Do More Moderately Governed Cities Have Much Sway in Republican States Like Texas?

Dec 1, 2014

When mayors from across the U.S. gathered in Austin last month for the National League of Cities annual convention, a group of them took time during the event to express support for President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration.

Many of those city mayors hail from red states, like Salt Lake City’s Mayor Ralph Becker, from the red state of Utah. He summed up what many of these red state mayors say about the country's immigration system.

"The existing system creates all kinds of problems in our communities, whether that’s law enforcement, whether that’s people living in the shadows and afraid to come forward if they’re victims of crime or whatever the situation may be," Becker said.

A recent poll by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune showed more people in urban areas support granting latitude to undocumented immigrants than in rural areas. UT-Austin pollster Jim Henson, who directs the Texas Politics Project, says, though, that Texas Democrats tend to be a bit less liberal than their national counterparts.

"Nonetheless, one has to conclude that surely in terms of the politics of this, it’s a plus for the Democrats in terms of increasing the interest and allegiance of young Latino voters, especially those who are in cities, and many of them are," Henson says.

As more people move to the urban cores of Texas, and more of them support immigration reform, the state may begin to have weaker support for suing the president for his executive action, which Governor-elect Greg Abbott has said he may do.