The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill with all Democrats voting for reform and all the votes against the bill coming from the Republicans. Among the 14 votes coming from the GOP are senators from states closest to the border and who are closest to the carnage our immigration system has wrought on their constituents.
Republican senators from Utah, Nevada and Arizona joined the majority, along with a mix of Republicans in states increasingly vested in migrant labor and the border industrial complex sprouting from the negotiations over the bill, such as in Tennessee where both Republican senators voted “yea.”
But while we expect these states to have greater knowledge, experience, and interest in fixing our immigration system, the one outlier in yesterday’s vote were the two Republican senators from Texas. Both Mr. Cruz and Mr. Cornyn voted against the bill, which begs the question, “what’s the matter with Texas”?
Texas has been a media favorite lately because of some jaw-dropping statements being made by Texas’ finest. Republican legislator, Jodie Laubenberg, suggested the other day that a rape kit, used to collect evidence of a sexual assault, could be used to give abortions.
Conservative leader and Republican king maker Phyllis Schaflysaid on the radio that the GOP should ignore Latino voters because they “have too many children out of wedlock and because they ‘don’t understand’ concepts like small government and the U.S. Bill of Rights,” despite the fact that the country on her southern border has lower tax rates and spending on health costs than the United States.
And it’s this brain rot in the state of Texas pulling the strings on the immigration debate for Senators Cruz and Cornyn. Even if they had good reasons to vote for the immigration bill, it wouldn’t matter to these folks. So instead of talking sense, they have chosen to ride the wave of fear and vitriol against immigrants that resonates among their colleagues and fundraisers.
Texas is now a majority-minority state, meaning the majority of their population comes from racial and ethnic minorities. Texas also boasts one of the youngest populations in the country, ranking second. Neither of these facts bode well for the future of the GOP if they continue this assault on logic and pander to the forces of fear, contempt, and ignorance.
Stephen A. Nuño, Ph.D., NBC Latino contributor and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona University. He is currently writing a book on Republican outreach into the Latino Community.