Texas Gov. Rick Perry rejected a request by a Hispanic state senator to block plans by Minuteman Project volunteers to begin border patrols in October, saying no elected official has the authority to prevent “law-abiding citizens from traveling to, from or within this state.”
In response to a resolution authored by State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa and signed by 10 others, Mr. Perry said that although he is opposed to civilian volunteers patrolling the Texas border, he would not block their pending vigil, telling the senators that policy changes were needed to deal with the problem.
“I fully understand and can appreciate the frustration that many Texans and others across the nation have with illegal immigration, its potential impact on our national security and the unacceptable burden it is placing on taxpayers, and state and local criminal-justice, education and health care systems,” Mr. Perry said in a statement.
“The federal government can and must do more to close the border to illegal immigration,” the two-term Republican said. “Until that happens, these kinds of citizen-initiated efforts likely will be the result. If you want to send the Minutemen home, I urge you to make sure we have enough federal agents on the border to secure it.”
Mr. Perry, who said 1.4 million illegal aliens live in Texas, warned that the “continued flow of a significant number of undocumented immigrants into the United States is not acceptable, especially in the post-September 11 era.”
U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, Texas Democrat who also asked the governor to “disinvite” the Minutemen, told Mr. Perry she was concerned that the Arizona project had given people time to get “incensed” and was worried about “deadly violence” along the Texas vigil.