Immigration Reform and Texas: Why The Republicans Are Shifting Focus

Why are more conservatives supporting immigration reform?

Many conservatives, writes author Steve Deace in, wonder why potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are supporting comprehensive immigration reform, better known as an “amnesty program” among most conservatives.

Deace says it’s all about Texas. If immigration reform by the Republicans does include the amnesty approach, that will allow some 40 percent of the national Hispanic vote to go to the Republican Party in future elections. But, if true, that would also tip some 1.5 million new Hispanic voters to the democrats, if the numbers trend continues. So, says, Deace, there is not much for the Republicans to gain by allowing immigration reform, unless the focus is on the state of Texas, which would be where the biggest Republican boost would originate.

President Obama won Florida, Ohio, and Virginia in the 2012 election, but his average margin was less than two points; indicating that those states may be a toss up for the next election. It is up to Republicans to work to regain those states in these next few years; if they lose Texas, all national elections will be lost to them as well. Texas, argues Deace, is the cornerstone of the next presidential election and imperative to the GOP.

Is it true? Might Texas “turn blue?” A survey taken in January by Public Policy Polling found that a number of Texans said they would vote for Hilary Clinton if she were on the presidential ballot in 2016. Clinton (D) would defeat Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) by 50 percent; she would beat  New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) by as much as 45 percent, and she would beat Florida’s US Sen. Marco Rubio (R) by as much as 46 percent –  at least according to the survey results.

Demographics in Texas are shifting. According to the Hoover Institution, 65 percent of the state’s population boom since 2000 is Hispanic. Between 2000 and 2010, Texas added more than one million children to the census; 95 percent of them Hispanic. Hispanic children are the majority ethnicity of the almost 5 million children in public schools in Texas, as well as in pre-kindergarten and child care centers. Those children will likely grow up to be voters in Texas, and the Republicans need them. If Republicans cannot hold onto Texas, they would likely need to win 70 percent of the Electoral College votes in order to win the next presidency.

Only time will tell what new players may or may not be seen on Texas’s political stage, and what that means for the U.S.

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