Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s anti-Hispanic agenda goes down
The Texas Senate adjourned this week without a final vote on the “Sanctuary Cities” legislation that was one of Gov. Rick Perry’s “emergency” items at the start of the year. The bill, which became an umbrella for a package of harsh immigration measures, crumbled during a 30-day special session of the legislature as top business leaders urged Texas not to become another Arizona. The following is a joint statement by SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina and SEIU Texas State Council President Al Martinez:
Now that the GOP-led Texas Legislature has failed for the second time in two months to pass anti-Hispanic, anti-immigrant legislation, the leaders should ask themselves whether anything is ever accomplished by the politics of division.
The answer should be ‘No.’ Left in the wake of the horrible Texas debate is a failed political exercise that divided the state and did nothing to fix the immigration system.
The immigration package would have turned Texas into another Arizona by instituting racial profiling against Hispanics, imposing unfunded mandates on local governments, and draining the economy of a reliable workforce and tourism dollars.
None of that seemed to matter to Texas Gov. Rick Perry who promised right-wingers a harsh immigration package as he prepared for a possible run for the GOP presidential nomination. Luckily for the hard workers of Texas, some GOP lawmakers got tired of marching in lock step and let the bill die in the special session of the Legislature.
Perry’s agenda angered Hispanics who feared being racially profiled under this bill. During one legislative hearing, Hispanics were chastised by Republicans for speaking in Spanish. At a public rally on the steps of the Capitol, the governor’s allies complained that there are too many Hispanics serving in the state Legislature.
The governor and his fellow conservatives also frustrated law enforcement chiefs across the state, they annoyed the state’s top business leaders, and they even caused a split inside their own political tent.
Two leading Texas conservatives, Norman Adams and Steve Hotze, noted the lunacy of the politically-driven legislation in a letter to the legislature that was reported by the Texas Tribune. ‘Even if you think the majority of your constituents favor this bill, you should make your decision based on facts and reality. That is why you were elected,’ the letter stated.
We hope that message also reaches other Texas politicians who serve in Washington, like Rep. Lamar Smith, who is pushing a jobs killing bill as part of the right-wing’s campaign to drive away immigrants. The Smith bill would make E-Verify mandatory, which would especially hurt small businesses and the agriculture industry, while driving down jobs and wages for all workers in the U.S.
Politicians need to break their addiction to the politics of pander and the cheap sound bites, and strive to work on solutions that benefit everyone.
Comprehensive immigration solutions are within reach if everyone can agree to work for the good of our country instead of just acting like another Arizona.