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Immigration Proposal In Texas Should Be Dubbed “The Whitman Loophole”

by Mahwish Khan on 03/04/2011 at 4:40pm

A proposal in the Texas state legislature to crack down on the hiring of undocumented immigrants features a huge exception for household labor — once again exposing the breathtaking hypocrisy of some Republicans who want to sound tough on the issue, but still benefit from undocumented labor.  

We’ve aptly named it the “Meg Whitman Loophole,” in honor of the 2010 California gubernatorial candidate who took a harsh position on immigration reform, but employed an undocumented housekeeper. 

Now, this not a new idea for the GOP.  In 1984, Congressman Dan Lungren (R-CA) introduced something similar to the Immigration Reform and Control Act.  The Lungren amendment exempted employers of three people or less from verification requirements for work authorization. Though it passed in the House in 1984, the provision was not included in the final 1986 bill.  However, the idea has resurfaced in the Texas state legislature once politicians started to grapple with the real-world consequences of their anti-immigrant fervor.      

The new bill in the Texas legislature would propose two years in jail and up to $10,000 fines for people who “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly” hire unauthorized immigrants.  Specifically exempted are laborers relegated to “work to be performed exclusively or primarily at a single-family residence.””

You read that correctly. It’s apparently really that hard to find good help in Texas.

This bill in Texas is perhaps one of the more honest pieces of immigration legislation put forward by the GOP this season, showing the party’s true colors and the hypocrisy that drives the GOP strategy on “illegal” immigration: deport all undocumented immigrants — except the ones who work for me.

The Meg Whitman loophole defines the GOP perfectly: sound tough on the airwaves, but protect your own interests at the same time

It would seem that Texas Republicans such as House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith, Rep. Dan Lungren, and others are more interested in carving out exemptions for their country club buddies rather than finding practical solutions to the problems that they so frequently bemoan.

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