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Illegal employers?

24 March 2007

Do you recognize this guy?  He was a migrant worker in California for a time, bummed around in Texas, finally went to college, ended up teaching in a then segregated “Mexican” school for a time… then moved on to a few other things. 

I ran this photo, because his spirit lives on in people like State Representative Rafael Anchia of Dallas.  As  Megan Headley writes in the Texas Observer Anchia mastered the art of devious deal making.  Texas Republicans, who apparently don’t get out of the ‘burbs too often (and don’t look around the ‘burbs, apparently) were falling all over themselves to come up with new and creative ways to harrass “illegal immigrants” — make ’em pay a remittance tax, keep their kids from going to school, oh… don’t let em buy auto insurance (and then complain about uninsured drivers)… yadda, yadda, yadda. 

Anchia put the kibosh on the whole thing, simply and elegantly.  He “reframed the debate.”  Since business taxes are based on gross receipts less goods and payroll, Anchia threatened to introduce a bill that would disallow deductions for wages paid to “illegal” workers.  In short, he’d make some of the biggest businesses in the state “illegal” employers.

Anchia, part of the Democratic Mexican-American Legislative Caucus was suddenly courted by the two biggest Republican contributers in the state… Bo Pilgrim (of Pilgrim’s Pride — the chicken processors) and Bob Perry, the homebuilder who financed George W. Bush (and a host of lesser varmits).  Anchia’s Bill was quietly dropped, but wouldn’t you know it… suddenly the Texas Business Association is coming out in favor of immigration reform.

Lyndon Baines Johnson (the Spanish-speaking ex-migrant worker), like Anchia, instinctively understands Texans… and the way bidness is done (not much different than it’s done in Mexico, really).  Make your opponent BEG you to help them. It doesn’t work with Ho Chi Minh, but with Texas Republicans it sure does.  As LBJ famously put it “Grab ’em by the balls, and their hearts and minds will follow.” 

I’m a little nicer than Lyndon, but I’m not above arm-twisting if I have to…
Yup, I still need the money if I’m not gonna close up shop…

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