Tuesday, November 18, 2008

'Round the bend with Leo Berman on immigration

The Texas Legislature can be a lot more fun (or at least, a little less frustrating) if you step back every once in a while to enjoy the process purely for its entertainment value.

I spent some time this morning going through additional pre-filed bills in the House and Senate as we approach the 81st Texas Legislature, and discovered that the state rep from my hometown - Leo Berman, R-Tyler - filed an hysterically funny piece of legislation in HB 254, "relating to restricting illegal immigrants to certain geographic regions."

The thrust of HB 254 made me laugh out loud: It defines the terms "illegal immigrant" and "sanctuary city" and then declares that "All illegal immigrants residing in this state shall reside in a sanctuary city."

That should be simple to enforce, huh? If writing a law could dictate where immigrants live, would we even have this problem?

Avoiding all discussion of enforcement, HB 254 directs the Department of Public Safety to "adopt procedures to implement and administer this subsection." That should be easy, don't you think? Surely there'd be no fiscal note attached to so small a task. ;)

Even funnier is Berman's definition of "illegal immigrant," which "means an individual who is not a citizen or a national of the United States and who has entered the United States without inspection and authorization by an immigration officer."

That's a really weird definition, particularly because about half of illegal immigrants actually entered the country legally then overstayed their visas. Such people submitted to "inspection and authorization by an immigration officer" when they entered the country, but they're here illegally now. For such an ardent critic of illegal immigration, you'd think Rep. Berman would understand the problem a little better.

So which cities would supposedly now house all of Texas' illegal immigrants? According to the bill, "'Sanctuary city' means a municipality that adopts a resolution declaring that the municipality does not discriminate or deny municipal services on the basis of a person’s immigration status and that all persons are treated equally regardless of immigration status." After all, you wouldn't want cities to go around treating people who live there "equally" without first checking their immigration paperwork!

This legislation will go nowhere and I'm sure Rep. Berman didn't file it with any intention of passing the bill, but to make a statement. Let me know in the comments exactly what you think that statement is.

RELATED: Karen Brooks at the Dallas News rounds up immigration bills filed so far.


Anonymous said...

The first message he was trying to send is: Ahhm stoopid"!

Anonymous said...

I have to say I agree with his statement. If Houston wants to be a sanctuary and attract immigrants, they should have to be the ones to deal with them at every level.

I personally believe that employment will be better if the illegals are gone. They don't do the jobs white people won't, they just get abused by employers who can pay them less.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Rage, Farmer's Branch is the only municipality in the state to my knowledge that actively discriminates or denies municipal services based on immigration status, and they keep losing federal litigation over their claim they can do so.

Do you really care about some silly, non-binding resolution? Relatedly, do you notice the "sanctuary city" debate is ALL symbolism and no substance?

In practice, there's no place in Texas that does not behave as a "sanctuary city" as Berman defines it, whether or not they passed a resolution. And that's a good thing. It's part of the price you pay for living in a free society.

Anonymous said...

East Texan said . . .

Hold on to your hat, he is actually going to run for Governor. Yep, more to come on that after the next legislative session. This comes directly from Representative Berman as to his future plans. He even has asked the Attorney General for an opinion on whether or not he has to resign from the legislature if he forms an exploratory committee for a run at Governor.

Anonymous said...

So far as I know this is the first attempt to impose formal apartheid at a state level.

It is, indeed, stupidly conceived and written. However, aside from being funny, it's also dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Open borders!!

Anonymous said...

grits: Until we start enforcing immigration laws you're absolutely right--it's lip service and grand standing.

But what can I say, I cheered when Charlie Rangel from New York proposed re-instituting the draft. Both statements were absurdly impractical, but both made their point perfectly (unless you're FOX news, who promptly pointed out that "OMG A Democrat wants the draft!" But the larger picture is lost on the smaller minds...).

We'll never get them all. But we should make a reasonable effort at enforcement for those already here, and exclusion for those who are not. I support making legal immigration easier, and for setting up some sort of system for those with anchor babies to stay.

Other than that, send 'em back. Target companies that violate federal employment laws by paying below minimum and not withholding properly. The problem will never be solved, but it will equalize to an extent.

Anonymous said...

Charles Kiker here:

The statement is: "Look, all you xenophobes. I'm one of you. Keep on electing me. Help me be governor some day." He might have to use a different word that both he and his target audience would understand.

Rex Thompson said...

just another example of Leo being Leo. He is the one who promised voters he would only serve 2 terms, then ran again (and again...) after realizing (epiphany?) that "power in Austin comes with longevity." He failed to mention how stupidity plays into the equation. There are many in Tyler who wonder whether the real reason he keeps running was to vest in yet another retirement system. Who knows, maybe his Mercedes is getting too many miles on it. Time for a trade-in! (The car, not the politico)

Anonymous said...


I'm no xenophobe. I live and work in a very culturally diverse city, and have friends and clients of various backgrounds.

That does not mean that my opposition to illegal immigration makes me any sort of "phobe," or "ist," no matter what your personal beliefs are on the subject. After all--one of the largest groups to oppose illegal immigration are people who immigrated legally. I know Mexican immigrants who are more harsh toward illegal immigrants than you or I will ever be. Do you know what Mexico does to people who cross their southern border? They shoot them. If they catch them in the country later, they deport them without any sort of hearing. Women from Central America who report being raped while in Mexico are arrested for being in the country illegally, and immediately deported. Yet the Mexican government publishes pamphlets for their citizens on how to get into the US illegally. Add to that the fact that money gets wired back to Mexico in alarming amounts, and you can see that it's anything but a cultural issue--it's about jobs and money. Jobs and money that Americans of all colors will do, if the employers who try to cheat stop paying low ball wages.

The fact is that with jobs being lost at record rates, we need to do something to protect them for the folks who are here legally.

Anonymous said...

I attended a recent workshop in Austin put on by the state and local groups working against illegal immigration. Though I have tried to get border control agents Ramos and Compean out of prison and have done a small amount of activism against illegal immigration, I attended this conference to get a "bead" on how these groups in Texas view Real ID.

(They are for Real ID and E Verify and S.A.V.E.)

We already have quite adequate immigration laws. We could seal our border with Mexico effectively but Bush and Mr. Goodhair are totalitarily making sure our immigration laws are NOT enforced.

Mr. Berman was there as a speaker. He named off all the bills against illegal immigration he plans to introduce. Each bill was described briefly and seemed to sound utopian and magical to me - like "this will get them. this will fix evertying." After he described each bill, the idiots in the audiece clapped and rah-rah'd each measure. He got a resounding standing ovation at the end. He came around and shook many people's hand including mine even though I did not try for that.

I estimate this man to be a kindly old buffoon. He appeals to the Bush/Mr.Goodhair "right wing Christian Republican" sickos.

I am a conservative and a Christian (or trying to be) and those who care about the right and lawful enforcement of our immigration laws and the right and fair and humane treatment of illegal aliens apprehended here and care about preserved the Constitutional republic of the United States of America MUST readjust our thinking and give up the imposed false left/right paradigm.

The maltreatment of illegal aliens and prisoners is exactly the same thing that is happening to all Texans right now. We are all being imprisoned in an Orwellian police technocracy.

Just as our U.S. Congress has become meaningless, so too is our Texas legislature. However, they are able to install the police state by their deliberate inactions and actions and they do that in a most effective way.

Anonymous said...

Representative Berman has been saying publicly in Tyler that if his immmigration bills do not receive serious attention in the next session he will run for Governor on those issues in 2010.
Even more entertainment.
t tyler texas

Anonymous said...

The message he is trying to send is:
a.) He committed the felony of aggravated perjury when he swore on his application to run for office that he would support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

b.) He committed the felony of tampering with a government document when he submitted his perjured application.

c.) He should be indicted on both felony counts.

Anonymous said...

Kiker to Rage:

Not every one concerned about undocumented foreigners is a xenophobe. But I stick by my assertion that that is who Berman is addressing in his bill(s). There's a lot of phobia surrounding this issue, some warranted by facts, some manufactured by phobics. You, Rage, are the only one who can define who you are. Only you can say why you have chosen a tag defined by Webster as violent and uncontrolled anger. I choose to be who I am, and use no tag of anonymity.

Anonymous said...

One thing the open border advocates don't want you to know is the devistating effect this will have on the US environment. They don't see how any US citizens could have concern for their own country and want to protect it. If you destroy the environment, what do you have left?

Stable Population Size Essential to Protect Environment

Immigration policy in the U.S. should be based on the reality that a stable U.S. population size is essential if we are to prevent further deterioration of the very system that supports us—our environment and natural resource base. Regardless of how conservatively we use resources, the fundamental fact is that growing numbers of people unavoidably place increasing demands on our natural and social environment. More people mean more energy use, more traffic jams, more production of toxic wastes and increased tensions that result from living in crowded urban environments. However efficient we may be in the use of resources and however much we conserve in our attempt to preserve our environment, more people simply mean more stress on the ecosystem. The phenomena of crowding, deforestation, acid rain, global warming and the whole litany of environmental ills in the U.S. and elsewhere amply demonstrate that every person, however conservative, adds to the environmental burden.

Anonymous said...

If we could just get all those gang members to go to the
Sanctuary cities everyone would be happy. The folks supporting the Sanctuary cities would be happy to see each of their neighborhoods becoming more and more gangland and the rest of us could take the loop around those cities.