The Texas Democratic Party’s duly elected delegates to the state convention approved a comprehensive platform for the party. The plank I was most interested in was the one on immigration. Would the TDP be the opposite of the Republicans, or would they avoid–as had been done during some, if not most, of the speeches from candidates and leaders. Here’s the result:
The Texas Democratic Party recognizes that we are a nation of immigrants. Here in Texas, we honor those immigrants, their children and their grandchildren, who fought and died to protect our freedom and earn the blessings of liberty for themselves and all Americans.
Today, immigrants come to our country from all areas of the world. Some come legally and many come without documentation, but almost all are driven by economic necessity. Texas Democrats recognize that a workable immigration policy requires a no-nonsense solution instead of proposals that serve only as political props and wedge issues designed to incite fear for partisan gain. For years, the politics of division has prevailed and the federal government has failed to do its job. A clear and uniformly enforced federal immigration policy is long overdue. The fundamental tenets of a comprehensive immigration policy require an aggressive yet practical approach, including measures that would:
- secure all our borders, including the allocation and use of sufficient resources to equip and maintain a well-trained Border Patrol with the manpower needed to effectively police our borders;
- enforce existing immigration laws;
- eliminate bureaucratic logjams that delay and frustrate those who attempt to follow the rules to become citizens;
- emphasize economic security and development on both sides of the border;
- continue the United States’ constitutional provision making all persons born in this country citizens of this country;
- provide for strict enforcement, appropriate punishment and economic sanctions against those who profit by hiring undocumented workers; and
- establish a path to citizenship for those who meet qualifications and seek to become part of our national community.
Texas Democrats also realize that politicians who pander politically with foolish, shortsighted and wasteful proposals are not offering solutions. Texas will not become Arizona, and we strongly oppose:
- any law that would, through its enforcement, result in discrimination; intimidation or victimization of citizens based on their race, ethnicity or appearance;
- any law that would force law enforcement agencies to divert limited resources and manpower from their primary duty to protect citizens and prevent crime in order to enforce immigration policy that is the responsibility of the federal government;
- any law that would prohibit ethnic studies classes;
- any law that could make it more difficult for a qualified citizen to exercise the right to vote;
- any effort to expand the existing border fence without regard to the border economy, environmental impact or property rights;
- wasteful efforts like Governor Perry’s “virtual wall” of border cameras that resulted in only a handful of apprehensions at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars per arrest; and
- measures that attempt to improperly limit the constitutional requirement to provide for the health, education, and safety needs of individuals and communities.
Ultimately, the best interest of the United States requires us to help our neighboring countries develop their economies and create better paying jobs for workers in those countries to make the lure of a better paying job in the U.S. less attractive. We believe it is the height of hypocrisy for Republicans who consistently support outsourcing jobs to cheap labor markets overseas to claim they are “protecting American jobs” with extreme immigration proposals.
First, let’s start with “securing the border.” It has become obvious that the Obama Administration has been doing more on the enforcement side than the Bush Administration ever talked about; in fact, it has continued a policy of family separation, deportation and detention of people who may one day qualify for the path to legalization, and other innocent people (DREAM Act future beneficiaries).
A commitment to supporting ridding ICE and CIS of the “logjams” that place families at the back of line that does not move is a welcome pronouncement. And the vast majority of the plank is positive and supportive of policies that would make for an effective comprehensive immigration reform plan.
Although the Higher Education plank includes a supportive statement for the “Texas DREAM Act,” the in-state tuition for undocumented students law which then State-Rep. Rick Noriega put in place, a supportive statement of the DREAM Act from the national scale, which provides for a path to status for children of immigrants brought here by their parents, is missing. The DREAM Act movement is one that is not stalled at the moment, and deserves a push.
One other statement that I believe should have been included was one which favors the Uniting American Families Act. Not only does this Act further emphasize that comprehensive immigration reform is more about family unity and valuing famlies, it also shows a growing unity with other constituencies; in this case, the LGBT community.
Ultimately, this is definitely the strongest statement put forth by the Democratic Party in a long time. Instead of running away from Arizona and the Berman/Riddle threats to the Latino community, they took them on in this document.
The important thing is that our candidates (from the state house to the court house) follow it and promote it when asked about it and are out campaigning.