Perry Pens Border Security Op-Ed

Writing in the Austin American-Statesman, the governor says the U.S. is "through the looking glass in terms of border policy," and revives talk of forbidding so-called "sanctuary cities."
Mon July 2, 2012 7:06 pm
Associated Press/Amarillo Globe-News | Michael Schumacher

One tweet was not enough.

A week after the United States Supreme Court ruled against all but one portion of Arizona’s immigration law, Texas governor Rick Perry built on his short comment about “sanctuary cities,” taking to the opinion page of the Austin American-Statesman with an  op-ed headlined “Federal government isn’t offering proper toolkit.”

In it, Perry blasts President Barack Obama’s border policies and bangs the drum for the re-introduction of legislation banning so-called “sanctuary cities.”

The governor wrote:

Instead of sending much-needed help to border states, the federal government is sending lawyers. Instead of boots on the ground, they’re delivering subpoenas.

Last week’s Supreme Court ruling on Arizona v. United States may mark the point when our nation truly went through the looking glass in terms of border policy. The federal government, long unwilling to adequately secure the border, has now become actively contentious in its efforts to prevent states from taking steps to secure it themselves.

I’ll be among the first to say Arizona’s immigration law might not have been for every state, but let’s not overlook what it was: an earnest attempt by Arizonans to deal with a very real problem.

(Some of the verbiage makes one question if Perry actually wrote the piece–“through the looking glass” seems an especially atypical locution for him. Except maybe in that “Cornerstone” speech.)

Perry goes on to talk about “spillover violence” as a reality Texans live with every day (an assertion that remains questionable) and notes that the state has spent “$400 million since 2005 to protect our communities and fill in the sizable gaps left by insufficient federal efforts.”

I’ve recently renewed my call to pass legislation banning sanctuary cities here in the Lone Star State, ensuring local law enforcement has every tool necessary to do their jobs effectively to enforce the law and keep us safe.

While “sanctuary cities” legislation failed in the Texas House last session, it has come up  frequently (and heatedly) in the United States Senate race between David Dewhurst and Ted Cruz.

Last Monday, in a story headlined “Texas immigration law looks more irrelevant after ruling,” the Houston Chronicle ’s Patricia Kilday Hart had the opposite interpretation as the governor, writing:

Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision all but gutting the Arizona illegal immigration law should prompt Texas lawmakers to question their quixotic and time-consuming legislative campaign to end “sanctuary cities” here.

After all, the court ruled Monday that immigration enforcement is strictly the purview of the federal government. Wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that states would now get out of the immigration business?

Houston attorney Charles Foster told Kilday Hart the law remains a “political ploy” that has no real enforcement meaning.

“If a person is charged with a crime, his immigration status is vetted,” Foster said. 

But, according to Hart, Democratic state representative Garnet Coleman predicted that “someone would ‘file a bill; to get the issue back before the Supreme Court.”

In January 2011, when Perry first made “sanctuary cities” an emergency item for the Eighty-second Legislature, the Texas Tribune ’s Julián Aguilar  wrote:

In Arizona, state enforcement of federal immigration laws has faced legal challenges since its government passed  SB 1070 . The legislation is currently tied up in a federal appeals court. Opponents of similar legislation in Texas say the laws will receive the same fate and cost the state millions in legal fees in an already tight budget cycle.

[Perry’s then-press secretary Katherine] Cesinger said she didn’t think that was true and that Perry would also disagree with that assertion.

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