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by
Bryan Preston

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January 10, 2014 - 7:18 am

On Thursday, while Wendy Davis was in north Texas singing the praises of ships that take on water, the Texas Public Policy Foundation was holding its 2014 policy orientation for state legislators in Austin. The forum wraps up today. I’ve been attending since Wednesday and it has not lacked for substance or star power. Keynote speakers this week include state Rep. Scott Turner, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Sen. Ted Cruz this morning. Of those three, only Turner isn’t a household name among conservatives across the country yet, but he will be.

Between the speeches, the TPPF has been running sessions on major issues facing Texas, and as one would expect, many of these issues carry national implications. The border and private property rights sessions attracted my attention Thursday.

The private property rights session was subdued, with the highlight being state Sen. Leticia Van De Putte (D-San Antonio) offering strong arguments favoring the rights of the family farmer and rancher against the ravages of state and corporate taking of personal property. Van De Putte is running alongside Davis on the Democrats’ run for governor and lieutenant governor, and the contrast the pair struck yesterday — Davis having no serious details on an education issue she was setting up to be a centerpiece of her campaign, while Van De Putte showed command of a serious but unglamorous issue she has worked on in the legislature for years — might cause some in that party to consider flipping their ticket.

The immigration session was a bit more lively. John Fund moderated the packed session. Lowlights included the admonition from Dr. Barrett Duke, of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, to more or less forget about enforcing immigration law because the New Testament demands it. Or something. It’s a point we’ve all heard many times, and one that this Southern Baptist doesn’t quite get. Those who proffer this line of argument never discuss the victims of our open border. How it’s ethical to encourage some people to knowingly break the law, and look the other way when they do, is never addressed.

But in the midst of a discussion that drifted toward how Republicans really ought to get on board with comprehensive immigration reform, a man stood up in the very back of the room to ask a question. Once he took the mic and spoke, heads turned: That’s former Sen. Phil Gramm. Over the course of a couple of minutes, Gramm made two points. One, when he was running and winning statewide in Texas, he voted against the 1986 immigration amnesty that President Reagan signed into law. In his next election, Gramm won a majority of the Hispanic vote in Texas — the only Republican to ever do that. Gramm scoffed at the notion that Republicans must support the immigration reform that’s on the table now in order to do better with Hispanic voters. He said that Republicans should talk about jobs and values, both of which bring the GOP and a majority of Hispanic voters into agreement. His second point was also salient: Why should any Republican sign onto any immigration reform that depends on Barack Obama to enforce it? President Obama can’t even be depended on to treat his own health care law properly. Why would he enforce border security provisions that he does not support? Sen. Marco Rubio has made a similar point, but that isn’t stopping him from trusting Obama anyway in supporting the Senate’s bill. A lawless president is a lawless president, full stop, and we have a lawless president who believes that he can rewrite and even gut laws after Congress passes them.

Gramm made good points, mostly unanswered, though one of the panelists allowed that any immigration reform passed now should not take effect until after Obama leaves office. I guess that’s better than the one panelist’s call to just throw the border open and bring 20 million more people into to our hobbled economy, but not by a lot.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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All Comments   (10)
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Davis ads keep popping up here; must be triggered by site's mention of her name.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...you can't make it a crime simply to cross the border."

It already is, and most Americans prefer it that way. Go back and rethink.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
You go back and re-think.

You're an American citizen. You are endowed by your creator with natural rights. You're telling me, you shouldn't be allowed to walk up to the imaginary line that forms our border and simply step outside the line, then step right back into the country at your whim? Let's pretend for sake of argument that the other side of the line is uninhabited and unclaimed.

Moreover, do you understand that for much of our history you were not required to show a passport to exit or enter our country?

Hey, McGehee, shift your brain from neutral to first and YOU think.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
"You're an American citizen. You are endowed by your creator with natural rights. You're telling me, you shouldn't be allowed to walk up to the imaginary line that forms our border and simply step outside the line, then step right back into the country at your whim? "

What a non-sequitur and an great example of primitive, tribalistic thinking.

Go back and THINK, PERIOD.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
A lot of people walking across borders do so over private land. They tend to leave in their wake massive amounts of liter, human waste, cut fences and damage to building and structures.

Do you think that the right to private property is as imaginary as borders?
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's simply a fact that the border is a real thing. Between Texas and Mexico, there is a river, that river is the border between one country and another, and the laws on one side are different from the laws on another. A citizen on one side is not necessarily recognized as a citizen on the other. If you deny the basics here, you're really surrendering any right to be taken seriously.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Two things:

1. If I were born into a 3rd world hell-hole like Mexico, I'd do anything necessary to get me and my family into America. With this understanding of the issue, you can't make it a crime simply to cross the border. That's clearly a stupid waste of time. The only reasonable and efficient way to enforce such "law" would be to snipe those who attempt to cross as they come. No American in his right mind will support that.

2. The problem isn't the fact that people want to get into America. The problem is "why" they come in the first place. If someone gets a job, pays taxes, and doesn't commit crime, no native American will care. If people come to America for "free stuff", that's a serious problem. Thus, the answer to the problem is to cut off the supply of free stuff. People who would come here simply to live off the taxpayer wouldn't come, or if they did they'd simply be forced to be productive to survive.

Problem is, it's very difficult to cut off "free stuff" from aliens without cutting it off from native Americans. So, cut it off from native Americans, too.

Problem solved. Now, getting there is the hard part.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
"If I were born into a 3rd world hell-hole like Mexico, "

Toot,s you have NO IDEA what "a 3rd world hell hole" is like.

"I'd do anything necessary to get me and my family into America."

How about "legal procedures"? That's what makes civilizations, rather than a 3rd world hell holes.

"With this understanding of the issue, you can't make it a crime simply to cross the border."

What understanding? You're only showing emotions blather more typical of the crap holes you allude to.
28 weeks ago
28 weeks ago Link To Comment
So your argument is, because they want to come in, aliens should be allowed into our country with no restrictions whatsoever?

That's dumb. A country without borders is no country at all, it's merely a tract of land open to anyone with any intentions.

And it's not the "free stuff" people come here for, itr's the OPPORTUNITY.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
RE: The only reasonable and efficient way to enforce such "law" would be to snipe those who attempt to cross...

Although all police powers are ultimately based on the use of deadly force, there are very few circumstances in which law enforcement is allowed to use such force as an opening gambit when dealing with criminals.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
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