The reason why some anti-immigration legislation didn’t pass this session

According to teabagger Rebecca Frost, the problem was too many Hispanic legislators. This is what she had to say at a rally in Austin yesterday:

There’s a lot of wind noise that makes it hard to hear exactly what she’s saying, but here’s a transcript, provided by the Texas Democratic Party, which presumably had someone at this event:

“If you want to know why we can’t pass legislation in Texas it’s because we have 37, no 36, Hispanics in the Legislature. All of the states that have passed legislation have a handful and I mean literally, some of them have no Hispanic legislators, well, maybe 3 or 5 or something. So that’s, umm, part of our problem and we need to change those numbers.

“Umm, we need to do something about that in fact, during the debate on ‘sanctuary cities,’ several Hispanic legislators testified that their grandparents and their parents were migrant workers who came over here to work and that they even worked in the fields. And some of them even admitted that they had been here illegally and that they came illegally. So the problem is these Hispanic legislators…is that it’s too close to them and they, umm… simply cannot vote their conscience correctly. So that’s about all I have to say to you, please come to the hearing, and help us spread this message. Thank you.”

The irony is that not two weeks ago, one of those Hispanic legislators was more or less saying the same thing, though his meaning was different.

State Rep. Aaron Peña has spoken with the Guardian about his role in halting ‘English-only’ bills, why this session is like a cheap vacation, and why his district should vote Republican at the next election.

Peña made his biggest headlines before the session even began. After winning back his seat as a Democrat last November, the Edinburg lawmaker switched parties, becoming the 101st Republican in the Texas House.

Saying he switched parties in part for more influence on key issues, Peña says that his stroke as a Republican paid off as regards anti-immigration legislation. Reform Immigration For Texas (RITA) has pointed out that of the ‘anti-immigrant’ bills filed, none passed in the regular session. Peña says that it’s no coincidence that there were Hispanics in the Republican leadership and such bills being thwarted.

Peña co-founded the Hispanic Republican Conference at the start of the 82nd Legislature. In his interview with the Guardian he declined to say exactly how this caucus blocked legislation such as state Rep. Leo Berman’s bill to print state notices in English only. But though some members of the conference offered competing accounts, Peña was insistent that his group had contributed to the bills’ failure.

“Those [anti-immigrant bills] didn’t pass,” said Peña. “There’s a reason for that. Now, I don’t want to articulate them, but our involvement in the process matters. We were effective in what we were doing.”

So there you have it. What Pena fails to mention, of course, is that having fewer Republicans in the Lege would be an even better hedge against this kind of legislation, since nobody on the Democratic side is pushing it. We know that the Republican factions that claim to be queasy about anti-immigrant legislation are completely ineffective at doing anything about it, after all. News Taco has more.

UPDATE: And today the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill passed out of the Senate committee. It’s just a matter of time now.

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