Monday, January 12, 2009

Immigration Red Herring: Here We Go Again

As Texans from Texarkana to El Paso brace for tomorrow’s opening day at the 81st Legislature, it appears that the same ridiculous immigration drama that played out last time is all set to be reprised.

Twelve or so bills have already been filed by the same characters as last time that deals with all manner of “immigration issues.” Issues that drew still more Hispanic voters to the Democratic side in the past election.

The bills deal with all sorts of issues, none of which any legislator really wants to see put right. The one I always like is the one that promises to punish with steep fines any employer who knowingly employs an illegal immigrant in his business.

This, anyone can tell you, is how Texas maintains its high standard of living at a relatively low cost, relative to other places in the country, that is. Home builders would have to resort to charging more for their houses. Farmers and ag companies would feel the pinch of higher labor costs, but a market resistant to unit price increases. Use of illegal immigrant labor in Texas is so institutionalized that any law that seeks to change the system will fail miserably, and everyone knows it.

But it looks good to file a law like that, and it looks even better when you argue about it in committees, and even better if it makes it to the House floor (which it never does).

Another anti-immigrant bill filed will impress anyone with a 6th grade education or less. This is the one that seeks to close the so-called loophole that allows the offspring of illegal aliens to earn automatic citizenship by virtue of the fact that they were born in this country, even though the babys’ parents were there illegally.

It sticks in the craw of some people that United States citizenship is so cheaply earned by infants, but everyone else has to pay for an immigration lawyer in order to gain citizenship. But this law, absurdly deals in an area of the law that Texas state law has no purview.

That is, the State of Texas cannot pass a law that usurp a federal law. Texas can set up standards for citizenship in Texas, but not citizenship in the United States. That, like it or not, is the way things are in this country. It’s right there in the 14th Amendment, a pretty good amendment that was enacted to let the former slave states (like Texas) know what they can and cannot do:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States

That seems kind of clear.

But again, it looks really good to the truly ignorant when a bill like that gets filed.

And that’s it in a nutshell. That is the kind of thing we have to deal with every other year.

Placating the ignorant racists in this state.

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