Leo Berman (R-Tyler), a Texas state representative, filed a bill on Tuesday that would require any candidate for president or vice president of the United States to show his or her birth certificate to the Texas secretary of state in order to be a valid candidate in the election.House Bill 295 was introduced because “we have a president whom the American people don’t know whether he was born in Kenya or some other place.”This is the same representative that called President Obama ”God’s punishment on us” at a Glenn Beck rally in Tyler, TX earlier in the year that Rick Perry attended.This kind of legislation seems frivolous and contrary to federal law, but it comes at a time where Republicans have such a majority in the Texas House and Senate that almost any bill that they introduce can get passed with little resistance.
Representative Berman also introduced bills that would make English the official language of Texas and one that would impose an 8 percent tax on any amount of money wired to Mexico or any Central or South American country unless the sender shows proof of US Citizenship or legal residence.This is the type of discriminatory witch-hunt that is being started in Texas following a Republican sweep in the last election.My question is , if I wanted to send money to a friend in Mexico or Ecuador, would I have to show my papers to make sure that I am not an illegal immigrant?Would I have to do that if I looked white?How does this even make sense?
This birther craziness is exactly what people say it is.Racism.Plain and simple.Representative Berman is trying to make the President into a foreigner so that he can be marketed to xenophobes as an outsider and a threat, just like he is trying to do with Hispanics.By 2050, Hispanics will be the majority in Texas.I guarantee that bills will not be introduced trying to change the official language of Texas to Spanish.I also guarantee that racists like Leo Berman will try to make people think that we are trying to.
A group of Tea Party activists in Washington D.C. recently told two Hispanic Texas border congressmen to "Go back to Mexico" as they were on their way to vote on the House floor. Congressman Ruben Hinojosa (D-Mercedes) and Silvestre Reyes (D-El Paso) were asked if they were Congressmen by five white men. When they responded in the affirmative, the men asked them “Why don’t you go back to Mexico?”
This interaction between the Congressmen and the Tea Party Activists is a microcosm of the attitude toward Hispanics and all minorities in our current toxic political environment. Despite their accomplishments and well-earned political status, they are seen as a threat to “Real Americans” just because of their ethnicity and the color of their skin. It is a familiar story of “us vs. them” that is used by political operatives to divide Americans for political gain.
Silvestre Reyes was born in Canutillo, Texas and served in the US Border Patrol for 26 years following his service in the US Army during the Vietnam War (no deferments). He became a Congressman in 1996 and is currently the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the primary Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives charged with the oversight of the United States Intelligence Community, including the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and other executive branch departments and agencies.
Ruben Hinojosa was born in Edcouch, Texas and served on the Texas State Board of Education for 20 years. He was the President and CFO of his family’s successful Food Processing business. He joined the Congress in 1996, winning by large margins as a liberal Democrat in a very conservative Hispanic region of Texas. He is a member of the Committee on Education and Labor and the Committee on Financial Services.
These are the gentlemen that the Tea Party activists would have “go back to Mexico”. My first question is, how would they even do that? What is the response to this, besides “Huh?” Would you tell a white politician that you don’t like to go back to Europe? Is their idea of a proper Congress one made up of white male politicians only? I know an accurate response to these hooligans from the Texan Congressmen could have been, “We were here first.”
These Congressmen are from districts that are overwhelmingly Hispanic. Would these activists rather a white man be elected from these districts even though there are very few white people that live there? If these activists are this disrespectful and ignorant toward these esteemed Gentlemen from South and West Texas, what would their opinion be of someone like me who is just a common citizen? Would they be sensitive to the preservation of my rights as a US Citizen or would they tell me to go back to Mexico also (even though I am a 3rd Generation American and a veteran)?
This is the first article I am going to write for my new project and it is really the driving force behind my starting this project at all. Congresswoman Debbie Riddle (R-Tomball) recently camped out for two days to make sure that her bill was the first bill to be placed on the docket for the next legislative session. This bill is basically a mimic of the controversial immigration bill passed in Arizona.
According to WOAI Radio in San Antonio, the measure would be similar to Arizona’s controversial SB 1070, in that it would require that local police work with federal immigration officials in determining the legal status of a person who is in their custody. "If that individual is already being detained, because of another crime, then that officer can inquire as to one’s immigration status," Riddle said.
This sounds reasonable on the surface, but like the Arizona law which is on hold due to legal challenges, it sets the stage for discrimination and racial profiling. Also, Ms. Riddle’s reasoning for drafting this legislation is questionable at best. According to Ms. Riddle, "The gang related crime which does have a connect with the Mexican drug cartels has gone up 250 percent in this state. People are sick and tired of political correctness. They want their communities safe." The facts show, using the latest available crime data in both urban and non-incorporated areas along the Texas border in 2008 as reported by the DPS, that overall, serious crime went up 1.6 percent from 2007. The last time I checked, 1.6 is slightly lower than 250.
Ms. Riddle’s credibility, and frankly her sanity, has always been in question. She recently was featured on CNN, where she talked about the horrible threat of Terror Babies, which are babies whose foreigner moms come here to America specifically to birth them, haul them back to whatever country, and raise them to become terrorists. Then the babies come back here as terror-adults and destroy our way of life. When the question was asked how she came upon this information, she claimed it was from an anonymous ex-FBI agent which she refused to identify.
Her opinions on public education are eye-opening also. She was quoted as saying, "Where did this idea come from — that everybody deserves free education? … It’s like free groceries. It comes from Moscow. From Russia. Straight out of the pit of hell." Is this really the person who we should be listening to about anything of substance?
In 2009, she voted against the formation of an Innocence Commission in Texas. The measure tasks an Innocence Commission with identifying the causes of wrongful convictions and ways to prevent them – as it stands, Texas has the dubious honor of leading the country in convicting the innocent. I guess in her eyes, if you are convicted, it doesn’t matter if you are innocent or not.
Ms. Riddle wants to check the immigration status of people who are picked up by the police for whatever reason, who do not have identification. Does this mean that all the people who are found to not have identification will be transferred to ICE for detention, not just the brown people? How can she be an elected official, responsible for making the laws of our state, with such a microscopic understanding of the Constitution and absolutely no compassion for people in general?
I have never met Debbie Riddle, and I am not sure what her endgame is other than what I can determine based on her political choices and her public persona. I don’t know what she hopes to accomplish by demonizing undocumented immigrants and making this her trademark. What I do know is that Hispanic people like me, and other minorities throughout Texas, will be adversely affected by her proposed legislation.
Neither her educational background (A.A. from South Texas Junior College) nor her work experience (a realtor and a horse-breeder) qualify her to be the driving Congressperson in the matter of Immigration or Immigration reform. It is imperative that we do not allow her and those who share her views in the Texas Legislature to succeed in passing this discriminatory and regressive law. This is my call to arms against Congresswoman Riddle’s crusade.
The immigration issue is complex and intricate and is filled with legal and moral questions that just cannot be answered by a black-and-white generalist like Debbie Riddle. Her limited perspective and failure to see the bigger picture is a threat to all Texans, not just Hispanics.We must not let her succeed.
I will be writing with more information about this law and the one in Arizona. Feel free to send me some information or suggestions.