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Peña Files Guest-Worker Bill to Address Immigration

State Rep. Aaron Peña, R-Edinburg, has filed legislation he said will explore the possibility of a state-run guest-worker program.

Rep. Aaron Pena (R-Edinburg) speaks at the TribLive event at the LBJ School on February 28, 2011

As Utah goes, so goes Texas.

At least that's what Rep. Aaron Peña, R-Edinburg, hopes happens with proposed legislation he said will explore the possibility of a state-run guest-worker program.

The bill, HB 2757, would establish the Texas Commission on Immigration and Migration, which would, among other things, "develop a comprehensive, coordinated, and sustainable state plan to address … immigration and the use of migrant workers in the state." The commission would work together with a Mexican state to determine the requirements by which guest workers could legally migrate to Texas.

"Bottom line is: Mexico has workers, and we need workers," Peña said.

The Republican, who switched parties after last year's election, said his bill is modeled after similar legislation GOP leadership passed in Utah.

"The left, the progressives [also] have supported it. It passed through almost unanimously [in Utah] and it is a program that needs to be explored," he said.

Peña said it was only a matter of time states began putting forth such proposals.

“As Washington falls all over itself to build courage to address the situation of immigration, the states are being forced, because of the demand from the public, to respond,” he said. “And many of the responses, from my perspective, have been extreme. [But] this is a reasonable program.”

 

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