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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bonnen Takes Lead on Illegal Immigration Legislation

Insider's Report Vol. 7, No. 5

Throughout the course of our state and our country's history, legal immigrants have forged the foundation of our society.  I have a very personal connection to this ideal since my grandfather came to this country legally when he was just seventeen and dedicated himself to building a business and becoming an American.  Legal immigration is the cornerstone of our nation and has provided us with prosperity.

However, the problem of illegal immigration threatens the economic success of all Texans and has become a burden on taxpayers who are forced to foot the bill.  More than this, the presence of undocumented aliens in the state brings a stigma that casts a shadow over the honorable status held by those here legally.

Of all the issues faced by the Texas Legislature, I have received the most correspondence from constituents regarding the great need to address illegal immigration given that our federal government has failed to take action.  In response, I have joint-authored an omnibus package of legislation aimed at stopping this growing problem.

The overall purpose of these bills is to reduce the strain on taxpayer-funded programs by denying state assistance to undocumented aliens, such as in-state tuition rates, public benefits, and admission into public universities.  This legislation would also require state agencies and other public entities to begin reporting the costs of services to illegal immigrants.

These legislative proposals ensure that individuals working in the state of Texas are legally authorized to do so by requiring all governmental entities to verify their eligibility to be legally employed.  Further, job applicants must establish employment eligibility when applying for a business license issued by a governmental entity.  Finally, the state would be prohibited from entering into contracts with contractors unless they and their subcontractors are registered in a status verification system.

Texans have spoken loudly on this issue and it is unfortunate that our federal leaders have neglected their duty to stop illegal immigration.  I remain a dedicated proponent of removing Texas' systematic incentives that lure undocumented aliens to take harbor in our state at a tremendous cost to hardworking taxpayers.

If you wish to learn more about HB 128, 255, 256, 260, 261, 262, 266, and 276, you can also visit and search for each of them by bill number.