Big Fears for Border Security and Immigrations for Texas? Not exactly…

In the past two years, almost every major news station in America has broadcasted numerous segments regarding national issues of border security and refugee action. These issues along with several others became hot topics during the polarizing 2016 Presidential Election and became pivotal platforms used by the final two candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. These issues, however, were not only federal issues, but found themselves revolving around key border states: Texas, New Mexico Arizona, and California. Despite such intense national media coverage and being a focus for the Presidential Campaign, however, many states did not agree with President Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from “Muslim Countries”. According to data from Tribune polls, Tribune readers believed that border security and immigration were not quite as important to Texas and believed that other topics should take more of a priority during the 85th Legislative Session.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

The Texas border security issue is not a major concern according to a UT/Texas Tribune poll by Texas residents (Fig.1). When you break down the results by party in Fig. 2, however, there is a clear divide between the two main parties in Texas — Democrats and Republicans — in almost every category. The main difference between the two parties comes from border security funding within Texas, with 77% of Republicans calling for an increase in spending, and only 8% of Democrats who support an increase in spending (Fig. 2). The Republican Party’s and the Democrat Party’s poll results is indicative of both parties’ statewide platforms on immigration issues.

The Texas Republican platform expects their Texas Legislative members to vote to allocate funds to support border security that will effectively secure the border and enforce immigration laws (texasgop.org). On the other hand, the Texas Democrat platform expects their Texas Legislature members to vote to strongly oppose discriminatory immigration laws and oppose efforts to allocate more funds to border security spending (txdemocrats.org).

The phenomenon between the Republican and Democrat differences could be attributed to Texas being a “Red State”. Many Texans supported President Trump during his run for POTUS, and it is likely that many Texans believe that the border isn’t secure enough to stop the flow of drugs, illegal immigrants, and various other cartel activities in its current state. KXAN, a Texas News Outlet, provided a map (Fig. 3) showing how Texas Counties voted in the 2016 General Election for the Presidential Election; the vast majority of the state voted Republican — it is likely they support Trump’s strict border and immigration stances — while southern border counties voted primarily Democrat (KXAN.com). The contrast of the southern border counties to the rest of the state could be linked to President Trump’s various comments about Mexico, the Latino population, increased deportations, border wall, and numerous other things that were viewed negative by the Latino Community. Additionally, a lot of citizens in the southern region of Texas run farms, restaurants, and other establishments across the border in Mexico, and they see the increase of Border Patrol agents and the proposed concrete wall as a threat to their livelihood and businesses rather than as a protective measure (Lavandera).

Fig. 3

Fig. 4

According to the UT/Texas Tribune poll (Fig. 4), Texas Republicans strongly support the US’ ban on Syrian refugees while the Texas Democrats strongly oppose the ban. This, however, should not come as a shock because President Trump — a Republican — has enacted an executive order banning Syrian refugees from entering the US for 90-days (Thrush). Nationally, Democrats have been in support of allowing Syrian refugees to enter the US, and the fact that Texas Democrats feel this way is no surprise. An interesting thing to point out, is that both Republicans and Democrats almost have the same opinion on “Somewhat Supporting” a ban on Syrian refugees (Fig. 4).

Fig. 5

The UT/Texas Tribune Poll in Fig. 5 allows us to infer that the Texan overall opinion on the US’ ban is favorable. Once again, Texas is predominately known as a “Red State” and takes the view of President Trump’s foreign policy views. Furthermore, Texas Governor Greg Abbott withdrew Texas from the nation’s Syrian refugee relocation plans and has directed non-profit organizations to stop taking in refugees (Ura). This backs up the information in Fig. 5 because the Republican Governor of Texas has concurring views with his Republican Party (Fig. 4 & Fig. 5). These figures present information that the State of Texas in general supports the ban of refugees entering the US and specifically Texas.

Fig. 6

Texans have similar attitudes regarding allowing other refugees into the US. Texas Republicans, according to data in Fig. 6, strongly support and somewhat support the US ban on allowing refugees from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, and Yemen (“Muslim Countries”) to enter the country. Texas Democrats, on the contrary, strongly oppose and somewhat oppose the US’ ban on allowing refugees from the countries listed above to enter the US.

The State of Texas, regardless of party, appears to support the ban on allowing refugees from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, and Yemen to enter the US (Fig. 7). This information, while not surprising, shows how the State of Texas supports the ban on Syrian refugees entering the US (Fig. 5).

Fig. 7

Texas’ views on immigration are not very surprising. Texas Republicans support increased spending on border security for the state, and at the same time support the ban on refugees entering the US from Syria and refugees from other Muslim Countries. Texas Democrats, don’t support increased spending on border security, and are supportive of refugees entering the US from Syria and other Muslim Countries. These views fall in line with both national political parties with regards to border security and immigration.

According to the data presented, the majority of the Tribune Pollers, feel that Texas has more issues to prioritize before increasing border security and immigration reform. This opinion contradicts the national attention that put such a focus on immigration and border security during the Presidential Elections in 2016. In addition, most Texans align with their political party and their views regarding refugees entering the US and demonstrates that there is a divide amongst Texas Democrats and Texas Republicans on important issues.

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