New Immigration Proposal in Texas Should be Dubbed the “Whitman Loophole”
Washington – A proposal in the Texas state legislature to crack down on the hiring of undocumented immigrants features a huge exception for household labor—exposing the breathtaking hypocrisy of some Republicans who want to sound tough on the issue, while still benefiting from the work of undocumented immigrants.
In fact, the “Meg Whitman Loophole,” as we would like to call it, is not a new idea for the GOP. In 1984, Congressman Dan Lungren (R-CA) introduced a similar carve-out to the Immigration Reform and Control Act. The Lungren amendment exempted employers of three people or less from work authorization verification requirements. Despite passing the House in 1984, the provision was not included in the final 1986 bill. But the idea cropped up again in the Texas state legislature this year, once politicians started to grapple with the real-world consequences of their anti-immigrant fervor.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “This bill in the Texas legislature is the most honest piece of immigration legislation put forward by the GOP this season. How so? Because it codifies 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.”
The Texas proposal would legislate two years in jail and up to $10,000 fines for people who “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly” hire unauthorized immigrants. Specifically exempted: laborers relegated to “work to be performed exclusively or primarily at a single-family residence.””
According to Sharry, “Instead of carving out exemptions for their country club buddies, it’s time for Texas Republicans, House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith, Rep. Dan Lungren, and others to admit it: the only route to an orderly immigration system is comprehensive immigration reform.”
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