Senior Republican Texas Congressman Calls for Guest Worker Program

bartononnbc5In what may come as a shock to some, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, on Friday said that not only does he support a guest worker program for adults who are not documented and a path to citizenship for their children, but he also plans to propose sweeping legislation to that effect in the next few weeks.

In a taped interview for NBC 5’s Lone Star Texas Politics in Dallas, which aired this morning, Barton said his reasons are both political and practical.

Barton said that as a representative from a majority Republican state that also has an exploding Latino population, it is critical to address the issue now. Meantime, the  Texas Republican Party is preparing for what promises to be a nasty battle over immigration at it’s convention this summer. Some on the right are mobilizing right now to try to strip the party’s support for a guest worker program from its platform. Because Barton’s proposal includes a path to citizenship for minors, it goes even further than what the Texas GOP currently supports.

When asked by co-host Gromer Jeffers about whether it’s realistic to expect a proposal like his could make it through the House, Barton responded “Republicans need to start talking about it.” This makes Barton the most senior member of the Texas Republican US House delegation to propose anything like this.

He said that his 8-year-old son goes to school with Hispanics and they raise their hand every morning to pledge allegiance to the flag just like the other children. “To those that wish to be a part of the American dream for opportunity, make them legal,” Barton said.

You can watch the show below. Barton’s comments on immigration start at about the 3:30 mark.


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