The Hispanic Republican Conference has thrown its weight behind the controversial voter ID legislation slated to hit the House floor next week. In a statement released today, the caucus said the issue is essential to integrity at the ballot box and that its overwhelming support by the public indicates change is necessary.
The legislation would require voters to present a form of approved identification, like a state-issued driver’s license or concealed handgun license, in order to cast a ballot.
"To ensure the integrity of our election process, I am supporting the Voter ID bill along with other bills to ensure that candidates reside in their districts, to strengthen our voter registration system, [and] to protect military voter access to Texas elections,” state Rep. John V. Garza, R-San Antonio, said in a statement. Garza and Reps. Aaron Peña, R-Edinburg; Raul Torres, R-Corpus Christi; Dee Margo, R-El Paso; Jose Aliseda, R-Beeville; and Larry Gonzales, R-Round Rock, are the conference’s charter members. The conference is also open to non-Hispanic members whose districts have Hispanic populations of 30 percent or more.
The announcement comes just a week after the original members, minus Gonzales, issued a fiery statement calling on Washington to overhaul the country’s immigration policies, alleging the current system promotes discrimination and produces “a class of vulnerable persons.”
Members also said last week they would not support state legislation some Republican members have proposed that would strip children of undocumented immigrants of certain entitlements.
The voter ID bill, an amended version of SB 14 by state Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, is sponsored in the House by state Rep. Patricia Harless, R-Spring. It is scheduled for floor action on Monday.