Adam Russel, Tyler (Texas) Morning Telegraph, November 13, 2008
State Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, will file nine bills in Austin aiming to reduce the burden of illegal immigration on taxpayers by reducing benefits and protections for illegal immigrants in the state.
Berman said legislators first addressed illegal immigration during the last legislative session, but around 24 bills were killed in committee before they could be voted on by the House. He hopes legislators will consider immigration legislation during the coming session.
The first bill Berman plans to file will challenge automatic citizenship under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The bill says the state of Texas will not issue a birth certificate to children of illegal immigrants born in the state.
Berman said if the bill passes it will invite an immediate lawsuit into a federal court and possibly will require a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“The 14th Amendment of the Constitution has no application to the children of illegal aliens or any other children of foreigners born in the United States,” he said. “We are giving away 350,000 citizenships each year (nationally) erroneously and that’s why we have to challenge it.”
The second bill would put an 8 percent surcharge on money wired from Texas to Mexico, Central and South America, he said. There is about $6 billion each year sent from Texas to Mexico alone, Berman said.
The bill would require all recaptured funds, almost half-a-billion dollars, be earmarked for border security and hospitals that provide free health care.
A bill requiring every level of government in the state to enforce all federal and state laws and constitutions under penalty of losing all state funding will also by filed by Berman.
Another bill to be filed is identical to a five-part bill passed in Oklahoma that resulted in thousands of illegal immigrants moving from Oklahoma to Texas, Berman said. He said there would be no public state benefits for illegal immigrants and authorizes law enforcement officers to take Section 287 G training with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security allowing them to deal directly with illegal immigrants.
The bill would also prohibit the transportation, concealment or housing of illegal aliens, Berman said. This would make it possible for stiffer penalties to be levied against landlords, employers or traffickers who house, employ and transport illegal immigrants within the state of Texas.
Berman said the immigration bills he is filing may be blocked in the Senate or vetoed by the governor, but the need to address illegal immigration remains.