Because nothing gets the Friend of Unfair Park more riled up than the words "immigration legislation" (or "Avi Adelman," geez), we thought it'd be a good idea to mention the press release we just received from the office of State Representative Rafael Anchia. Seems the former DISD school board trustee and current Dallas County District 103 state rep has got himself one of those coalitions of "business and political leaders," this one devoted to "turning back the onslaught of anti-immigrant legislation that is currently working its way through the Texas Legislature."
Says the release, immigration legislation has no business in the state house and had best get thee back to D.C. Says Anchia, "We want to stop this divisive and misguided legislation that has been introduced at the state level, but deals with issues that need to be resolved at the federal level."
The coalition, incidentally, includes the Texas Association of Business (TAB), the Texas Association of Mexican-American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC), the Texas Employers for Immigration Reform (TEIR), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), the Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Think that's everyone. And they want Governor Rick Perry, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and House Speaker Tom Craddick to kill "all immigrant-related bills before the Legislature this session." Have fun with all that. The entire release follows. --Robert Wilonsky
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ANCHIA BRINGS TOGETHER HISTORIC COALITION OF BUSINESS AND POLITICAL LEADERS TO FIGHT ANTI-IMMIGRANT BILLS
Agrees to withdraw HB 351 from consideration
Austin, Texas --
State Representative Rafael Anchia today announced the formation of a coalition of business and political leaders committed to turning back the onslaught of anti-immigrant legislation that is currently working its way through the Texas Legislature. The group has declared its intention to shift the debate to Washington, where, they say, any significant progress toward comprehensive immigration reform must originate.
The broad-based coalition includes the Texas Association of Business (TAB), the Texas Association of Mexican-American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC), the Texas Employers for Immigration Reform (TEIR), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), the Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
The group is united in calling for Governor Rick Perry, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and House Speaker Tom Craddick to work with them to defeat all immigrant-related bills before the Legislature this session.
"We want to stop this divisive and misguided legislation that has been introduced at the State level, but deals with issues that need to be resolved at the Federal level", said Representative Anchia.
State Representative Veronica Gonzales praised the broad-based nature of the coalition, "We're going to fight this divisive and unconstitutional anti-immigration legislation in three ways: legislatively, through our business communities, and through the legal system."
Bill Hammond, President of the TAB spoke of the role the business community intended to play in moving the immigration issue back to the national stage, " Unless and until the U.S. Congress enacts comprehensive immigration reform, the TAB calls on the Texas Legislature to not pass any legislation dealing with immigration, especially in regard to legislation that could add burdens to employers."
Representative Anchia concurred, "The diverse makeup of this group is testament to the urgency of the issue. We've come together to urge the federal government to put through comprehensive immigration reform that puts willing employers together with willing workers in a legal program that will bring to the surface workers that are currently underground."
State Representative Pete Gallego, the President of MALC said, "We'd like to thank Rafael Anchia for his leadership in bringing this coalition together to defeat these anti-immigrant bills."
Among the anti-immigrant bills cited by the coalition are:
HB 28 filed by Republican Representative Leo Berman of Tyler that would prohibit the U.S. citizen children of "illegal aliens" from receiving any state benefits, including health care, public education and public housing.
HB 904 filed by Republican Representative Bill Zedler of Arlington last Friday that would prohibit cities from building or operating day labor facilities.
HB 906 also filed by Representative Zedler of Arlington that muddles current law and increases the likelihood that immigrants will be victimized by providers not qualified to assist them with matters related to immigration law.
HB 29 filed by Republican Representative Leo Berman of Tyler that would impose an 8% fee on money transfers to Mexico and Central and South America.
As a response to the anti-immigrant legislation, Anchia had previously filed HB 351, which would prohibit granting funds from the Governor' showcase business incentive initiative, the Texas Enterprise Fund, to a recipient that employs an undocumented worker.
"In a sign of cooperation and solidarity with this historic coalition, I will withdraw House Bill 351 from further consideration."
The coalition will hold a press conference to discuss the initiative in the Speaker's conference room in the Texas House immediately upon adjournment on Thursday, February 15.
Representative Rafael Anchia is a former DISD school board trustee serving his second term in the Texas House and represents District 103 of Dallas County. Representative Anchia serves on the Elections, Financial Institutions and Local & Consent Calendars Committees.