Senator John Cornyn, the state’s most powerful congressional Republican, says he can’t understand why Texas has filed suit to stop DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Is his consternation a mere difference in strategy with the state’s leaders, or does it portend some deeper fissure in the GOP?
Victoria De Francesco Soto, lecturer at the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs, says the state’s lawsuit seeks to end DACA, just as they did in a similar suit that ended DAPA, which protected the parents of children brought to the U.S. without documents.
“I don’t know if it’s going to work, because the public opinion toward children, toward those kids that were brought here through no fault of their own, was different than the parents themselves,” De Francesco Soto says. “And aside from that, there’s the fact that there’s already a lawsuit winding its way so the Supreme Court regarding DACA.”
De Francesco Soto says Cornyn seems to be questioning the idea of ending DACA.
“Even though he is one of our more conservative lawmakers,” she says, “he has rolled up his sleeves and tried to find an immigration fix. And obviously that has not happened.”
De Francesco Soto says that from Cornyn’s perch as a member of the federal government, he has different political needs and goals than does Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading the state’s participation in the DACA suit.
“[Paxton] is playing to a very conservative Texas base,” she says, “whereas John Cornyn has a broader base that he is speaking to in Texas, and it’s also a national base that he talks to.”
So far, Congress has not been able to craft a solution to the situation created by President Donald Trump’s decision to end the DACA program.
“Within each party, you had multiple camps that couldn’t come to an agreement,” De Francesco Soto says.
Back in Texas, though, the desire to end DACA, or to be seen to be working toward ending it, is strong, and De Francesco Soto suspects that “riling up the conservative base” is on Ken Paxton’s mind as he pursues the suit.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.