Despite Tea Party's urgings, Perry unlikely to call special session on sanctuary cities

Posted Monday, Oct. 17, 2011  comments  Print Reprints

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Gov. Rick Perry appears unlikely to call a second special session to revive an effort to ban so-called sanctuary cities in Texas, despite increasing calls from Tea Party groups that the issue deserves immediate attention.

Members of the Grassroots Texans Network, an assortment of conservative groups, held a news conference last week accusing Perry of not having an interest in passing a measure to halt state aid to local governments that prohibit local officers from inquiring about immigration status.

Perry gave the measure an emergency designation during this year's legislative session. He then added it to the agenda for a summer special session. Both times the measure failed to reach his desk, and some have questioned his interest in passing the measure given that some of its critics include longtime Perry donors.

"I guess the question for Gov. Perry is, is this issue truly an emergency for him or was it all rhetoric gearing up for the campaign, because that's what it's starting to look like," said Katrina Pierson of Garland, a member of the Garland and Dallas Tea Party groups, who spoke at the news conference.

Despite the continued public pressure from conservatives, Perry's office has signaled that no such special session is likely to be called.

"Gov. Perry trusts local law enforcement to use their training and judgment to inquire about immigration status during a lawful detention or arrest in Texas," spokeswoman Allison Castle said Friday. "We welcome support for efforts to outlaw sanctuary city policies and continue to urge those interested to communicate their concerns to members of the Texas Legislature.

"Gov. Perry already agrees that sanctuary policies must end," Castle continued. "At this time there are no plans to call a special session of the Legislature."

The issue could get more attention tonight, when Perry appears at his fifth presidential debate in Nevada that is expected to focus on Western state issues.

Noting Perry's dropping poll numbers, Texas Democrats made their own call for a special session, one even less likely to draw Perry's support.

"Now that his presidential campaign is on life support, maybe it's time for Perry to bring the Legislature back for a special session to properly fund our schools," said Anthony Gutierrez, the Texas Democratic Party's deputy executive director

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