I watched a video clip of a recent interview given by Lt Governor Dewhurst that caught my attention when he stated that he would not have signed into law the provision that illegal immigrant students would be eligible for in-state tuition. Dewhurst was breaking with Governor Perry by stating he was against the provision.
Election year conversions are nothing new in politics. This seems to me it may be one for Lt Governor Dewhurst.
Why? Well, if you look at the original vote on allowing these students in-state tuition, you will find that only five Texas legislators voted no to the bill, H.R.1918 in the House and S.1291 in the Senate. That is five out of 181 total. There does not appear to be a record of any opposition from Dewhurst at that time.
The law was signed into effect in 2001. Dewhurst became Lt. Governor in 2003. He was Texas Land Commissioner before becoming the state's Lt. Governor. If Dewhurst felt so strongly about the law, he could have ushered through legislation to change the law. He didn't.
Austin American-Statesman's Embry writes, "It’s worth noting" that state Sen. Brian Birdwell (R) "filed a bill to repeal that in-state tuition law just this year" in the state Senate, where Dewhurst is the presiding officer. The bill "was referred" to the Higher Education Cmte. "It was heard but never emerged" from that cmte.
Also, in 2005, with Dewhurst as the presiding officer of the state Senate for the session, the state Legislature passed a bill "which clarified a number of issues related to who should be considered a state resident for the purposes of in-state tuition. Among the provisions clarified by the bill was the one allowing in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants" — provided that the student had been in TX for three years and declared an intent to apply for permanent residency in the U.S. The state Senate passed that bill 29-0. "In other words," the state Senate "had a clear opportunity to change the law while Dewhurst" was LG and it chose not to.
If he felt so strongly on this issue - strong enough to deliberately separate himself from Governor Perry as he runs for the GOP presidential nomination - why hasn't he taken action in a state senate where the GOP holds the majority?
Here is the interview:
In 2012, the U.S. Senate is in play. The GOP has a real shot at taking back the majority. This will be crucial in stopping the Obama agenda, should he be re-elected. The House must retain its GOP majority and the Senate must win the GOP seats needed for a majority.
The key to strong conservative leadership in the Senate is voting for the candidate who can remain consistent in political philosophy. The other two top contenders to win the U.S. Senate seat from Texas competing against Dewhurst - former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz and former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert - both have commented on the election year conversion aspect of Dewhurst's remarks.
Ted Cruz, in a statement: "This is another Republican primary year conversion by David Dewhurst. He was for in-state tuition for illegal immigrants before he was against it. The next Senator from Texas needs to be a strong conservative who knows what he believes. I strongly oppose in-state tuition for illegal aliens, and categorically oppose amnesty or preferential treatment for illegal immigrants."
It is important for Texans to elect a consistent conservative to the U.S. Senate