Cornyn Calls for DACA Legislation at Texas Opportunity Coalition Launch

On Tuesday, the Texas Business Immigration Coalition (TBIC) and the Texas Business Leadership Council (TBLC) launched the new Texas Opportunity Coalition, which is uniting Texan businesses, institutions, leaders, and lawmakers in an effort to pass legislation in Washington to provide permanent legal status to DACA recipients and advance Texas’ economy.

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is a federal program that allows immigrants who were brought to the US illegally as minors before 2012 to earn conditional renewable legal status if they meet a number of requirements. The program’s future is uncertain as it awaits a ruling from Judge Andrew Hanen of the US District Court in Houston on a lawsuit over the legality of how DACA was created through executive order in 2012.

Republican Senator John Cornyn expressed his support for the Texas Opportunity Coalition and DACA recipients in Texas during the conference. He also called for a legislative solution for DACA and said that smaller immigration packages would be most likely to gain broad bipartisan support in Congress and could even help lead to broader immigration reform in the future.

Among the long list of immigrants chasing the American Dream are DACA recipients; more than 100,000 of them call Texas home. They’ve grown up with our kids, attended the same churches, shopped at the same grocery stores, and in some cases defended our freedoms in the US military. They’re also huge drivers of our economy, 96% of DACA recipients are either working or are in school, and they contribute over $400 million in state and local taxes in Texas alone,” said Cornyn.

Despite all the ways these young men and women strengthen our country and our communities, they are living in a constant state of uncertainty about the future,” Cornyn continued. "When President Obama announced this program eight and a half years ago, he did so through a short-sighted executive memorandum. After years of being yanked around from court ruling to court ruling, these young men and women deserve certainty to be able to plan their future. They’ve been left wondering if they might be deported to a country they have no memory of and forced to leave families jobs and opportunities behind… I believe we must take action to give DACA recipients the certainty they deserve, and the only way to do that is through legislation."

Immigration reform, or rather our inability to deal with it has been one of my biggest frustrations throughout my time in the Senate. Hopefully we can learn from the lessons of the past and begin working on smaller packages that can gain broad bipartisan support and hopefully build trust in the process and in more reforms going forward,” he added.

Texas Business leaders in attendance also expressed support for a permanent solution for DACA and highlighted economic benefits that could be increased with DACA legislation.

Texas has the opportunity to strengthen our economy by investing in the resources we have available, Dreamers, who have come to our state, graduated from our schools, and want to get to work…We need to not only recognize their importance, but invest in their potential… Providing Dreamers with permanent legal status through congressional action is not only the right thing to do, but it’s in our state’s and nation’s best economic interest to let those who are willing to work, create jobs, and start businesses, do so and do so in Texas,” said Eddy Aldrete, Senior VP at IBC Bank

What grows your economy is your workforce growth and your productivity, and I would add to that immigration is really integral to both, not only to grow our workforce, but the productivity of the workforce is not helped when you have a portion of the workforce that has limited job and education mobility because of certain laws and regulations, and that’s what we have today,” said Woody Hunt, Senior Chairman of the Board at Hunt Companies Inc.

Karl Rove, Fox News Contributor and Former Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor for George W. Bush, also expressed support for a legislative solution for DACA.

It’s the right thing to do. It would be a blot on our country’s soul if we were to take hundreds of thousands of people who have known no country but America, and tell them to get lost. It’s also politically smart for both parties,” said Rove.  ​

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