December 6, 2006

Undocumented Immigrants in Texas

Special Report
December 6, 2006

Undocumented Immigrants in Texas

A Financial Analysis of the Impact
to the State Budget and Economy

Texas Comptroller

September 1, 2006

Irving City Council Endorses Criminal Alien Program

Irving City Council Endorses Criminal Alien Program

The Irving City Council has approved the Criminal Alien Program (CAP) as the Irving Police Department’s official policy for addressing prisoners who are not U.S. citizens.

The Police Department initiated an arrangement with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in September in which an ICE agent made weekly visits to the Irving Jail to determine the residency status of prisoners.

A new process with the Detention and Removal Division of ICE was implemented in April where residency status is reviewed over the phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This change has increased the number of illegal aliens identified from an average of 52 to 130 per month.

Every prisoner booked into the Irving Jail is rigorously screened regardless of charges. Those determined to be illegal aliens are released to ICE or transferred to the Dallas County Jail with an ICE hold. Since partnering with ICE, more than 700 illegal aliens have been removed from the Irving Jail.

“Irving is a model community for other cities. As we utilize the Criminal Alien Program, we will continue making strides toward maintaining the safety of our residents,” said Mayor Herbert Gears. “We are extremely pleased with the success and cost-effectiveness that the program has provided our community, and look forward to continued success in the future.”

July 18, 2006

Texas Hospitals Reflect Debate on Immigration

July 18, 2006

Correction Appended

DALLAS — The doctors and nurses at Parkland Memorial Hospital knew a lot about Zahira Domínguez, a maternity patient who was beginning to feel the squeeze of her contractions.

They knew that she had been born in Mexico, was a 15-year-old student at a Dallas high school and had gone to her prenatal checkups. They knew she was scared about giving birth.

What the hospital staff did not know, because they did not ask, was whether Ms. Domínguez was an illegal immigrant.

“I don’t want my doctors and nurses to be immigration agents,” said Dr. Ron J. Anderson, the president of Parkland.

Patients like Ms. Domínguez — uninsured Hispanic immigrants with uncertain immigration status — have flocked in recent years to public hospital emergency rooms and maternity wards in Texas, California and other border states. Their care has swelled costs for struggling hospitals and increased the health care bills that fall to states and counties, giving ammunition to opponents of illegal immigration who complain of undue burdens on local taxpayers.

As a result, health care has become one of the sorest issues in the border states’ debate over illegal immigration. Facing harsh criticism from residents, public hospitals are confronted with an uneasy decision: demand immigration documents from patients and deny subsidized care to those who lack them, or follow the public health principle of providing basic care to anyone who needs it.

In Texas, two of the biggest public hospitals chose differently.

The Parkland Health and Hospital System, which serves Dallas County, offers low-cost care to low-income residents with no questions asked about immigration status.

“We decided that these are folks living in our community and we needed to render the care,” Dr. Anderson said.

In Fort Worth, in neighboring Tarrant County, JPS Health Network requires foreign-born patients to show legal immigration documents to receive financial assistance in nonemergencies, like elective surgery and the treatment of routine or chronic illnesses. Executives said that their first responsibility was to legal residents, but that they were uncomfortable about having to make such distinctions.

“I don’t think you should ask the hospital to make moral decisions for the State of Texas or, for that matter, for the United States,” said Robert Earley, a senior vice president of JPS.

To some Fort Worth residents, the hospital — which does provide emergency and maternity care to illegal immigrants — has nonetheless sent a message that illegal immigrants are not welcome.

“Whenever immigrants go to the hospital, the first thing they are asked is, ‘Who are you and where are your immigration papers?’ ” said José Aguilar, a leader of Allied Communities of Tarrant, a coalition of church-based community groups that has pressured the JPS board to reverse its policy. “They are being scared away.”

Across Texas, the debate over illegal immigration has spilled into county commission hearings and hospital board meetings. A study ordered by commissioners in Harris County, which includes Houston, found that about one-fifth of the patients in its health system last year were immigrants without documents, most of them from Mexico. Their numbers had increased 44 percent in three years, the study found, and their care had cost the county $97.3 million, about 14 percent of the health system’s total operating costs.

“We have a lot of United States citizens that need our help in health, and we should pull them up before we pull up someone here illegally,” said Tim Gallagher, 45, a software salesman from Plano, north of Dallas, who in an interview expressed views widely shared in the state. Mr. Gallagher said he favored deporting illegal immigrants who sought care from public facilities, even if the patient was a mother who gave birth to an American citizen.

“If somebody here needs health care, they should get it, and then if they are illegal, they should go bye-bye,” said Mr. Gallagher, who wrote a letter on the subject to The Dallas Morning News.

In California, hospitals spent at least $1.02 billion last year on health care for illegal immigrants that was not reimbursed by federal or state programs, according to federal government estimates. Hospital officials there said the ailing health care system was being pushed to its limit.

“Emergency rooms and hospital doctors are forced to subsidize the lack of immigration enforcement by the federal government,” said C. Duane Dauner, president of the California Hospital Association. “It amounts to an unfunded mandate for us to treat everybody.”

California received $66 million in federal money in 2005, the first year of a four-year national program to help pay for emergency care for illegal immigrants. But it was “not even a down payment” on the total cost, Mr. Dauner said. With more than 1.4 million of California’s residents uninsured and more than half of California’s hospitals operating in the red, Mr. Dauner warned that care for illegal immigrants could tip some hospitals into bankruptcy.

Even so, the surging numbers of illegal immigrants in the health care system have fed some misconceptions, hospital administrators said.

While Texas border hospitals often get “anchor babies” — children of Mexican women who dart across the border to give birth to an American citizen — most illegal immigrants who go to major hospitals in Texas can show that they have been living here for years, said Ernie Schmid, policy director at the Texas Hospital Association. Many immigrant families have mixed status; often a patient with no documents has a spouse or children who are legal.

Most immigrant patients have jobs and pay taxes, through paycheck deductions or property taxes included in their rent, administrators at the Dallas and Fort Worth hospitals said. At both institutions, they have a better record of paying their bills than low-income Americans do, the administrators said.

The largest group of illegal immigrant patients is pregnant women, hospital figures show. Contrary to popular belief here, their care is not paid for through local taxes. Under a 2002 amendment to federal regulations, the births are covered by federal taxes through Medicaid because their children automatically become American citizens.

These cases are not affected by new regulations that went into effect on July 1 requiring Medicaid patients to provide proof of citizenship, Texas health officials said. They said they believed that only small numbers of illegal immigrants had received other Medicaid benefits.

Administrators at Parkland said the hospital delivered 11,500 babies last year to mothers who were probably illegal immigrants, representing at least 56 percent of its maternity patients.

One was Ms. Domínguez, whose family brought her to Dallas from Mexico 11 years ago. Guided through Parkland’s prenatal care, the frightened teenager had an unexceptional labor and a robust baby girl.

Many immigrants have sought low-cost care by going to Parkland’s emergency room, where, by federal law, they must be examined and treated, as is the case in any emergency room. Leticia Martínez, 24, walked into the emergency room one morning weak with cramps, fearing a miscarriage in her two-month pregnancy.

Ms. Martínez said she had been sure she would get care at Parkland because her first baby had been born there. “They help economically,” she said. “They don’t ask the immigration question.”

Dr. Anderson fiercely defends Parkland’s open policy. “It’s much wiser to render care than to wait until they are very sick,” he said.

In Fort Worth, JPS Health Network also provides low-cost prenatal care and delivery for illegal immigrant mothers. It does not offer them help for other nonemergency care.

In January 2004, the JPS board of managers voted to offer its financial assistance program to all Tarrant County residents, legal or otherwise. But eight months later, with illegal immigrants starting to fill the hospital, the managers reversed course in a meeting where they agonized over their votes, the minutes show.

The policy has given the hospital a mixed reputation among Hispanics in Fort Worth.

Edy Patricia Rodríguez, 18, an illegal immigrant whose husband is an American citizen, cuddled her newborn recently in a private, state-of-the-art room at the JPS hospital. The child, Pablo F. Ibarra, born June 28, thrived in the network’s care, and his mother was satisfied.

But misunderstandings about immigration status clouded the case of Victoria Canales, a Mexican immigrant who had sought care for advanced liver disease, said her husband, Jesus Canales, 36.

Mrs. Canales was a legal resident and a member of the JPS network’s low-income program. But hospital staff members seemed confused about her case, Mr. Canales said, and twice sent her home when she had gone to seek relief from the liquid filling her body.

Humiliated, Mrs. Canales was reluctant to return to the hospital until she could no longer manage at home, Mr. Canales said. She died June 26.

JPS officials say they do not refuse care to people who need it, but are wrestling with the demands of county residents and changing state laws.

Mr. Earley, the JPS vice president, said, “We have been bounced around like a basketball on this issue.”

Correction: July 20, 2006

A front-page article on Tuesday about hospital care for illegal immigrants in Texas and other border states misstated the number of California residents who have no health insurance. It is more than 6.4 million people, not more than 1.4 million.

June 30, 2006

Medicaid Rule Called A Threat To Millions

Medicaid Rule Called A Threat To Millions
Proof of Citizenship Needed for Benefits

By Susan Levine and Mary Otto
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, June 30, 2006; Page A01

A Medicaid rule takes effect tomorrow that will require more than 50 million poor Americans to prove their citizenship or lose their medical benefits or long-term care.

Under the rule, intended to curb fraud by illegal immigrants, such proof as a passport or a birth certificate must be offered at the time a person applies for Medicaid benefits or during annual reenrollment in the state-federal program for the poor and disabled.

Critics fear that the provision will have the unintended consequence of harming several million U.S. citizens who, for a variety of reasons, will not be able to produce the necessary paperwork. They include mentally ill, mentally retarded and homeless people, as well as elderly men and women, especially African Americans born in an era when hospitals in the rural South barred black women from their maternity wards.

"My clients are absolutely dependent on Medicaid for their care," said Andrea Sloan, a lawyer and court-appointed guardian for more than 40 District residents. Many suffer from dementia, lack family contacts and have little in the way of paper trails. Although Sloan is convinced of their citizenship, she is not always sure of such details as their birthplace.

The new provision is part of last year's Deficit Reduction Act, which President Bush signed into law in February. Despite a federal inspector general's report concluding that there was little fraud by noncitizens, supporters said the measure would ensure that Medicaid dollars go only to citizens or eligible immigrants.

Rep. Charles Whitlow Norwood Jr. (R-Ga.), one of the prime sponsors, decried "the outright theft of Medicaid benefits by illegal aliens."

A lawsuit filed in federal court in the District yesterday contests the new rule's constitutionality and seeks to prevent its implementation in the city, where more than 140,000 residents receive Medicaid. "The rule's going to exclude citizens and deny them rights that citizens are entitled to," said Clifton Elgartenm, a lawyer with Crowell & Moring, which is working pro bono and sued the District on behalf of the nonprofit social services organization Bread for the City and individual plaintiffs.

One plaintiff is Alphonso DeShields, who was born in his parents' home in Spartanburg, S.C., a few months after World War I began. For five years, he has lived in a nursing home in Northwest Washington. He has a severe heart condition, cancer and other ailments.

"With respect to each of the documents" Medicaid would have him supply, the lawsuit states, "Alphonso DeShields possesses neither an original of such a document nor a copy of such a document certified by the original issuing agency."

District officials, like their counterparts in the states, have no choice but to comply; otherwise, federal Medicaid funds would be withheld. About $900 million would be at stake in the District alone.

Robert Maruca, head of the D.C. Medical Assistance Administration, said yesterday that he expects that many residents with a right to Medicaid will be unable to demonstrate their citizenship.

"I'm afraid they may be dropped out of the program," he said.

On Wednesday, a lawsuit challenging the Medicaid rule was filed in Chicago by a coalition of advocacy groups that wants the suit certified as a national class action. "In the process of pandering on the illegal immigrant issue, members of Congress will do enormous harm to the American citizens who need help the most," Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said during a teleconference.

Among the plaintiffs in that case are Ruby Bell, 95, born in an Arkansas county that did not issue birth certificates until 1914, and George Crawford, 80, who is so incapacitated from strokes that he cannot speak. According to attorneys, the church members who care for Crawford in Illinois don't even know where to start looking for documents that would pass muster.

Until now, Medicaid recipients have declared their citizenship, under penalty of perjury, without having to show evidence of it. States have been able to demand substantiation in suspicious cases. No longer will that process suffice.

New applicants will be affected immediately and will be denied benefits until they offer proof of citizenship. Current recipients will not have to back up their declarations until their first annual reenrollment, when they will have 45 to 90 days to do so, depending on their circumstances.

Medicaid spokeswoman Mary Kahn said the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had made "every concerted effort to ensure [the requirement is] not overly burdensome on beneficiaries." She declined to comment on the litigation.

In a June 9 memo to states, federal officials announced a hierarchy of documents that would be acceptable. Virtually all must be accompanied by a driver's license or something else establishing a person's identity -- another obstacle for young and old alike, critics stress. Medical, insurance or census records can be used under specific conditions. Entries in family Bibles don't qualify.

The provision "throws out a dragnet and says, 'All of you, all 50 million of you, need to come in here and document your citizenship whether we think there's a problem or not,' " said John Bouman, a lawyer with the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.

On Capitol Hill yesterday, several members of Congress called for a delay in implementation. They said verification will effectively bar some Medicaid recipients from health care. Just how many is unclear. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the requirement would cause 35,000 people, mostly illegal immigrants, to lose coverage by 2015 and lower Medicaid spending by $735 million over 10 years.

But the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured has warned that the benefits of many citizens will be delayed or denied. Cindy Mann, director of the Center for Children and Family at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute, suggested that at least 3 million citizens could be stripped of coverage.

"We are risking people's health care," she said. "And it is a lot of paperwork to solve a problem no one identified."

For the states, administrative costs will be considerable. Maryland and Virginia each have more than 700,000 Medicaid enrollees.

"We've been working pretty feverishly to try and figure out what this means," said Charles Lehman, director of medical care programs for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Stephanie Sivert, manager of Virginia's medical assistance program, said clients who are mentally disabled or homeless, living in institutional settings, often have made a complete break with their pasts.

"It's not going to be easy for them to access these records," she said.

May 1, 2006

About: League of Women Voters - LWVUS

LWVUS Immigration Position

The League of Women Voters believes that immigration policies should promote reunification of immediate families; meet the economic, business and employment needs of the United States; and be responsive to those facing political persecution or humanitarian crises. Provision should also be made for qualified persons to enter the U.S. on student visas. All persons should receive fair treatment under the law.

The League supports federal immigration law that provides an efficient, expeditious system (with minimal or no backlogs) for legal entry of immigrants into the U.S.

To complement these goals the League supports federal policies to improve economies, education, job opportunities, and living conditions in nations with large emigrating populations.

In transition to a reformed system, the League supports provisions for unauthorized immigrants already in the country to earn legal status

The League supports federal payments to impacted communities to address the financial costs borne by states and local governments with large immigrant populations.

Criteria for Legal Admission to the U.S.

The League supports the following criteria for legal admission of persons into the United States:

Family reunification of spouses or minor children with authorized immigrants or citizens;
Flight from persecution or response to humanitarian crises in home countries;
Economic, business and employment needs in the U.S.;
Education and training needs of the U.S.;
Educational program opportunities; and
Lack of a history of serious criminal activity.
Administration and Enforcement

The League supports due process for all persons, including the right to a fair hearing, right to counsel, right of appeal and right to humane treatment.

The League supports:

Improved technology to facilitate employer verification of employee status;
Verification documents, such as status cards and work permits, with secure identifiers;
Significant fines and penalties for employers who hire unauthorized workers;
Improved technology for sharing information among federal agencies;
More effective tracking of individuals who enter the United States; and
Increased personnel at borders.
The League also supports programs allowing foreign workers to enter and leave the U.S. to meet seasonal or sporadic labor needs.

Unauthorized Immigrants Already in the U.S.

In achieving overall policy goals, the League supports a system for unauthorized immigrants already in the country to earn legal status, including citizenship, by paying taxes, learning English, studying civics and meeting other relevant criteria. While policy reforms, including a path to legal status, remain unachieved, the League does not support deporting unauthorized immigrants who have no history of criminal activity.

Texas Chapter

About Allied Communities of Tarrant ACT

It is interesting that the League of Women Voters is no longer listed as a member of Allied Communities of Tarrant (ACT). The current list just includes churches. About half of the churches listed have a notation that they are waiting on congregation approval.

As far as their efforts to bully JPS Hospital into giving non-emergency care to illegal aliens, they have thus far been defeated by citizens of Tarrant County. However, they are pressuring the board to vote again in August 2008. In 2004, the board of directors decided to restrict charity care to legal residents of Tarrant County and only provide services to illegal aliens that was required by federal law.

May 1st Marches in Texas

About LULAC - League of United Latin American Citizens

League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)

"LULAC is the largest and oldest Hispanic Organization in the United States. LULAC advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 700 LULAC councils nationwide. The organization involves and serves all Hispanic nationality groups.

Historically, LULAC has focused heavily on education, civil rights, and employment for Hispanics... "

The 2007-2008 LULAC Legislative Platform
Immigration Issues:

"LULAC opposes any legislation that threatens the rights of immigrants, criminalizes them or those who provide them assistance, and harms Latino communities. LULAC opposes harsh regulations that toughen the requirements for citizenship and stipulations that raise the bar of admissibility for immigrants. Immigrant visas should not be unreasonably withheld. Legal residents and naturalized citizens should have the same benefits due native-born citizens. LULAC opposes the militarization of the border and vigilante attacks on immigrants, as well as the mistreatment of immigrants in the United States regardless of their status. LULAC supports the regularization of undocumented workers in the United States by periodically updating the Date of Registry, the reinstatement of Section 245(i) to allow immigrants to remain with their families while their applications are processed, along with the restoration of Food Stamps for legal immigrants. LULAC supports citizenship for America’s non-citizen troops. LULAC supports strong family reunification standards and fair and balanced immigration processes to take into account future flows of workers. LULAC urges Congress to pass wage protection for immigrants, as well as to mitigate the Hoffman decision. Though LULAC does not support guest-worker programs, should they pass, LULAC endorses full worker protections including the right to organize and to apply for citizenship on their own right without depending on their employer. LULAC opposes the use of local law enforcement to assist the DHS."

"LULAC supports legislation to grant licenses to immigrants under any status. LULAC supports innovative provisions for the issuance of a license such as passing a criminal background check, endorsement by a citizen, or requiring a pledge by immigrants to apply for legal residency. LULAC opposes any legislation that would place immigrants at risk by highlighting their status."

"LULAC supports the expansion of affordable housing and increased funding for policies that create government-sponsored matching funds. LULAC opposes discriminatory and predatory lending practices and supports the strengthening of fair housing legislation to hold banking institutions accountable for fair lending practices. LULAC supports the improvement of quality of life for areas known as “colonias” along the US-Mexico border with such basic amenities as access to potable water and electricity. LULAC supports increasing funding and affordable housing programs for seasonal and migrant farmworkers."


"LULAC calls upon Congress and the President to embrace and uphold America's tradition as a nation of immigrants and pass comprehensive immigration reform that allows hard working immigrants and their families to become permanent legal residents of the United States."

Supports the STRIVE Act
Supports the DREAM Act (Amnesty)
Opposes State and Local Law Enforcement Taking on the Role of Enforcing Federal Immigration Law.
Request President Bush to Grant "Clemency" to Elvira Arellano.

About Texas Employers for Immigration Reform (TEIR)

Texas Employers for Immigration Reform (TEIR)

Founded by Lonnie (Bo) Pilgrim owner of Pilgrim's Pride Chicken

Principles for Immigration Reform

We support comprehensive immigration reform that:

Facilitates the employment of essential workers by U.S. companies and organizations through a market-driven system of temporary workers.
Addresses the economic needs for both future and undocumented workers already in the United States.
Strengthens national security by providing for the screening of foreign workers and creating a disincentive for illegal immigration.
Creates an immigration system that functions efficiently for employers, workers, and government agencies.
Upholds the rule of law by establishing a clear, sensible immigration system that is efficiently and vigorously enforced.
Includes new, proven enforcement regimes that do not penalize employers for their past inability to comply with a broken system.
Acknowledges the $17.7 billion contribution that immigrant workers make to the Texas economy.
Allows hard-working, tax-paying undocumented workers to earn legal status.
Does not displace U.S. workers with foreign workers.
Ensures that all workers enjoy the same labor law protections.
Unites, rather than divides, employers and immigrant workers.

Open Letter to:

May 24, 2007

Dear Senator Hutchison and Senator Cornyn,

As the leadership of the Texas Employers for Immigration Reform, we write to express the urgency in supporting passage of comprehensive immigration reform. We believe that if comprehensive reform is not completed there will be a severe impact on national security and the economy of our state and nation.

Texas Employers for Immigration Reform is a coalition of Texas businesses, including farmers,hotels, restaurants, banks, manufacturers, retailers, trade associations and other organizations representing the spectrum of employers in the Lone Star State. TEIR strongly supports a comprehensive solution to
immigration reform. This includes border security, a necessary and temporary guest worker program combined with clear, sensible workplace enforcement, and a path to legal status for undocumented workers currently in the United States.

While S. 1348 as announced by a bipartisan group last week is not perfect, it is a good start towards the comprehensive immigration reform we need in this country. We applaud and acknowledge your vital role in this process and believe together we can create historic immigration legislation this year.


List of Supporters As of March, 2008

Adams Insurance Services, Inc.
ALCOM Electronicos de Mexico S.A. de C.V.
Associated Builders & Contractors of Texas
Associated Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors of Texas
Baldi Gardens
Beecherl Investments
Belton Area Chamber of Commerce
Bob Perry
Boggus Ford
Borders Melon Co.
Bowerbird Construction
Brownsville Chamber of Commerce
Bud Smith Organization
Cameo Samples LLC
Cedar Creek Farms
Clearstream Wastewater Systems, Inc.
Contran Corporation
Corporate Facilities Management Services, LLC
Dairy Farmers of America
East Texas Refrigeration
Emerald Garden
Excell Cleaning and Building Services, Inc.
Express Personnel Services
Federation of Employers & Workers of America
Four Seasons Sunrooms Design and Remodeling Center
Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Greater Houston Partnership
Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce
Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce
Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce
GreenWay Lawn Care
Heard & Smith L.L.P
Henry S. Miller Companies
Hunt Building Corporation
Hutchison Homes
IBTX Risk Management System
ImmigrationWorks USA
International Bank of Commerce
James Leininger, M.D.
Kenjura Tile, Inc.
Lawn Management Company
Landmark Nurseries Inc.
Loeffler, Tuggey, Pauerstein, Rosenthal LLP
Lone Star Milk Producers
Manhattan Policy Institute
McAllen Chamber of Commerce
Mesquite Chamber of Commerce
Metro Blind & Shade Inc.
Mission Economic Development Authority
Mortellaro’s Nursery, Inc.
North American Stone Company
Pape Farms
Phil Adams Company Pilgrim’s Pride
Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.
Powell Plant Farms, Inc.
Ran-Pro Farms Inc.
Rennerwood, Inc.
Rio Grande Valley Partnership/Chamber of Commerce
San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Sanderson Farms
Select Milk Producers, Inc.
South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce
Southern Multifoods, Inc.
Southwest Property Landscaping
Starr-Camargo Bridge Co.
TawaKoni Plant Farm
Texas Agriculture Cooperative Council
Texas Apartment Association
Texas Association of Builders
Texas Association of Business
Texas Association of Dairymen
Texas Association of Mexican-American Chambers of Commerce
Texas Cattle Feeders Association
Texas Citrus Mutual
Texas Cotton Ginners Association
Texas Farm Bureau
Texas Forestry Association
Texas Hotel & Lodging Association
Texas Nursery and Landscape Association
Texas Watermelon Association
Texas Package Store Association
Texas Pork Producers Association
Texas Poultry Federation and Affiliates
Texas Produce Association
Texas Restaurant Association
Texas Retailers Association
Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association
Texas State Bank
Texas State Florists Association
Texas Travel Industry Association
Texas Vegetable Association
The Honorable Dolph Briscoe
Turfgrass Producers of Texas
Tyson Foods, Inc.
Universal Metal Products
West Texas Plants
Wester Landscape Management
Wilhite Landscape and Lawn Care, Ltd.
Winter Garden Produce
Workforce Solutions

Former Supporters

Huffines Auto Group
Pilgrim’s Pride

About Texas Association of Business & Chambers of Commerce

Texas Association of Business

"In 1922, three San Antonio businessmen -- G.M. Kneibel, G.G. Geyer, and I.M. McIlhenny -- anticipated the start of a new era for Texas business. The predicted the need for a coordinated effort to deal with emerging public policy issues, and formed the Texas State Manufacturers Association.

In 1946, the organization's state headquarters were moved from San Antonio to Houston. Recognizing the state's economy reached beyond agricultural, petrochemical, and manufacturing industries, as evidenced by the rapid growth of service and financial sectors, the organization became the Texas Association of Business (TAB) in 1976. In 1990, TAB completed a state headquarters building in Austin -- a permanent home just four blocks from the Texas State Capitol."

"About the Texas Chamber of Commerce

In 1988, the Texas Chamber of Commerce was officially chartered through the consolidation of the regional East, South, and West Texas Chambers of Commerce, which had served the state's local chambers of commerce since the 1920s. As the umbrella organization for hundreds of local chambers of commerce statewide, the Austin-based Texas Chamber actively pursued the creation of new jobs within the state by promoting sound economic legislation at the State Capitol and working closely with legislators, state agencies, and other business organizations on laws and regulations that would promote growth and allow the free enterprise system to function smoothly."

"Another priority of the Texas Chamber was to improve the state's public education system by helping develop a workforce capable of competing in an increasingly complex and technologically advanced workplace. To coordinate this effort, the Texas Chamber developed the Texas Business and Education Coalition, an organization aimed at promoting responsible school improvement initiatives and ensuring that state regulation does not impede efforts to raise student achievement levels."

"About the Texas Association of
Business & Chambers of Commerce

Texas Business has seen major changes since the 1920s and Texas employers need an organization that can expand and diversify to meet new needs while offering members an effective voice in the policy-making process."

"The Texas Association of Business & Chambers of Commerce was formed in 1995 for one reason: the combined strength of the Texas Association of Business and the Texas Chamber of Commerce was both logical and necessary as the burgeoning Texas economy forges into the 21st Century. Through vigilant legislative and regulatory action, helpful employment relations services, informative workshops and seminars, cost-saving benefit programs for both small and large employers, and other unique member services, TABCC is better positioned than any other organization to lead Texas employers through the challenges that a new era of business will certainly present."

President Bill Hammond


About the Texas Border Coalition

"In 1998 communities from throughout the Texas Border Region came together to form the Texas Border Infrastructure Coalition (TBIC) to develop key recommendations for the 76th Texas Legislature...Today, the organization is known as the Texas Border Coalition (TBC)"

The Vision and Mission

TBC vision is to be recognized leader and authority for the Texas-Mexico region in order to bring attention to the infrastructure needs of the communities along the border.

To make recommendations to the Texas Legislature to help the entire Texas-Mexico border region to continue to grow and prosper economically. To that end, the TBC will work to:

Provide a better quality of life for the residents of the Texas-Mexico border region by providing economic development opportunities and sustainable incomes in a healthy and safe environment.

Make the flow of goods and products between Texas-Mexico as efficient as possible by advocating for the necessary funding needed in the border region.

Advocate federal and state investments and incentives in Transportation, Immigration and Ports of Entry, Workforce and Education, Healthcare and other areas considered vital to the fulfillment of the mission of the TBC.

"Mike A. Allen, featured right, founder and former chairman of the Texas Border Coalition, has announced he will resign from the organization in order to focus on medical treatments for an undisclosed illness. Allen is also stepping down from the McAllen Economic Development Corporation, but he will remain on the South Texas College Board of Trustees."

Committee Members
Transportation Committee
Chair, Honorable Judge Jose “Pepe” Aranda, Maverick County

Immigration and Ports of Entry Committee
Chair, Ms. Monica Stuart, Private Sector

Workforce and Education Committee
Chair, Ms. Wanda F. Garza, South Texas College

Healthcare Committee
Chair, Mr. Jose Rodriguez, Attorney, El Paso County

Lead Council on lawsuit against federal gov.:
Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, California baised defender of leftist causes.


City of Alamo
City of Brownsville
City of Del Rio
City of Eagle Pass
City of Edinburg
City of El Paso
City of Harlingen
City of Hidalgo
City of La Joya
City of Laredo
City of McAllen
City of Mercedes
City of Mission
City of Pharr
City of Port Isabel
City of Rio Grande City
City of Roma
City of San Juan
City of Weslaco
Cameron County
Dimmit County
El Paso County
Hidalgo County
Maverick County
Starr County
Terrell County
Val Verde County
Webb County
Zapata County

Special Interest Groups

Chamber of Commerce
Alamo, Browsville, Corpus Christi, Del Rio, Dimmit County, Donna Tourist Center, Eagle Pass, Edinburg, Greater El Paso, Harlingen Area, Hidalgo, Laredo Webb, McAllen, Mercedes Area, Mission, Pharr, RGV Partnership, Roma, San Juan, South Padre Island (SPI), Weslaco Area

Brownsville Economic Development Council
Donna Economic Developmnent
Edinburg Economic Development Corporations
Laredo Development Foundation
Lower Rio Grande Development Council
Maverick County Development Council
McAllen Economic Development Corporation
Middle Rio Grande Development Council
Mission Economic Development Authority
Penitas Economic Development Corporation
Pharr Economic Development Corporation
Rio Grande City Economic Development Corporation
Roma Economic Development Corporation
San Benito Economic Development Corporation
South Padre Island (SPI) Economic Development Corporation
Mercedes Economic Development Corporation
Weslaco Economic Development
Port Isabel Economic Development Corporation

About E-Verify

E-Verify (formerly known as the Basic Pilot/Employment Eligibility Verification Program) is an Internet based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA) that allows participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees.

E-Verify is free and voluntary and is the best means available for determining employment eligibility of new hires and the validity of their Social Security Numbers.

For more information:

April 27, 2006

Illegal immigrants anxious after raids.

Byline: Bryon Okada, and Diane Smith

Apr. 27--As a result of a major immigration sting last week, the federal government and the media are being swamped with calls asking about raids across the country, including in Fort Worth -- even though no random raids are being conducted.

One such call sent Star-Telegram reporters scrambling Tuesday night to the Fiesta supermarket near the Fort Worth Stockyards.

No raid had taken place, officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said. But the fact that the report occurred is not surprising, they said. "There's panic in the streets that there are vans in the Wal-Mart parking lot," Dallas ICE spokesman Carl Rusnock said.

"We've been swamped with calls ever since the operations." He said the ICE field office in Chicago received 80 calls Monday.

Last week, in the wake of national protests about a proposed overhaul of immigration laws, ICE arrested 1,187 illegal immigrants in 26 states, including Texas.

Seven managers of IFCO Systems North America, a Houston-based pallet services company, were also arrested. More than half the company's employees had falsified Social Security numbers, ICE officials said. The managers, charged with conspiring to help undocumented workers falsify their identities to further the company's interests, face up to 10 years in federal prison.

The IFCO bust was an isolated operation and part of a strategy to target egregious offenders,

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and ICE head Julie Myers said in a statement.

In fact, the IFCO operation was an involved investigation that began in February 2005 and, therefore, was not in response to the protests, Rusnock said. The overall priority of immigration enforcement is to catch criminal aliens.

Of the 160,700 people deported in fiscal 2005, 84,300 had rap sheets, according to ICE statistics. As for the others, "Anyone who is in this country illegally runs the risk of being located, identified, arrested, detained and deported," Rusnock said. Meanwhile, a heightened sense of fear has permeated Spanish-speaking immigrant communities.

In her rural Texas community, one illegal immigrant -- who asked not to be identified because she fears being detained -- said authorities have reportedly been making the rounds. The rumor is that agents are looking for single men or people with outstanding warrants.

"No one has papers in my house except my son, who was just born," she said. "Everyone knows everyone -- they know we are here, and we can't do nothing." Hispanic media sources have been getting calls, officials said.

Omar Romero, brand manager for Spanish-language radio station KEGL/97.1 FM "La Preciosa" in Dallas, said listeners have been calling constantly for the past two weeks trying to find out where immigration raids might take place -- or to report seeing one.

"People are very scared. People are scared to pick up their kids from school. People are scared to go shopping. Now they're even scared to go to work," Romero said. The station estimates that its listeners are about 75 percent immigrants.

HELP FOR FAMILIES San Antonio may help the families of illegal immigrants arrested in raids. Imelda Lopez's husband was deported to Mexico after an immigration raid at IFCO Systems. 16B Thousands of Central Americans are holding out hope that immigration law will change soon. They are delaying renewal of permits that allow them to live in the U.S. temporarily. 4B Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison oppose the Senate immigration plan. 11A ------------

Bryon Okada, (817) 390-7752

Copyright (c) 2006, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.

March 10, 2006

ICE Arrests 375 Gang Members and Associates in Two-Week Enforcement Action

ICE Arrests 375 Gang Members and Associates in Two-Week Enforcement Action
Release Date: 03/10/06 00:00:00

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: ICE Public Affairs, 202-514-2648
March 10, 2006

During a two-week enforcement action that culminated yesterday, federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 375 gang members and associates in 23 states in a joint effort with law enforcement agencies nationwide.

The arrests are the latest under the auspices of “Operation Community Shield,” a comprehensive initiative launched by ICE roughly one year ago to disrupt and dismantle transnational, violent street gangs. Operation Community Shield represents the first time the federal government has used immigration and customs authorities in a combined, national campaign against criminal street gangs in the United States.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced the results at a press conference today with ICE Assistant Secretary Julie Myers; Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Emilio Gonzalez; Assistant Director of Field Operations at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Michael Bouchard, First Assistant Chief of the Dallas Police Department David O’Neal Brown, and Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division Deborah Pierce.

In the past year, ICE has conducted several targeted enforcement actions under Operation Community Shield, including the latest one. In total, these efforts have resulted in the arrest of 2,388 members of 239 different gangs and the seizure of 117 firearms. Fifty-one of those arrested were gang leaders. Roughly 922 of those arrested were from the street gang Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13). Those arrested under Operation Community Shield are prosecuted criminally or removed from the United States through immigration proceedings. To date, 533 have been charged criminally, while 1,855 have been hit with administrative immigration charges.

In the latest enforcement action that began on Feb. 24, 2006, ICE teamed up with its law enforcement partners to arrest large numbers of gang members in Dallas (44), San Diego (41), Washington, D.C. (22), Miami (22), and Raleigh, N.C. (19). Gang members were also arrested in locations such as Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Des Moines, Iowa; and Springfield, Missouri. Those arrested included members of MS-13, Surenos, 18th Street Gang, Latin Kings, Bloods, Crips, Armenian Power, Street Thug Criminals, Brown Pride, Asian Dragon Family, Avenue Assassins, Spanish Gangster Disciples, Big Time Killers and Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos.

More than 260 of the 375 individuals arrested in the latest action have past criminal records, most of them violent. ICE agents arrested 73 of the individuals on new criminal charges ranging from drug and firearms violations to charges of re-entering the country after deportation. The rest have been accused of administrative immigration violations and placed into deportation proceedings. Some of those arrested include:

Convicted murderer & gang member whose son is charged with shooting an ICE agent -- On March 3, ICE agents in South Texas arrested Juan Eladio Villareal-Saenza, a convicted murderer and member of the gang, Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos, on criminal charges of re-entry after deportation. The same day, ICE agents and U.S. Marshals deputies arrested his son, Leobardo Villareal, who was wanted on federal charges of shooting ICE agent Maria Ochoa in May 2005; escaping from federal custody; and federal drug violations. After his first arrest for the attempted murder of an ICE agent, Leobardo Villareal escaped in Sept. 2005 from the McAllen Medical Center, where he allegedly carjacked a mother and her children to flee. He was later featured on “America’s Most Wanted.”

Gang member who robbed state representative & beat individual in the head with bat – On Feb. 28, ICE agents worked with the Fuquay-Varina, N.C. Police Department to arrest Jose Carlos Peralta-Morales, a Surenos gang member who was observed that day beating an individual in the head with an aluminum baseball bat in a Wal-Mart store. ICE interviews of the suspect revealed that he had previously been deported in May 2005 and had been convicted of robbery / accessory after the fact in connection with an incident in which gang members broke into and robbed the house of a North Carolina state representative. Peralta-Morales faces federal criminal prosecution.

“The lawlessness that these violent gangs propagate presents a grave threat to public safety,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “We are meeting their victimization of the innocent with hard-hitting enforcement actions that lead to criminal prosecutions and deportations. Operation Community Shield embodies the power behind law enforcement partnerships, at all levels, to share information and combat these intolerable criminal elements.”

“Transnational street gangs pose a growing public safety threat to urban and rural communities throughout the United States. Their violence, sophistication, and scope have reached intolerable levels,” said ICE Assistant Secretary Myers. “Operation Community Shield demonstrates how ICE is working with its law enforcement partners and leveraging its broad authorities to disrupt these criminal organizations on a national scale.”

Partnerships with law enforcement / Impact on violent crime
Law enforcement partnerships at the local level are critical to the success of Operation Community Shield. Recent collaboration in Dallas was representative of joint operations nationwide. In Dallas, ICE received data from the Dallas Police Department about local violent gang members. ICE conducted further investigation to determine if any were subject to arrest for federal customs or immigration violations. After identifying targets subject to ICE authorities, ICE and Dallas police conducted a joint operation that netted 44 gang members.

First Assistant Chief of the Dallas Police Department David O’Neal Brown said, “Operation Community Shield has had a direct impact on violent crime in the Dallas area. Over the past year, the murder rate in the Dallas metropolitan area decreased roughly twenty percent compared to the year before. This is a successful program that the Dallas Police Department is proud to participate in.”

ICE has also worked with its partners at the federal level. In the recent action, ICE teamed with USCIS to identify 48 MS-13 members who had recently applied for immigration benefits by comparing its list of thousands of gang targets against the USCIS database of immigration benefit applicants. This effort led to the arrest of 4 MS-13 members and the placement of immigration detainers on 8 MS-13 members in custody.

“Operation Community Shield is a prime example of how USCIS and ICE have joined forces to identify and remove those who pose a threat to public safety,” said USCIS Director Emilio Gonzalez. “Just this past year, USCIS identified and referred more than 4,000 cases involving fraud to ICE. This joint anti-fraud and national security effort is a major priority for the Department of Homeland Security.”

ICE has also worked closely with its partners at the ATF and FBI. ICE has been coordinating street gang operations with the ATF’s Violent Crime Impact Team (VCIT) initiative, which operates in 23 cities throughout the country to identify, arrest, and prosecute the most violent criminals in communities. The VCIT is especially focused on the reduction of gun-related violence often perpetrated by violent gangs. ICE has also been coordinating all its gang targets with the FBI and its MS-13 National Gang Task Force prior to arrest.

About Operation Community Shield
Operation Community Shield was launched in February 2005 after a threat assessment by ICE field offices identified MS-13 as one of the largest and most violent street gangs in the country. The assessment found that most of these gang members were foreign-born; in the United States illegally; had prior criminal convictions; and/or were involved in crimes that made them subject to ICE’s broad immigration and customs authorities.

ICE kicked off Operation Community Shield with an enforcement action that resulted in the arrest of more than 100 members of MS-13. In the months that followed, ICE agents nationwide joined ranks and continued targeting MS-13 members in their jurisdictions. In May 2005, ICE expanded Operation Community Shield to include all criminal street gangs and prison gangs with foreign-born members.

Since that time, ICE has been targeting all violent gang members nationwide by using its administrative immigration authorities to detain and remove illegal alien gang members from the country and by using its criminal authorities to arrest and prosecute gang members involved in criminal activities.


Should the Texas State Legislature pass immigration enforcement laws in 2009?