Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Did election spur GOP emendation on immigration? State legislation edition

"Time makes more converts than reason," Thomas Paine wrote sagely, and that observation perhaps explains the lack of bills filed at the Texas Legislature so far aimed at antagonizing or capturing illegal immigrants compared to 2011. Recalled the SA Express New ("Immigration low on Texas' legislative radar this year," Dec. 26):
When it was time to file bills ahead of the 2011 Texas legislative session, the race to address illegal immigration was so urgent that one Houston-area representative camped out on the steps of the Capitol to ensure she was the first to propose making it a state crime to be in Texas without papers.

As lawmakers prepare for the 2013 session, they are mostly silent on the immigration front. Those calling for states to crack down on immigration in Texas saw their efforts dissolve last year as lawmakers struggled to pass a budget.

The ban on so-called “sanctuary cities,” which Gov. Rick Perry had deemed emergency legislation, died in a late-night committee hearing as Republicans watched evangelical and big business leaders line up with Democrats to defeat the bill.
By comparison, this year hardly any similar bills have been filed so far. The story attributed that to "The widely held perception ... that harsh rhetoric on immigration helped sink Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in November, and could do the same to the Republican majority in Texas." Maybe so: There's still a long time between now and the end of bill filing season, though.

Nationally I know Republicans are worried about those issues, but here in Texas, despite the best estimates of our finest actors, the Latino demographic shift benefiting Democrats isn't projected by most pollsters to overtake Rs in statewide races until perhaps 2022, as Rick Perry's pollster Mike Baselice estimated privately a few years ago, or even later, by some estimates. Politically, that puts it too far in the future to worry about for the next few election cycles, except perhaps for a handful of identifiable swing districts. (A mentor once told me that any public-policy statistical projection extending beyond five years into the future amounts to "fiction writing.") Still, Texas Republicans also care about national politics, and we do seem to be at a moment where numerous national GOP figures have risked apostasy from the party's hard line to support the Dream Act and even a "path to citizenship." There's a sense that everyone's waiting, that there's a deal to be had but it hasn't yet been fleshed out behind the scenes. We'll see.

Have time, and a presidential election, evinced a change of heart among Republicans on immigration? Perhaps momentarily, but I fear too many sitting politicians have put too much political capital into the issue for it to go away quietly. Maybe we'll get lucky and Congress will soon seize the opportunity afforded by this election-driven emendation to pass national immigration reform. Immigration should be something that rarely comes up on a blog devoted to state-level criminal justice issues, and Grits would be thrilled for Congress to take the issue off my plate, and even better, the Texas Legislature's.


Anonymous said...

With the border effectively open, some are wondering about the environmental devastation wrought by an even more exploding population.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Wow. You're completely delusional, 8:41. First, when were you last at the border? Try crossing outside the checkpoints - or through the checkpoints without papers - and tell me it's "open." That's either ignorant or just a lie. Second, Texas' population growth is a key driver of its booming economy and expanded number of congressional seats. We gain far more economic benefits from immigration - both legal and arguably illegal - than detriments.

The issue to me is it's untenable to have that much of our economy operating in the black market. Better to bring it into the sunlight, tax ans regulate it, and thus protect the workers from exploitation as well as businesses from unfair competition.

Anonymous said...

Come on grits! When did you try to cross illegally! Illegal is... illegal, wrong, not acceptable! But, it has become acceptable to too many people, wheather its business men or bleeding hearts. Immigration is controlled for a reason. I don't have a problem with people coming here from other countries, but do it right. I have been in neighborhoods of primarily iiiegal immigrants. Some throw trash in their own yards, they hit your car and think its okay, they stand there and watch their kids tear up your store or steal and dare you to say something. I know many people who came legally, they are offended! Now its all about money with no view to the future.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I haven't tried to cross illegally but I've seen the expanded security, fencing, etc., read the data on expanded apprehensions, and know what you're saying is BS. You're the one saying it's easy as pie, the border is "effectiely open," etc. - I know that's a lie, you're the one who has a point to prove.

The rest of your comment, I must say, tells us more about you than the issues in the post. Stereotyping millions of people based on evidence from having "been in" this or that neighborhood is just silly. No wonder you opine anonymously!

Blue_in_Guadalupe said...

8:41 - The last thing most undocumented immigrants want to do is draw the attention of law enforcement to themselves by committing even minor crimes. I seriously doubt the folks you're claiming hit cars and shoplift with impunity are actually undocumented or for that matter have an undocumented guest in their home.

North Texas Cop said...

Dear Blue in Guadalupe:

I'm sorry but that's just not true. I work a large city with several geographical areas that are heavily populated by illegal immigrants. They have no fear of attention from local law enforcement because they know we are not "La Migra." It's common knowledge that even if they are arrested for minor offenses, they will not be deported. In the city where I work, the apartment complexes and neighborhoods dominated by illegal immigrant populations from Mexico, El Salvador, & Guatemala are host to more violent offenses, thefts, robberies, and public order crimes than other neighborhoods. Usually, the victims, suspects, and witnesses are all in the U.S. illegally. While its true that we receive the least cooperation from victims and witnesses in these locations (and are thus are often unable to even complete reports much less prosecute many cases arising from those populations), this non-cooperation is born more out of deeply entrenched social mores and cultural values than out of fear of being deported for being in the country illegally.

As to the "hitting cars" and "shoplifting with impunity," I hate to admit there's any truth to that...but there least a kernel anyway. It is a problem. Hard numbers are hard to come by on those two issues. It's almost entirely anecdotal which is why is so easy to to refute or at least deny. It's also why some "natives" become so frustrated with the "pro-illegal immigrant" crowd. I have to regulsrly referee these conflicts. There's some truth on both sides.

Oh Scott, the border may not be "open" but judging by the sheer numbers of illegal (AKA "undocumented") immigrants living in the Dallas area, somebody must have left a door open somewhere. They are not having any difficulties getting here.

Anonymous said...

The Texas Department of Public Safety seems to have come up with a solution. Shoot them. Shoot them openly. Shoot them while you film it. Shoot them as a by-product of trying to enforce menial laws. Shoot them without remorse or consequence. After you shoot them, shrug your shoulders and recite a famous quote from Bum Steer Perry, "Oops!"

Anonymous said...

Our support for illegal immigration has silenced our concern for the environment. We are pushing for a population of a billion people in the U.S. with all the consequences that this entails. It's just a matter of time.

The sheer numbers that cross every year proves that the border is effectively open. Deception is the main tool of the open borders advocates.