Cracks along just those fault lines are beginning to show in Texas. Before it's over, we may find out whether the GOP's tent is big enough to encompass both business donors and activists who want to eliminate their labor pool.
The powerful Texas Association of Business stepped into the debate this week, along with some of its most important backers. Indeed, the signators on a recent op ed in the Dallas News ("Texas Business: Pass Immigration Reform," Aug. 28) read like a who's who of major-league donors to the Texas GOP, notably Bob Perry, Harold Simmons, Louis Beecherl, Bo Pilgrim, James Leininger, and other heavyweights. Their message:
As chairmen, CEOs and stockholders, we call on Congress to act – to go back to Washington and pass realistic immigration reform that provides the workers we need to keep our businesses growing.
We understand that this will include workplace enforcement. In fact, we welcome reform that gives us the tools to stay on the right side of the law. The important thing is that this vital part of the economy be brought under the rule and protection of the law.
Neither the immigrants here today nor those we will need in the future should have to live in the shadows. These are good people with good values doing work that we need done, reaching for the American Dream and helping make it a reality for all.
What will this mean in the long run? Who knows? What will it mean in November? Probably not much. But these major donors could enforce an outer limit to what the GOP's more radical grassroots base can demand of US immigration policy. Either that, or possibly provide a new funding source for candidates who support less draconian approaches. In any case, I'll guarantee the guys on that list won't be afraid to throw their weight around to protect their economic interests.