“By ethnicity, everybody is in favor” of Texas border security, noted Tuesday’s Texas Tribune, so don’t look for a racial conflict in the overwhelming Texas anti-illegal immigration fervor. Nearly three in four of the Texas voters polled, no matter their ethnicity, support the deployment of the National Guard to shore up Texas border security. That includes 62 percent of Hispanics, 65 percent of blacks and 74 percent of whites. According to the most recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, 22 percent oppose.
Border security and illegal immigration were considered the most pressing Texas problems. These two issues rated well above a list of over thirty possibilities including the economy, education, jobs, health care, and crime and drugs. Texans feel illegal immigration problems are related to all other problems. The general view is if the state takes care of the immigration problems other top priorities will improve as well.
“People were very inclined to see the deployment as security and restoring order,” said Jim Henson, co-director of the poll and head of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. Additionally, the poll found 60 percent feel undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. should be immediately deported and 44 percent of Hispanics don’t think Texas “Dreamers” should be subsidized as is current Texas education law. The majority of Hispanics along with whites and blacks think undocumented immigrants should pay out-of-state tuition rates.
This pro legal-immigration-only view spills over onto the controversial Texas voter ID law, cleared by the Supreme Court for use in the upcoming midterm elections, but still under fire as “unconstitutional” from a judge in Corpus Christie. However if the voice of Texans prevail, voter ID is a win. The Tribune describes Texas voter approval as highly positive: “Two-thirds of registered Texas voters have a favorable opinion of the state’s voter photo ID law, and more than half have a “very favorable” view.”
Texas Governor Rick Perry, who many think will be a GOP presidential contender in 2016, has led the way in Texas on illegal immigration issues. Perry has won major points for calling in the National Guard to aid in protecting Texas porous borders after an influx of illegal immigrants, including some children, poured across the border in numbers so large as to get national attention. However, in his last run for president, Perry got in hot water when he defended his “Texas Dreamers” law.
Perry said: “Everyday I have Texans on that border that are doing their job; but if you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought here by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart.” Perry’s approval rate with a focus group plunged after that statement following a long period in which Americans who reject amnesty for illegal immigrants were called “mean-spirited” and “cruel” by both Republicans and Democrats.
Now Perry claims he has learned from his “mistakes.” Although Perry says if he runs he is better prepared to avoid making the same mistakes again, illegal immigration remains a tricky issue fraught with political consequences. Most politicians straddle border fences.