After Flirting with Moderation, Texas GOP Moves Further Right on Immigration

When we left you on Friday, there was a glimmering hope that Texas Republicans might consider adopting a more middle-ground approach to immigration, in an attempt to appeal to Hispanic voters. According to state Representative Jason Villalba, a more moderate stance would be critical to the survival of the Republican majority in Texas. Among other initiatives, GOP members were considering a guest-worker visa program for immigrant workers, expanding on its Texas Solution platform from 2012.

Yeah, forget all that. The Tea Party lives.

On Saturday night, GOP delegates voted to nix the guest-worker program altogether. Holding up signs in the shape of fences, many delegates chanted out the need to secure the border against undocumented immigrants. Far-right Republicans prevailed in their argument to secure the border first, before any guest-worker or other provisional language could be considered.

Undocumented kids are out of luck, too. The new platform proposes doing away with in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants, which Governor Rick Perry has long supported. The Texas GOP has reinstated a 2010 position that argues for the denial of in-state tuition to undocumented students who attend high school in Texas.

Houston Republican state Senator Dan Patrick assured Texas GOPers that the new immigration platform could only be beneficial to the party.

"This idea that somehow we're not going to be able to attract Hispanic voters to our party over immigration is wrong. Because, much of the time, all Hispanics want the same thing that you want," said Patrick on Saturday. "They want a secure border."

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Emily Mathis

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