Texas leaders weigh in on new Arizona immigration law




Posted on April 27, 2010 at 9:08 AM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 27 at 10:34 AM

HOUSTON -- As some shout their opinions on Arizona’s new immigration law from the top of their lungs, many elected officials in Texas aren’t as obvious about their thoughts on the controversial bill.

KHOU contacted several state and local leaders to see if they would support or protest similar legislation in the Lone Star State.

“We haven’t seen the legislation, but the federal government needs to take its responsibility seriously and secure the U.S.-Mexico border,” said Gov. Rick Perry. “We can’t have true immigration reform without a secure border.”

When KHOU asked Perry’s spokesperson if he would support similar legislation in Texas, she said he couldn’t answer that question.

“I’m not aware of anything like that being discussed in Texas,” said Katherine Cesinger.

Former Houston mayor and candidate for governor Bill White was campaigning in Dallas on Monday.

“The federal government has let us down on its constitutional responsibility to protect our borders and enforce immigration policies. This has gotten worse under Gov. Perry, but ultimately, border security is a federal responsibility,” White said in a written statement from a campaign spokesperson. “As Governor, Bill White will fight for more federal funds for local police in our state.”

KHOU also contacted several local mayors to get their opinions.

“Mayor Parker’s position has always been that we don’t want to create a situation where people are afraid to call police when they need help or have information that could help solve crimes,” said Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s Communication Director Janice Evans. “She supports checking immigration status only when someone is taken to jail.”

Just east of Houston, in Baytown, Mayor Stephen DonCarlos echoed the same concern as most other elected officials we talked to.
He believes there needs to be more support from the federal government.

“In reality, this is something that should be handled on the federal level and not something that local government should have to deal with,” said DonCarlos. “I understand the frustration that local governments feel.”

The mayor of Sugar Land did not want to comment. His spokesperson said he had not read the bill.

We did not hear back from Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas.