Lawmaker to press ahead with Arizona-type immigration law for Texas

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on June 18, 2010 at 8:57 PM

DALLAS - Illegal immigration in Texas and what to do about it. It's as hot an issue as the weather.

A state lawmaker says he'll press ahead with a bill to bring an Arizona-type immigration law to Texas, even though he claims there's a deal by the House Speaker, Joe Straus, to keep it from coming up.

Although opponents of an Arizona-type law in Texas turned out thousands of marchers last month, polls show public opinion overall disagrees with them.

The recent UT-Texas Tribune poll found two thirds of registered voters favor requiring local police to check immigration status.

That's why Republican State Representative Leo Berman of Tyler said during a taping of Inside Texas Politics he'll file his bill. “Well, when every other state around us is passing dramatic legislation to get rid of their illegal aliens I've got to say yes," he said.

Many Hispanic groups and Democrats say no.

And Berman's also getting pushback inside his own party, starting with Governor Perry who said, “I think our law enforcement folks have more important things to do than doing the federal government's job of going out and being immigration officers.”

But Berman has to get his bill through the House first where he claims Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio, a Republican, cut a deal with a small group of Republicans and all the Democrats to stay in power.

“Because he and the other ten pledged to the Democrats in the House that none of those bills will come to the floor,” Berman said.

A spokeswoman for Straus told News 8, "Rep. Berman's facts are inaccurate. The Speaker has made no deals with anyone and Rep. Berman's desire to continuously repeat a falsehood doesn't make it true."

But with illegal immigration one of the top issues to voters, Berman thinks pressure will build to change lawmakers minds.

E-mail: bwatson@wfaa.com

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