2nd Texas Lawmaker Pushes for Immigration Law
POSTED: Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 4:40am
UPDATED: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 - 1:08am
Austin, TX - (AP) - Two Republican Texas lawmakers plan to introduce tough immigration measures similar to the new law in Arizona, a move state Democrats say would be a mistake.
Rep. Debbie Riddle of Tomball said she will push for the law in the January legislative session, the San Antonio Express-News and Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday.
Rep. Leo Berman of Tyler told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he also plans to file similar legislation.
The Arizona law will require local and state law enforcement to question people about their immigration status - and make it a crime for immigrants to lack registration documents.
The law is set to take effect later this summer.
"The first priority for any elected official is to make sure that the safety and security of Texans is well-established," said Riddle, who introduced a similar measure in 2009 that didn't get out of committee.
"If our federal government did their job, then Arizona wouldn't have to take this action, and neither would Texas."
Berman said one of his bills would require presidential candidates to provide documented proof to the Texas Secretary of State that they were born in the U.S. in order to be listed on the Texas ballot.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a U.S. Senate hearing Tuesday that a Justice Department review is under way to determine the Arizona law's constitutionality.
Texas state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, a San Antonio Democrat and former president of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, called the law "extremely damaging and hateful."
Van de Putte predicted failure for any similar measures in Texas and said the GOP would suffer politically for such a move.
Asked about the Arizona law, GOP Gov. Rick Perry and his Democratic challenger, Bill White, emphasized through spokespeople that immigration is a federal responsibility.
Jim Harrington, of the Texas Civil Rights Project, predicted any similar effort in Texas would fail because Texas has "a different relationship with the Hispanic community."
"You can take the political temperature by just looking at Rick Perry being quiet," Harrington said.