Photo: Texas Associate of Business Executive Director Bill Hammond
“The xenophobic agenda has come to Texas,” said a coordinator with the Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance Adriana Cadena.
Businesses, along with religious and civil rights groups say that new Texas anti-immigration legislation like that in Arizona could cost the state millions in lost money from wealthy Mexican investors.
At a news conference, Texas Associate of Business Executive Director Bill Hammond, in agreement with Cadena, said, “Many people do not realize it but Mexican nationals invest literally millions and millions of dollars in Texas and we believe that one of the undetermined effects of this legislation that people haven’t considered is the drying up of that investment. It will be bad for Texas and we oppose it.”
“Arizona-style legislation will be extremely detrimental to the state of Texas. The reputation it holds in the world and in the country will be badly damaged by this kind of legislation,” Hammond added. “We know from the Arizona example it will be bad for Texas, It will be bad for employers. It will be bad for employees. The convention business in Arizona, the pipeline, if you will, has dried up as a result of this ill-considered legislation.”
Due to boycotts in Arizona, a large number of convention reservations were either canceled or never made, costing the already struggling state millions.
The Arizona immigration laws Hammond, Cadena, and others are responding to allow local officers to enforce immigration laws previously only allowed to be enforced by the federal government. The law states that if someone is legally stopped by police and the officer has “probable cause” that the person is in the country illegally, and said person doesn’t have identification, the police officer must ask if the person is in the country legally.
Also against Arizona-like immigration reform is Sam Guzman, the president of the Texas Association of Mexican-American Chambers of Commerce, who said it “saddens” him to see anti-immigrant legislation filed in Texas, because it not what America is about.
“Anybody who thinks it is, is not a true American in my mind. It certainly isn’t the Texas way, at least from the standpoint of who established Texas to begin with.”
In defense of immigration bills like Arizona’s SB 1070, state Senator Dan Patrick, R-Houston, said that even though most undocumented immigrants are only coming to the U.S. in search of better live, “the truth is that there are a lot of bad people coming here.”
As Texas’ motto is “friendship,” Republican Gov. Rick Perry and a number of others are all in agreement that the legislation being proposed and modeled after Arizona’s is simply not good for Texas.