Texas Republicans have a lot to say about Immigration lately unless they happen to be running for governor and named Greg Abbott.
Yesterday hundreds of UT students as well as University officials expressed disgust at the “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Game” organized by a former staffer of Abbott's. While the Attorney General did distance his campaign from the “repugnant” event it stopped short of addressing the larger issue at hand, the DREAM Act.
Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa took the opportunity to press Abbott in light of recent events:
Even with this week's debate about immigration and the importance of the Texas DREAM Act, and even after a former Abbott staffer attempted to hold mock campus detainments at UT, Greg Abbott still refuses to clearly state a position on the Texas DREAM Act. DREAMers, the Hispanic community, and all Texans deserve a clear answer.
Greg Abbott, why do you not support the Texas DREAM act as it stands?
Adryana Boyne, a Latina Republican candidate for State Representative told the Quorum Report's Scott Braddock that she was shocked by her party's, “deafening silence” on the event. The Hispanic Immigrant who identifies herself as “solidly conservative” said she “felt all alone” and that silence on such issues hurts her party's chance to connect with Hispanic voters.
Rick Perry told the Republican Governors' Association that he believed, “immigration reform is going to be very passé,” yet that is impossible since his party refuses to move forward with reform and the leading Republican nominee to replace him would rather avoid the subject altogether. Interestingly Abbott says the Texas DREAM Act needs to be reformed, but has yet to provide specifics. If he is hoping the issue is already passe, there are over 20,000 Texas DREAMers that prove otherwise.
What's happening is simple, Greg Abbott is reading the polls and doing the math.
Check below the jump to see how this all adds up…Abbott sees the polls that say he can't win his primary without cowing to the Tea Party. He sees the polls that say the Tea Party's support for in-state tuition is at 16%. He sees the polls that show a majority of Texans support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and knows that's opposed by a large majority of Tea Party members. And, he knows those Tea Party positions just does square with his party's goal of broadening their appeal with Hispanic voters. Abbott isn't clueless, he's playing it safe and that carefulness is shaping the theme of his campaign more than any single issue has.
Abbott's most well-known primary opponent also called for him to break his silence on this important issue. Former Texas Republican Party Chair Tom Pauken said, “Abbott refuses to answer questions from the media as to whether he supports in-state tuition for people who are in our state illegally. Once again he is trying to avoid telling voters what his positions are.”
When Abbott did feel pressured to say something, by the headline making anti-immigrant event organized by his former staffer, he decided to use the opportunity to attack Obama instead, but even Pauken isn't buying that and he is no fan of the President. Pauken reminded everyone that Abbott is no reformer and that, “Even though Greg Abbott has been the attorney general for a decade he's done nothing to secure our border.”
The voters, the media, his opponents…It seems no one can get Abbott to speak on the important issues. Last month the Dallas Morning News pointed out,
“Abbott, who has $25 million in the bank and is leading in the polls, has avoided answering questions about abortion, the federal government shutdown and funding for public schools.
Pauken said Abbott wants to remain vague on issues in the GOP primary race to avoid alienating tea party conservatives, then move to the middle in a general election campaign.”
There is strength in numbers and right now it looks like the the only numbers Abbott is concerned with are the polls and his war chest. At the end of the day it's votes that count and people deserve answers so that they may make informed decisions — and there's just no question about that.
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