The crowd on the south steps of the Texas Capitol Wednesday morning truly reflected the changing face of our great state. I was proud to represent CPPP at the “Texas Can Do Better” immigration day of action. Hosted by our friends at the Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance, today’s day of action highlighted the coalition’s guiding principles around immigration during the 84th legislative session.
One in six Texans is an immigrant. For many years, CPPP has analyzed the impact of policies on Texas immigrants, because smart immigration policies are critical to a prosperous future for our state. Our research shows that immigrants continue to drive the Texas economy, contributing $65 billion annually in wages, salary and business earnings. This legislative session we should build upon the contributions of Texas immigrants, not backslide on gains we’ve made together.
CPPP believes that all Texans should have the opportunity to compete and succeed, and that means getting more smart Texans to graduate from our first-rate colleges and universities. In 2006, Texas was a leader in recognizing that we need all Texas students to succeed. With bipartisan support, the Texas legislature passed the Texas Dream Act, which enables Texas high school students who have lived in the state for three years, and who are undocumented, to pay in-state tuition.
According to the latest research, 24,770 Texas Dream Act students out of 1,303,684 total students (1.9 percent) were enrolled in Texas public universities, public community, technical and state colleges, and public health related institutions. Despite misleading rhetoric from short-sighted politicians who oppose it, the Texas Dream Act does not impact college admission decisions in any way. All students regardless of immigration status compete equally for admission to Texas institutions of higher education.
Business and education leaders like UT System Chancellor Adm. William McRaven and Bill Hammond of the Texas Association of Business support the Texas DREAM Act because it’s good for students, families and the Texas economy. In a state with a rich history of embracing immigrant culture, we should be proud of our state’s DREAM Act. I invite you to stand with CPPP to support this critical piece of legislation.