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Texas Immigration Bill: Maids, Gardeners Can Stay

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on March 10, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Arizona may be the hotbed of immigration reform, but Texas Tea Party darling Debbie Riddle wants her state to take center stage in the debate.

The headline-hungry state representative has submitted a Texas immigration bill that puts to shame anything that has come out of Arizona.

The proposed Texas immigration bill begins like one would expect it to, reports CNN. Anyone who "intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly" hires an unauthorized immigrant can be fined up to $10,000 or placed behind bars for up to two years.

But then comes the unique, only in Texas loophole:

The law would not apply to people who hire illegal immigrants to clean their homes or mow their lawns.

Though Debbie Riddle wants Texas to pass Arizona-style anti-immigrant legislation, she clearly understands the importance of a clean house and refraining from manual labor. But, more importantly, The Lookout reports that she believes that, if the Texas immigration bill were to pass without the exception, an overwhelming portion of the state's population would be in trouble with the law.

Even if Debbie Riddle managed to convince the legislature to pass her bill into law, it's possible that it might not be enforceable. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) prohibits states from imposing civil or criminal sanctions upon those who employ unauthorized aliens, instead leaving enforcement to the federal government.

On a related note, last month, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments as to whether an Arizona law that imposes licensing sanctions on businesses that hire unauthorized aliens is preempted by the same section of the IRCA. That ruling should be released at some point in the next few months.

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