Texas Considering Arizona-Style Immigration Law

By Jon E. Dougherty at 3 Mar 2011

(Newsroom America) -- Lawmakers in Texas are eyeing the adoption of an immigration reform law similar to one in Arizona, making the Lone Star state the latest to join about a dozen others also considering it.

Local media reported that the plan being considered by state lawmakers would allow, but not require, state and local police to help enforce federal immigration laws.

Officials said the compromise is meant to placate both Democrats and Republicans. Immigration rights advocates are opposed to the measure, saying it would lead to racial discrimination.

The Texas law mirrors parts of the law passed in Arizona that set off a federal lawsuit and was denounced by President Obama.

Rep. Debbie Riddle, a Houston Republican, is so eager to get the bill passed she camped out all night at the Texas State Capitol building in Austin so she could be the first to pre-file several immigration-reform bills, a local Fox affiliate reported.

"I filed the immigration bills because the people of Texas are no longer asking but are demanding," she told Fox. "And we have got to make some significant steps toward illegal immigration and in addition to that border security."

Among the bills she filed were measures aimed at eliminating so-called sanctuary cities in Texas, tighting voter ID laws, and creating a criminal trespassing charge for illegal aliens.

Critics of the measures believe that, if passed, they'll eventually end up in court like the Arizona law.

"I think it could very well be left up to a bunch of lawyers, but on top of that its a costly fight, its a fight that Arizona is paying quite a bit for," Matt Simpson, policy strategist for the ACLU, told the Fox affiliate.

Among the staunchest opponents of the various measures is the League of United Latin American Citizens. The group says the Arizona-style law would create anger and resentment in a number of Texas communities.

© 2010 Newsroom America.

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