A GOP-backed bill pushing federal immigration enforcement duties in Texas off on local police officers, legislation a week ago expected a shoo-in after the Senate approved it and sent it to the House, now faces an uncertain future after being stalled in committee. The bill is vigorously being opposed by Democrats in El Paso.
Business backers of Gov. Rick Perry, who is considering a Republican presidential candidacy, appear to be getting squeamish now after Perry returned from a successful road trip to other states testing his possible candidacy, only to be greeted by a “cool” reception Thursday in San Antonio during the 28th annual National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Conference.
The El Paso Times in a front-page story Friday entitled “Perry fails to woo Hispanics,” stated that the “…applause lines often fell flat and the clattering of silverware hardly (ever) yielded” due to the group’s stance against pending immigration legislation–especially the controversial “sanctuary cities” bill.
The measure is a common term for political entities that through adopted policies (for budget reasons as well as to comply with federal statutes), forbid local law enforcement personnel to do initial immigration checks on persons legally detained or arrested. If approved, it would deny state grant funds to the outlawed cities, if they continued.
Repeatedly the governor has criticized the Obama administration for lack of a comprehensive immigration enforcement policy, and has argued it’s now a matter for the states to take up themselves.
Texas lawmakers are in a special summer session called by Perry. He placed the item back on the agenda as an emergency measure after it passed in the House, but failed in the Senate, during the regular session. Because it’d been approved by a healthy margin already, little opposition was expected this time back in the House after it easily cleared the Senate early last week. But this time politically it’s a different story apparently.
In the wake of Thursday’s cool reception, two powerful GOP boosters are circulating a memo”urging business owners (in the state) to call or email lawmakers on the powerful House Committee on State Affairs to…vote against the ‘sanctuary cities’ bill pending before the committee,” news reports now say.
The memo, as ran in today’s online edition of The Texas Tribune, says the bill basically is political grandstanding for Perry’s presidential bid, and cites provisions making such a statute “essentially unenforceable” as well as unnecessary, considering rules most Texas cities are already using.
El Paso County Commissioner Anna Perez told the Times hopefully the cool reaction Perry has received from Latinos sends a message “the Hispanic vote is not in his pocket simply because he’s from Texas.”
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