Van Esser's picture


  by  Van Esser

When Republicans in Texas went to the polls for the March 6th primary election, they weren’t just asked to elect candidates. They also voted on eleven non-binding ballot propositions. And by a 9-1 margin, Republican voters said employers should be required to use E-Verify.

The proposition -- added to the ballot for just Republican voters at the request of the Republican Party -- said:

Texas should require employers to screen new hires through the free E-Verify system to protect jobs for legal workers.

90 percent of voters agreed (1,372,125 voters). Although the results are not binding, strong results in favor of the proposals could prompt the state legislature to move bills next year.

Mandatory E-Verify bills have been introduced in Texas before but never gained traction. This was not due to Republican opposition or indifference. For many years, House Speaker Joe Straus made sure that E-Verify and other immigration enforcement bills never escaped committee.

You may ask why Speaker Straus would kill bills his caucus supports. As it happens, Straus has consistently been elected Speaker with the support of a few Republican friends and all Democrats in the chamber. But to garner their support, Straus had to promise to kill bills the Democrats disliked.

As you would imagine, the Republican Party took notice and this year added the following proposition to the ballot:

Republicans in the Texas House should select their Speaker nominee by secret ballot in a binding caucus without Democrat influence.

This proposition passed with 85 percent of the vote (1,277,401 voters) . If Republicans in the House can somehow adopt this proposition as a rule, it would ensure that Republicans, not Democrats, determine the Speaker of the Texas House.

The Democratic Party also added a number of propositions to the ballot just for Democratic voters. The one concerning immigration said:

Should there be a just and fair comprehensive immigration reform solution that includes an earned path to citizenship for law-abiding immigrants and their children, keeps families together, protects DREAMers, and provides workforce solutions for businesses?

It garnered 94 percent of the vote (991,528 voters) .

VAN ESSER is the Chief of Membership Services for NumbersUSA

Updated: Fri, Mar 23rd 2018 @ 2:30pm EDT

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