Texas has long been one of the states that has had to tackle the controversial issue of immigration reform head on, simply because of its geographic location. Texas shares an extensive border with Mexico, and over half of the undocumented immigrants in the U.S. (about 5.9 million people) are Mexican, according to the Pew Research Center.

Supporters of positive immigration reform have had to fight for rights of immigrants, especially lately, given the tumultuous climate surrounding the issue all around the country. With immigration reform being thrust into the spotlight of so many political discussions, Texans are beginning to assert their own opinions on the matter.

Support from local businesses
Although talks of positive immigration reform have appeared to stall for the time being in Congress, local business owners in Texas recognize the potential impact that immigration reform has on the citizens of the state and so many of its own workers. President Obama’s executive action, which would help protect undocumented immigrants from deportation, has been delayed in a federal court of appeals, but that hasn’t stopped proponents of immigration reform from organizing productive action.

In fact, nearly 40 different immigration reform activists recently said that they’ve received over 300 letters from businesses pledging support for immigrants, according to EqualVoiceforFamilies.org. They cite the positive impact that immigrants would have on the state’s economy. In Texas alone, there are nearly 1.5 million undocumented immigrants who would help increase Texas’s tax revenue by $338 million over the next five years if Obama’s executive action ends up being successful, according to the Center for American Progress.

“What we want to do is show the nation that despite our governor’s stance against these programs, there is ample support in Texas for these programs,” John-Michael Torres, spokesman for reform advocates and La Union del Pueblo Entero, told EqualVoiceforFamilies.org.

Protests in the prison system
An estimated 27 women in a prison near Austin, Texas, have gone on a hunger strike to protest the inhumane conditions in the facility and their prolonged detention that usually ends in deportation. Many of the women wrote letters expressing their concerns over the food they were being served, the lack of medical treatment and the absence of legal representation they know they’re entitled to under U.S. laws.

“They leave us in here while fighting the case and at the end they tell us that our case has been denied after keeping us locked up for a long time and they send us back,” wrote Patricia, a detainee from El Salvador, in a translated letter, as reported by the Guardian. “Also, the food they give us here is very bad, gives us stomach problems, and is almost always the same. All human beings have rights and opportunities in this country and we believe that we have a right to bail.”