What is Senatorial District Seven going to do with all those Illegal aliens? What path will Republicans choose today, for the future of Texas tomorrow?
I have often spoken on this subject, and have discussed this issue with friend and foe alike, in both English as well as Spanish, and see this question as pivotal to the future of the Republican Party in Texas.
What motivates me to address this topic today is something that occurred at our recent Harris County SD convention.
On Saturday, March 22, the Harris County Republican Party convened the Senatorial District convention, where each senatorial district made decisions regarding the delegates and alternate delegates who will go to the state convention, and also chose the resolutions that will eventually make up the 2014 Texas Republican Party Platform.
A great deal of work goes on prior to the convention, as committees meet and review delegate nominations and resolutions submitted at the precinct conventions which were held on March 4 after the Primary election. Each Senatorial District is asked to provide their resolutions and delegates to attend the State convention, which will be held during the first week in June.
Now to the matter at hand. I verified with Senate District Seven’s leadership that SD 7 voted to pass a resolution to remove the Immigration language currently found in the 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform. I had heard rumors about this, and found it hard to believe, but I did verify that they had so resolved. I was informed that they wanted to substitute the language found in the most recent platform, for the old language from the 2010 platform.
Please see the language below, currently in the 2012 Texas Republican Party platform found on Page 21:
The Texas Solution – Because of decades-long failure of the federal government to secure our borders and address the immigration issue, there are now upwards of 11 million undocumented individuals in the United States today, each of whom entered and remain here under different circumstances. Mass deportation of these individuals would neither be equitable nor practical; while blanket amnesty, as occurred with the Simpson-Mazzoli Act of 1986, would only encourage future violations of the law. We seek common ground to develop and advance a conservative, market- and law-based approach to our nation’s immigration issues by following these principles:
- Secure Our Borders – The U.S. Border must be secured immediately! We demand the application of effective, practical and reasonable measures to secure our borders and to bring safety and security for all Americans along the border and throughout the nation.
- Modernize the United States Social Security Card – We support the improvement of our 1936 Social Security card to use contemporary anti-counterfeit technology. The social security card will not be considered a National ID card for U.S. citizens.
- Birthright Citizenship – We call on the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of the United States to clarify Section 1 of the 14th amendment to limit citizenship by birth to those born to a citizen of the United States with no exceptions.
- Create an Effective and Efficient Temporary Worker Program – A national Temporary Worker Program should be implemented to bring skilled and unskilled workers into the United States for temporary periods of time when no U.S. workers are currently available. The program should also require:
- Self-funding through participation fees and fines;
- Applicants must pass a full criminal background check;
- Applicants with prior immigration violations would only qualify for the program if they paid the appropriate fines;
- Applicants and/or Employers must prove that they can afford and/or secure private health insurance;
- Applicants must waive any and all rights to apply for financial assistance from any public entitlement programs;
- Applicant must show a proficiency in the English language and complete an American civic class;
- Temporary Workers would only be able to work for employers that deduct and match payroll taxes;
- All participants would be issued an individual Temporary-Worker Biometric Identification Card that tracks all address changes and both civil and criminal court appearances as a defendant
This language was ratified by the 10,000 participants of the 2012 convention, and has been viewed by many as a tough but fair possible solution upon which to build legislation that will finally deal with the very complex issue of immigration reform.
In contrast, here is the old language found in the 2010 Texas Republican Party Platform:
Legal Immigration – One nation, one flag, one language, one loyalty; America is a country of immigrants, we should insist that any immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself/herself to the United States. He/she shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else. This is predicated upon the fact that the person is in every facet an American, and nothing but an American. There can be no divided allegiance. Anyone who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t American at all. We have room but for one flag, the American Flag. We have room for but one language here and that is the English language. We have room for but one sole loyalty and that is loyalty to the American people. (Teddy Roosevelt, 1907)
Illegal Immigration – Secure the Borders Now.
With growing impatience the American people in overwhelming numbers have asked our Government to secure our borders. They now demand it and we as a party agree with the American people. Illegal aliens have by definition violated U.S. law.
We oppose illegal immigration, amnesty in any form leading to citizenship, or legal status for illegal immigrants. We support an end to the “catch and release” policy; criminal penalties and aggressive enforcement for those who knowingly employ illegal workers; expeditious hearings on deporting non-violent illegal immigrants; amending the U.S. constitution to suspend automatic U.S. citizenship to children born to illegal immigrants; elimination of federal and state funding to cities with “sanctuary” laws; empowering state and local aw enforcement agencies with authority and resources to detain illegal immigrants; rejection of non-verifiable foreign-issued cards as valid identification; strict prosecution of any entity involved in phony identification documents; elimination of day labor work centers; elimination of laws requiring hospitals to give non-emergency care to illegal’s; elimination of social security benefits or federal and state funding to illegal’s for education, housing or business loans; preventing any foreign entity from using our judicial system to enter the United States; document verification prior to issuance of a Texas drivers license; withholding federal highway funds from any state issuing drivers licenses to illegal aliens; and aggressive prosecution of persons smuggling humans across our borders. We support requiring all employers to utilize E-verify system to confirm the legal status of all new hires.
The language from the 2010 platform proposes no action items that will actually move the ball forward toward reformation of our immigration laws. It merely states the problem and confirms that Republicans oppose illegal immigration. It offers no solutions, offers no hope of reconciliation, and pretty much slams the door on any hopes of drawing Hispanics into the Republican Party. Is the “Texas Solution” perfect? Probably not.
Will it satisfy the desire for justice to sufficiently punish these law breakers? Probably not.
Will it help provide a framework of principles from which to build effective immigration legislation? It will if we elect politicians that will have the courage to actually reform our immigration system.
While none of us would have ever wished that we would have the situation that exists now in our country, with a porous or wide-open border, with the inherent problems that accompany illegal immigration, with millions of aliens living among us, in a sort of shadow culture, causing our own healthcare, law enforcement, and education infrastructure to strain under this burden, we must realize that this is precisely the condition that exists now.
We should have been diligent and vigilant 50 years ago, and should have locked down our borders long ago. As conditions in Mexico have detiorated during the last decades, we have offered more and more services and enticements to those in other countries and have attracted millions of people without putting into place the infrastructure and policies to equitably deal with them. We have no one to blame but ourselves for this circumstance, as Democrat and Republican alike have “kicked the can” down the road, to get us to the point we are today.
Those of us who abide by and love the rule of law (as do I) feel particularly offended that these individuals who would violate our laws by sneak into our country uninvited, consume OUR resources, break OUR laws and then ask to be rewarded with OUR blessing for their lawlessness.
This is how many fellow Republicans feel when you speak with them regarding the issue of immigration, and the language of the 2010 platform overwhelmingly conveys this.
I will agree that it is most frustrating to see our borders being violated incessantly, but even more frustrating are the politicians who are supposed to enact laws to protect us, who refuse to come to grips with this issue, for their own political gain, and as such have failed to make any substantial headway in crafting a solution to this complex problem.
So, the grassroots have offered the above language, “The Texas Solution”, as a set of principles that could be used as a framework from which to craft legislation that will, once and for all, address the problem of illegal immigration, and will offer a pathway to restitution and reformation for those who have broken our immigration laws. Whether or not you like the “Texas Solution”, doing nothing is not an option. The problem will not simply go away if we ignore it. That is what we have been doing for the last five decades. “Kicking the can” down the road is not a solution.
As demographics in Texas have evolved, the Hispanic demographic is already a potentially formidable block of voters. At present, it is estimated that 32% of Texans are of Hispanic or Latin ethnicity, and it is the fastest growing demographic in Texas. In not too many years, the traditional majority of Caucasian Texans will be surpassed and Hispanics will become the majority in Texas.
Having many Hispanic family members, I have had the opportunity to see first-hand the values that are embraced by many Hispanics. They have Republican values. They just don’t know it! I have often said that Hispanic values are Republican values, and Republican values are Hispanic values, due to the similarities of many of our core values.
Hispanics have a great love of family, most are pro-life, pro-traditional family and traditional marriage, and just want the opportunity to work and improve their lot in life, something that is difficult given the corruption and graft that exists in Mexico as well as most other Latin countries, south of our border. Many are entrepreneurs, and really don’t want the government meddling with their business.
Unfortunately, because to be politically active in most Spanish-speaking countries usually means to also be corrupt, many Hispanics shun our political system, and many of those that have gotten involved have believed the lies of the Democrat Party, who convince them that they are the Party of “The Common Man”. “Vote Democrat and; we will take care of you” is their siren call.
Republicans have been depicted as hateful, racist and unfriendly toward Hispanics, and far too often our language and lack of resolve to once and for all deal with immigration have supported those perceptions.
How we work with Hispanics today will determine the receptivity of the Republican message to this group tomorrow. If we choose to see Hispanics as generic “aliens”, as a group to be despised, as faceless and nameless law breakers, we will either do nothing, or enact policies that will cause even greater division, hostility and disenfranchisement than we see today. The Democrats are more than willing to play off of our inaction and take advantage of this situation.
So, we have to ask Senate District Seven what they are thinking when they seek to remove this language from the Party Platform.? While the “Texas Solution” may not be perfect, it is a start, and as a Party we cannot afford to simply do nothing.
For those of us who say “Let’s round up these lawbreakers and send them back to Mexico where they belong!” may I respectively inform you that this will never happen.
Can you imagine the 5:00 newscast with video of buses full of wailing people, crying out for their loved ones who are waving to them from the side of the road, as they are banished forever back to countries they do not call home? Then the scene dissolves as the reporter compares the previous scene to those images of cattle cars full of humanity sent to their demise in German death camps.
Is this what you really want? Do you think the Republican “brand” would be enhanced if this were to actually happen?
Let’s wake up from our fantasy and face the situation now, urge our elected leaders to make the tough choices now and craft comprehensive immigration reform, incorporating the principles of the “Texas Solution”.
I urge you to contact the delegates, and the representative of Senate District seven’s platform committee and urge that they support the “Texas Solution”, or bring forth another common sense solution that will actually result in comprehensive immigration reform. Texans deserve a secure border. Those living illegally within our border need to come out of the shadows, have their backgrounds checked, pay restitution for the crimes they have committed, pay taxes to support the services they consume, and the Republican Party needs to embrace the future of Texas and find areas of commonality which can be built into strong future relationships.
We have many options today, but we do not have the option to do nothing! We hold the future of the Republican Party in our hands, now. What we do with the immigration issue will determine whether we flourish, or perish in Texas.