Noriega Presents Immigration Plan

Democratic Senate challenger breaches the border wall

State Rep. and U.S. Senate candidate Rick Noriega of Houston
State Rep. and U.S. Senate candidate Rick Noriega of Houston (photo by John Anderson)

Staying on the offensive in his challenge to incumbent Republican John Cornyn, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Rick Noriega today unveiled his plan to deal with illegal immigration. (Just last month, Noriega released an energy plan.) The immigration plan focuses on three central planks: Secure the border with manpower and electronics rather than a wall, crack down on those who hire illegal immigrants, and “turn the immigrants into taxpayers.”

Noriega jabbed at Cornyn for first rejecting and then later tepidly embracing a border wall. Noriega is no doubt banking on anger over the wall among border residents as a source of votes from that region. Calling the wall “impractical,” Noriega’s plan says “Gimmick’s don’t count on the border. Hard work does.” That hard work would be carried out by 18,000 new Border Patrol agents, what Noriega calls Operation Jump Start II (Noriega, a lieutenant colonel in the National Guard, served as the Laredo sector commander in the original Operation Jump Start).

Noriega has clearly chosen to embrace whatever voters there may be out there who are reasonable about the 12 million undocumented immigrants in this nation and decided to not worry about the more hysterical anti-immigrant faction – the plan explicitly rejects calls for mass deportations as “not realistic and financially unsound,” and cites a study showing “that removing undocumented immigrants from Texas would cost the state gross product over $17 billion and that this population puts $420 million more into [the] Texas state economy than they use in services.”

More on this in next week’s print edition; meanwhile, you can read the plan for yourself by going to

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Elections, Election 2008, Rick Noriega, John Cornyn, immigration

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