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March 2nd, 2011
12:54 PM ET

Texas Immigration Bill has Big Exceptions

A Texas lawmaker is proposing a bill that would make it a crime to knowingly hire "unauthorized immigrants." According to the bill's author, the bill would exempt from prosecution people who hire undocumented workers to help out at single-family residences."

Click here to check out the details and leave your comments below.


Filed under: Ali Velshi • Anchors • Don Lemon
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. john

    Obama has not provided a LONG for version of his birth certificate ,your newsroom reporter should get her facts straight or prove it ,any one back when obama was born could walk into a hospital and register a live birth,so all i can say is PROVE he was born here with actual facts and someone that worked there ever seeing him there.

    March 2, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  2. Bob

    Illegal is illegal, they shouldn't be here in the first place. They are taking away work that American people need. I bet the illegals still are getting free healthcare, free education, food stamps and a whole bunch more which is costing America and the American tax payers billions of dollors. The people who hire illegals should be prosecuted and the illegals deported.

    March 2, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  3. Barbara Johnson

    Why does this ring a bell to me? It reminds me of the Old South, when slaves were owned to meet the needs of the wealthy. Why do I relate nearly everything which comes from th Texas Republican 'idea' box to those which come from the mind of Charlie Sheen? )They meet the needs of the Republicans...and have nothing to do with anyone else and they are absolutely obsessive) It is okay to make 'illegal immigrants' hide in the mansion...as long as they are doing the work for the Republicans. Maybe Texas should cecede after all. I certainly wouldn't miss this type of behavior!

    March 2, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  4. Keith

    Sounds like a step in the right direction to regaining control of the immigration problem. But why the exceptions? Give those "household" jobs to those on government assistance if they want to continue recieving monthly checks. Talk about a way to save $$$$$

    March 2, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  5. Felix

    Sounds like a bill to legalize modern slavery- I'm pretty sure these workers are not even getting min wage, but less. Sounds like working in the house slave and working in the fields slaves

    March 2, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  6. Carol

    What part of ILLEGAL don't they understand. Single family residence would still pay less to an undocumented alien just like the bigger business. Whitman who wasted millions running for Gov. of California knowingly had a illegal house keeping and them fired her when she ran for office. Close the borders!!!!!

    March 2, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  7. Jude

    WHAT!!!! This is crazy. It seems to be a for the rich to get cheap labor!! Now is this going to help curb the flow of illegals? The arguement that this is being proposed because the Government is not doing it's job. What!!?? May I remind Texas that the "government" is we the people...so is the solution for we the people to pick and choose what is legal and what is not?! You shouldn't throw people in jail for hiring illegals. You should hit them where it hurts. The pocketbook. If they choose to hire cheap illegal labor, then make them pay. Soon it would be cheaper to hire true citizens. Thanks for letting me vent.

    March 2, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  8. Agha

    I'm moving to TX...

    only a politician with ill intentions can propose such discriminatory measure. Present a bill which is enforced on all, and without any if or but clauses.

    Exactly the reason that this country's headed where it is that our leaders are making convenient decisions!!!

    March 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  9. Phillip Hunt

    I'm sorry but that is THE most racist loophole I've ever heard. So sad

    March 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  10. Sharon

    Any exception to standing law is ridiculous. Please law makers do your job. Do not allow anyone in to work unless they are naturalized citizens. Stop the insanity.

    March 2, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  11. patty

    I do not think there should be any exceptions
    they are opening the door for more illegals in this country and they should all go home where they belong they do not belong here getting all the freebies that the people living here can"t get.

    March 2, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  12. Ron San Antonio, TEXAS

    Ali, this is the same BS addressing the needs of the Rich! Are they taking American Jobs, YES! We have landscapers, I can't drive down the road without them slowing me down! Only the Illegals drive slow in the fast lane and don't understand!!!!

    It's only reality if you want to get off cheap and exploit the illegals and they are exploited, but, that does nothing for solving the problem of illegal immigration. Far from it, it allows it! If our state legislatures cannot see "Illegal", we're going to loose more jobs!

    This is total BS, Illegal is Illegal! Get real!

    March 2, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  13. Brian

    I live in Aaron Pena's district. The vast majority of his constituents are immigrant workers or employers of such people. It is the nature of the area and vital to our economy. This bill would seriously harm not only our local economy in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, but across the state. The demeaning bill would take us back 50 years when Mexican-Americans were forced into unskilled labor jobs and kept in the impoverished lower class. Aaron Pena is a traitor to his people.

    March 2, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  14. james doe

    The exception is acceptable because the problems do not arise from individuals hiring individual migrant workers, but rather from big businesses cheating migrant workers and domestic workers of fair wages by hiring cheap labor.

    Further, it prevents convictions of people that hire individuals without checking their employment eligibility. Individuals can't be expected to check other individuals employment eligibility, it just is not a resource individual employers have.

    March 2, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  15. ali khan

    This is another republican bill to save rich people form felony, for hiring illeagal. Most of rich and political party people get in trouble for hiring illegals for there dirty jobs, regular people don't have maids and babysitters or really can afford at this time.Illegals don't come to Usa for working for Ibm or google most of them do these kind of jobs. Another bill to help out ellite of Usa

    March 2, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  16. Stephen

    Exceptions for maids and landscapers! Has everyone lost their mind?There can be no exceptions for anyone. I know of some other nationalities that will clean house and do landscaping. Believe it or not a lot of them are Caucasian and Afro-American. If I go to live in another country I learn their language out of respect. Everyone that lives in any country for an extended period of time should be a citizen of that country and that country's language should be the primary language they speak.

    March 2, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  17. sojourner

    People who are in the US illegally are committing a crime and are taking jobs away from American citizens who need work. Texas is headed in the right direction. However, I strongly oppose the "exceptions". ALL employment of ALL people illegally in this country should be banned. Noone should hire anyone for any job without first making sure they have documentation allowing them to work in this country. It should also be a crime to attempt to obtain work in this country without documentation.

    March 2, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  18. Jo L

    Why is it that congress people always support a bill or an ammendment, but they just can't really come up with reasons except, I can't speak for this person, but I know they are a good person and I know what they are saying is true? Then is it ok to hire someone THEY are using to clean THEIR home and mow THEIR lawn. What about the person who built their house or who picks their fruit. Make up your mind OR LEAVE THEM ALONE UNLESS U ARE WILLING TO DO THEIR JOB.......... My prayers go out for the familys of the service people who were attacked in Germany.

    March 2, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  19. Richard Martin

    Hey Ali – Big surprise that the two-faced Republicans (who cannot figure out that their President is an American citizen) should want to have the kind of exceptions to immigration law down in Texas that help them in retaining their 'slave-culture' mentality – that of having poor, immigrant-type people do their menial household chores for them. I'm sure this labor is beneath them!
    Good thing all these conservative types (like Huckabee) claim to be so religious, and to have God on their side. No doubt they can even quote 'scripture' verses that somehow translate into their entitlement to these attitudes about race, and this concept of using immigrant labor for their own benefit – as long as they stay in their proper place.

    After all...they're entitled....aren't they?

    An amused observer.....

    March 2, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  20. Reality Check

    How is it that the politicians can say "the government isn't doing their job" and then introduce a bill that opens up a huge loophole? This is just being proposed to give the wealthier people a personal pass on following the law or addressing the problem. The government can't possibly control a situation that the public is willing to close their eyes to what personally effects them. Immigration and drugs are two examples

    March 2, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  21. tom martin

    ILLEGAL, that is the point, there are ways to enter this country LEGALLY, and to do otherwise, gives those who come here ILLEGALLY, NO rights or privileges, and those who would hire ILLEGALS, should be held accountable.

    March 2, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  22. Randy Kirk

    I am a landscaper and must pay 44% in taxes. The illegals pay nothing, so this makes for an unlevel playing field. They hurt the incomes of those of us that adhere to the tax laws. Randy Kirk, Houston,TX

    March 2, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  23. Jessica

    How convenient. Make it O.K for the citizens hiring " illegal immigrants" to under pay these workers ; yet we continue to fight against the presence of these "illegals" in our country. If you are going to allow them to work for you then make it O.K for them to live here.

    March 2, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  24. Cliff Duncan

    So the immigrant worker is breaking the law, but not the folks that are fortunate enough to be able to afford to hire that housekeeper or grounds worker. And once again those in government, the majority of which are upper middle and upper income folks, are attempting to protect themselves and their lifestyles.

    March 2, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  25. maria- california

    Ok let me guess, they just wanth stay only those that work as maid , landscape means slaves and what about those peoples that work on big company and get paid whit a misery pay those can go to hell ? are they? I think this is only pure racism they are all uqual they are all uman,may God bless them all.

    March 2, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
  26. Robert Parkinson

    Once again another politician is trolling for air-time without resolving the basic issue of immigration... we need the myriad of migrant worker AND we need to control unlawful immigration from all borders.
    The best tool for doing both is by monitoring, not fluff-ball state or Federal bills.

    A federal I.D. program, with various categories for migrant employment is the simplest answer. Make it counterfeit proof & voila, we know the who, what & where. THEN pass the stringent laws to take effect without the subsequent economic implosions.

    Why all the fuss about a Fed ID? Anyone who has traveled abroad or on a cruise ship has a Passport... that is a Fed.ID! Your Social Security Number is a Fed.ID!
    No Fed.ID, no Job!...
    Now go after the high volume illegal immigrant employer! The Tysons & Green Giants who lobby so well...

    March 2, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  27. Carrie

    This Texas bill is outrageous! If you make an exception for maids and landscapers that's half (if not more) of the job force on the border states and other neighboring states.That means if they live in Mexico come across the border to work (i think that representative said "if someone comes up to your door and asks to cut or do your yard for 10 or 20 dollars" then that's ok .Lets see 20 x ten yards a day is 1,000 dollars aday that is going straight back to Mexico without paying any taxes whatsoever! Now thats ONLY the land/yard workers. And as far as these workers are the only people that will do this type of work is outrageous. I am a white woman (and I know others) that worked in housekeeping and I have done yard work and maintenance so don't try to shove this down the american peoples throat.

    March 2, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  28. Don Wilson

    WHAT A JOKE !! Of course not .... we can't be using law makers to pass bill that allows rich people to have illegals clean their homes and mow their lawns and not be violating the law. One really has to laugh about this bill. Can we do another one for my pool guy? What about my strawberries?

    March 2, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  29. Jim

    Oh! So, it's okay for poor immigrants to keep up your yards and gardens and clean your houses. But, it's not okay for them to get a regular job since they are not citizens. That view is elitist and stuck up! It reminds me of how the elitist Romans used slaves and servants, but never allowed them to become full participants and citizens of Roman society. This makes us look just disgusting! Either you have to be a citizen or have a work permit or you don't. No exceptions, all or none.

    March 2, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  30. Kim

    I have an idea ... FIX THE IMMIGRATION PROBLEM Close the border once and for all. Deny all illegals free medical and free schools. Can't send them back, but they can PAY TO STAY. This is the most stupid thing I have heard this year.

    Do we really want to give Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California back to Mexico? After all, we did take it from them while attacking Mexico City.

    March 2, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  31. Angela

    This bill is disgusting & reprehensible, as well as seriously racist! Let's be honest- by "illegal" they mean "brown". You better believe that an illegal white Canadian would be perfectly acceptable to work any jobs, not just the rotten ones. This reminds me too much of my Mexican great-great grandfather,who came over with the railroad. He helped build this small Texas town far from the border, served his community well, and then wasn't allowed to be buried in the town's cemetery because he was Mexican. To this day, he is still buried under a tree on the other side of the cemetery fence. So, it's o.k. to hire illegals as long as they're cleaning up your yard, or washing the crap stains out of your underwear. They might even be able to raise your child for you because you're too lazy and rich to bother with proper parenting. But god forbid they get a job in a restaurant or for a computer tech firm, or as a construction worker or anything that might actually make them a little money or help them better their lives or the lives of their family? And lets just forget about all the illegal immigrants that helped start rebuilding New Orleans after Katrina, when U.S. Texas contractors were busy ripping people off & the immigrants were the ones being honest & hardworking & helpful.I say we let Texas secede & then refuse them assistance when Mexico forcibly takes their land back. Lets see how their blatant racism serves them then.

    March 2, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  32. Elena S.

    Do legislators do their homework anymore? Remember Zoe Baird? The federal law aside, you cannot exempt a part of the work force because Texans need, "day help." Let me throw in legal is just that, illegal is that too. The U.S. gave amnesty 10 years ago to millions of illegals (from everywhere), this just fueled people coming here illegally. Add the U.S. companies given exemptions that allow plenty of illegals and my school district is now overcrowded, and I am paying the tax bill! All illegals need to be sent home. Having worked for attorneys, trust me the fines are useless. As U.S. citizens we are not welcome the world over!

    March 2, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  33. Gabriella

    .Ali I’m a Latina and the bill exception. Make me sick .Texas law makers are helping this people to break the law. Illegal immigrants are not going back to their counties and the ones that can’t get a job became criminals, Sale drugs. Most of illegal immigrants will never qualify to get a visa or a green card, because Many of them have criminal records .Americans law makers should get serious about illegal immigration.

    March 2, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  34. Edward

    So basically the wealthy people could hire them to clean their houses and do their gardens, and lets assume that the big business owner could get away with hiring them because they could claim they didn't know and would be lawyered up to protect themselves. What this law will do is force, the people who can't really afford it, to pay a lawyer to keep them out of jail. It would be nice if they would pass some laws that don't just line the pockets of lawyers with money. That is the problem with this country the lawyers have added clauses, regulations, and the need for permits to do anything – so unless you are a multi-millionaire you can't even start a business (let alone build a house).

    March 2, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  35. Ana

    FACT We don’t have BACKGROUND CHECKS on Illegal Immigrants, Seriously. So what if the Maid that cleans your house has a son that is related to the drug cartels or kidnapers.

    March 2, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  36. Dianne Toledo

    Great idea! As long as you're a senator, and can afford to take advantage of a lower paid maid and landscaper.

    Perhaps what should be considered is helping them becoming naturalized while working doing maintenance at state parks, participate in developing community gardens, etc

    The voices listened to should be ones that come from the heart helping everyone not those focused on the pocket-book for a few.

    March 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  37. Steven Gunning

    First The U.S. Paid Mexico for the territories after the Mexican American war a real long time ago. But, Let me make an argument for getting hard working non criminal Mexican immigrants into the system legally. First, there's no doubt that there's problems on our border, drugs coming across, killings (mainly and mostly innocent Mexicans), and economic problems here. However how much hatred some of you have for them, they are not going away. Period! So what to do with these hard working people who do work that some Americans will not do in the terrible heat of the summer and bitter cold of the winter for a very low wage? Isn't that punishment enough for what ever crime you think they did? My main argument for these people being treated fairly (besides being hard workers and polite beautiful people) is that if we bring them into the system they can pay into Social Security and fight for higher wages that they don't get making the playing field equal for the American in terms of wage demands. Also, if they pay into the Social Security system and become legal then our troubled system would have hope. And Sir I have to repeat my self on the issue of whether or not we American tax payer will pay-we will pay either now with HEAD START programs or latter with prison programs. I have two small toddlers my self and know the importance of education. I also know how important it is to send people away that could cause them or anyone harm. But lets think about how we can prevent someone from going to the dark side. And lets think about how we can get the illegal Mexicans (who put billions back into the economy and are NOT going away) into the system legally. Steven

    March 2, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  38. greg torre

    Dear Mr. Lemon, I don't think anyone should be responsible questioning if you are legal to be here in the USA. What does that say about are rights? Maybe we should just invested more on making more jobs, for everyone instead of going on a witch hunt. Best regards Greg

    March 2, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  39. Randy Weaver

    Illegal immigration is bad for everyone in the United States. It creates a society where more people are taking than providing. I know that there are citizens that are doing the same with no bonafide reason but I guess we can't deport them (although I wish we could). Immigration policies are in place to ensure that we are allowing productive, ethical people into the country to become citizens. THIS IS FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL OF US. Once Once more people take from society than give, IT WILL FAIL. I enpathize with people just trying to make a better life for themselves but not all of the immigrants are doing that. Some of them don't have the means to do that. Some of them never bother to learn English. Just that will ensure that they will not be successful. We cannot account for every country that has a corrupt government, dictator, etc. If that was the case, we should be able to "pursuade" said government to do things better so their people wouldn't have to flee. One solution would be for us to place an embargo on Mexico, for example, and demand that they pay the U.S. for supporting their people. Maybe they would secure their own border then.

    March 2, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  40. MC

    I am a Construction worker in Santa Barbara, CA. and I have been recently been put back on unemployment. The company I have worked hard for many years now has more illegal workers than legal workers. My Boss doesn’t want to do this but he has to stay competitive. Today I applied for 11 jobs, my English, current driver’s license and proper documentation over qualified me for every job. I have been in the Democratic Party all my life. What should I do? I think it is time for a change. MC

    March 2, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  41. Alan Blakley

    This shows the depth of hypocrisy of the Republicans. Undocumented workers are bad, unless they are household workers for the Republicans keeping their labor costs down. When will they stop pandering to sound bite legislation to appease their mindless followers and address the real issues, like the huge budget crisis in Texas.

    March 2, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  42. Bob in Texas

    Make no mistake about it. This is about protecting themselves and their buddies from prosecution under the law for hiring illegal aliens as cheep domestic servants. People who can't or won't pay minimum wage and provide basic worker benefits ought not be allowed to hire anybody, including domestic servants. This applies to legislators and their buddies as well as anyone else.

    March 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  43. jane b

    What everyone fails to relize is these people work and make good moneY. They drive 2010 and 2011 while going to social service gettin medicade for the hole family while 300 of them live in one big house and one goes to get the licence to drive they all use the same one while on our streets driving and have hurt aNd killed people there is a lot that people don`t know untill it is done to you. The one peron gOes all the way down south and come back and when stop for drunk driving or hitting 10 car they go to jail when asked there name they pull out this liecnce half the time not looking Looking like them they get locked up and your car is not fixed or if someone get hurts there is no help for them. All i can say how are these people down to social service getting help and driving the best.

    March 20, 2011 at 11:33 pm |

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