Texas Gov. Perry Favors Unconstitutional Checkpoints

News 8 Austin
November 12, 2008

AUSTIN — The state’s top law enforcement agency asked Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott for a ruling on the legality of setting up statewide driver’s license checkpoints.

The Houston Chronicle reported 15 lawmakers said such a move would be unauthorized immigration policymaking.

The proposed checkpoints would stop drivers to review their licenses, vehicle registrations and proof of insurance.

A number of state legislators argue the Department of Public Safety Commission overstepped its authority Aug. 25 by issuing new rules requiring applicants to prove they are legally in the U.S. before they can receive a Texas driver’s license or identification.

Two weeks later, lawmakers were further disturbed after learning the commission’s chairman, Allan B. Polunsky, wanted a ruling on the checkpoints.

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, and 14 other Texas lawmakers sent Abbott a letter asking him to ignore the commission’s legal opinion request because the Legislature has not authorized a DPS checkpoint program.

– Checkpoints haven’t been allowed in Texas since the state Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in 1994 they must be authorized by a “politically accountable governing body at the state level.”

– Spokeswoman Allison Castle said Gov. Rick Perry favors the checkpoints.

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