State Rep. Ana Hernandez Luna stood before the House on the afternoon of May 9, hours after lawmakers passed the controversial “sanctuary city” bill, and started reading from a prepared statement, her eyes downcast.
“I know House Bill 12 already passed, and in the long run there is nothing that could have been done about its passage,” she said.
But still, she said, she had something to say. And then, in a halting and teary speech, Hernandez Luna, D-Houston, described what life is like as an illegal immigrant.
She knows, she said, because she lived it.
“Immigration and all that it encompasses is very personal for me because I was an undocumented immigrant,” Hernandez Luna said. “You may prefer to use the word illegal alien, but I’m not an alien. I am not a problem that must be handled. I’m a human — a person standing before you now as a representative for the Texas House.”
With her roughly five-minute speech, the 32-year-old lawyer and lawmaker did what some would consider crazy in the current political climate. She tried to put a human face – her own face – on the illegal immigration issue.
“I believe they have a perception of what an undocumented immigrant should be, and I don’t fit in that,” she said in a recent interview. “And that’s why I felt it was important to share my story and put a face on the issue, and let people know we’re not just talking about criminals here who need to be deported.”
You really need to hear Rep. Hernandez Luna give the speech to get its full impact. I shared this on Facebook before, here it is now:
By the way, the “sanctuary cities” bill has been refiled for the special session, though as yet it’s not on the call. Two things to add to the Chron story: One, despite what it says I hope Rep. Hernandez Luna does have aspirations for higher office some day. There’s never enough people like her in office at any level. And two, screw Debbie Riddle and her condescension. A hundred years ago, Riddle’s spiritual ancestors were arguing that we had to “defend the borders” against the menace of too many Italian and Irish immigrants. Same crap, different century. It was wrong then and it’s wrong now. This Irish Italian stands with Rep. Hernandez Luna.