Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Golden Opportunity for Americans and Immigrants

It’s past time for properly securing our borders and reforming our immigration policy, but citizenship should not be a consolation prize for circumventing our laws. Today, the president announced his plan for resolving our immigration problem. Unfortunately, it amounts to amnesty bundled up in a new box with a fresh bow. We did this in 1986 when we said, “If you come here illegally, we will award you citizenship for breaking our laws.”

Does anyone really think the undocumented are here because we have a broken citizenship process? No, they are here in the shadows because we have a broken workforce documentation process and a broken border.

Our president and other leaders in Washington must understand that changing our current citizenship process is not necessary to repairing our failed immigration system. Further, inserting a change to our citizenship process for certain people only continues to send the message to others that the U.S. rewards circumvention of our laws.

Any new policies must focus on securing our border and addressing workforce needs rather than rubber stamping citizenship through amnesty. We can be pro-legal immigration and pro-economy without creating a situation where we encourage future illegal entry. The president’s proposal is nothing more than convenience citizenship. We already have a pathway to citizenship; it is our naturalization process, let’s not undermine the process for becoming a US citizen.

There are more than 11 million illegal immigrants living with us today in the United States and I support a plan that allows them to become a legal part of the workforce. These hard-working immigrants living in the shadows should be allowed to come out of the darkness, pay a fine, submit to a criminal background check, secure verifiable employment and then attain legal worker status. I also welcome all who want to become a U.S. citizen through our naturalization process, but don’t want to make the mistakes of past amnesty that will only perpetuate the problems.

We can solve this problem and still ensure America is the land of golden opportunity for immigrants around the world, but let’s make sure we do this the right way and fix the broken system by taking the politics out.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Americans Want Protection

I’m sure your heart broke just like mine after hearing the news about the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school shooting that so tragically ended the lives of 20 innocent children and six staff members. As a father, my emotions ranged from utter sadness at the senseless loss of life to rage against the one who could so callously end the boundless future of those so young.

Who wouldn’t do whatever it takes to ensure this never happens again? Any sane person would do whatever necessary. The grim reality is the entire clamor over gun restrictions and gun laws being proposed today would not have saved those poor, innocent children nor would it deflect the heartache and sting that surely will follow those families for decades.

As a lifelong supporter of the Second Amendment and gun owner rights, I had hoped the dialogue following this tragedy would center on school safety and ways to better detect someone so obviously mentally deranged. I also had hoped discussion would turn to intervention techniques to mitigate future acts of such violence. The need for access to firearms for self protection has not changed since the penning of the Second Amendment, and had a law-abiding civilian been armed or a law enforcement officer been present, he or she could possibly have stopped the shooter at Sandy Hook before lives were taken.

Landowners along the Texas-Mexico border know full well the reason for the Second Amendment, and have to rely on it every day. Dangerously armed drug cartel members move illegal narcotics across private land on what seems a nightly occurrence. Most everyone tries to avoid any encounter with these narco-terrorists, because they are ruthless beyond description. Many times these vicious criminals have assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Why should any American citizen have anything less? Why should our government impose restrictions on the innocent to give the bad guys the upper hand? Response time for law enforcement in these rural areas is sometimes just too long to wait. In this instance, the best 9-1-1 is often a .308.  

I would suggest the reason the loss of life on the U.S. side of the border is at a minimum compared to that on the Mexican side is due, in part, to the fact that American citizens are guaranteed by our Constitution the ability to protect ourselves. We are armed and we will defend our families. I cannot imagine a country where this liberty is limited to our detriment.

Think of it like this: On Monday, our president took the oath of office and then walked down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the White House. During this walk, he was surrounded by men carrying assault-type weapons with high-capacity magazines. All Americans want this protection for him. Should all the rest of us Americans be denied anything less than the opportunity for similar self-protection? 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Remembering the Lessons of Dr. King

While history is often filled with the heroic and grand moments of our country’s past, there were painful and difficult challenges that paved the way to where we are today. Looking back is always easier than living through the growing pains of our nation’s racial divide, institutionalized prejudices and hatred that have taken many forms throughout the years. 

Martin Luther King Jr. Day represents a stark reminder that these challenges are not in the far off distant past, and we must continue to work to attain Dr. King’s vision of equal opportunity for all.

What Dr. King did to evoke the change that was so desperately needed should encourage our generation to strive daily for a community, country and world free of prejudice and injustice.  Celebrating MLK Day should be a reminder that each of us can be a force for change. We need to look beyond legislation toward attitudes that reflect appreciation for all of our fellow men and women. 

Thanks to Dr. King and all those who came before and after to pave the way for the dream we all hope to achieve.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Bowl Season Good for Texas Teams

The final whistle has blown on this year’s college football season and what a season it was! I want to congratulate all of our Texas schools for their impressive performances in this year’s bowl games.

I am especially excited about the Aggies’ big win at the Cotton Bowl against the Oklahoma Sooners. Aggies Coach Kevin Sumlin, Heisman trophy-winning quarterback, Johnny Manziel, the many other instrumental team members and the famous "12th Man" were great representatives for our state.

In addition, I am also proud of The University of Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor, SMU and Rice who all ended their seasons with bowl wins. TCU, in their first year in the Big 12, proved themselves as well in a competitive game that left them just a point behind Michigan State. And while Sam Houston State University came up a bit short in the Football Championship Subdivision game, the players proved to be good sports and managed to put up a good fight.

Great job Team Texas! Now let’s hear it for the Houston Texans as they continue to battle their way to Super Bowl XLVII.