Slide 1: TX-23 is a low-income, mostly Hispanic district which shares the largest piece of the border with Mexico than any other district. It is a swing vote district, both in its representation and its voting habits. Since 2008, TX-23 has had three different Congressional representatives. Each election since then has shown very slim margins between the Democratic and Republican candidates. The district has bounced back and forth between party representation. Will Hurd, their current Republican Congressman, has been the only representatives to last more than one consecutive term since Ciro Rodriguez in 2006. Since the margins in each election are so slim, one of the reasons for Hurd’s success and reelection is probably is moderate standpoint.
Slide 2: Casellas and Leal’s work “Partisanship or population? House and Senate immigration votes in the 109th and 110th Congresses” highlights some of the impacts on immigration policymaking. Districts with higher populations of working class citizens are more likely to favor strict immigration policy out of fear of economic competition and lack of job opportunities. Communities with higher Latino populations prefer more liberal immigration policies because many of the members of this population come from immigrant families or immigrant backgrounds. They are more likely to be more sympathetic towards other immigrants and their governmental limitations. Partisanship is another great factor in immigration policymaking because of strong party loyalty in Congress which has been deepened by increasing polarization. Casellas and Leal make similar arguments regarding reelection motives as Carrie Skulley does in “Majority rule vs. minority rights.” Both argue that a Congressional representative’s greatest goal is to be reelected into office. This is why many representatives strive to please their voters by voting to represent their general preferences. Skulley also discusses that a district’s percentage of foreign-born citizens impacts a representative’s policymaking decisions because foreign-born citizens would be more likely to advocate for greater immigration and undocumented immigrants’ rights.
Slide 3: Based on the theories provided by Casellas, Leal, and Skulley, one can make predictions about how Will Hurd would vote on immigration policy. In TX-23, there are high populations of both working class and Latino citizens. This puts TX-23 in an interesting position. By these theories, it could be predicted that Hurd would vote in favor of strict immigration policy to please to working class and lenient immigration policy to please to Latino community. So, many of Hurd’s policy decisions push for tougher border control and immigration reform which are economically favorable for the district. However, he also supports bipartisan immigration reform to make the process of legalization easier. He also continues to support immigration rights in regards to family separation and detainment. Hurd is a right-leaning moderate representative. Though it is a difficult task with a broad constituency, he has to aim to please all of TX-23 citizens in hopes of achieving reelection.
Slide 4: Will Hurd’s Twitter account does not directly mention immigration very often. Only about 6.7% of his tweets since the start of 2019 mention immigration. Many of his tweets focus, instead, on border security and national security. Hurd emphasizes the importance of supporting Border Patrol, stronger reinforcements at the border, and promoting American safety. He also promotes bipartisan negotiations and better cross-party conversations. Similarly, his website does not focus heavily on immigration. Though there is no “Issues” tab on his website, his most-mentioned topics are Education, Veterans Affairs, National Security, Urban Developments, and Hispanic Institutions. He also writes many of his mission statements in both English and Spanish. This shows a support to his Hispanic community, but does not emphasize immigration. This is surprising because of the district’s relationship with the Mexican border. His bill sponsorships follow the same pattern. Only 13% of his sponsored bills since 2015 regarded immigration. Many of his “Yea” or “Nay” votes on immigration bills depend on their overall costs to his constituents.
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