(ESPAÑOL) Although politicians in Texas has cried out for the end of DACA, the Republican leaders have remained silent as to any actual support.
Attorney General Ken Paxton turned up the heat on the Trump administration late last month when he sent a letter asking it to rescind an Obama-era immigration program or face a lawsuit from a 10-state coalition led by Texas.
But support for Paxton’s action from his fellow Texas Republicans has been muted. None of the major statewide elected officials have publicly sounded off on Paxton’s threat to sue the federal government over the controversial program, even though most tout their tough-on-immigration credentials.
That includes Gov. Greg Abbott, who as Texas’ attorney general filed suit in 2014 against an expansion of the program that would have granted temporary deportation relief to unauthorized immigrants who were parents of American citizens or legal residents. That suit eventually blocked the program from taking effect.
Emily Farris, a political science professor at Texas Christian University, said politics could be at play. Getting rid of the original deferred action program, which could grant protection from deportation to nearly 2 million people who came to the country as children, would be controversial — even among some moderate Republicans who would not support protections for other groups of unauthorized immigrants.
Texas has the second-largest population of unauthorized immigrants in the country. As of 2016, 271,000 residents were eligible for deportation relief under the program, according to the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington.
Groups looking to mobilize Latino voters are taking note of the silence on DACA. While state officials can avoid the question for now without suffering consequences at the polls, these groups are looking to educate Latinos on where politicians stand on issues they care about, said Cristina Tzintzun, executive director of the grassroots political organizing group Jolt.
In 2016, “Texas came closer to flipping than it had in decades … because Latinos were inspired to vote against an anti-Latino, anti-immigrant agenda,” Tzintzun said. “I think in 2018, we’ll see a continued pattern in Texas where there will be consequences for legislators that choose to play politics with Latino families.”