Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Proposed TX Laws Mirrors Parts of AZ-SB1070

Greg Bonnen of League City
(Courtesy of Texas House of Representatives,
Public Domain)
Matt Krause of Fort Worth
(Courtesy of Texas House of Representatives,
Public Domain)

 Fort Worth area representative Matt Krause introduced a bill to the Texas legislature that mirrors part of Arizona's controversial SB1070. The majority of SB1070 was upheld by the US Supreme Court this past summer. Texas, another state plagued with illegal immigrants, is joining Arizona in bolstering its enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Krause's proposed bill mandates that any state, county, or municipal law enforcement officer check the immigration status of anyone detained whose citizenship cannot be immediately determined. H.B. 2187 dictates that the arresting agency conduct checks through the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement's database that is maintained by the Department of Homeland Security.

If the detainee is found to be in violation of immigration law, the arresting agency must present that evidence to a judge before a bond or bail hearing takes place. In addition, the detainees are then to be transferred to ICE or the US Border Patrol for processing, per federal policy.

In another proposed bill, Greg Bonnen of Austin introduced H.B. 2301. H.B. 2301 will require all employers in Texas to use the E-Verify or similar system to determine the immigration status and employment eligibility of current employees and potential new hires. This law expands the E-Verify mandate to all government agencies and contractors operating within Texas, to include those contracting with the federal government and federal agencies.

Furthermore, this bill clarifies the status of so-labeled "independent contractors". It states that the employing company must still perform E-Verify checks on any contracted personnel performing services, be they "independent", "sub-contractors", or a contracted business. This includes any business performing interstate services, if they employ personnel or perform services within the state of Texas.

As reported last week, Texas SCR 6 is making its way through the legislative process. It has been placed on the Senate's "Intent" calender for March 12, 2013 and may see a vote on Wednesday, March 13,2013. If passed, the resolution will forward a demand to the US Government to reimburse Texas for expenses it incurred enforcing immigration and securing the international border with Mexico.

Since Arizona passed AZ-SB1070, several states, including Texas, have adopted similar laws. The US Supreme Court's decision that upheld the majority of that law has bolstered many states, especially border states, to better enforce federal laws that the federal government seems ill-equipped or otherwise neglects to adequately enforce.