GOP Latinos, Business Leaders Disappointed At Removal Of Guest Worker Program

Jun 10, 2014

Will the removal of a guest worker program from the Texas GOP platform have an affect the November election?
Credit Chris Eudaily / TPR News

What will be the effect of the Republican Party of Texas' removal of a resolution that calls for a guest worker program? Some Moderate Republicans say they are troubled by this trend that has extended beyond the Republican primaries.

The removal of the Texas Solution, a state-centric guest worker program, from the party platform seems to have firmed up some Republicans' position on the matter. State Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, said he thinks the party missed an opportunity.

“I do believe we have to deal with the 11 million unauthorized residents that are here in a way that is thoughtful, compassionate and practical,” Villalba said.

But Villalba and other Hispanic Republicans aren’t the only groups disappointed by delegates removing the state party’s support for a guest worker program. Texas Association of Business CEO Bill Hammond said not having the support for a guest worker will leave huge gaps in the state economy and doesn’t only involve jobs in construction, agriculture or hospitality.

“In the Austin area alone, I’m told some 8,000 information technology jobs are left vacant because there’s not the workforce to fill those jobs," Hammond said. "We could easily do that if we allowed more legal immigration through a guest worker program.”

Hammond said that the platform stance weakens the Texas economy and may have companies looking to relocate to Texas looking at other states that can support their needs.

“We’ve got many, many openings in Texas that could be filled by legal immigration by a guest worker program that would allow people to come and also go when the work was simply no there,” Hammond said.

Hammond said he agrees with Villalba that the removal of the party’s support for a guest worker program isn’t reflective of the entire Texas Republican Party, but is reflective of delegates at the party convention and some of those who are running in statewide elections in 2014.