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Jason Villalba. Photo: Billy Surface.

State Rep. Jason Villalba, to Lt. Gov. Candidates: ‘Illegals Are People’

Being Jason Villalba is not easy. He’s a Hispanic Republican, one of only 482 in the 93,000-resident District 114 in North Dallas. But that also affords him an opportunity to look at Texas’ Republican party from a different vantage point. And today he did just that, with an open letter to the Republican lieutenant governor candidates.

In a courteous but sharp note, Villalba addresses their tone in the recent lite guv debate:

Please know that like you, I am a principled conservative who believes in and supports the rule of law.  I do not believe that we should reward those who violate our Nation’s laws and like most conservatives, I am adamantly opposed to amnesty.  As well, it is clear to me that border security should be a critical component of any long term solution.

However, other than your singular focus on border security and a passing reference to supporting a guest worker plan, you provided no specifics about how we might address the unauthorized population in our state.  Nor did I hear any proposals on how we might better cooperate with the Federal authorities so that we can assist in the enforcement of existing laws, which you seemed to agree, were sufficient to address many of our concerns.

Most disconcerting to me was the tenor of your remarks.  I heard fellow human beings referred to dismissively as “illegals.”  I heard that we must “stop the invasion,” comparing those seeking the promise of our great country with war-mongering foreign adversaries.  I heard statistics about crime committed by the undocumented, but heard nothing of the economic benefits recognized by the state’s agriculture, oil and gas and construction industries.

Friends, these “illegals” are people.  They are human beings who love their little ones just as much as you and I love our little ones.  They want a better life for their families and they want their children to have a better life than they have had.  No, this does not mean you have to abandon your conservative principles and support open-borders amnesty or reward those who have broken our laws.  But it does mean that you should take just a moment to acknowledge the humanity of a hard-working and productive people.  Respect them.  Engage them.  Understand them.  And when you articulate your positions about these issues, always remember that you are talking to and about people.

Standing, clapping.