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Gov. Rick Perry photo by Tim Eaton Fear and Loathing in San Antonio Republicans get riled up over immigration and taxes at their state convention BY TIM EATON AND DAVE MANN FEATURE IThe 2006 Republican State Convention in San Antonio had all the usual trappings. There were women in red, white, and blue sequined vests, the anti-Hillary T-shirts, and, as ever, the copious praying, pledging of allegiances, and chattering on about freedom. And yet something was dif ferent. The prevailing mood inside the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center the first weekend in June was one of intense fear and anger, even by Republican standards. The fear grew from the perceived threat of illegal immigrants pouring through an insecure border; the anger was mostly over the recently expanded state business tax. State Party Chair Tina Benkiser set the tone in the opening speech. “Unfortunately, the Americanization movement of previous centuries has given way to multiculturalism, hyphenated Americans, and those whose loyalty is to a foreign flag,” she told the mostly white crowd of delegates. “Although ours is a nation of immigrants, integration into one American culture has been the key to success. In the first two centuries, immigrants came to America to become Americans. While 10 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JUNE 16, 2006 respecting their heritage, they learned English, embraced traditional American values, and became American patriots.” Similar invective surfaced in the state party platform, the document that outlines the GOP’s core beliefs. The Texas Republican platform is infamous for its extreme rightward tilt, and the 2006 version was no different. But this year, the ultraconservative delegates who comprise the platform committee added hard-line rhetoric on illegal immigration: “No amnesty! No how. No way.” Opposition to amnesty \(or legalization, as it’s described in just the beginning. The platform includes a demand to find and deport all undocumented workers, to build a barrier along the length of the border, and to create a tracking system for all immigrants. The platform also calls for repeal of the law that grants citizenship to U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants. Gov. Rick Perry’s views on immigration aren’t nearly that extreme. He favors some form of guest worker program, and opposes building a fence along the entire border. Yet when