she says equates to amnesty because it brings in immigrants to the country without "any accountability."

“Many people have become informed about the wording and the ramifications it could have,” said Adams, a former chairwoman of the Republican Party of Texas. “It’s one thing to be told this isn’t amnesty, but it’s quite another when you work through the wording and how it’s applied and realize that it is indeed granting amnesty.”

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who recruited support for the Texas Solution during the 2012 convention, said he expected to see an enthusiastic debate at this year’s convention. But he added that he believed the guest-worker language would end up staying in the platform.

“We can be against everything and angry about everything or we could come up with a proposal,” said Patterson, who said the platform would help address labor shortages while providing a practical solution to immigration issues. “The Republican Party immigration platform has to be more than just ‘build a fence, no amnesty and secure our border.’”

On Wednesday, the early draft of the revamped Texas Solution replaced the guest-worker language with a call to enact a provisional visa program intended to “modernize” immigration laws. The suggested program would replace the current visa system — which sets quotas for the number of individuals who can enter the U.S. from other countries — and instead calls for a system that responds to labor shortages.

Arturo Martinez de Vara, a member of the platform committee, said those concerned about the removal of the guest-worker program language should not be so quick to dismiss the the newly proposed language. Martinez de Vara, who supported the guest-worker plank at the 2012 convention, said the new plank was written to clarify that the party doesn't support amnesty, though foreign nationals would be welcome to come to the U.S. when jobs are available.

The provisional visa program would not only include immigrants who wish to come to the country to work, but also those who are not of working age, such as children who arrive with their parents and the elderly who may arrive with their children, Martinez de Vara said. In the new language, the platform clearly indicates that those who obtain the provisional visas should not get a pathway to citizenship.

Meanwhile, Democrats say the immigration debate in the GOP is proof of a larger internal divide over the party’s identity.

“I think it’s pretty clear after this last runoff election that the Texas Republican Party no longer exists,” said Texas Democratic Party chairman Gilberto Hinojosa. “It’s the Texas Republican Tea Party now. They’ve essentially taken over it in every aspect.”

Republican Party of Texas chairman Steve Munisteri, who has called for unity within the party following the runoff elections, said that divisions within the party on immigration were overstated and that he believed the provisional visa program would be approved by a majority of delegates despite what could play out as a lively floor debate on the platform.

“I’m confident we can bring everybody together no matter where they are on immigration,” Munisteri said, adding that a "practical solution" for immigration would be key to the party's long-term ability to attract new voters, particularly Hispanics. “I don’t think it’s a practical solution to say ‘everybody has to leave.'"

The positions of the state's governor and the GOP's 2014 gubernatorial nominee aren't clear on the issue. Perry and Abbott did not respond to requests for comment on whether they believe the guest-worker language should be kept in the platform. Dan Patrick, the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, has previously expressed support for some form of guest-worker program. This year he said he would support cutting the language from the platform.

Cal Jillson, a political scientist at the Southern Methodist University, said the debate within the Republican Party is reflective of the party’s leadership attempting to appeal to Hispanic voters while conservatives like U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Patrick, who have taken a more hardline approach on immigration, rise in popularity among voters.

“It might be too much to call it the fight for the soul of the Republican Party,” Jillson said. “But it’s certainly the fight over the direction of the Republican Party into a future that’s going to have a lot more Hispanic voters in it.”

Disclosure: Southern Methodist University was a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune in 2013. A complete list of Texas Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.









This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2014/06/05/gop-convention-open-immigration-rift/.

Comments
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Archie Bunker
|
June 05, 2014
The FACTS ARE THAT MAINLY the REPUBLICAN RED STATES ARE THE ONES DRAINING OUR ECONOMY, HERE THEY ARE. EDUCATE YOURSELVES:)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_taxation_and_spending_by_state

Many would consider conservative ideas if there were any proof that it results in a better world. All the proof shows otherwise. Conservative states are poorer, sicker, less free, and more immoral. When conservatives rule the federal government everything gets worst. The deficit goes up, the national debt climbs, the economy falters.

The GOP / Republicans & Tea Partiers have an Illness that is worse than cancer its called OBAMISITIS :-).

TheGOP / Republicans think that we all are FOLLIES like their RED STATE CONSTITUENTS :) HA HA HA THE JOKE IS ON THEM.:)

The states with the

LOWEST levels of education

LOWEST levels of income

HIGHEST rates of poverty

HIGHEST rates of welfare and food stamps

HIGHEST rates of illegitimate brats are RED STATES - ya know all your dveoted trailer park denziens in the south who don't have any teeth and slurp their cheap beer as they watch FAUX News

So no - the UNDERCLASS is typically Republican.

(and of those with more than BA - they voted D, not R.

Ds get the super-educated,

R's get the trailer park trash high school dropouts who live on welfare, food stamps and Sec 8 while popping out illegitimate brats that go on Medicaid and who rant about 'those people' while they waive their Confederate Flag.)

HERE ARE THE NUMBERS & FACTS. :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_taxation_and_spending_by_state

22 Washington 52,444 53,058 -614 14.0% 14.1% -0.2%

23 Michigan 59,210 60,483 -1,273 14.8% 15.1% -0.3%

24 Tennessee 47,010 47,924 -914 17.0% 17.3% -0.3%

25 Georgia 65,498 68,297 -2,799 15.1% 15.8% -0.6%

26 New Hampshire 8,808 9,403 -595 13.6% 14.5% -0.9%

27 Iowa 18,754 20,511 -1,758 12.3% 13.5% -1.2%

28 Nevada 13,727 15,794 -2,067 10.3% 11.8% -1.5%

29 South Dakota 5,136 5,951 -815 12.1% 14.0% -1.9%

30 Oregon 22,717 26,835 -4,118 11.4% 13.5% -2.1%

District of Columbia 20,748 23,701 -2,954 18.9% 21.6% -2.7%

31 Alaska 4,899 6,954 -2,055 9.4% 13.4% -4.0%

32 Texas 219,460 277,457 -57,997 15.7% 19.9% -4.2%

33 North Carolina 61,600 81,971 -20,371 13.5% 18.0% -4.5%

34 Idaho 7,622 10,397 -2,775 13.1% 17.9% -4.8%

35 Maryland 48,107 63,638 -15,531 15.1% 20.0% -4.9%

36 Kentucky 25,086 33,586 -8,500 14.5% 19.4% -4.9%

37 North Dakota 5,665 7,993 -2,328 12.3% 17.4% -5.1%

38 Vermont 3,525 4,958 -1,433 12.9% 18.2% -5.2%

39 Montana 4,384 6,730 -2,346 10.8% 16.6% -5.8%

40 Arizona 34,850 50,992 -16,142 13.1% 19.1% -6.0%

41 Maine 6,229 11,044 -4,815 11.6% 20.6% -9.0%

42 Virginia 64,297 112,114 -47,816 14.4% 25.1% -10.7%

43 West Virginia 6,499 14,443 -7,945 9.4% 20.8% -11.5%

44 Alabama 20,883 45,489 -24,606 11.4% 24.8% -13.4%

45 New Mexico 7,866 21,585 -13,719 9.8% 26.8% -17.0%

46 Hawaii 6,512 20,169 -13,658 9.0% 27.8% -18.9%

47 Mississippi 10,459 32,113 -21,655 10.3% 31.6% -21.3%

48 South Carolina 18,557 74,098 -55,541 10.5% 42.0% -31.5%

49 Louisiana 34,811 116,008 -81,197 14.3% 47.7% -33.4%

50 Florida 122,250 528,376 -406,126 15.7% 68.0% -52.3%

TOTAL 2,511,771 2,969,443 -457,672 16.1% 19.1% -2.9%

Archie Bunker
|
June 05, 2014
And what are YOU?? A BIGOTED RACIST?

ONLY A IGNORANT HUMAN CALLS GODS CHILDREN NAMES.
anonymous
|
June 05, 2014
Face folks,,, Every one has already been sold out,,, and that is the facts,, just look around,, bet there are very few damn places that you go,, that you do not see a wetback,, Period
anonymous
|
June 05, 2014
And what are YOU?? A BIGOTED RACIST?

ONLY A IGNORANT HUMAN CALLS GODS CHILDREN NAMES.

Read more: The Gilmer Mirror - Immigration to Be Key Topic at Texas GOP Convention
Michelle1287
|
June 11, 2014
@anonymous

Youre "anonymous" for a reason cuz you're too coward to write any other way. God forbid you say who you are. I can tell you what you are. You're a peice of a shit racist. You're definatley going to hell. Who are you to call someone a wey back. Bet your ass they work harder than you ever do you white supremist peice of crap. We all come from immigrants. Obviously you don't? Since you think you're gods gift to man. People calling other people names are nothing but low life's. You are the tool in the tool box of life. You are the shit in the litter box of life. Go to hell you peice of shit. You are lower than low. And deserve to be shit on.