Texas Republicans Hate the Holy Trinity: Development, Relief and Education

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Gov. Rick Perry has done one good thing. In 2001, he signed Texas's DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act, which gave in-state tuition to the undocumented children of undocumented immigrants. A full 600 current UT students are undocumented and working hard to build their education and continue the American Dream their parents risked their lives to give them. It's not as if the 2001 DREAM Act was without conditions: it requires that “students must have lived in Texas for at least three years, graduated from a Texas high school, signed an affidavit promising to apply for citizenship and be pursing a degree.”

Three Texas Republicans highlighted in a recent Daily Texan article and interview by the Texas Tribune embody the Texas Republican Party's abhorrent view on this. Despite the fact that their Republican governor signed the act, they're planning on taking it away at the next opportunity. Kelly Hancock (R-Fort Worth), Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) and Ken Paxton (R-McKinney), all running for re-election, gave various ridiculous reasons for their unreasonable position.

“It's a supply and demand issue,” Rep. Hancock said in the interview. “My difficulty is condoning illegal activity and putting a stamp of approval on it.” So, which is it? Supply and demand or “condoning illegal activity”? Apparently Hancock forgot the golden rule of excuse grab bags: you only need one good one.

Rep. Taylor said undocumented students' tuition rates are a small component of a bigger issue. “We have a broken immigration system in this country,” Taylor said in the interview. “We need a system where people can work, but we have to know who they are.” So…Taylor wants productive workers but they all have to be without a college education?

Rep. Paxton said Texas's education funding should go to citizens first. Obviously, Paxton doesn't understand or care to understand education funding at all. In-state tuition is not a giveaway, or a scholarship; the state is not paying extra funds to allow undocumented immigrants to attend college. Paxton's view is based on either a lie or a misunderstanding (probably both) that is designed to keep young Texans in every true sense of the word from leading better lives? And, though it is unrelated to this issue, if Paxton cares so much about education funding (he doesn't) than he shouldn't have slashed Texas's public education funds to pay for tax cuts given to his fatcat donors.

Why are these emblematic Texas Republicans taking this awful position? Well, two reasons: they don't believe in higher education which allows any Texan to move into the class of their wealthy donors and they think they can turn out their racist base by fighting against the Latino American dream.

Teri Albrecht, the director of International Student and Scholar Services at UT, said educating young Texans builds a better Texas. “My experience with undocumented students is that they are in these professions that are giving back to society,” Albrecht said. “When we oppress people to the point that they can not have skilled jobs, or even hold jobs, we are creating a level of people that are not allowed to further themselves.” And a state similarly barred.

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About Author

Ben Sherman

Ben Sherman has been a BOR staff writer since 2011. A graduate of the University of Texas, Ben has worked on campaigns, in political consulting, and has written for other news outlets like Think Progress. Ben considers campaign finance reform the fundamental challenge of our time because it distorts almost every other issue in American politics.

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