The border crisis has finally culminated into the event of the century — Gov. Rick Perry and President Barack Obama have agreed to a private meeting, to be held Wednesday when the president visits Austin for a fundraiser. On the agenda will be a discussion for possible solutions to the illegal immigration problem. I could imagine that Perry will take a somewhat aggressive approach and remind the president that he is overstepping his authority by circumventing Congress to create immigration policy, and there will most likely be some mention of the strain on Texas border security personnel as a result of the surge of undocumented immigrants. And I certainly expect that Obama will be adamant about his more lenient position on immigration, especially considering a recent letter signed by some Texas Republicans criticizing current immigration policies, such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which the editorial board has previously supported. Although there is potential for the two to accomplish nothing in the meeting, if Obama acquiesces just slightly, he could help Texas Democrats in November.
Recently, Obama has displayed a tougher-than-usual stance on immigration, requesting authority from Congress to expedite the deportation process for an influx of child immigrants. Still, immigration remains an issue for Texas Democrats, who will need to convert voters who traditionally vote Republican to win statewide offices. The issue of illegal immigration — and claiming the Obama administration promotes it — has been a key factor of Texas Republican candidates’ platforms. Lieutenant Governor hopeful state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, for example, has certainly benefited from his anti-immigrant rhetoric, and gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Greg Abbott lives to undermine the Obama Administration; if he didn’t sue the administration, what would he do all day? If Obama agrees to Republican-friendly measures that shut off many conduits for citizenship after illegal immigration, it could give the Democratic Party a new image — as far as immigration is concerned — in the eyes of conservative Texans.
Davis is an associate editor.