2012 Texas Republican Convention & The Texas Solution
In June 2012, at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in Fort Worth, I was the only Republican elected official to speak to the Platform Committee and to the approximately 8,000 member delegation in favor of adopting the “Texas Solution” immigration plank in our Texas Republican Party Platform. During the floor debate, several key votes were taken on the Texas Solution. By their votes, Convention delegates voted overwhelmingly to support the Texas Solution.
During my remarks, which you can easily access at vimeo.com/47518398, I stated:
“I support Voter ID.
I support English first.
I support a military presence along the border when needed.
I support a physical barrier, including a fence, where it’s tactically called for.
I oppose our current policy of unconditional birthright citizenship.
I oppose bilingual ballots.
I oppose restrictions on law enforcement that would stop them from asking a question about someone’s immigration status during an apprehension or investigation of a crime.
I oppose amnesty.”
At the Convention, I summarized my support for the Texas Solution by saying, “I will tell you something that I very loudly, firmly, and with great fervor support – a guest worker program as part of our border security.”
I was surprised at the outcome. I thought that the vote on adoption of the Texas Solution was going to be close. It wasn’t.
I encourage you to take the time to read the entire Texas Solution that can be found on page 21 of the Report of the Platform Committee.
Since that vote was taken at the Convention, some have alleged that a quorum was not present, non-delegates voted, and/or delegates didn’t know what they were voting on. All three allegations are false and laughable.
The claim that delegates didn’t know what they were voting on – even after hours of debate and several votes on amendments to the immigration platform plank – is particularly bizarre. In my opinion, Republican delegates are smart enough to know what they’re voting on – particularly after a lengthy and sometimes heated debate with equal time for those in favor as well as those opposed to speak to the thousands of delegates present.
By accusing proponents of the Texas Solution of favoring “open borders”, a few detractors seem to be confused or to have lost touch with reality. I find the occurrences of some Republicans fabricating and/or disseminating ridiculously false information – information that is quickly and easily rebutted – very sad.
For those who are still in doubt regarding what actually took place at the Convention, you can view my comments in support of the Texas Solution as well as the debate on the Texas Solution at http://vimeo.com/47518398.
Steve Munisteri, Texas Republican Party Chairman, has also responded to these fabrications. You can read his letter by viewing this PDF version of the original communication.
Another misconception regarding the 2012 immigration platform plank is that language relating to policies intended to combat illegal immigration found in the 2010 platform was completely removed from the 2012 platform. Indeed, certain provisions found in the 2010 platform were removed from the immigration section of the 2012 platform; however, these provisions were placed in other more appropriate sections of the 2012 platform.
For example, the following provisions were relocated from the immigration section in the 2010 platform to other sections of the 2012 platform:
Requirement that Census Bureau count only citizens – moved to page 2
Limitation of Texas Driver License to legal residents – moved to page 4
Photo ID requirement for voter registration – moved to page 5 English as the official language – moved to page 7 Prohibition on public assistance/welfare for illegal aliens – moved to page 7
No in-state tuition for illegal aliens – moved to page 12
However, the mandatory E-Verify provision in the 2010 platform was removed. In its place, two requirements for legitimate guest workers were instituted: (1) a mandatory biometric ID card and (2) a forgery resistant Social Security card that eliminates the easily forged 75 year old paper card.
Two primary reasons exist for the removal of the mandatory E-Verify provision. First, the E-Verify system is plagued with errors. For example, the United States Government Accountability Office estimates that up to 170,000 U.S. citizens and/or lawful residents per year are not hired and/or lose their jobs due to errors in the E-Verify system.
Second, another problem with E-Verify is that, according to federal law, an employer shall use E-Verify only after the employer has hired the employee! Therefore, replacing E-Verify with two required ID cards shifts the burden of proving citizenship from the employer to the guest worker. Under proposals for a new system, the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service will issue the cards to only those guest workers that have applied for a work visa, undergone an extensive background check, and received a work visa and guest worker status.