Last week, FWD.us hosted its first Texas Hispanic Republican Conclave, which brought together members of the conservative community including faith and business leaders from all over Texas to discuss how Republicans can respond to the current immigration policy needs within my home state and across our nation.
With representatives from Dallas, Houston, Lubbock, the Rio Grande Valley, and San Antonio, among other parts of our state, the event centered around presentations from local community advocates and other distinguished Texans, like former Texas Supreme Court Justice David Medina, who reminded attendees about the importance of having “a seat at the table to contribute to ideas that will lead to meaningful immigration reform”, and also noted “tonight’s conclave fostered an important discussion on this critical issue.”
Today, Texas is home to more than 4.7 million immigrants. These hard-working individuals are integral to the state’s $1.6 trillion economy — the nation’s second largest — with immigrant-owned businesses employing more than 630,000 Texans and selling more than $104 billion in products.
Among Texas’ immigrant population are TPS holders and Dreamers who serve their state by pursuing careers as emergency first responders, teachers, nurses, and within local industries, making events like the Texas Hispanic Republican Conclave even more important — as it recognizes the more than $110 billion in annual purchasing power to the state’s economy immigrants currently contribute.
That is why, earlier this year, FWD.us announced its intention to protect in-state tuition for Dreamers with long-standing ties to Texas, while also strengthening Texas’ immigration coalition infrastructure in the long term.
As I told Conclave attendees, “immigrant communities have enriched Texas for generations through their contributions to our society, our economy, and our history. Real solutions to the immigration challenges facing our country require compromise and thoughtful debate, and are only possible when Texans of all backgrounds come together for dialogue, as we have today.”
Artemio Muniz, the chairman of the Texas Federation of Hispanic Republicans, agrees.
In a recently published op-ed in the Statesman, he highlighted how the conclave “was an opportunity for these leaders to establish our commitment to welcoming immigrants who will add value to our economy.” Furthermore, Mr. Muniz added that the “event’s discussions confirmed that the Republican Party must adopt a positive approach to immigration. And, any positive approach will be predicated on identifying and implementing bipartisan compromises. In our polarized times, anything other than a bipartisan compromise risks failure at worst and backlash from half of the electorate at best.”
I believe, just as FWD.us does, that stronger state policies and strong local partnerships are key building blocks for immigration policies we know our nation needs.
My hope is that our state can remain committed to protecting important policies like in-state tuition for Dreamers with long-standing ties to Texas, while also strengthening our coalition infrastructure to build capacity for additional policy change.