DALLAS — Norm Adams wants Texas to find middle ground in the nationwide immigration debate.
The 65-year-old Houston insurance agent caused a ruckus Tuesday by presenting his "sensible immigration policy" — a proposal that the Texas Republican Party reverse course and support a path to legalization — to party faithful gathered in Dallas to prepare for their state convention.
His proposal is designed to secure the borders, deport noncitizens with violent records and give visas to illegal immigrants, who would pay taxes at a higher rate than citizens. In the process, he said, Republicans might regain countless Hispanic voters who shifted to the Democratic Party.
"The Republican Party needs to come together on a sensible immigration policy — one that is not amnesty, one that is not deportation," Adams told a committee working on party platform issues. "If we get this passed, Texas will set the standard.
"I want this party to come together, folks," he said. "I hope and pray you people give this serious consideration."
Adams' proposal drew heated responses. More than 10,000 Republicans are expected in Dallas for their two-day convention, where they will approve a 2010 platform.
Sara Legvold, a delegate from Keller, was among those to speak against Adams' proposal.
"No compromises, no guest work, until we have our borders under control," she said. "I want to deport everybody who is illegal -- children, dogs, pets, birds.
"My compassion has dried up, just as my tax dollars have dried up."
Legvold and others said they believe that the immigration plank in the 2008 platform should stand. It said: "No amnesty! No how. No way. Illegal aliens have committed a criminal act." And it said that party members "support strict and immediate enforcement of all immigration laws."
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