Texas’ Republican legislators remain divided on a series of immigration measures. Attempts to pass bills in both the House and Senate have met with gridlock amid a divide between hardline conservatives and its more moderate GOP members.
The state’s moderate Republicans say harsh immigration crackdowns are unnecessarily divisive and could alienate Hispanic voters from the GOP, the Dallas Morning News reported. But tea party Republicans accused their compatriots of being too lenient on measures that would bolster border security. Just five weeks remain in the legislative session, so Republicans must act face to pass any policy changes.
“We just don’t have the time in 140 days to deal with the big-ticket issues and also pander to a small percentage of movement conservatives,” state Rep. Jason Villalba told the Dallas Morning News.
A series of Texas Senate bills that would prevent undocumented students from receiving cheaper in-state college tuition, roll back “sanctuary city” restrictions that keep police from questioning individuals they stop about their immigration status and allow authorities in neighboring states to jointly implement federal immigration measures have yet to pass. In the state House of Representatives, proposals on college tuition rates and “sanctuary cities” have met similar resistance.
The infighting among state Republicans occurs as a Texas-led coalition of 26 states remains locked in a legal battle with the U.S. Justice Department over President Barack Obama’s attempt in November to exercise executive authority to shield millions of illegal immigrants from deportation. A federal district judge in Texas, Andrew Hanen, issued an injunction earlier this year that blocked the Obama administration from implementing its immigration plan.
A federal appeals court in New Orleans has yet to decide if it will lift the injunction after an April 17 hearing on the issue. A decision is expected by June, according to the New York Times.