Papers, Please?

PAPERS, PLEASE? A Tomball city council member’s attempt to prohibit anyone unable to cough up government-issued documentation of citizenship or residence from owning any sort of property or business, or from renting a home within city limits was defeated last night by a vote of the entire council — along with a few other proposals intended to get area residents riled up about illegal immigration: “All of the controversial measures, which drew both strong support and heated opposition from citizens and activists Tuesday night, were proposed by first-term Tomball City Councilman Derek Townsend Sr. His move to place the items on Tuesday’s agenda was seconded by Councilman Mark Stoll, who said he did not support the proposals but wanted to give Townsend a venue for discussion. . . . Townsend told the audience his proposals were not about racism, but about standing up for the U.S. Constitution.” [Houston Chronicle]

50 Comment

  • I think that actions by cities, counties, and states to restrict the actions and opportunities of “undesirables” (who in this case are appparently illegal or undocumented immigrants) is really more of an attempt at some feel-good legislation than anything else.

    Thankfully, the city council voted down Mr. Townsend’s proposals, but unfortunately the same cannot be said for other similiar legislation, where the “undesirable” is, say, a registed sex offender, who–as I understand it—are essentially restricted to literally living under a bridge in one town. I guess that sort of living condition is what some politicians want for illegal immigrants as well.

    But perhaps I’m being too harsh. After all, if Mr. Townsend truly believes that his proposal was simply “about standing up for the U.S. Constitution,” then surely he knows that his proposal is likely unconstitutional. So maybe he is merely trying to get his name in the news. He’d hardly be the first, or the last, to use a decisive issue as a way to do so.

  • Tomball has impressed me today in a manner I did not expect.

  • The measure went too far. They would have been much better off pushing a measure like Arizona and Rhode Island where it just “cut and pastes” federal law.

    Tomball could have also made rules which make it difficult for businesses to hire illegals (which is illegal) by posing hefty fines.

  • The Tomball folk are likely tired of seeing the declining standard of living these transplants bring to the neighborhood.

    Look what being a Sanctuary City turned Houston into.

  • In addition to citizenship documents, Tomball should have demanded that people prove they have at least half their teeth still in their mouth. Most of the town would have to move!

  • I think this quote from one of the citizenry sums it up, “And all I’m hearing is horror stories. Saturday on the corner, you have La Raza, anarchists and Marxists supporting our mayor and City Council.”
    I never thought Tomball might be a bastion of clear-headed municipal stewardship. Impressive. I guess Townsend and his “grassy knollers” will be doing the duck walk on Michael “Firebomb” Berry’s spew fest today.

  • Classy. I know that it was very carefully orchestrated for political purposes in the run-up to an election. Still, very well-executed. Gotta respect that.

  • They are simply thinking with their wallets. What would housing cost if every construction worker were a citizen working on the books? What would happen to a nation built on consumerism if there were suddenly 12 million less shoppers?
    There is no will among the powerful to stop illegal immigration because exploitable employees help depress wages and people who spend 100% of their small incomes help bottom lines.
    To paraphrase James Carville – It’s about profits, stupid.

  • Finness is right–follow the money. Back in the late 70s, I cut neighborhood yards for $20 a pop. Using the BLS’s CPI inflation calculator, that $20 is equal to about $60 today. But I know people in my neighborhood regularly hire certain Spanish-speaking gentlemen for $25 to cut their lawns (which they do with astonishing efficiency). So maybe the City Council of Tomball, thinking about the 22 times a year they get their lawns cut, voted to save themselves $770 per year in lawn care expenses.

  • Or, lazy ass teenagers can undercut the illegals by charging $20 and doing a good job. Or, homeowner can do it themselves. My parents in their 60s still cut the lawn now that all three kids all gone.

  • I still do not understand the reason why folks who were not born here want to live here, work here, have their children here and spend their money here yet still do not want to become citizens here.

    Or maybe they do want to become citizens and don’t know how to go about it?? Why would anyone want to remain an “illegal”?

  • Cost is the primary drawback. Short of marrying a citizen, the process of applying for citizenship can be a long and expensive one. Even just maintaining a work visa is no small matter for someone whose trade offers little or no permanency.

    Also…quite a few are just migrant workers for all intents and purposes, not intending to live here permanently. (Notice how when the economy went to crap, we saw reverse migration as they returned home. It’s not that they don’t love their motherland; more than anything, they’re here because they wany to provide for their family back home.)

  • It is so strange that local and state laws enforcing federal laws draw criticism. If I snuck into France or any other country, I’d expect to be arrested. Well, our state is totally screwed any ways.

  • Wow, when did Tomball become part of Arizona?

  • Mexico shoots or jails illegal immigrants. If they think you have money, you go to jail so your family can be extorted. If you are coming across the border from Guatemala, you get shot. Also, Mexico also doesn’t allow an immigrant to come to Mexico unless they are financially sound meaning you have a job and/or have wealth. They also won’t help you out by catering to whatever language you speak.

    And Mexico claims that Arizona is inhumane for wanting to arrest and deport illegals.

  • If we didn’t want them to come, we shouldn’t have invited them.

  • RWB – HA! You are so right!
    We have been marketing this country as the best on earth and now we are mad because so many people believed us?

  • I love it when folks like kjb go off on rants. So, your advice on how to handle immigration is to become more like Mexico? Sounds similar to the “Christians” who think our handling of the Ground Zero Mosque should be patterned after countries like Saudi Arabia (we’ll let ’em build it when we can build a church in Mecca!).

    Nice line of reasoning there, folks. NOT.

  • kjb434: Thank you.

    From RWB:
    If we didn’t want them to come, we shouldn’t have invited them.

    I didn’t, and I clean my own toilet and mow my own lawn.

  • Doofus,

    Where did you get that? My commentary is on how silly everyone is for thinking we treat illegals horrible if laws like this are passed. Yet our accusers will stand by Mexico when they condemn us even though Mexico’s own policies make Arizona’s law look like pure happiness.

    If I meet an illegal immigrant that can speak and read English and it working hard, I have no problem with them staying. The fact that they are attempting to assimilate is good. The biggest objection to illegal immigrants is that many don’t want to assimilate. They are happy re-creating the slum they came from versus truly bettering their lives. Along with the hard workers then come the criminal element that hides in the slums.

    For all those coming in here illegally, there are plenty that are going through it the right way. Just that having a direct land connection versus taking a boat or plane gives illegals an advantage.

  • @Finness

    That is crazy talk. That is like saying: Bank of America told me they had a lot of money, so I illegally entered the bank so that I could enjoy all the money
    Disneyland sez it is so nice, blah, blah, so I broke in at night to enjoy. This isn’t NAM, there are rules and laws.

    I guess everyone should just come here and have babies and send their kids to school for free, etc..? sounds reasonable.

  • miss_msry:

    You didn’t personally invite them, but big agribusiness did (up to and including running ads in Mexican newspapers). Next time you buy a steak or eat out in a restaurant, remember that the low price you are paying is in part because of the low labor cost. Labor provided most likely by illegal workers.

    I’m not saying this is the way it should be. I am saying it is the way we, as a country, have collectively decided it should be for the past few decades. I find it hard to blame someone for coming and taking a job that’s being offered to him.

  • RWB,

    Recent studies show that the increase cost if farm labor was replaced by legal U.S. citizens earning proper wages and benefits would cause a jump of only $8 to the average American per year. So a family of 4 would have an increase in about $24. Big whoop.

    Farming is so mechanized now that the role illegal immigrants play in the agriculture business isn’t big enough so that if the labor changed hands with legal workers would not be a problem.

    Also, farming makes a VERY small portion of the illegal immigrant labor here in the U.S. Ideally, we should have a temp worker system like Canada were the government physically deports all farm labor at the end of the harvesting season. They’ve been able to keep a lid on low income immigrants taking over.

    The core issue is that illegal immigrants are seen as future voters. If the Democrat Party didn’t think illegal immigrants would vote for them once given amnesty, they wouldn’t be lifting a finger for the immigrants at all. A few idiots in the Republican Party think they can sway some illegals over too. Big business only has so much influence. 2007 showed that the public can stop amnesty even with industries lobbying hard for it and a president supporting it.

    The Arizona law is polling near or at 70% support over and over again in various polls. That kind of support is something unheard of for any political issue. Around 20 states are considering similar laws to Arizona currently. The state of Rhode Island has an identical law as Arizona for several years, but the Justice Department is leaving them alone. Sounds fishy….

  • Meatpacking plants aren’t farms. And they have actively recruited in Mexico for decades. “Show up and we’ll hire you.” restaurants have the same attitude. Construction as well. If no one would hire them, they wouldn’t come. This isn’t a political thing–this is an economic fact of life. Again, I’m not saying this is good. I’m just saying it takes two (or more) to do the illegal immigrant tango–the worker who wants a job (and doesn’t mind crossing the border illegally to get it) and the employer who wants cheap labor (and doesn’t check his employees papers very hard–or at all).

  • The Republicans had 8 years recently to do something and they didn’t because business interests DO set the agenda in Washington and they want underpaid workers who get no benefits and cannot file for workers comp, plus they need those 12 million shoppers. Please see post # 9.

    It is really that simple.

  • That’s why the “other” Arizona law that no one is protesting was already forcing illegals out of the state prior to the controversial one. Arizona forced all businesses to verify all workers using the E-Verify system. Businesses caught violating can lose their license to operate, get fined, and jail time for the owners. This has caused an exodus of illegals from Arizona long before they even conceived the controversial law that everybody is talking about now.

    I long believed the businesses should be made accountable so they won’t hire which means the jobs dry up for illegals. Then illegals would leave on their own. It’s a much better answer than round them up and deport.

  • Finess, then why did the Republicans vote down amnesty? I’m not saying that there a bunch of Republicans in support illegal immigration for business interests, but when they were in full control they couldn’t even get anything passed.

  • And among employers, I am going to finger the rock-ribbed Republicans in my part of town who hire Mexican lawn workers, nannies and maids. I know none of you good people do this–you mow your own lawns! But I can assure you that there are thousands of people in Memorial (where I live) who wholeheartedly support Arizona-style laws while cheerfully employing illegal immigrants. And probably the same is true in many other parts of the Houston metro area.

  • As a former resident of Tomball I am appalled. Republicans love double standards, greed over people..

  • To each his own. If they can live in their hypocrisy, that’s their problem. The reality is that those Memorial residents you speak of likely don’t support the Arizona law and are Republican. Republican party and conservative positions are two completely different things.

    From my view into the Republicans, there is an ongoing war between conservatives and the upper echelons of the party elders. The stereotypical blue blood Republicans are fighting to keep the party away from the mass of average conservative minded Americans. Reagan was the first to do it. The Tea Party movement has elements attempting to do it again in November and again in 2012.

  • RWB:

    I grew up in Memorial. And the use of what are basically peons was unheard of then. It is time for Americans to get back on track and quit using slave labor just to make their lives a little easier and cheaper.

  • How does one go about determining that the lawn guy or house keeper is an illegal?

    Do the would be employers come right out and ask if they have papers? Surely they don’t profile. Plenty of folks in my neighborhood use lawn services, mostly hispanic but I doubt any of my neighbors have asked about “papers”.

  • Illegals=Larger Unions
    Larger Unions=More Union Dues
    More Union Dues=More Politcal Contributions to Dems

    Illegals=Cheap Labor
    Cheap Labor=Higher Profits
    Higher Profits=More Politcal Contributions to Repubs

    Reasonable people can agree that hard working, honest, tax paying immigrants represent a valuable asset to this country. They can also agree that allowing violent criminals and unskilled, uneducated immigrants into the country is a drain on our resources. But reasonable people do not take political contributions.

  • miss_msry, the requisites for someone to be considered a slave are that they are considered a marketable asset to which another person can claim title and that they have no rights of refusal to what their owners ask of them.

    Mexicans work more inexpensively than Americans, that’s true. But nobody owns them. They are free to come and go as they please (at least within the labor market). They are paid in cash with which they can do with what they want (and that has much greater buying power in Mexico). To refer to them as slaves is degrading and bigoted. They are nobody’s slaves.

  • Flash,
    This is why you are seeing states like Arizona unrolling the middle finger to federal government and using the federal laws and the Constitution to do it. More states are following their lead.

    The thing is, local officials and state officials are closer to the people, and they have to answer to the people more often then the guys that hide in Washington. The solution to illegal immigration will come from the states. Good solutions never come from the federal government.

  • From Flash:

    Illegals=Larger Unions
    Larger Unions=More Union Dues
    More Union Dues=More Politcal Contributions to Dems
    This not only makes no sense, but it is demonstrably not true. Over the past three decades as illegal immigration has crept up, union membership has declined. This makes sense–if you have a steady supply of new workers who are always willing to work cheap and never complain (for fear of being deported), it becomes harder for a union to survive. We can look at the meatpacking industry. As the meatpacking industry consolidated into four very large firms, the unions at most plants were broken. In 1980, 80% of meatpackers were unionized. In 2000 it was 30%. It’s probably less now. During that time, the all-American workforce at these plants has been supplanted by extremely compliant, uncomplaining illegal aliens, willing to work for very low wages and too scared to complain about unsafe working conditions. In short, the perfect employee!

  • RWB,

    What happens if amnesty is passed? The unions will flock to sign up all of these illegals. SEIU has said they are going to do this and which is why they are a big supporter of amnesty. Flash’s point about the union is that it is going to happen in the future if they are given any form a legal status.

  • kjb434:

    So the Democrat’s and unions’ secret plan was to let hordes of illegals into the country for 30 to 40 years, driving down wages and helping companies like Cargill and Tyson foods to destroy unions (by virtue of having an army of low-wage replacements for any would-be strikers), so that they could legalize all those immigrants and get them to join unions?

  • (Note to self: don’t get drawn into arguments about illegal immigrants!)

  • Or just sit back and read this; there are some valid points being made. Unrolling the middle finger (lol) good one..

  • RWB,

    I depends on which union. SEIU could care less about the Teamsters. They currently don’t like each other. SEIU is also gaining much more strength since their numbers are currently growing and manufacturing and processing unions are shrinking. So, you are right. And I’m right.

    P.S.: (I ditto your comment about not entering the illegal immigrant fray in the future.)

  • Are there any parents on this blog with kids attending public school? Based on the comments above, I will guess very few. The consequences of illegal or English as a second language children on the classroom make this tax payer upset to say the least.

  • From RWB
    “…extremely compliant, uncomplaining illegal aliens, willing to work for very low wages and too scared to complain about unsafe working conditions.”

    In short, the perfect potential union worker. The unions are suffering because they no longer represent the interests of the American worker from whom they collect dues. To swell their ranks they are taking up the cause of these “low wage too scared” workers. It matters not if they are legal, just that they are organized and dues paying.

    You are correct that businesses have used the illegals to drive down employment costs and displace American workers. See my second point above.

  • RWB- You’d make more progess trying to convert a shi’ite into a sunni. Common sense doesn’t register when you’re too busy unrolling a middle finger to those nasty Feds.

  • just remember, when you say things like “drive down employment costs and displace american workers” you’re also saying “decreasing the cost of living for americans”.

  • @joel: Exactly! And can you imagine how bad the trade imbalance might be without illegal labor peforming these tasks domestically?

  • Jesus, is there no place on the web safe from a roiling back and forth in comments about how terrible the “illegals” are for our society?

    Swamplot, I thought you had more tact than this… Drumming up interest by putting yet another notch in a manufactured debate.

    Are all of you so seriously myopic not to see this is the _same exact thing_ politicians have been doing for the history of this country? What’s so different about the political argument now than in 1843, 1907, 1924, 1965, 1982? Have you, quite possibly, considered that all of this is simply to distract you from the real cause of the problems we’re having? And, instead of doing _anything_ to fix those (and I’m going to leave it to your imagination…) we’re instead re-hashing the same tired old arguments. The only difference being that instead of talking about the Irish, the Slavs, the Chinese, the Jews, or some other nationality, we’re really just talking about Hispanics.

    Swamplot, some of us come here for refuge from the political Rube Goldberg machine of distraction, can we please keep it that way?

  • The big businesses that support the GOP are never the ones raided in illegal immigration raids, and they are the ones that hire the most. Do you ever see immigration raids on the large construction interests in Houston? The manufacturers that support the oil industry? No, you see raids at the rag factories, at a chosen few (low profit) manufacturing concerns and the lower income restaurants. Grandstanding, not real enforcement.

  • A large meat packing plant (Omaha?) was raided with 300+ illegals working there.

    The American Apparel clothing company had their “american made” cover blown when it was discovered that they rain illegal immigrant sweat shops in California with over a 1000 illegals (from Asia, Mexico, Central America).

    These two were hardly small raids.

    After the earlier Arizona law was passed that specifically targeted businesses who hire illegals, all manner of businesses were raided in that state (small and large).

    Truthfully, I don’t think enough raids have been done and businesses who hire should always be the target and not the illegals themselves.

    As others have mentioned, if the jobs don’t exist, the illegals will go away.