I am sure that there are other areas of disagreement about the Texas Republican Platform, but it seemed like the only plank people wanted to argue about was the one on Immigration. The new plank in its entirety read:
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.
This approach closely follows the suggestions of Newt Gingrich this year and Mike Huckabee four years ago. It is within the mainstream of Republican thought and in no way paves the way for Amnesty now or in the future for those who have entered our nation illegally.
A softened approach to those who are already here (and who are being as productive as they can be in the shadow economy that is necessary for their survival) coupled with a commitment to securing the border is the most rational approach going forward. I commend the Platform Committee and the Delegates who approved the new language overwhelmingly.
There are those who will claim that this language was slipped through because we didn't get to the Platform on the floor until late into the evening on Friday. However, a reasonable analysis should lead to the conclusion that the vast majority of those opposed to the new plank would have been especially motivated to return for the 9:00 p.m. session. Even so, the Texas Solution was approved by roughly a 2 to 1 margin of those present and voting. I believe that if the entire delegation had been present, the ratio would have been closer to 3 or 4 to 1 in favor.
Maybe, just maybe, the Republican Party can stop antagonizing hispanic voters. If we don't, the future of the Party in Texas will begin to look bleaker and bleaker.