How the AZ Immigration Bill Will Affect Texas

The governor of Arizona has signed the nation’s toughest state laws against illegal immigration. The bill will, among other things, require police to ask people about their immigration status in some instances — a move that critics say could lead to racial profiling. One local political expert says the effects of the Arizona law will be felt in Texas, as David Pitman reports.


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One of the immediate consequences of the Arizona law will be an increase in the number of illegal immigrants in Texas.  That’s according to Rice University Political Science Department Chair Mark Jones, who says it won’t be a great stampede of new arrivals, but they’ll probably come here, and other states, nonetheless.

“You’re not going to have as many people from Mexico and Central America going to Arizona as was the case in the past.  And some people who are presently is in Arizona, even if the law does not go into effect, they can see they’re really not welcome.”

Jones says enforcement of the Arizona law could be delayed, as constitutional challenges work their way through the courts.  He says those challenges likely won’t stop Texas Republican legislators from introducing a similar measure against illegal immigration when lawmakers meet for their regular session in Austin next January.   But he says not enough Democrats will get on board for that bill to gain any traction.

“At least some Republicans will also not want it.  And I don’t Joe Strauss or David Dewhurst really wanting to alienate Latino voters by pushing anything like that forward.  So they’ll kill it, and it’ll never see the light of day in terms of being actually voted on and approved.”

Jones adds that even though this anti-illegal-immigration law is coming out of Arizona and not Texas, it will still complicate Governor Rick Perry’s efforts to gain more of the Latino vote, as he faces off against former Houston Mayor Bill White in November.

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David Pitman

David Pitman


David was HPM’s local Morning Edition host from 2009 to 2020 -- when he was moved to the position of Technical Director of Houston Matters with Craig Cohen, and Town Square with Ernie Manouse. David has extensive public and commercial broadcast journalism and production experience dating back to 1993 –...

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