AUSTIN, TX – FWD.us Texas State Immigration Director Zaira Garcia issued the following statement today following the conclusion of the 2021 Texas State legislative session:
“As the Texas State Legislature concludes the 2021 regular session, our lawmakers and local leaders should take this time to reflect upon the many policies, changes, and spending decisions made that will impact Texans and our key industries, from healthcare to agriculture and beyond. In doing so, we cannot ignore the critical role Texas immigrants played in supporting our economy and communities, including their essential role in our COVID-19 and Winter Storm Uri response and recovery efforts.
“Despite the immense contributions of Texas immigrants, state lawmakers prioritized increasing the budget for border operations by $200 million and Texas leaders like Governor Abbott advanced anti-immigrant narratives. However, as Texas continues to recover from the pandemic and Winter Storm Uri, additional time, funding, and public safety resources at our already prioritized border would be wisely spent elsewhere. The reality is, more should have been done on the state level to support Texas’ immigrant community.
“Today, immigrants are a key part of Texas’ workforce and economy, and comprise an outsized portion of our state’s essential frontline workers. There are 930,000 undocumented immigrant essential workers statewide, including 30,600 DACA recipients. Additionally, the Lone Star State’s nearly five million immigrant residents pay $40.6 billion in annual state, local, and federal taxes, and hold over $120 billion in spending power. Our economic and community prosperity hinges on support for immigrants. As a lifelong Texan with deep ties to the immigrant community, I know the benefits pro-immigrant policies have on our state. Keeping Texas families safe and together while funding policies that support instead of tearing down communities is the moral and right thing to do, and makes our state stronger.
“As this session comes to a close, I hope the next brings more support for our state’s immigrants, including passage of legislation that would allow all residents, regardless of immigration status, to obtain a driver’s permit – a policy solution that would support Texas’ workforce at a time when we need it most. Texas, we can do more to support our state’s immigrants and, in turn, our state’s communities, economy, and well-being.”