Texas mayor Herb Gears of Irving, Texas, is no Corey Stewart.  He is a man very torn between those who would run every last illegal immigrant out of town and those Hispanic business people and leaders who feel the measures that have been taken split families and are overall bad for the community.  Herb Gears, featured in the New York Times Remade in America series is a moderate.  

Two years ago, Irving decided to conduct immigration checks on everyone booked into the local jail.  First term mayor,  Herbert A. Gears, led the charge.  He felt that jail checks were far better than the more draconian measures encouraged and touted by his opponents and political enemies and he  proposed his plan as a means of compromise.  (Is this all sounding familiar?)


As battles over illegal immigration rage around the country, Irving’s crackdown is not unusual in itself. What makes it striking is that it happened with the blessing of a mayor like Mr. Gears, an immigrant-friendly Democrat with deep political ties to the city’s Hispanic leaders, a man who likes to preach that adapting to immigration – especially in a city like his, now almost half-Hispanic – is not a burden but an opportunity, or as he says, it’s “not a have-to, it’s a get-to.”

But as a wave of sentiment against illegal immigration built around Dallas and the nation, Mr. Gears came to realize that his city would be unable to remain on the sidelines – and that his own political future would depend on how he navigated newly treacherous terrain.

Irving is one of a growing number of cities across America where immigration control, a federal prerogative, is reshaping politics at the other end of the spectrum, the local level, in the absence of a national policy overhaul. To watch its experiment play out over the better part of the past year in City Hall and in its residents’ lives is to see how difficult political moderation has become in the debate over what to do with the country’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants.

According to Mayor Herb Gears:

“I let my instincts rule the moment in that instance,” he said. “What weighed heavily in my thoughts is that if we didn’t do something, a lot more immigrants were going to be hurt.”

“And now,” Mr. Gears added ruefully, “I’m the hero of every redneck in America.”

He calls his ‘red circles’ ‘crankies:’

We defeated the crankies, and no one thought we could,” Mr. Gears said of his re-election. “We’ve defined what our responsibility is, and that’s only to allow the federal government to do its job. It’s not our responsibility to evaluate it or assess whether it’s good or not.”

Still, he is not totally comfortable with the position he feels he must take.  He sounds like quite a character-a tough man with a good heart.  Check out the story of Irving, Texas and its mayor, Herb Gears.  Most of us will be able to identify with this town and its people.  Is Irving our sister city? 



16 Thoughts to “Texas Mayor Gears Caught in Deportation Furor”

  1. M-H, I read your post but not the whole article. I will in the morning. I just wanted to make sure everyone was aware that Jeff Frederick was removed as RPV Chair by a whopping 57 to 18 margin. All those who are interesting in preserving the two party system should celebrate, Republicans in particular.

    There is room in the Virginia GOP for right wing zealots, but we cannot allow them to hold leadership positions if we want to win statewide elections. This year the Governor’s mansion is at stake, and we simply couldn’t allow a mindless nitwit like Jeff Frederick to run the party into the backwoods of ideological extremism.


  2. ShellyB

    Thanks for sharing that M-H. It is eerily similar to what happened to Prince William County. However there is one very big difference. In Irving, the mob of immigration hystericals and political opportunists was coming AT the elected leader. In Prince William County, our elected leader was part of the mob.

    Does anyone know if the ouster of Jeff Frederick means Virginia Republicans will start having primaries instead of nominating conventions? Maybe in 2011 our Republican choice for county chairman might be more moderate, more cool-headed, and more in the mainstream. That would be nice.

  3. Moon-howler

    Shelly that is very true. And of course you know my favorite line in the entire article.

    As for primaries, that is usually decided by the person in office. Primaries are expensive. Last time, Gillmore/Marshall, I don’t know who decided.

  4. Poor Richard

    For years, Irving Texas harbored the Great Seat Of Satan!
    It was homefield of the Dallas Sowboys. Grrrr.
    If they lived through that – imagine they can handle about anything.

  5. Moon-howler

    LOL LOL LOL Tell us how you really feel, Poor Richard. I knew I had heard of that place! So are you telling us that Herb Gear, if either ‘side’ criticizes him, can just turn and say, ‘The Devil made me do it?’

    Mr. Howler just reported in that Irving, Texas was ‘dry.’ The Sowboy’s Stadium was the only dry NFL stadium in the entire nation. He wanted me to tell you a joke. I guess he now thinks it is kindred spirit week. I told him we don’t tell jokes on the blog. (rolling eyes)

  6. Poor Richard

    “Prince William’s Commission on the Future unveiled its
    14-page preliminary report last week …. The section devoted
    to ‘people’ notes that in 2010, the county will be home
    to a diverse population, including a larger Hispanic
    Manassas Weekly Gazette (April 25, 1990)

    (Cleaning out the back of the attic – can you tell? Anyone
    thought some of you might find that prediction of interest.)

  7. ShellyB

    Richard, do you remember reading that article in 1990? You would have an amazing memory if you could.

    But I just wonder. 19 years ago, if a someone had pointed to that article and predicted that in 2007, a group called Help Save Manassas would briefly take over the county government in an effort to reverse this trend, would you have believed him?

  8. Moon-howler

    I just dont envy anyone cleaning out an attic or basement.

  9. Poor Richard

    Certainly didn’t remember I had saved the paper until I found it
    in the bottom of a box, but old newspapers are often interesting –
    what has changed and what hasn’t.
    “City Unveils 1990-91 Budget – City Manager John Cartwright who presented the budget to the mostly supportive crowd, started by
    saying that Manassas as well as most of Virginia is experiencing
    ‘a soft economy’. He added that because of the soft economy, the
    city has tightened its purse strings.”
    Sound familiar?

  10. Moon-howler

    Not this tough. Little did we know how good we had it.

  11. Rick Bentley

    Like most politicians, the guy is more concerned with illegal immigrants than with his own citizens. thank God for this enlightened elitist class who have our best interests at heart.

  12. Moon-howler

    Rick, do you think that the cops feel that way? Do you think they feel they have more of a duty to you than someone who might be illegal? Do the schools feel that it is more the citizens’ school than it is the illegals’ school?

  13. Rick Bentley

    “Do you think they feel they have more of a duty to you than someone who might be illegal? ” Some might. They all should. Illegal aliens have some basic human rights – such as protection against violence – but should have less rights than citizens. For example, they should never have a right to drive.

    “Do the schools feel that it is more the citizens’ school than it is the illegals’ school?” Clearly not but they probably should.

  14. Moon-howler

    What about tourist guests in our country? Should they be allowed to drive?

    What’s the difference in a guest and someone who has overstayed their visa by a week?

  15. Rick Bentley

    Of course, MH. I assume your second question is rhetorical.

  16. Moon-howler


    I think I would prefer a 2 tiered licensing system like the one Utah has. I would rather have licensed drivers rather than unlicensed drivers.

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