A screenshot of a fake Texas Scorecard article recently circulated on social media before being deleted. The image, which sought to malign a school choice advocate and the school choice agenda more broadly, backfired.

Emblazoned with the fake headline, “DeAngelis Found Guilty of Promoting Vouchers to Illegals,” the post inaccurately lampooned school choice advocate Corey DeAngelis for advancing a school choice agenda on behalf of illegal aliens. Neither DeAngelis nor school choice advocates generally championed the issue on behalf of illegal aliens.

Over the past year, pro-union forces have fought Governor Abbott’s attempts to pass school choice in Texas. The year-long battle culminated in a primary election that saw many of the anti-school choice incumbents defeated while others are now headed to runoffs.

Several of these races featured a slurry of education and immigration-themed ads.

Around the same time these ads were flying, the Heritage Foundation released a report on the toll that illegal aliens are having on public education, calling for “the federal government [to] secure the border and prevent illegal migration” and for states also to take action.

The Republican Party of Texas platform calls for action both in the form of the abolishment of in-state tuition for illegal aliens in higher education and for proof of legal residency to enroll in public school.

This GOP plank was voter-tested in 2024, with 87.63 percent of GOP primary voters approving a ballot proposition that “The Texas Legislature should end all subsidies and public services, including in-state college tuition and enrollment in public schools, for illegal aliens.”

Multiple incumbent members of the Texas House, who voted to strip a school choice provision from an omnibus education bill in late 2023, chose to fight on similar ground as the fake news story, claiming their votes were motivated by border security convictions.

During the primary, the disgraced former Speaker of the Texas House, Dennis Bonnen, called the attempt to misdirect anti-school choice energy into a fight against illegal immigration misguided. In this assessment, Bonnen was correct.

None of the members who voted to kill school choice in 2023 authored or co-authored measures to bar illegal aliens from attending public school. As such, their claim of “fighting illegal immigration by killing school choice” rings hollow.

The Texas GOP convention is just over a month from now, where the party’s most active members will pick priorities for the upcoming legislative session.

Daniel Greer

Daniel Greer is the Director of Innovation for Texas Scorecard.