In 2012, President Obama signed an executive memorandum that would delay the deportation of illegal aliens who entered the United States as minors.

A new organization supported by Texas senior U.S. Sen. John Cornyn wants to make that change permanent.

Formed by more than 30 colleges and economic development entities, The Texas Opportunity Coalition calls for legislation that would grant permanent legal status to “Dreamers,” the term given to recipients of Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

On Tuesday, the organization highlighted its priorities in a virtual launch event.

“Our goal is to call on Congress to pass a congressional solution that includes permanent legal status for the 213,000 Dreamers that call Texas home,” explained Texas Business Leadership Council President Justin Yancy.

“Providing permanent relief for our states’ Dreamers is the right thing to do for Texas’ businesses, communities, and economy.”

Cornyn addressed the group in a pre-recorded clip, endorsing their plan for a permanent path to citizenship for “Dreamers.”

“When President Obama announced this program eight and a half years ago, he did so through a short-sighted executive memorandum. After years of being yanked around from court ruling to court ruling, these young men and women deserve certainty and to be able to plan their future,” said Cornyn.

The senator’s endorsement shouldn’t be too surprising. Cornyn, whose conservative credentials have come under question by grassroots throughout his time in office, has frequently called for permanent resident status for DACA recipients. After the Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s bid to reverse the executive order, Cornyn embraced the policy.

DACA has faced many legal challenges. Although Obama admitted he did not have the constitutional authority to do so two years earlier, he signed an executive order to enact DACA in 2012. While there were several lawsuits filed against him, they were not successful in ending the program. The Trump administration attempted to end DACA in 2017 but was quickly sued by many Democrat states to keep it in place.

Conversely, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton joined several other red states and sued the Trump administration to rescind the program. Ultimately, it went to the Supreme Court, which ruled against the Trump administration in a 5-4 vote.

A month later, many immigration hawks panicked after President Donald Trump promised amnesty to illegal immigrants enrolled in DACA, guaranteeing a “road to citizenship.” After receiving pushback from conservatives, the president dropped the issue.

While President Joe Biden is in favor of DACA, the Texas Opportunity Coalition wants the program to be made permanent through an act of Congress, favoring proposals such as the DREAM Act. Will the organization supported by Cornyn be successful? That depends on how successful conservatives will be in opposing it.

Concerned citizens can contact their elected officials.

Michael Swirsky

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Michael Swirsky is a writing fellow for Texas Scorecard. Interests include speech and debate, chess, and of course Texas politics.