Texas Lawmaker Says Don’t Hire Undocumented Immigrants Except If They’re Low-Paid Domestic Workers

A bill in the Texas legislature would punish employers who hire undocumented workers, except if they are maids, lawn caretakers or other domestic help

A bill in the Texas legislature would punish employers who hire undocumented workers, except if they are maids, lawn caretakers or other domestic help. (Photo: William Hartz/flickr)

Across the country state legislators have been introducing immigration laws left and right, on both sides of the political spectrum. Some want to allow undocumented youth to attend college at in-state-tuition rates, others are planning the opposite. Utah made waves earlier this week when the state legislature approved a controversial package—one bill that would require police to check the immigration status of suspects in felony or serious misdemeanor cases and another bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for a guest worker program after going through a rigorous background check.

And then there’s the bill introduced by Republican state Rep. Debbie Riddle, in the Texas House.

On the one hand, the bill would punish employers who knowingly hire undocumented immigrants with heavy fines—up to $10,000—and possible jail time. However, (and it’s a big however) there is an exception for those who hire maids, landscapers, or houseworkers. Why?  Punishing those employers would be “stifling the economic engine,” Riddle’s chief of staff, Jon English, told the Texas Tribune.

So, according to the logic of this bill, employers should be whipped for hiring undocumented immigrants for high paying jobs, but it’s fine to hire them for low-paying jobs that U.S. citizens don’t want.

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