Tea Party Pressures Perry on Sanctuary Cities Issue

Tea Party activists plan to rally at the Texas capitol building in Austin on September 19 to call on Governor Rick Perry to take action regarding immigration “sanctuary cities” in the Lone Star State, the Texas Tribune reports.

“Sanctuary city” is a term used to describe municipalities that have enacted policies limiting enforcement of immigration laws. During the 2010 Texas governor’s race, the state Republican Party ran ads saying Democratic Mayor Bill White turned Houston into a sanctuary city because under his tenure, police officers did not ask individuals involved in investigations about their citizenship status. Houston city officials rejected the label.

Earlier this summer, Governor Perry introduced legislation explicitly banning sanctuary cities in the state and calling for the institution of strict enforcement measures such as requiring residents to verify their legal status before obtaining a driver’s license. The bill did not pass, and now Tea Party activists want Perry to call a special legislative session or issue an executive order to enact some of the hard-line regulations in the failed bill.

The Tea Party rally comes on the heels of presidential primary debates in which Perry, who does not advocate for a border fence with Mexico and granted in-state tuition benefits to illegal immigrant college students, has articulated more moderate immigration policies than his competitors for the Republican nomination.