TX lawmaker to introduce anti-immigration bill

April 28, 2010 5:00:25 PM PDT
What to do about illegal immigration is front and center right now because of Arizona's new immigration law. It requires law enforcement to question people about their immigration status, and makes it a crime for immigrants to be without the proper paperwork. One Texas lawmaker plans to introduce a similar measure here in the Lone Star State. State Representative Debbie Riddle of Tomball says she's been working on illegal immigration since 2002, but only now in the wake of Arizona's new immigration policy are her ideas gaining some traction.

"This awakens people to the fact that there are remedies. We have remedies, and the legislators need to wake up to the fact that this is what the people want," said Rep. Riddle.

She plans to reintroduce legislation that she first proposed last session, requiring local law enforcement to get involved in immigration.

"If there is reasonable suspicion of an offense having been committed, they could then ask the immigration status," said Rep. Riddle.

"It shouldn't be their responsibility. They have enough on their hands combating crime," said Johnny Mata of the American G.I. Forum.

He says Rep. Riddle's plan emboldens the real enemy -- terrorists who love to see Americans divided.

"The real enemy is not the immigrant. They're not the ones who caused 9/11. And we shouldn't be divided by such anti-Hispanic legislation," said Mata.

But Rep. Riddle says it's not anti-anyone; it's merely common sense.

"It's political correctness that's getting us in trouble, and lack of common sense getting us in trouble. We're calling a spade a spade here. The emperor has no clothes and we're saying it," said Rep. Riddle.

As for the federal government and President Barack Obama, who have already expressed concerns over Arizona's new law, Rep. Riddle is undeterred.

"So if he's offended, too bad. He needs to get on board with the folks of this nation," she said.

Texas Congressman Ted Poe is among a bipartisan group of lawmakers who say they have a solution -- send the National Guard to the border.

"We need full support of the federal government. This country protects borders of other nations better than it protects its own border," said Congressman Poe.

States along the southern border have sent a letter to President Obama requesting the deployment of National Guard troops. They want the troops to assist both local law enforcement and border patrol agents.

Three Democratic senators are working on their own immigration proposal. Senators Harry Reid of Nevada, Charles Schumer of New York, and Robert Menendez of New Jersey want to focus on border security before tackling the issue of illegal immigrants. Their proposal calls for more border patrol officers and immigration agents along the border.

Not everyone in Arizona likes the new law. At least three cities, Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff, are considering a lawsuit to block the immigration law. Phoenix's mayor criticized the measure as economically devastating.

In addition, many cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco are looking at ways of boycotting Arizona. At least one convention has been cancelled. Another potential economic hit is that immigration rights activists are calling on baseball fans to boycott Arizona Diamondbacks games.


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