Texas wants undocumented workers, but only for household chores

Debbie Riddle at Quarter Horse Farm

Representative Debbie Riddle who introduced the bill, at Quarter House Farm (via flickr)

A proposed Texas law would fine anyone found to be employing an undocumented immigrant, except people employing them in their homes. Via Yahoo:

A proposed immigration bill in the Texas state House is sure to raise more than a few eyebrows. The bill would make hiring an “unauthorized alien” a crime punishable by up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine, unless that is, they are hired to do household chores.

Yes, under the House Bill 2012 introduced by a tea party favorite state Rep. Debbie Riddle — who’s been saying for some time that she’d like to see Texas institute an Arizona-style immigration law — hiring an undocumented maid, caretaker, lawnworker or any type of houseworker would be allowed. Why? As Texas state Rep. Aaron Pena, also a Republican, told CNN, without the exemption, “a large segment of the Texas population” would wind up in prison if the bill became law.

(emphasis mine)

In short, Texas Conservatives want to continue to employ undocumented immigrants all the while criminalizing their very existence in the state. Let’s be clear: they have no interest in changing the status of the undocumented immigrants they employ because that would jeopardize their access to cheap and unregulated labor. They want to keep their “hired help” undocumented so they can avoid paying payroll taxes as well as ignore labor rights laws about working conditions and minimum wage requirements.

Just consider for a moment the power an employer has when they can threaten to report an undocumented worker to ICE, especially if the employer would face no penalty for having hired them.

It’s clear what kind of work the supporters of this bill think Latinos in the US are meant for: the cheap, unregulated and domestic kind.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/michaelcrichton/ Michael Crichton

    They’re not even trying any more. Time was, they’d claim such an exemption would be to “Avoid onorous reporting requirements for homeowners who just want their lawns mowed” or something.

  • http://feministing.com/members/principes/ dominick

    You are reaching to conlude that the sponsors of the bill want to keep cheap, undocumented household labor available. Whether or not one agrees with the intent of the bill to criminalize and reduce the number of “unauthorized aliens” the structure of the bill is actually a good idea for two reasons. First, household workers are primarily female and do not tend to cross the border by themselves. They come in family groups. So if the law eliminated the men, the logic implies that eventually the women will also be eliminated. Second, never pass a law which will be ignored and whose uneven enforcement will lead abuses of power. Being able to charge everyone that has a housekeeper with such a severe violation is impractical and ill advised.

    • http://feministing.com/members/miriam/ Miriam

      This bill doesn’t say that won’t criminalize the undocumented workers employed in domestic situations, it just wouldn’t penalize or criminalize their employers. Big difference. In reality, other legislation similar to SB 1070 that has been introduced would continue to criminalize undocumented immigrants simply for their presence in the state.

      I don’t think domestic undocumented workers should be criminalized anymore than any other type of worker–but this bill, with an exemption for their employers, exposes the hypocrisy and racism behind these policies.

  • http://feministing.com/members/blue/ Kate

    huh. I thought slavery had been abolished in the US…