For Immediate Release Contact:
March 8, 2011 Che Lopez –210.378.5132
Texas Immigrants and the Economy Under Attack
Congressman Lamar Smith and State Rep. Riddle do the Texas Two-step
San Antonio, Tx
Immigrant families in Texas have a long positive history of shaping our state, economy and our culture. At the same time it has been an extensive struggle to keep basic human rights in place for these families and other marginalized communities. The current state of Texas includes a legislature with over 50 anti-immigrant bills, a governor who has made attacking immigrants a priority and continued ICE raids which terrorize and separate immigrant families.
Earlier this year Texas State Representative Debbie Riddle’s hatred toward immigrant families pushed her to camp out at the State Capital in order to be the first to submit a series of anti-immigrant bills. These bills have serious economic implications on the State and its working families. One of those bills HB 2012 would make it a felony to hire an undocumented immigrant punishable with a $10,000. fine and years in jail. The exception to the bill is if the person is hiring for domestic work; such as a nanny, maid or other household work. This domestic employer “exemption” reinforces the existing exclusions of domestic workers from labor protections. Once again, unscrupulous domestic employers are off the hook, free to take advantage of vulnerable workers who are fearful of asserting their rights.
“We will not remain working in the shadows.” Stated Araceli Herrera, a domestic worker and leader of Domestic Workers in Action a new organization formed to empower and organize domestic workers in Texas. “We deserve good working conditions and stand in solidarity with other hard working migrant families to better our communities.”
Texas is also home to many conservative Congressmen, including Rep. Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which holds custody of federal immigration issues. Representative Smith has consistently worked to deny basic human rights to immigrant families.
Recently around 200 migrant workers from the Lone Star Bakery, right outside San Antonio, lost their jobs due to unjust ICE raids resulting in hard working families being thrown to the street and welfare. These workers will be joining other community residents, youth and local organizations at the action in front of Rep. Smith’s office.