State Republicans Blame Each Other For Immigration Bill Failure

AUSTIN (AP) – When the Texas Legislature’s special session began, Republican majorities in the House and Senate warned Democrats they wouldn’t be able to stop an immigration enforcement bill that had sparked one of the toughest partisan fights of the year.

The bill would have given police more power to ask anyone they detain about their citizenship status, a measure Hispanic Democrats derided as racist and a tool to harass Latinos.

But when the bill died again this week without a vote in the House, Democrats smirked while Gov. Rick Perry and GOP lawmakers angrily blamed each other for its demise.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and the Senate blamed the House. The House blamed the Senate.

Perry chimed in, picking on Sen. Robert Duncan and prompting colleagues of the lawmaker from Lubbock to rally around him.

Ultimately, the Republican majorities in both chambers left one of Perry’s priority issues for dead and ended the session Wednesday taking aim at each other in a circular firing squad.

The Senate “failed,” House Speaker Joe Straus said.

Dewhurst tweaked the House by noting that twice in the previous week the House failed to get 100 members needed to show up to do work.

House Republican leader Larry Taylor of Friendswood had gone to the Bahamas on vacation with his family. Dewhurst noted he cancelled a trip to France for D-Day invasion anniversary celebrations to stay in Austin.

“I didn’t go on a 14-day trip to visit Normandy with my wife and little daughter and my two brothers and their families and I expect others to be here,” Dewhurst said.

Perry, who is considering a run for president, made the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill one of his top priorities during the regular session and put it on the agenda of the special session.

Perry and supporters say the bill would have helped police fight crime committed by illegal immigrants. But opponents, including many police chiefs and sheriffs, said it would allow rogue officers to target Latinos.

Republicans in both chambers had the muscle to pass any bill they wanted during the regular session if they used it.

The Senate, where Democrats were able to block the bill during the regular session, passed the immigration bill on June 15 after several hours of tense, emotional debate.

That sent the bill to the House, where the Republicans hold a 101-49 supermajority big enough to pass bills whether Democrats even bothered to show up to vote.

The House had passed the bill by a wide margin during the regular session and was expected to do so again. But this time, the House let the bill languish and die in committee this time.

Perry and House Republicans tried to negotiate a version of the immigration bill into a must-pass budget bill that included $4 billion in public education cuts.

The theory was that because the immigration bill potentially withholds state grant money from law enforcement agencies if they did not comply, the budget bill was an appropriate place to put it.

That’s where Duncan comes in. As the lead negotiator on the budget bill, Perry blamed him for standing in the way and the Senate refused to put in the immigration provision.

“Because of this action, the special session will not provide our peace officers with the discretion they need to adequately keep Texans safe from those that would do them harm,” Perry said.

The Senate Republican Caucus told Perry to back off.

Caucus Chairman Sen. Robert Nichols of Jacksonville said the group considered the change but told Duncan they wanted to keep it out of the bill for fear it would jeopardize the budget bill.

The House had its chance to pass the Senate version on its own, Nichols said.

Democrats, meanwhile, watched the bill die without having to do anything to kill it.

“Latino citizens who faced racial profiling and discrimination under this bill can breathe a sigh of relief,” said Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, chairman of the Senate Hispanic Caucus. “(The bill) would have forced a sizeable portion of the Texas population to prove their citizenship, perhaps time and again, just because of the color of their skin.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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  • darrell

    the texas legislature can play the political blame game all day. the bottom line however is that collectively they failed Texas, Voters, Americans, America, Tax Payers, Hospital Districts, School Districts, “Our” Economy, “Our” Jobs, and everything we put them in austin to do and represent for us.

    They helped the economy of Mexico, the hispanic insurgency and economic terrorism it has brought to Texas and America, and the “Liberal Left Socialist” movement made up mostly of democrats.

    They helped those who make a living by Human Trafficking, Drug Cartels, Identity Theft, Medicare/Medicaid Fraud.

    They Failed!

    • Ron

      Darrell, a lot of what you say is true…

      but this bill is the wrong approach. I don’t blame those with a brain that didn’t show. You can not make all Hispanics subject to this type of police action to capture a few that are not suppose to be here. I’m not hispantic and I think the bill stinks. This should be a wake-up call to the Texas law makers who formed this bill. HELLO… Hispanics are Americans too!

    • TxLiberal

      darrell – you must be a teabagger MORON, of course they failed!
      They never intended to do anything, who would build the houses, the roads, wait on you at Chilis?
      You are a racist! The Mexican-Am shouldn’t have to prove over and over again that they are citizens of this country, and we MUST INCLUDE A NATIONAL IMMIGRATION BILL THAT ALLOWS IMMIGRANTS TO GET CITIZENSHIP!
      Rants like yours just show how bankrupt your side really is, besides that we need the population growth to keep our greedy capitalist system alive.
      By golly, I think I’m one of those Liberal Left, but I’m not really a socialist. I just want a special kind of tax, on stupidly – CONGRATS! YOU QUALIFY!

      • NAR

        Hmm, perhaps they are working jobs that you consider yourself too good to perform TxLiberal, but there are plenty of Americans, white, hispanic, black who are willing to take those jobs, but not for sub minimum wages. The dirty secret behind all this “immigration” is the cheap, insurance and medical less labor force. That’s all. Immigrants are always welcome in the Great Melting Pot, but as the name implies, you must assimilate and want to be an American, not an economic “American in pay only” that propagates, promotes and reveres their former country of birth. If you love Mexico, or any home country more than you love America, then you shouldn’t be here. Fix your own country, and stop living off the goodwill of the American people. It has to stop. Control the border, regulate and enforce legal hiring. Simple solution. We do not reward people who broke the law to begin with.

        While I agree that you should not constantly have to prove your citizenship to every cop that pulls you over, if you can’t speak English, you can’t argue your point.That said, there should be a tax on liberal ideology. I mean, why not? Tax is your answer for everything. Oh, except for you of course.

      • darrell

        hey there txliberal. this part of the u.s. belongs to mexico just about as much as mexico belongs to spain. get over it.
        its nice to see card carrying narrow minded fools like you strutting around spewing your tainted view of reality. makes people with common sense appreciate what they have.
        as far as immigrants being allowed to gain citizenship, those laws are allready in the books, fill out the papers and apply from your home country.
        illegal is illegal, as an illegal insurgent in this country, you have no rights. period.
        oh,, were you dropped as an infant? or is it a tumor that makes you that way? just worried about you sanity and health is all.
        have a nice day.

  • Ron

    I thought I was living in America…Whats with a bill like this in the first place?
    There are several people in Austin that need to get their head on straight.

  • upchkn

    Ron, nobody wants to limit the freedoms of ANY LEGAL IMMIGRANT!!! This bill is soley directed at criminals. If they are AMERICANS, they are Americans. Not all Hispanics are Americans, the problems is the Hispanic criminals. Coming across our borders illegally makes them criminals. Do you complain when you come across a highway check point, looking for drunk drivers or perhaps an escaped convict? What is the difference? If they aren’t looking for you, you have nothing to worry about.

  • Trev

    If you are an American or a legal immigrant isn’t that something to be proud of? Shouldn’t you be glad to prove it to anyone who cares to ask? I mean I would be, but no one ever questions my citizenship.

  • TxLiberal

    The GOP is just playing games, trying to PLEASE the rabid dog teabaggers.
    Our police should have something better to do than harass Mexican-Am or other minority groups that some of you don’t seem to want as neighbours!
    Well, if there are too many Mexican-Americans around in Texas, maybe you should go back to the red-neck south or the other state you immigrated from, they have BEEN HERE LONGER THAN THE WHITES – DON’T YOU KNOW YOUR HISTORY, THE WHITES STOLE THIS ENTIRE QUARTER OF THE NATION FROM MEXICO, EITHER IN 1836 OR 1848.

    • RussP

      Obviously you don’t even understand your own words. A Mexican American would be a legal American born here of Mexican desent. The bill was intended to apply to Mexican citizens who had entered the United States illegally. A very big difference.

    • NAR

      Then might I beseech you to move to the “motherland” south of the border? Wars are fought for a reason. Perhaps you can lend your warrior talents to a new fight for territory. Maybe you will be on the winning side this time. The only rabid dog in this forum seems to be you yapping.

  • Rick McDaniel

    The inept, are still in charge, it seems.

  • mkycp

    Good. Now maybe YOU can support these grifters rather than the rest of us. If you want them here so badly YOU pay for their healthcare, the costs of their kids on the school system, their Lonestar cards etc. By the way, as far as history is concerned, Texas WAS paid for….in blood. WAKE UP!!!!! WE CAN’T AFFORD THIS ANYMORE!!!! YOUR LIBERAL INSANITY HAS BROUGHT THIS COUNTRY TO THE BRINK!!!!

  • Kim Dar

    What I like is the little zinger they put in the school finance bill that says to renew your drivers license you may have to prove you are a legal resident. I think a lot of those folks in Austin are just like the ones in Washington D.C. They have lost sight of what we elected them to do and they need to be replaced A.S.A.P. They are all failing us. Seems no one can meet a deadline nor do they seem to care about our well being.

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