It’s another 100-degree-plus day here in Texas, and our secessionist-in-chief is feeling the heat on immigration.
From: Houston Chronicle
From On a Sunday in June 2001, the first-year governor of Texas signed legislation allowing undocumented immigrants to attend Texas colleges and universities at in-state tuition rates instead of paying international fees. Supporters of the legislation called it the Texas Dream Act.
On a June morning 10 years later, that same governor convened a special session of the Texas Legislature and urged lawmakers to pass a bill that would outlaw so-called "sanctuary cities," places where police are not allowed to ask the immigration status of people they detain. Hispanic lawmakers, most of them Democrats, considered the bill a personal affront; they warned the governor that he risked a backlash among Hispanic voters. The sanctuary city measure, which already had failed during the regular session, failed again, due in larger measure to opposition from powerful Texas business interests.
It’s no secret that these “powerful Texas business interests” are perfectly happy with the immigration status quo. There’s no easier way to make a profit than to staff your business with folks who are willing to work long hours for below-minimum-wage pay. They’re not going to complain about their pay or unfair workplace conditions or drop a dime to OSHA about egregious safety problems, as they’d risk deportation.
Perry’s not the brightest bulb in the candelabra, so it’s got to be tough to reassure the “powerful Texas business interests” (campaign donors) while concurrently pandering to the Tea Party and right-wing zealots who won’t be satisfied until we evict all the brown people and lock down our borders.
Following in the shuffling, laissez-faire cowboy-boot-steps of his predecessor, George W. Bush:
Perry has built a reputation over the years for taking a relatively moderate approach to immigration issues. He appointed the state's first Hispanic secretary of state and the first Hispanic to the Supreme Court. He called the idea of a border fence "nonsense" and resisted efforts to emulate Arizona's strict approach to illegal immigration. Those positions helped him attract 38 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2010.
When you’re Rick Perry, you gotta do what you gotta do to keep that cushy government job, the lavish travel and security budget for those job-poaching junkets, and the $10,000-a-month rental mansion (after a mysteeeeerious fire burned much of the governor’s mansion). Follow along below the smoldering ember for more…
No stranger to reinvention, now that Perry has hit the big-time, he’s rising from his ashes and rolling out the new and improved Perry 2.0. In full Romney-esque retreat from his past achievements (or perhaps in full Palinesque “refudiation”?), Perry still supports the Texas version of the Dream Act that he signed in 2001, but he opposes the federal Dream Act. Evidently, he wants to replicate the other aspects of our so-called “Texas Miracle”, but he’s seen the light (or more accurately, felt the heat) on immigration.
To convince his national “base” that he’s got their interests at heart, he’s got to feign toughness on our immigrant population, without whom the economics of the Texas “business-friendly” success story would never have been possible.
He’s got an immigration plan, and it involves some exciting new enhancements:
He fields questions regularly about his general position on illegal immigration and invariably highlights his get-tough approach, maintaining that the federal government must secure a dangerously porous border before the talk turns to immigration reform. He has called for Predator drones to be deployed along the border for surveillance, and his political ads have featured him touring the border with a local sheriff and warning about drug smugglers and gang violence.
Turns out, this is not a “Texas” problem at all; it’s the job of the federal government to secure the “dangerously porous border” (or as the business folks probably call it, the “pathway to prosperity). We don’t have to do a single thing until the feds do their job. This should keep the “powerful Texas business interests” happy while reassuring the voters that Rick Perry’s gonna get tough on immigration… right after y’all elect him.
Unfortunately, his positions on immigration are confusing the heck out of the Tea Party folks in Texas:
"There are mixed feelings about him in the tea party," said George Rodriquez, a retired government employee who serves as president of the San Antonio Tea Party. Rodriguez said that, personally, he considers Perry "a very, very good candidate," but that some of his tea party cohorts feel "he's dropped the ball on illegal immigration, particularly during the last legislative session."
Rodriguez, who worked for what was then the U.S Immigration and Naturalization Service, said he had seen "the evolution of illegal immigration." When Perry signed the Dream Act, he said, illegal immigration was not a crisis issue, but now "times are radically different."
Rodriguez doesn't go on to explain what's "radically different", but it might have something to do with the fact that racism and xenophobia are no longer considered "extreme" viewpoints. But... I digress...
Meanwhile, in a half-hearted effort to spin the Perry Paradox, Bill Moore, president of the Sugar Land Tea Party, was also willing to give Perry the benefit of the doubt regarding the Texas Dream Act:
"That was a long time ago," he said, referring to the Texas law. "I haven't really heard people talk about it. We need to secure the border. That's the key thing for the safety of everybody, and the federal government really hasn't put up the resources to get it done."
Really??! The “federal government really hasn’t put up the resources to get it done”?! The same federal government that we were supposed to “shrink until it would fit inside a woman’s uterus”? Where would they get the money to secure the border with a giant fence and Predator drones when you crazed Tea Party “patriots” have been slashing government spending and groveling at the feet of St. Grover of Norquist and pushing America off the fiscal cliff?
Sorry... I gotta stop hyperventilating; that's a bad idea in this heat. There's no need to get worked up. I'm sure that we will maintain immigration status quo here for the foreseeable future. Without it, we'd have no "Texas Miracle".
So move along folks. Nothing to see here. Don't pay any attention to that swaggering loud-mouth. It's business as usual. Carry on.