As the primary polls closed in Texas on Tuesday, party candidates were decided for the positions in the U.S. and State Senate, the U.S. and State House, the Texas Agriculture and Land Commissions, as well as the Texas Governor and Lieutenant Governor seats. The grand turnout and results, many expect, could give some insight as to how the November elections may unfold and how issues such as immigration and border protection could be decided at the state and federal level.
This year’s Texas primaries saw a 300,000 increase in voter turnout from 2014, and, surprisingly, a brighter streak of blue as Democratic turnout exceeded Republican turnout in midterm early voting – a first in the state’s electoral history – after having increased by nearly 150%. Six counties, all with large Hispanic populations, also saw major boosts in voter turnout.
In an interview with Time, Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, attributed this uptick in voter activity to the heated discussion on immigration, immigrants, and border patrol policies occurring at the national level. Much of the debate has focused on the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a constant target of criticism by the Trump administration.
According to Jillson, “Some of that Democratic surge and turnout can be attributed to DACA and border issues more generally… As we move toward the general election, that’s where we’ll see immigration and DACA in particular having a major impact because then the races will be between a Democrat who favors immigration reform and a Republican who is talking about building a wall.”
This, however, is not always the case. Incumbent Rep. Will Hurt, who clinched the GOP primary in Texas’ 23rd Congressional District, is a vocal proponent of DACA and a “smart” border protection powered by technology rather than a physical structure. Hurd has expressly opposed the President’s plans to build the wall, pushing instead for greater operational control over the 2,000-mile border.
Whether or not Hurd’s moderate stance on immigration will draw support from like-minded Republican voters will have to be seen in November.
Immigration, as Jillson explains, is a polarizing topic. On one hand, you have Republicans who are in favor of stronger border control, stopping illegal immigration, and putting limits on legal immigration. This is a belief mostly held by older male white voters, who still comprise a substantial percentage of Texan voters.
On the other hand, Democrats have minorities and young voters – who tend not to be active for midterm elections – to thank for their increased turnouts. If the Democrats have any chance of bringing a close fight in the November elections, these demographics and discussions over immigration could be the deciding factors.
For more immigration news and updates on immigration policy in Texas, be sure to follow this blog. If you, or a loved one, are facing a legal issue concerning your immigrant status, schedule a consultation with the legal team of the Lyttle Law Firm. Call our offices today to learn more about how Austin immigration attorney Daniella Lyttlee can help you.