Debbie Riddle’s Immigration Issue

Immigration, clearly, has become one of the most divisive issues in American politics today. And while it’s not an issue the Texas Freedom Network typically monitors, we have begun noting the extremist statements that public officials make in that debate. Speaking on Houston’s KPFT-FM radio station last week, state Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball, offered this doozy when arguing why minorities might oppose legislation stopping illegal immigration:

“(W)hen you have people that are used to entitlements, then they like the entitlements and they want the entitlements to keep coming.”

Such loopy comments likely won’t do Republicans any good as they try to appeal to Latinos and other minorities in Texas. So it’s not surprising that Riddle’s staff must have realized how incendiary her statement sounded and yesterday argued that she never said it. But she did say it:


This isn’t the first time Riddle’s mouth has gotten her in trouble. Here’s a classic Riddle quote from 2003:

“Where did this idea come from that everybody deserves free education, free medical care, free whatever? It comes from Moscow, from Russia. It comes straight out of the pit of hell. And it’s cleverly disguised as having a tender heart. It’s not a tender heart. It’s ripping the heart out of this country.”

Yeah, never mind health care, which we all know is a socialist plot. In Riddle’s world, apparently, supporters of public education are also dedicated Marxists at heart.

Riddle has been one of the Texas Legislature’s most strident religious-righters, traveling in the same circles as extremists such as Rick Scarborough and Steve Hotze. In 2007 she thrilled the Christian right by passing a bill adding “under God” to the Texas pledge. The addition “will acknowledge our Judeo-Christian heritage,” she said at the time.

But she’s hardly a model lawmaker, often making Texas Monthly magazine’s list of the state’s Ten Worst Legislators. (The magazine gave her the Joseph McCarthy Award in 2003 for her quote about public education and “the pit of hell.”) She even opposed (in 2009) a measure allowing state employees up to five hours of paid leave time a month to volunteer as advocates for foster children going through the court system. The state already allowed paid leave time for other activities, such as volunteering for Red Cross disaster service. But so much for “suffer the little children” and all that, right? (The bill passed, by the way.)

Riddle now is pushing hard on immigration. It’s a very important issue, of course. But is it too much to ask that our elected officials refrain from promoting blatant stereotypes when debating it?

4 thoughts on “Debbie Riddle’s Immigration Issue

  1. You have to generate political courage? Yeah, sure. Rise up against the Mexicans before we all wake up copper-tone skinned and Catholic one morning!!! People like Rep. Riddle are not generating courage. They are generating candied cherries, pineapple bits, raisins, and nuts for their fruitcake factories.

    As a Christian and a human being, I think the following statement by Rep. Riddle (old though it may be) is an absolutely stunning exhibition of Biblical ignorance and depravity:

    “Where did this idea come from that everybody deserves free education, free medical care, free whatever? It comes from Moscow, from Russia. It comes straight out of the pit of hell. And it’s cleverly disguised as having a tender heart. It’s not a tender heart. It’s ripping the heart out of this country.”

    The place this idea comes from is called heaven, and you can read about it in the Bible:

    1) “And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4: 9). God then uses the Bible from that point to Omega at the end with his answer to Cain’s question: “You bet your sweet butt you are!!!”

    2) “And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself (Luke 10:27). Back in Mark 12:31, it says, “There is none other commandment greater than these.”

    3) Then there is the statement in Acts 4:32 about the first Christians: “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.”

    4) “He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.” (Proverbs 22:16). That’s a specific message for all of you far right extremists, Christian Neo-Fundamentalists, and Tea Partiers out there. Ignore it at your own peril and remember what happened on Wall Street in 2008. Look where we are now. Do not be so cock-eyed sure that someone else other than you has failed to measure up.

    5) Then there is the one from Mark 10:21: “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” That’s called total divestiture. It’s giving away everything you have to help your needy brother or sister.” Ashes. Ashes. We all fall down.

    6) Timothy 6:10: “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

    7) Then there is the capstone verse—the one that sums it all up about people like Rep. Riddle and the fruitcakes who think like her, as demonstrated by their extreme variance from the above-listed verses. Isaiah 5:20: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

    Ri-i-i-i-i-i-n-n-n-n-g!!!!! Wake up call for the Religious Right, radical right Republicans, and Tea Partiers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is not about communism, socialism, or any other such crap. This is about the Bible and basic human decency.

  2. The really large entitlements she should be concened about are the ones for the petrochemical industry, agribusiness, military contractors, the major banks and the like. These companies feel that all the money they can steal from the government is their due. Haliburton and Brown and Root steal more in a hour than thousands of poor working people can in a lifetime.

  3. This is in response to Charles’ statements:

    Yes, the bible does state that we should love our neighbors as ourselves and to provide for the orphans, widows, and destitute. It also says that a fool invites a robber into his own home. The fact of the matter is that those that travel to the United States are not all friendly, and some are simply looking for handouts and welfare services that (surprise surprise) don’t exist in Mexico. Essentially, illegal immigrants are able to attain welfare services by having a child born on American soil (otherwise known as an anchor baby). I am not saying all immigrants adhere to this line of thinking, but certainly coyotes and other ferriers of illegals have been known to utilize it to drum up business. Others that travel to the United States illegally are associated with gangs and crime syndicates that cost even more. While I don’t support Tea Partiers in their attempt to completely eliminate social welfare programs, they have a point when they accuse these illegal immigrants as “stealing taxpayer money”.

    You have to admit there are those that abuse the system. Once the admission is made, what do we do about it? I think that the answer comes in the form of tighter restrictions on immigration policy and making it easier to attain citizenship legally. So, while I agree with the basic tenets of your statements regarding the Bible and the treatment of the poor, there are some that do not fit within that argument.

  4. Immigration issues are not about the Bible, so kindly stop banging it and using it to support your conflict with Debbie Riddles.

    This matter is about the security of the United States and the security of the American people, who have in fact been on the bottom of the list while massive numbers of immigrants deliberately choose to enter this country illegally.

    The immigration issues are not just an American problem, they are a worldwide problem — something else you have chosen to ignore. Hidden hands are shifting major populations all over the world and nobody likes it. Nobody. In Mexico, the Mexican government is forcing Mexicans off their lands and out of their homes so they will migrate here.

    Whomever is forcing all this wild worldwide migration schemes obviously thinks they are bigger than the governments and the citizens of all the victim countries who find they must play host to people who don’t belong there. A very good example of the hands forcing this immigration can be seen in South America where the Vatican has been ratling Palestinians AND Nazis and the entire American continent has been awash in horrific violence committed by those animals. Don’t kid yourself. That’s as real as it gets. The Vatican ain’t a good guy in this picture.

    And finally, this exact same thing happened just prior to WWII. People were forced to migrate, Cities became overcrowded and turbulent, and then that became the perfect excuse for Hitler and his Nazis to kill millions of people. First they created the problem, then magically had the “fix”. Hitler, by the way, in his speeches screamed, “I am a Catholic, I am a good Catholic”.

    Well I personally am fed up with ignorant hidden hands making decisions that profoundly affect my country and our security, and trounces the lives of those who are forced to migrate. That jockey strap mentality must be seriously investigated and put to a halt. Again, this exact scenario is exactly what THEY did prior to WWII.

    Immigrants must go back home, but first their home countries must be safe for them to return home to — something their own governments aren’t interested in doing. Perhaps someone smart should have a little chat with the Pope and all the convenient Bible Bangers who think they can ratchet people with perverted ideas about religious views.