State Rep. Armando Walle (D-140) released this statement in response to anti-immigrant legislation submitted today by Republican Debbie Riddle:
“I am deeply disappointed that my colleague Rep. Riddle has filed bills that fly in the face of the American values of fairness and equal opportunity.
I am a child of immigrants, and in my own life I have seen the power of education as a path to success. One of Rep. Riddle’s bills, House Bill 22, would require schools to compile and report information on the immigration status of their students, as well as data on students enrolled in bilingual education or special language programs. In Plyler v. Doe, the Supreme Court ruled that immigration status should have no bearing on a child’s access to public education. Our public schools are already under-resourced. Why use precious education dollars to drag teachers and administrators into the role of unpaid immigration agents?
If Texas is to remain competitive in the global economy, we need to promote programs like bilingual education that will give our students an advantage in an increasingly globalized workforce. Bills like HB 22 will end up harming our economy and workforce competitiveness, which is an unfortunate and misguided approach.
Some of the other anti-immigrant bills filed today would penalize municipal and county governments for not doing the job of the federal government. Time and again, local and state governments that try to pass their own immigration policies face costly litigation. This is because immigration policy is expressly delegated to the federal government, and any attempts for states to regulate immigration waste both time and taxpayer dollars.
From the projected $25 billion budget shortfall to redistricting, we are facing many challenges in the upcoming legislative session. I am committed to addressing the needs of our state in a constructive way that does not put everyone from law enforcement to school teachers in the role of an unpaid immigration agent. Tackling the budget deficit requires practical, workable solutions, and adding costly layers of bureaucracy is a step in the wrong direction.”
I’m sure this is the first of many reactions from Democrats who are ready to work on the real challenges facing Texas.