Texas 2012 GOP platform goes "liberal" on immigration (IRCOT, Koch)

The Texas GOP has passed their 2012 platform, and it includes an immigration plank that some will present as somewhat "liberal" or "lenient".

But, those aren't the correct words. The Texas GOP's new policy is better described as friendly to corrupt businesses. They call for a guest workers program that sounds like the ones George W Bush proposed during his terms in office. And, the group behind the plank thinks (or simply pretends to think) this is good politics, when it will instead just help the Democrats undercut the GOP on this issue.

The 2010 platform is in this PDF file (link), and the immigration parts of the 2012 platform are here.

I'll provide excerpts from the last link, followed by a description of what they aren't mentioning and how their plank won't work.

This is the sales spiel point from the last link:

a coalition was formed between members of groups such as the Minutemen and IRCOT [note: Immigration Reform Coalition of Texas], and those seeking a legal status. All sides agreed that a temporary worker program is the only workable solution... The 2012 language provides a solution that will show that Texas can lead the way on an issue that has divided the country for far too long. Not only that, we can cut the Democrats off at the pass and lead the nation.

This is the immigration plank from the last link; presumably this is the language that was approved:


The Texas Solution – Because of decades-long failure of the federal government to secure our borders and address the immigration issue, there are now upwards of 11 million undocumented individuals in the United States today, each of whom entered and remain here under different circumstances. Mass deportation of these individuals would neither be equitable nor practical; while blanket amnesty, as occurred with the Simpson-Mazzoli Act of 1986, would only encourage future violations of the law. We seek common ground to develop and advance a conservative, market- and law-based approach to our nation’s immigration issues by following these principles:

1. Secure Our Borders – The U.S. Border must be secured immediately! We demand the application of effective, practical and reasonable measures to secure our borders and to bring safety and security for all Americans along the border and throughout the nation.
2. Modernize the United States Social Security Card – We support the improvement of our 1936 Social Security card to use contemporary anti-counterfeit technology. The social security card will not be considered a National ID card for U.S. citizens.
3. Birthright Citizenship – We call on the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of the United States to clarify Section 1 of the 14th amendment to limit citizenship by birth to those born to a citizen of the United States with no exceptions.
4. Create an Effective and Efficient Temporary Worker Program – A national Temporary Worker Program should be implemented to bring skilled and unskilled workers into the United States for temporary periods of time when no U.S. workers are currently available. The program should also require:

* Self-funding through participation fees and fines;
* Applicants must pass a full criminal background check;
* Applicants with prior immigration violations would only qualify for the program if they paid the appropriate fines;
* Applicants and/or Employers must prove that they can afford and/or secure private health insurance;
* Applicants must waive any and all rights to apply for financial assistance from any public entitlement programs;
* Applicant must show a proficiency in the English language and complete an American civic class;
* Temporary Workers would only be able to work for employers that deduct and match payroll taxes;
* All participants would be issued an individual Temporary-Worker Biometric Identification Card that tracks all address changes and both civil and criminal court appearances as a defendant.

1. The IRCOT is comprised of several groups and headed by Maria Martinez. She was with Americans for Prosperity in Austin [1]. AFP is closely linked to the Koch family, and the Kochs also fund groups that promote loose borders such as Reason Magazine. If you oppose massive/illegal immigration, those affiliated with the Kochs should be near the top of your list of people to oppose. Yet, the head of the IRCOT used to work for one of their key organizations. She might personally be OK on these issues, but working for a Koch-linked group is not a good sign.

2. The country isn't really "divided" on immigration: there aren't too many people who fervently believe in the ideology of loose borders or who stand to make large profits from massive/illegal immigration. They use various forms of trickery to push their agenda. A concerted effort to push back would pull the curtain away and show that only a relatively small group are involved in promoting loose borders. The Texas GOP isn't pushing back: they're pushing with and trying to get their own piece of the pie.

3. This plank isn't going to "cut the Democrats off at the pass". Instead, it's going to validate Democratic Party concepts. See this discussion of how Mitt Romney might change his immigration position and thereby help the Democrats; what he might do isn't that different from what the Texas GOP has already done. It's not known whether those behind the immigration plank are just trying to fool people and use "off at the pass" as a selling point, or whether they can't figure things out. Either one isn't good.

4. The phrase "undocumented individuals"? That's Democratspeak.

5. Instead of supporting attrition (see the link) to reduce the numbers of illegal aliens in the U.S., they're simply opposing mass deportations. The previous Texas GOP platform didn't call for mass deportations, and no one with any power supports mass deportations; see deportations false choice. Why are they opposing something that no one with any power is proposing?

6. They oppose "blanket amnesty", using the 1986 amnesty as an example. When someone says something like that, it's almost always an indicator that they're trying to fool people. See what John McCain tried to do as well as reform not amnesty.

7. The 2010 GOP plank opposed legalization for illegal aliens; the 2012 version doesn't do that. The 2010 version wanted to "[a]mend legal immigration rates to more sustainable levels"; it's not clear if there's anything about reducing legal immigration in the 2012 version. And, of course, a major guest worker program is not consistent with reducing legal immigration.

8. Adding the last three points together with their support for a guest workers program and their desire to "seek common ground", and one reaches the likely conclusion that they would support some form of legalization program for current illegal aliens. They aren't opposing legalization, they want "common ground", they're opposing something no one with any power is proposing, and they're leaving the door open to support things short of a "blanket amnesty". That legalization might take the form of some type of "touchback" where current illegal aliens have to symbolically return home for hours or days. Whatever it would consist of, they're leaving the door wide open. They're even leaving the door open to support some form of comprehensive immigration reform.

9. See Secure the Border. They might actually mean it, but the part at that link about "secure the border first" seems to fully apply in this case.

10. Their guest worker program would be open to current illegal aliens: "Applicants with prior immigration violations would only qualify for the program if they paid the appropriate fines". Not only that, but the large majority of illegal aliens probably will not have "prior immigration violations" on their records.

11. They oppose a national ID card, but support a biometric ID for foreign citizens. That will not work as explained at that and the related links. Their plan would become a national ID in the same way that Rudy Giuliani's would have. See biometrics for a long list of others who support such IDs, including Teaparty favorites like Lindsey Graham, Michael Bloomberg, and Charles Schumer.

12. How guest workers plans like theirs would fail (in the sense of not serving the national interest) has been amply discussed at that link, on H1B, and contemporaneously as George Bush was proposing similar plans; search this site for large numbers of posts. Bush wanted a massive H1B-style plan that would cover almost all occupations; it's not clear how massive the Texas GOP's proposal would be but they do mention "skilled and unskilled workers".

Unlike Bush, they aren't proposing an "infinitely renewable Z Visa". At least so far.

[1] ircot.com/documents/RLFDeparture-NEWEXDIRANN.doc