Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Riddle Lives Up to Her Name

State Rep. Debbie Riddle (R-Tomball) has filed another anti-immigrant bill.

Now normally this would be non-news on a no news day because Debbie Riddle always likes herself some anti-immigrant legislation. And it would appear that she didn’t get the memo that was going around that Hispanic voters were going to be a force to be reckoned with in the very near future.

Voters who you don’t want to hack off by being . . . well . . . anti-them.

But when I looked in this a little deeper, I realized that Debbie Riddle was herself posing a riddle:

Q: What do you call a Republican-sponsored bill to assess fines and imprisonment on American citizens for hiring illegal aliens and in so-doing, paying them significantly lower than legal residents?

A: A bill destined to die in committee, even with a Republican super-majority.

Cutting to the chase, so as not to bury the lead as I usually do, there is no way Republicans are going to allow this bill to pass. Texas’ economy, particularly in the areas of agriculture and construction, depend on illegal immigrant labor to keep profits up and prices down. And nothing has changed except for the fact that the economy is hurting more than not, so actually passing this bill will make things worse, not better.

Everyone knows this, including Rick Perry, who until just recently was on the side of looking the other way when an illegal alien got a job in Bob Perry’s (no relation) home building firm.

So when we saw Debbie Riddle file HB 17 which allows state law enforcement to arrest those who are in the country in violation of federal criminal immigration laws, I said, yes, that makes sense – except it is going to cost state law enforcement agencies an extra bunch of money to carry out that mandate, funds that aren’t forthcoming from the state.

And when we saw Debbie Riddle file HB 18 which would deny state funding to so-called “sanctuary cities,” I said yes, this is where we get the money to fund HB 17.

And when we saw Debbie Riddle file HB 21 which requires state agencies to report the cost of services the agency provides to illegal aliens, I said yes, this would be the best way for state agencies to refuse service to illegal aliens, or to people who may look or act like them – and that saves money for HB 17 as well.

And finally, when we saw Debbie Riddle file HB 22 which requires schools to report the citizenship and immigration status of students to the Texas Education Agency, I said yes, that makes sense just like HB 21 does. We’re going to have a student:teacher ratio crisis here in Texas very soon. What better way to cut down on the student numbers than to refuse to admit illegal aliens, or anyone who may look or act like them?

So all of that made perfect sense to me, in a vile Voldemortesque vision, that is.

But this bill, HB 1202, makes no sense at all. True, Rick Perry asked for such a bill in his “State of the State Address,” but I’m pretty sure that he had his fingers crossed behind him as he made that request, just as Debbie Riddle had hers crossed when she filed that bill.

Republicans have not been, are not, nor ever will be serious about true immigration reform because illegal alien labor is what makes Texas’ economy tick just as surely as black slave labor made the economy of the Antebellum South possible for a couple of centuries.

Submission of this bill is nothing less than a callous bone thrown to Teabaggers. No serious Republican will vote for it, and really I doubt it will ever see the light of day on the House floor.

But I really do look forward to hearing a debate on this bill. And a vote. I’d love to see Republicans put their money (literally) where their mouth is.

I just don’t think it will ever, ever, happen.

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