Conservative Texas Leaders Agree on the Need For a More Productive Immigration Conversation
By Brenda Kirk
With the State Legislature headed home for the next months without passing any of the negative bills related to immigration, it’s safe to say that our state’s communities have made it out unscathed.
Senate Bill 1819, proposed to exclude non-citizens from in-state tuition rates at Texas public colleges and universities. Through Senate Bill 185, some legislators urged the elimination of sanctuary cities, where local police officers do not ask about immigration status.
For the economic and social well-being of all Texans, conservative community leaders worked to block this legislation.
They realized that immigrants create growth, and subsequently all of us flourish. Policies that harm them, in turn harm all of us. That’s why it is beneficial to ensure that new Americans have essential opportunities, skills and status to reach their greatest potential.
When those who govern us stand in the way by threatening programs like in-state tuition for DACA recipients, we all lose.
At the beginning of the state’s legislative session, the immigration proposals seemed likely to pass, until a broad coalition of leaders came out against them.
The robust, compelling influence of business, law enforcement and faith communities standing against these harsh proposals helped keep us from moving backward on immigration.
Our Texas businesses will continue to want more educated workers. Our local chiefs and sheriffs want to maintain and build trust amongst their communities.
Our churches want to show love to the outsiders in our midst. As Texans, we aren’t alone with these issues. The commotion in our state calls attention to the need for immigration reform discussions to take place at the national level.
According to the Public Religion Research Institute’s American Values Atlas, 59% of Texans approve allowing undocumented immigrants the opportunity to earn citizenship, so long as they meet certain requirements.
This percentage is about the same as the 60% who support it, in the United States as a whole.
Across the country, conservative leaders from South Carolina to Iowa; from Nebraska to Alabama and elsewhere are rejecting harsh rhetoric and policies toward immigrants; suggesting instead vast reforms to replace our broken system.
Conservative leaders have the opportunity to tackle the invaluable task of shaping immigration reform that effectively balances economic growth, family unity and adherence to an orderly process.
When Texas, and our nation as a whole, become places where all those who live here can contribute fully, we will continue to strengthen. For that reason, community leaders celebrate that our legislature, did not take a step in a harmful direction. God Bless America.