Texas Friendly Spoken to Illegals (as Long as They Work in Your House)


Via Alan Vanneman, World's Greatest Everything, comes this slow-cooked road apple of a law coming out of Texas, the state where everything is bigger, especially the hypocrisy and/or lack of clear-thinking:

As proposed, House Bill 1202 would create tough state punishments for those who "intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly" hire an unauthorized immigrant. Violators could face up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

But it is an exception included in the bill that is drawing attention. Those who hire unauthorized immigrants would be in violation of the law—unless they are hiring a maid, a lawn caretaker or another houseworker.

It is a tough immigration bill with a soft side that protects those who hire unauthorized immigrants "for the purpose of obtaining labor or other work to be performed exclusively or primarily at a single-family residence."

So you got that? Hiring illegals is bad and you can go to the pokey (hello, Huntsville!) if you do so. Unless the workers you hire are, well, there to look after your spread (as long as they spread ain't a business, right?).

Texas state Rep. Aaron Pena, a Republican, said the exception is a wise one.

"With things as they are today, her bill will see a large segment of the Texas population in prison" if it passes without the exception, he said.

Got news for you, state Rep. Pena: a large segment of the Texas population is already in jail.

This sort of bill is worth puzzling over for at least a couple of reasons. First, it represents a surprisingly nuanced mentality when it comes to the question of immigration and business regulation. That is, the legislature is acknowledging that not all activity of either sort can or should be under its control. That's sort of good, just as it would be good if marijuana was made fully legal even if other illegal drugs were not.

Second, it shows the absolute silliness of most laws regarding immigration. The spokesman for the legislator introducing the bill had this to say:

In a interview with the Texas Tribune, Riddle's chief of staff, Jon English, explained that the exception was to avoid "stifling the economic engine" in Texas.

"It is an admittedly clumsy first attempt to say, 'We are really focusing on the big businesses,'" [the spokesman] said. Texans shouldn't be punished for hiring lawn care companies who hire unauthorized immigrants, he said, according to the Texas Tribune's website.

Which both raises and punts the questions: Why should plain ol' regular Lone Star staters be exempt? And why should "big" businesses be targeted? What's the magical mojo that makes one activity A-OK and the other a crime exactly? Texas used to have a state-wide feel-good campaign that promised folks "Texas Friendly Spoken Here." Well, not if you're an immigrant lacking the requisite papers even if you do wanna work. And not if you're a business that is arbitrarily defined as  big. In Texas, no less.

Read the whole story here.

Reason Reason on immigration.

And watch Ringo Starr impersonate a Mexican gardener in the neutron-bomb-of-a-movie, 1968's Candy. Now that's something somebody should have done hard time for.

NEXT: Replay: Are We Broke Yet? Michael Moore, Rachel Maddow, NY Times Say No. Reality Begs to Differ.

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  1. Those who hire unauthorized immigrants would be in violation of the law — unless they are hiring a maid, a lawn caretaker or another houseworker.

    (hopefully) Call girl?

    1. Just say that your junk is a landscape than needs to be cleaned in your house. “Mopping the lawn” has got to be a euphemism for something.

      1. In these parts, I’m the lawn!

      2. Your honor, I swear that I said, “I need some landscaping.” It’s not my fault she thought I said, “I need some manscaping.”

  2. Well, Ringo impersonated an English drummer for years – why shouldn’t he impersonate a Mexican gardener?

  3. I think they need to change their license plates from The Lone Star State to Every thing’s bigger in Texas-including crotches

  4. Whoa. Whoa.

    You’re insulting Candy? I’m not sure I can read Reason anymore.

  5. Meanwhile, in a better show of nuance, the Utah legislature has passed a law that allows illegal immigrants to get a permit to live and work in the state.

    From a rundown of WSJ and NYT analyses…

    In a Wall Street Journal article titled “Utah Seeks a Better Way on Illegal Immigration,” editorial writer Jason Riley outlined the main points of HB116. If enacted, the bill will allow illegal aliens who are already living in Utah to apply for a temporary work permit in exchange for paying a fine of up to $2,500. Immigrants would have to pass a criminal background check to qualify.

    The Utah House of Representatives passed the bill, sponsored by Rep. Bill Wright, R-Holden, and pushed through with considerable lobbying from Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, Friday with a 41-32 vote. The bill also proposes imposing penalties on businesses for not verifying the legal status of employees and requiring local police to check the immigration status of people detained or arrested for felonies and class A misdemeanors. It is now awaiting the governor’s signature.

    While other states, led by Arizona, are “keen on deputizing police officers as border agents” and “burdening business owners with more regulations,” Riley wrote, Utah is letting “market forces determine the level of foreign labor in the state work force.”

    “Apparently, there are still some conservative lawmakers left who, in the tradition of Ronald Reagan, don’t abandon free-market principles in favor of reactionary populism when the topic turns to immigration,” he wrote.

    1. Utah thinks they can plug their budget hole at 2500 a pop is what that means.

    2. Wait, do they pay the fine before getting approved? Sounds like a scam to me.

    3. Hallelujah. At least they are talking about the problem instead of the symptom.

  6. Nuance?

    Are you kidding me?

    Basically this law says: “Wetbacks can be servants and shit, but we’ll be damned if we’ll let them compete for White Jobs!”

    If the law said, “Black people shall be free to work as servants or agricultural laborers in our state, but shall not be free to work in factories!” would you call it nuanced?

    1. ^^This^^
      Didn’t the US government first get into controlling immigration because the vast number of Chinese brought over to build railroads stayed on and began to take all the high paying laundry jobs away from white folk?

    2. People who talk about the problem of all these illegal immigrants are always surprised when you point out that they make exceptions for each one they know. It’s always “Well no, I’m not talking about the guy who does so and so’s gardening, I’m talking about all those ones you see outside the Home Depot”

      Most everyone (yes, even republicans) seems to appreciate and even respect the few illegal immigrants they know personally and know where they work. It’s always all those other ones who are running riot and not assimilating and taking er jerbs. It’s funny to see someone realize this. The ones they are fine with are someone else’s “those other ones” and vice versa.

    3. An exception just large enough to let politicians keep their yard workers. Funny how that works.

  7. Good Lord, after watching that clip from Candy I can only hope that MECHA issued a fatwa calling for Ringo’s head!

  8. “With things as they are today, her bill will see a large segment of the Texas population in prison” if it passes without the exception, he said.

    “We’ve got this incredibly stupid law, which nobody can seriously be expected to obey, but we need to look like we’re doing something so the unions don’t bring that fucking inflatable rat to all my public appearances.”

  9. how about this. Stop worry if someone came here illegally or not and instead on whether they’re paying taxes or not. Like the War on Drugs, we’re inept at stopping illegal immigration, so let’s just focus on mitigating the downside of it by making them legal taxpayers.

    1. Or remove the barriers to get in legally. If it were easy to get in, the few people trying to break in would be the tiny percent who are such criminal fuck-ups that they know they’ll be turned down and it will be easier to make a case for strong border security. “High fences Wide gates”.

      If I were born in Mexico, I would not accept the charge that I have no right to move to America. I would get in somehow and nobody could convince me that I didn’t do so by right.

      1. Freedom of movement should definitely be a right for those who are not criminals. I don’t disagree.

  10. Great! Another law that makes criminals of almost anybody.

    Possible outcome–
    Knock-knock. “Police, ma-\’am.”
    Woman in house: “Yes?”
    Cop: “We need to search your house, ma’am. We received an anonymous tip that you have an illegal immigrant working here. We just need to make sure he’s only doing work allowed by the new law.”
    (Cop proceeds to search house for anything they can find that would land the homeowner in jail..and the cop’s name on the ballot for sheriff.)

    More likely outcome–
    Cop kicks door in. “Get on the fucking ground!”
    Second cop shoots barking dog.
    Cop 1: “Where are the illegals, motherfucker?!?”
    Homeowner after seeing warrant: “You’ve got the wrong house.”
    Cop 1: Well, while we’re here, we’ll just take a look around. Now, back on your face, citizen!”

  11. If Texas passes this law, I’m going to have to leave the state. My wife’s visa’s in bureaucratic limbo due to a combination of lawyer and government errors, and her last one expired two and a half years ago. We’ve tried our best to go by the book, but have been frustrated whichever way we turn – and we are applying for the very easiest visa to get (marriage).

    Although my wife may be an “illegal” she has paid federal income and payroll taxes every year (and obviously state sales taxes) and has not taken a penny in government handouts. I guess we’re going to have to take our college degrees, my small businesses, her nursing experience and our tax revenue to states that aren’t trying to break up families and push away their hardworking residents.

    I really hate playing the race card since it is the dirtiest tactic when it is not merited, but it does seem that racism (or at least anglocentrism) trumps family values for many “conservatives”.

    1. Hobo,

      My stepmom went through the same thing. There will be no problems, just time.

      That being said, this law is stupid.

  12. guess we’re going to have to take our college degrees, my small businesses, her nursing experience and our tax revenue to states that aren’t trying to break up families and push away their hardworking residents.

    You’re moving to Vancouver?

    1. I wish, but then we’d both need visas.

  13. Why should plain ol’ regular Lone Star staters be exempt? And why should “big” businesses be targeted?

    Because regular Texans greatly outnumber big corporations. In a democracy, the majority often treats the minority unfairly. My town is following similar logic with a tree replacement ordinance. The council is trying to word the law so that residents don’t have to replace a curbside tree when they damage it during construction but developers do.

  14. “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly”

    Jebus on a pogostick. “Intentional” is a completely different (and much lower) standard than “knowing or reckless” (which tend to be pretty much identical, legally).

    Aside from the merits, the legal incompetence on display should warrant ashcanning this bill.

  15. What this bill, and Gov. Rick Perry’s support for it shows, is that New Mexico is a damn poor filter for keeping the state level immigration idiocy being grown in Arizona out of the The Lone Star Republic [once & future?].

    My credentials for the above: 1. Native Texan (8 generations); 2. Never served or attempted to serve in the loony bin state house or senate.

    1. The Once & Future Republic.

      One can dream…

      1. now I’m depressed.

    2. Perry is a douchebag, but atleast the state’s bureaucracy is under better control than Californias. I know, I set the bar low, but only because I don’t want to hit my head.

  16. Fun fact about our legislature here in Texas:

    The budget committee charged with shaving something like $9BB off of the state’s health care expenditures over the next two years has been going at it hammer and tongs for, what, three weeks now.

    Last I heard, they had managed to save $100MM. Almost 1% of the way there!

  17. “…unless they are hiring a maid, a lawn caretaker or another houseworker.”

    This law just begs for a total ban on running your business out of your home, which would in turn force Houston to get into the game of zoning restrictions. Someone might have the housekeeper go pick up the drycleaning and also take the business packages to Fed-ex and do some collation or filing when she gets home after she’s done with the dishes. “Are businesses in your neighborhood running sweatshops with white picket fences? story at eleven” This is a disaster waiting to happen. Texans better wave goodbye to prosperity if this law sticks around.

    1. It was all over for H-town when they passed the law saying no new adult businesses could be built within 100 feet of a school.

  18. Well for a second I thought they might’ve actually passed something effective, but no, just mostly irrelevant racist crap.

    It seems stunning to me that we haven’t just implemented draconian fines for businesses that pay workers under the table, regardless of the legal status of the worker. I’m sure (almost) everyone here will agree that the government does have the authority to make and enforce tax laws, regardless of whether or not it’s usually a good idea. And I’d also expect everyone here to recognize that the ethnicity of workers is of no issue so long as they do not have an advantage over those workers participating in a legal market. It’d also cut down on various forms of welfare fraud…as would legalized drugs, which would free up police budgets for looking for this sort of thing and ameliorate the situation in Latin America…

    Whenever I get started thinking on political issues it just ends with me being immensely frustrated with the stubbornness of misguided popular opinion.

  19. I don’t think I saw anyone say this after a quick skimming of the comments, but to me, it seems like what they’re doing is making an exception for the services that they themselves use, to avoid personal legal problems later on.

    1. Of course. The oligarchy must protect its own.

  20. I think I’m going to have to find a speaker on Open Borders to come to one of our meetings and blow people’s mind with logic, reason, and fact.

    Nick, anytime you want to come visit the lonestar state I’ll give you some beer to tell people what’s so terrribly stupid about our immigration policy.

  21. Nowadays it is bad news for all those illegal nationals who entered this country, without permission. State laws are tightening up, as the feds have refused to tackle this battle ground Issue. A few States are going against the grain of most US citizens and legal residency. Those particular States as Utah and Washington State are soon going to be painfully aware, as the word gets around of poorly enforced laws. Supplementary States that are leaving the illegal alien floodgates open will also be paying dearly, which means fiscal suffering for their legal people. Better be ready for an onslaught of economic thunder as they head your way? It will not be pleasant as Americans will unseat the pro-illegal alien politicians, who crushed any chance of constructive restrictions. California–the well and truly tested Sanctuary state must now pick the pockets of taxpayers again, because illegal workers and families have flooded in and drained part of the 46 billion deficits the state is facing.

    This also goes for billions of welfare dollars spent in the illegal alien high population state of Nevada. But now with a few more less restricting States, thousands will constantly leave the original policing State of Arizona and head outwards? As with Governor of New Mexico who has been less happy with the circumstances of handing out drivers licenses under the previous Governors watch of Gov. Bill Richardson and therefore many will also pack up and move on from there. Currently illegal migrants and immigrants have unlimited access to welfare entitlements, schooling and free health care and Include the obvious costs of jail and imprisonment. Birthright citizenship will be having its day in court. Even if it is not amended, the parents–HAVE NO RIGHTS TO STAY–and should be deported. The bill currently has 68 cosponsors and will amend current U.S. code to entail at least one parent to be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident for a new born to obtain automatic citizenship.

    You as a heavily laden taxpayer should incessantly harass your representative and demand their sponsorship for an amendment. Another controversial bill that will also save federal and State taxpayers is ending “Chain Migration.” There is a mounting list of 21 co-sponsors for Rep. Phil Gingrey’s Nuclear Family Priority Act (H.R.692) that would end chain migration. H.R.692 would purge all family-preference visa classes, except for spouses and minor children, and creating a renewable visa class for parents. Of course the radical Liberal other side under the pretense of polling people by the University of Texas and Texas Tribune has addressed the subject of 14th Amendment. Not only did these two parties misinform the public being asked, but also misrepresented the act of the birthright citizenship law. Anybody can engineer the questions asked to get a favorable answer in any poll.

    Something that the Leftists progressives have intentionally forgot in their radical diatribe, that although The Fourteenth Amendment extends citizenship to all persons born in the U.S. and “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”; but it also grants Congress the power to enforce and define the necessities of the amendment. The US Constitution also grants us free speech. So if you are against supporting financially anymore the illegal immigration invasion? First you can join NumbersUSA and not only fax for free the Congress, but join millions of Americans who want to halt this continuous travesty by Liberal politicians. You can also become a member of the local TEA Party with a huge influence gaining momentum in Washington, to stop the Tax and Spend Liberal-Democrats.

    Add your voice to the uncountable numbers of people who are fed up with illegal’s stealing their jobs, lowering wages. Here is also the Washington Switchboard number 202-224-312 to bombard your unconcerned Senate and House. Personally, I’m thoroughly frustrated and furious that we must educate the children of illegal immigrant, and pay for their health care; when we cannot even pay for our own families needs?

    National News: America has the highest deficit in US history, and the majority of that debt is owned by Communist China.

    SAVE OUR JOBS, buy American, if you can find it?

    1. Currently illegal migrants and immigrants have unlimited access to welfare entitlements, …

      No they don’t.


      Only if they are children. Indeed, private schools would be better. But then I didn’t decide that schools should be run on the taxpayer’s dime, yet I see little reason to deprive some future hopefully productive adults from such schooling while allowing others.

      …and free health care…

      Only in ERs, where the grand total of all uncompensated care — by legal and illegal residents — is a paltry 2% of the health care spending in the US.

      …and Include the obvious costs of jail and imprisonment.

      …as well as border and employment enforcement.

    2. Hmm…here in Texas our state/local welfare state is funded by sales and property taxes. I wasn’t aware illegal immigrants have magical tricks to get around paying those taxes.

      Conservatives: “We love the free market, except for the freedom for labor movement. We fight for family values, as long as your family is one descended from those who came here in an era of minimal immigration laws or by forceable slavery. We love the Constitution, ignoring limits on the government’s ability to force you to learn English.”

  22. What side of the fucking bell curve are these fucking morons that get elected to these state legislatures? I mean, really. No brown people…`cept if they gonna clean the toilet.

    And I am tired of these fucking brown people wondering around like they have the freedom to associate or something.

  23. Look if you dont like what is going on here leave. What part of illegal dont you understand? Why dont you stay where you are and make it a better place? Like Egypt and Libya. Thats to much work? Just want to come where we already did all the fighting for our freedom?

    I disagree with any jobs for ILLEGALS. This is an invasion. Soon it will be apparent that they have officially taken over. Even now politicians are pandering to the ILLEGAL vote. If you question this think about everything being in Spanish or English. When did this happen?

    I see it every day where Mexicans want to know if they are buying from other Mexicans, then they do not want to pay taxes and speak in Spanish. They do not want to circulate the money in the economy they are taking it from. For example Jose goes to work gets paid in cash,lives with 20 others in a house,buys goods from others that dont charge taxes,buys a money transfer card to send money back to Mexico. Now Jose has nearly solid tax free money going to Mexico stock piling where the monetarily rate against the dollar is high. Then Jose goes back home and lives well. See how that works?

    The only way to make immigration work is for them to pay back taxes and be prevented from leaving or sending money back and start paying taxes. I had an illegal tell me the other day the reason mortality rate was low for illegals in America is they all go back home. The illegals want to stay illegal because if they dont they will be taxed by America then again when they go back. Then see how Mexico treats them after becoming a US citizen. Check Mexico’s immigration laws for that one. It is not as forgiving as our laws.

    Make a law where if you defect to the states you have to stay and pay taxes and watch the flood gates back to Mexico. We are not all naive to what is going on.

    1. They do not want to circulate the money in the economy they are taking it from.

      Scratch an anti-illegal immigration zealot, find a mercantilist.

  24. “If you question this think about everything being in Spanish or English. When did this happen?”

    Hmm. Probably back when Texas and Arizona were part of Mexico, I’m guessing.

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