I notice that each theme of the immigration hearings is different. One was apparently held last night in Plano by Sam Johnson- Theme: The Education and Workforce Committee will look into the employment verification system for illegal immigrants. The one in Austin on August 17 -Theme: The Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing titled, "What are the criminal consequences of illegal immigration along the Southern Border?" and El Paso on August 17 - The Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing called,"What is the financial impact of illegal immigration on communities along the U.S. border?"
I'd sure like to be there to ask questions about the Trans-Texas Corridor and immigration. If Republicans are concerned about illegal immigration along the border, then why are they putting in a system in Texas via the TTC that will facilitate it? I'm not for building a wall along the border, feels like we live in a communist country, like East Germany and it's kind of amazing that the party that claims to revere Ronald "Tear Down That Wall" Reagan thinks a wall is a good idea, instead of, oh, say, enforcing the law and penalizing businesses who break it with stiff penalities. Oh, no, instead, its walls and concentration camps built by Halliburton and using the National Guard to man video cameras instead of funding Border Patrol properly. (and don't forget about the wall which will be around the TTC-the Great Wall of Texas that will divide communities one from another and dead-end farm-to-market roads at the wall)
Someone at one of the TTC hearings said that the projected population explosion in Texas that necessitated the TTC was due, in part, to influx of illegal immigrants. Since the TXDot people were only providing a sham hearing in which no TXDot person actually answered any citizen's questions, I don't know where that came from, if it's true, or a misconception. (In fact, I think it's worth discussing the very premise of TXDot's assertions of population growth, where the numbers came from, and why, even if true, the only solution for Texas must be a private toll road that takes private land). However, I do believe that it's true that the NAFTA/CAFTA policies of trade have created a bad situation in which citizens of countries suppressed by those policies will seek better jobs in other countries in order to feed families or have what they hope is a better life.
I have to be honest. Immigration is simply not a hot button issue for me. I believe that, being a nation of law, those that follow the law ought to be honored and those who break it should be penalized. And it's wrong to stiff immigrants who are patient and follow naturalization procedures to become citizens to put ahead those who don't. Seems to me that if corporate and business interests hadn't been so concerned with geting cheap, under the table labor while crippling developing countries ability to grow their own economies (not under NAFTA/CAFTA), and had we properly funded INS, we wouldn't have near the issues we have now.
I also believe, from attending a meeting before that had a lot of Texas Republicans in it, that the people concerned about it are racist. At least from the impression I got at a town hall meeting held by Chet Edwards last year, the Republicans up in arms seemed afraid of a hispanic invasion and I heard, repeatedly, people gripe about how spanish was being spoken in America and gasp, some phone books are even printed in Spanish, or voting cards. I just couldn't get with the anxiety over it (I have more anxiety over Bush trampling the constitution on a daily basis and acting like a King which doesn't seem to trouble the xenophobes locally).
At any rate, it would be interesting to attend the Austin meeting. I don't see a location listed yet. Here is a link to a list of meetings being held nationwide.