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Perry adds “sanctuary cities” to the special session

I wasn’t sure if this would happen or not. I guess you can never pander to the base too much.

Gov. Rick Perry has added controversial immigration and homeland security measures to the agenda for the special legislative session that began last week.

Perry added abolishing “sanctuary cities,” the common term for entities that prohibit law enforcement from inquiring about immigration status, to the special session “call” — the list of items he’s asking lawmakers to address. The item was the only one of six “emergency items,” so designated by Perry, that didn’t make it the governor’s desk during the regular session that ended last month. The governor has also asked lawmakers to address matters relating to the federal government’s Secure Communities program, which is administered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The initiative compares the fingerprints of those arrested to a federal database to determine if the individual is eligible for deportation under current immigration laws. Additionaly, the call includes matters relating to “the issuance of driver’s licenses and personal identification certificates.”

“Texas owes it to the brave law enforcement officials, who put their lives on the line every day to protect our families and communities, to give them the discretion they need to adequately do their jobs,” Perry said in a statement. “Abolishing sanctuary cities in Texas, using the federal Secure Communities program and ensuring that only individuals who are here legally can obtain a valid Texas driver’s license sends a clear message that Texas will not turn a blind eye to those breaking our laws.”

The three items are part of SB 9, a bill filed last week by state Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, and co-authored by every Republican member of the Senate. The driver’s license provision of SB 9 requires that the Department of Public Safety index the citizenship status of each person with a driver’s license or ID. It also requires that applicants for a license or ID, unless they have already done so, furnish to the department proof of citizenship or legal status. State Rep. Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, who successfully passed HB 12, the House’s version of the sanctuary cities bill, in the regular session, has also filed a bill for the special session.

You can now throw out any thought of the special session wrapping up early. Whether this is intended to further Perry’s Presidential delusions or dispel them is for you to decide. And for those of you that might fall for the canard that this is somehow Wendy Davis’ fault, I will remind you that 1) a special session on windstorm insurance was inevitable; 2) a special session on Congressional redistricting was always in the cards; and 3) last I checked, the Governor has the sole power to call a special session and set the agenda for it. This is all on Rick Perry.

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  1. […] (Top Texas politcal blogger Charles Kuffner has also written on this subject.) […]

  2. Peter Wang says:

    Can someone tell me, philosophically & morally, what is so terribly wrong with asking citizenship status after you’ve been detained? What is wrong with the government knowing if you should even be here?

    Understand that I am saying this as a person of color who gets stopped by CBP when I traverse the border area. They ask for ID, and I show it. Deal!

    Methinks people with skeletons in their closets oppose abolishing sanctuary cities, and they play heavily on White Guilt to find allies.

  3. It’s not about asking citizenship status for those who have been arrested. Most cities in Texas, including Houston, already do that – it’s called the Secure Communities program. But even that has issues, as it has caused low-level non-violent offenders to be deported, in many cases leaving behind children who were born here. It’s also the case, as it always is with anything based on a database, that mistakes occur. When the downside is erroneously shipping someone to another country, one needs to be extra careful.

    But if it were only about checking the status of people who have been detained, it would be a lot less controversial. What this does is it forbids cities from enacting policies that restrict when an officer can inquire about someone’s status. Under this law, you can be asked to prove your legality any time you interact with the police for any reason. Pulled over for a traffic stop? Show me your papers. Witness to a crime? Show me your papers. Victim of a crime? Show me your papers. That’s a huge waste of police resources, and it’s just wrong. That’s why those of us who oppose it do so as vociferously as we do.