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Tea Party groups urge Perry to call new special session to toughen immigration laws

Image by: Matt Mahurin
Image by: Matt Mahurin

While Gov. Rick Perry’s push for legislation banning “sanctuary cities” won him a cool reception from Texas Latino leaders last month, the bill’s failure has sparked a fresh round of criticism for Perry, this time from a statewide network of Tea Party groups.

In an open letter last week to “The Honourable James Richard ‘Rick’ Perry,” dozens of Tea Party leaders joined Joann Fleming, chair of the Texas Tea Party Caucus Advisory Committee, and Maria Martinez, executive director of Immigration Reform Coalition of Texas, in calling for strong executive action from Perry to crack down on illegal immigration.

“We write to express, in the strongest possible terms, our disappointment over the outcome of the regular and special sessions of the 82nd Legislature, in which every single one of the dozens of common-sense immigration reform bills died,” they wrote.

While many high-profile immigration measures failed in the special session, lawmakers did quietly pass a requirement for proof of U.S. citizenship with driver’s license applications. Along with the ban on “sanctuary cities,” the letter asked Perry to twist arms in Austin to push for adoption of the federal E-Verify system, and to institute citizenship requirements in applications for professional state licenses.

Although we do not necessarily hold you completely responsible for the inexcusable actions of the House and Senate members during the regular and special sessions, the ball is now squarely in your court. It is solely within your power as Governor to call the legislature into session and demand that they complete the important work that they promised their constituents they would do.

Last week, with the special session winding down, the group circulated a video shot in an empty House chamber, suggesting lawmakers were wasting valuable time.

The letter to Perry closes by reminding Perry of the high stakes he faces now:

It is a point of pride for many Texans that our Governor is receiving a great deal of attention as a potential contender for President of the United States. Your bold conservative message has clearly struck a chord within the hearts of many Americans. That said, the American people are hungry for a statesman whose bold words are followed up with bold action.

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