Many people are shocked when they discover that some of their favorite officials in Texas are some of the most pro-immigration politicians out there. A good way to start knowing them is by asking an immigration attorney for details.
These pro-immigration officials, often viewed as the epitome of politics, have been achieving outstanding results for immigrants and immigration reform causes all across Texas. There are several immigration law firms that support pro-immigration officials.
Senators Eliot Shapleigh (El Paso) and Mario Gallegos (Houston). There are also those like Rep. Juan Escobar (Brownsville), Sen. Rodney Ellis (Houston), and Sen. Kirk Watson (Austin), who Texans elected because they promised to fight for human rights—especially immigrant rights—in the state legislature.
Sen. Kirk Watson represents Austin; Rep Juan Escobar is from Brownsville. Sen Eliot Shapleigh is from El Paso; Senator Rodney Ellis is from Houston; Rep Mary Gonzalez is from Clint; Sen Dan Patrick is from Houston; etc.
These legislators will often meet with local leaders and community members to better understand how they can be most helpful. Immigration attorneys can help you recognize which officials offer their support for immigration policies.
What Are These Officials Doing To Help?
Sen. Rodney Ellis
- Senator Ellis famously went to the Texas-Mexico border and asked for assistance in learning how he could help fight for better treatment of immigrants crossing over.
- Many other officials across the state are joining these leaders in supporting immigrants, ensuring that there’s access to education, healthcare, visas, drivers’ licenses, and more opportunities to succeed.
Sen. Dan Patrick
- Even Republicans like Sen. Dan Patrick (Houston) have supported immigrant rights issues through Senate Bill 1403, which ensures that all children receive an education regardless of immigration status or socio-economic situation.
- While this bill could not pass during the 83rd legislative session, it has passed at the local level in many school districts, including Houston ISD (Independent School District). So while the state hasn’t been successful, local communities have.
Austin City Council Member Gregorio Casar And Rep. Juan Escobar
- In Austin, Austin City Council Member Gregorio Casar helps illegal immigrants. In Brownsville, Texas, Rep Juan Escobar does the same.
- Rep Escobar voted for HB 1325, which allowed illegal immigrant students to pay cheaper college tuition rates.
- Escobar voted against the withdrawal of federal funding to sanctuary cities (cities where there’s no prosecution of immigrants for being in the U.S. illegally).
- Rep Escobar, also in most Democrats but in a minority government, can influence fellow lawmakers by voting for or against the legislation. He may be able to get his colleagues on board with measures like allowing illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses.
- The senators and representatives with the most influence over immigration policy are U.S. Senator and former gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis and State Senator and Majority Whip Rodney Ellis.
Former Houston Mayor Bill White
- Former Houston Mayor Bill White, now a businessman in Dallas, is also pro-immigration reform. Most of these officials represent El Paso, Houston/Harris County, South Texas (down to Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park), and West Texas.
- They are Democrats; some call themselves progressives or moderates; only one calls himself a conservative Republican: Sen Dan Patrick from Houston-area Harris County.
Sen. Wendy Davis
- Senator Davis and State Senator Ellis, in the majority Democratic state government, can promote changes in legislation for things like education policy and redistricting. What’s more, when they speak about immigration, it makes a more significant impact; see below.
- However, political scientists say that passing pro-immigration legislation is more complex than speeches or lobbying.
- Davis spoke in favor of the emergency brake mechanism mentioned by Rawlings above.
Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa
- The senator and representative representing Brownsville (Reps Filemon Vela and Rubén Hinojosa) are members of the minority Democratic Party in Congress; they may not have much sway there.
- However, state Sen Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa was able to help pass Texas House Bill 1325, which allowed college students brought here illegally as children to pay lower tuition rates.
- State Sen Hinojosa has pushed for allowing illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses so that they can drive legally, but his Republican colleagues have not supported him.
- Reps Vela and Hinojosa have often voted against anti-immigration legislation proposed by fellow lawmakers, but they can’t do much more because they are in the minority party.
- The current House Speaker is Republican Joe Straus of San Antonio, who has voted against some anti-immigration bills. That prevents some measures from becoming law.
- As mentioned above, Hinojosa helped HB 1325 become law.
Mayor Tony Martinez
- Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez is another Democrat whose support for immigration reform might make a difference.
- Mayor Perez in El Paso helped immigrants by reducing utility bills or water service fees.
Rep. Joaquin Castro
- U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro hopes that his work will help pass a law in Congress.
- Castro has talked with Sen Patrick about the possibility of compromise on immigration reform, but no “tangible progress” yet.
- Castro has lobbied his Republican colleagues about working on immigration reform; his efforts will continue during the next session, but they may be more effective if Democrats retake control of Congress.
The Difference Between A Pro-Immigration Politician And A Clean Politician
A Pro-Immigration Official is a person who wants to help immigrants by making their lives here better. They work to advance policies that they believe will improve their lives, such as allowing them access to driver’s licenses or giving them cheaper college tuition rates.
Clean Politicians don’t usually want any foreign traditions or cultures influencing Texas society. In some cases, they even make anti-immigration laws designed to keep people from immigrating illegally at all.
These politicians often feel threatened by something new or different from what they’re used to seeing. To know more about who are the most prominent pro-immigration officials you can always consult with an immigration lawyer.
Being Involved With The Right Immigration Officials
Don’t let the label “pro-immigration politician” scare you away from these significant figures of politics; they are pushing for human rights and reform, not anti-Americanism or lawlessness.
By talking to them and getting involved with their causes, Texans can make a difference in immigrant lives. People need to know that they have support in their communities, and knowing who their local pro-immigration officials are can help them do just that.
All across Texas, pro-immigration politicians are working hard to ensure that the state’s people have a voice and a fair chance at life, liberty, and happiness. You can always contact immigration lawyers when you want to reach out to pro-immigration officials.
It’s time for everyone to step up and be involved in their community politics—and especially immigration politics—and find out who the pro-immigration officials are in their area. Only then can Texans begin to make a difference in immigrant rights.