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Could an Anti-DACA Lawsuit Squash Texas' Bid for Amazon HQ2?


A lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA , program could be a "self-inflicted wound" on the state's chance to land the much-coveted HQ2 site for Amazon.

That, at least, is the fear Mitchell Schnurman, a business columnist for the Dallas Morning News, has. Schnurman's column, Texas AG Ken Paxton just made it harder for Dallas to attract Amazon HQ2, argues that the overtly pro-immigration and socially progressive Amazon could see the lawsuit as a sign that Texas is not worth the trouble.

"I don't think it kills the deal, but I think it hurts our chances," Schnurman said in a conversation with KETR Friday. "[Amazon] said in their proposals that they want communities that are diverse, welcoming, hospitable to all types. They haven't specifically said that they want you to be pro-immigration, but they don't have to say it specifically."

Schnurman says the position Paxton has potentially put Texas in mirrors that of last year's transgender bathroom bill legislation that ultimately died in the State House. Businesses -- including Amazon -- excoriated that bill, threatening Texas businesses with billions in losses through boycotts and other business censure.

What makes the Paxton lawsuit a self-inflicted wound is that the suit itself is unnecessary, Schnurman says.

"This case is already being heard in three courthouses around the country,"he says. 

Schnurman adds that Amazon and other companies have shown strong support of Dreamers, those brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Most large businesses, he says, recognize that those people, many of whom have only known the United States as home, did nothing wrong and do not deserve to be punished for the actions of adults.

Schnuman says the lawsuit reflects the worst of Texas and does nothing to change people's minds that Texas can be a regressive state. That, and the move is just plain bad business.

"The first element is the humanity element," he says. "But then, second, we have invested in them. We have a really low unemployment rate, we have strong demand for all kinds of jobs, so I think that from both a humanitarian perspective, but also from a pragmatic perspective, we need to find a way to let these people stay in the United States."

Six states -- Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, and West Virginia -- signed onto Paxton's lawsuit against DACA. None but Texas has a city in the running to host HQ2.

Scott Morgan has been an award-winning journalist since 2001. His work has appeared in several newspapers and magazines as well as online. He has also been an editor, freelancer, speaker, writing teacher, author, and podcaster.