Reported June 28, 2012:
Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson rose nervously to urge Republicans at the state party’s convention to support a national guest-worker program for millions of undocumented residents.
Two years earlier, the party that dominates the second-most populous state had called for a crackdown on illegal immigrants.
“‘Well, here’s the end of a political career,’” Patterson said, recalling his thought as he looked over the June 8 gathering in the Fort Worth Convention Center. Instead, the delegates passed the platform with the guest-worker plan.
In Texas, the state with the second-largest illegal- immigrant population, Republicans have softened their stance toward them. The vote reflected a more pragmatic view of years past, such as when Governor Rick Perry signed a first-in-the- nation 2001 law that gave undocumented residents in-state tuition rates at public colleges. It preceded a U.S. Supreme Court ruling this week that voided most of an Arizona law cracking down on people in the country illegally.
“I’m no bleeding heart; I oppose birthright citizenship,” said Patterson, 65, whose elected office controls state lands and mineral rights. “But we need the labor.”