Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Education > Sen. Cornyn would rather play vindictive politics than help students’ DREAM come true

Sen. Cornyn would rather play vindictive politics than help students’ DREAM come true

LatinaLista — By the year 2020, the likelihood that Latinos will be the majority in Texas is pretty much a certainty, if it doesn’t happen sooner.


In the 2000 Census, 52 percent of Texans were Anglo, and 32 percent identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino (of any race). By 2008, according to the Census Bureau, Texas’ Hispanic proportion had grown to 37 percent, and its Anglo proportion had shrunk to 47 percent.

Demographers say that the trend going forward, with migration, fertility and fatalities holding steady, can only mean that the time when Latinos outnumber Anglos in Texas isn’t that far off.

Already, Texas is home to more than 9.1 million Latinos. The top ten counties in the nation that are majority Latino are found in Texas.

When it comes to public school education, the majority of urban school districts are comprised of more Latinos than Anglos.

So to say that Latinos are hard to miss or hear in Texas is an understatement but one man has been very successful in tuning out the fact that Latinos call the Lone Star State home.

His name is John Cornyn — Sen. John Cornyn.

One would think that a guy born in Houston and who spent his entire life in Texas would at least empathize with Latinos and all they’ve gone through to fight for civil rights in his own backyard. After all, Cornyn received his law degree from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.

St. Mary’s is located in the heart of a San Antonio Hispanic neighborhood and has graduated many of Texas’ leading Latino leaders. Today, over half of the total school enrollment is Latino.

Yet, time and time again, especially since Obama has taken office, Cornyn has gone out of his way to ignore the feelings of his Latino constituents in Texas.

It started with his vote against confirming Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court — it’s culminating today with his calling of DREAM Act students “the peanut gallery.”

Texas is home to a good number of undocumented students. These are students who were brought to the U.S. as children and grew up here. Now, they want a future for themselves by being able to apply for student loans, going to college and putting that degree to work or enlisting in the military. Yet, because of their undocumented citizenship status, this has been just a dream for the students — until now.

Before when the DREAM Act was bundled with comprehensive immigration reform (CIR), hope was pretty nil that these students would ever realize their career goals. CIR was going nowhere and the students were bound and determined to not let another school year pass them by.

They’ve been successful in turning opinion around in the Latino community when it comes to keeping the DREAM Act together with CIR by staging an impressive campaign.

Undocumented students from across the country, including from Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin, have worked tirelessly to show everyone that they are ready to contribute to this country.

The biggest sign of yet as to the success of their campaign is Sen. Reid stating publicly that he is willing to go forward with the DREAM Act as a standalone bill. Even several Republican politicians have gone on record that they would support such a bill now — but not Texas’ Sen. Cornyn.

Instead, he referred to the DREAM Act students with the dismissive description of “the peanut gallery.”

When Republicans heard that Sen. Reid was willing to go forward with the DREAM Act as a standalone bill, all the Senator from Texas could say:

“This is getting to be a joke. No one believes that there is enough time that we could do a responsible job,” said Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. The Senate should approach the issue in “a responsible, reasonable way and not just try to play to the peanut gallery and act like we’re going to do something we’re not.”

The fact of the matter is there is enough time to do something and do it responsibly. After all, the responsible thing in the first place is to make sure these students get their paperwork in order so they can start giving the U.S. a return on the educational investment they’ve received so far from living in the U.S.

Sen. Cornyn’s response wouldn’t be so troubling if he was from a state like Rhode Island or North Dakota where Latinos have not always been a part of the history of those states in high numbers. Then his attitude would be somewhat understandable because he would have no knowledge of Latinos on a personal basis.

Yet, one doesn’t grow up in Texas and not interact with Latinos to some degree.

At each stage of Obama’s administration, Sen. Cornyn has followed the lead of his wayward party to the detriment of the constituents he leaves behind time and time again.

Getting on board with the DREAM Act is the right thing to do for both Senators from Texas. Ignoring the thousands of undocumented students who live within the state’s borders and who have propelled the Lone Star State in academics and athletics is wrong.

Carrying out vindictive politics against students who are otherwise innocent of wrongdoing is reprehensible and not only brings shame to this state — but to the honorable position of the Texas senator.

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  • kyledeb
    July 29, 2010 at 1:56 am

    It’s about time that Republicans be held accountable for their nativism. Thanks for your continued defense and furthering of migrant youth Marisa.

  • infoperson
    July 29, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    It’s sad that the Senators of the first state to ever include undocumented students in higher education would say something like that, calling the DREAMers the peanut Gallery.

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