In an interview Wednesday with the San Antonio Express-News, House Speaker Joe Straus (R–San Antonio) once again thumbed his nose at the party he claims to represent.
Asked about Texas law that allows illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition to attend Texas public universities, Straus said he supports the law.
“My personal position is that the law, as it is, is perfectly acceptable,” said Straus, who has repeatedly blocked proposals to repeal the law in the Texas House.
The statement puts Straus in the extreme minority in his own party.
At the Texas GOP Convention in May, delegates passed a platform containing very clear language on the issue: “We oppose in-state college tuition for illegal aliens. The plank passed with the support of over 95% of convention delegates.
In contrast to Straus, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has been one of the leading advocates for repealing the law, announcing last fall year that he “remains committed to eliminating in-state tuition for undocumented college students.”
Repeal efforts also have the support of Gov. Greg Abbott who told reporters in December that the law was not working as intended and should be repealed.
“In-state tuition should be for those who are in the state validly, and that’s what the law was intended to achieve,” said Abbott. “And if the law is not going to achieve this intended goal, then it should be repealed,” he said.
When the policy was adopted, lawmakers were told it would only apply to those students who were in a process to gain citizenship. But it has been applied to illegal immigrants who have no prospect of gaining lawful status to work in the United States.
Given Straus’ views and demonstrated willingness to personally kill the measure, reform advocates will likely have no chance of repealing the law so long as he remains as speaker.