Immigration splits Texas GOP

Those of us who are old enough to remember these things can recall when the Democratic Party was the fractious bunch and Republicans were seen as unified in thought and spirit.

No more. The roles seem to be reversed.

Perhaps nothing better describes the split among Republicans than the argument the GOP is having over immigration.

As the Texas Tribune reports, the Texas Republican Party is trying to write a platform that melds competing ideas on how to wrestle with immigration issues.

Good luck with that.

Texas Democrats think their rivals in the GOP have been taken over by the tea party wing of the Republican Party. “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 in remarks to the Tribune. “It’s the Texas Republican Tea Party now. They’ve essentially taken over it in every aspect.”

Republicans, of course, disagree with that.

Lame-duck Gov. Rick Perry has been on the kinder, gentler side of the immigration issue, even while embracing many of the tea party wing’s principles on other key issues, such as the Affordable Care Act and on taxes. Other Republicans take a different view of immigration, preferring a stricter standard for guest worker status for immigrants coming to Texas to find jobs.

The immigration debate plays right into the Republican Party’s efforts to reach out to Hispanic voters, most of whom tend to vote Democratic, but who are moving into the state in greater numbers every year.

Here’s how the Tribune reports on the guest worker language being debated over the party platform:

“‘Many people have become informed about the wording and the ramifications it could have,’ said (Cathie) 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.”

The battle will go on throughout this mid-term election year, into next year’s legislative session — and then into the 2016 campaign for the presidency. In fact, the 2016 presidential campaign just might feature two prominent Texans: the aforementioned Rick Perry and the junior U.S. senator, Ted Cruz.

They have differing views on immigration and they embody the divide within the once-unified Republican Party.


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