Posted on March 28, 2007 by Robert A. Kraft

According to a Dallas Morning News Article, Texas House State Affairs Committee Chairman David Swinford plans to eliminate a significant number of pending bills that have been designed to target illegal immigration. He states that the majority of these bills are in violation of either federal law or state law, and would therefore be a waste of time for consideration before the Texas Legislature. Here are excerpts from the article:

Mr. Swinford, R-Dumas, said this week that he would let about 40 bills, such as one that would challenge the citizenship status of children born to illegal-immigrant parents, languish in his committee. He asked Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office to review the measures first to determine whether they violate the U.S. or state constitutions or federal law.

Still alive – so far – are bills that would make illegal immigrants pay out-of-state tuition rates at state colleges; resolutions demanding that the federal government crack down on illegal immigration; and a bill that would require local police to ask people they contact about their citizenship status. Mr. Swinford declined to identify all of the bills he wants to squash.

After historic protests against anti-immigration proposals across the nation last year, several lawmakers ran on platforms that included reining in illegal immigration. The state GOP included restrictions in its platform that immigrant advocates decried as inhumane and divisive – including a wall along the border with Mexico.

Texans consistently say in polls that they don’t think illegal immigrants should have access to public services such as health care. They are more receptive to allowing immigration as part of a guest-worker program.

Mr. Swinford refuses to put the House through a bitter fight in a losing battle, he said – particularly after a statue bill that passed his committee unexpectedly sparked an emotional, racially tinged two-hour debate in the House last week.

“On purpose, I’m not putting anything down here that just tears the House apart … and that we’d just lose on appeal,” he said.

Among the bills that will remain alive is a bill that would require police to ask about citizenship status, a bill to require proof of legal residence in order to pay in-state tuition, and resolutions urging the federal government to tackle illegal immigration. One of the bills that will not go forward is one that was designed to test the “birthright citizenship” principle, under which all children born in the United States are citizens, even if their parents are illegal immigrants.

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