Texas State Representative Debbie Riddle (R-Tomball) literally camped out at the Texas Statehouse Sunday night, so that she could be one of the first legislators to file bills for consideration in the upcoming Texas Legislative session.
Her first filing: An Arizona-style immigration status check.
Riddle is from Tomball, just north of Houston. Houston is one of the local governments with the onerous policy of being a “sanctuary community,” which refuses to even raise a finger to assist federal efforts to enforce documentation laws.
Last summer, the entire Houston Metro area was shocked when a 14-year old girl, Shatavia Anderson was gunned down in a field near her home. The killer was a twice-deported illegal immigrant by the name of Melvin Alvarado. Alvarado has confessed.
"The overwhelming majority is saying that they want something done," state Rep. Debbie Riddle, who filed some of the early bills, tells the Texas Tribune. "They want their families to be safe."
Bills filed this week would:
- Require picture IDs at polling places.
- Stop state funding of any local governments that provide "sanctuary" to illegal immigrants.
- Ban any state agency printing signs or documents in any language other than English.
- Require proof of citizenship to get a driver's license .
The Tribune says that with the GOP controlling all statewide offices, the top courts and nearly two-thirds of the seats in the Texas House and Senate, "many of the tough measures that died in previous sessions are expected to have a much smoother route to passage."
Like many states in the country, and especially among those in the southern latitudes, Texas Republicans saw big gains. As many as 22 state lawmakers of the Democrat persuasion were ousted from office last Tuesday. Republicans saw that as a mandate to begin cracking down on illegal immigrants and state policies that enable and encourage the renconquista.
While Texas Governor Rick Perry is publicly cool to the idea of the state exerting control over immigration enforcement, he’s an astute politician reportedly eying a run at the White House in 2012 or 2016. It’s unlikely that he’d vigorously oppose Riddle’s measure if he expected to get national support among a conservative GOP base that views illegal immigration as a top national priority.
We’ll see how this plays out, and whether a chastened White House has the gumption to sue Texas as well as Arizona. But expect Texas Republicans to use the Shatavia Anderson tragedy to remind legislators what’s at stake.