November 13, 2008

Berman Will File 9 Bills About Illegal Immigration

Berman Will File 9 Bills About Illegal Immigration
Staff Writer

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.

Another bill to be filed by Berman would analyze the number of illegal alien children in the state's public school system.

"We are building new schools across the state which are costing hundreds of millions of dollars and we think that at least 20 percent are for the children of illegal aliens that pay little to no property taxes," he said.

Berman will file a bill that would make English the official language of Texas. That would mean that all state business, except for that which is mandated by the federal government, be done in English.

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.

This would require "sanctuary cities," such as Houston, Austin and Dallas, to enforce immigration laws or be held liable for nonaction.

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.

"Right now a law enforcement officer can't do anything with (illegal aliens) unless they commit a crime," he said. "But if they take the 287 G training they can actually arrest them for being illegal in the United States."

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.

The bill would also require employers to verify citizenship of anyone they hire, he said. Berman said the means are available by the federal government to verify Social Security numbers to determine if the numbers are fraudulent or stolen.

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.

He said it is outrageous that he has middle income constituents that have fewer benefits than illegal immigrants.

"It is important for them to pass because we have 2 million illegal aliens in Texas that are costing my constituents, my Texas residents, $4 billion every year," he said. "We have never had a class of immigrants in the United States that require free education and free health care by U.S. citizens as the illegal aliens in our country require."

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