CARROLLTON - State lawmakers could be heading to a second special session, and that could keep the debate on sanctuary cities alive.
A group opposed to passing legislation that would allow officers to ask about immigration status rallied Thursday in Carrollton. They held a prayer vigil outside the office of Republican Rep. Burt Solomons, who is a bill supporter.
There were more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States last year, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, and Texas has seen an increase over the past few years.
With time ticking down on this current special session, lawmakers must still vote on a final school finance bill. Sen. Wendy Davis, of Fort Worth, told News 8 that the "the opportunity will exist once again" to filibuster, if Democrats don't like it.
They also may vote on the sanctuary city bill backed by Gov. Rick Perry, which also drew loud demonstrators in San Antonio Thursday.
When Perry spoke to a group of national Hispanic elected officials, he got a polite, but not a rousing response. He stuck to a narrative that the Texas economy creating jobs benefits everyone.
"Hispanic businesses have been experiencing an explosive growth, you've seen it right here in this city," he said.
But, outside, demonstrators angry at Perry could be seen and heard.
"Hey, hey, ho, ho, Gov. Perry has got to go," protesters shouted.
They criticized Perry for what they call his anti-Hispanic agenda for supporting the voter ID law he signed and backing the sanctuary cities bill in the special session that would allow police officers to ask about a detained person's immigration status.
"These laws are divisive," said Gloria Rodriguez, a demonstrator. "They are not good for Texas and they have messed with Texas with a blatant disregard to what the people want."
In his speech, Perry steered clear of sanctuary cities legislation, instead touting the Hispanics he appointed to the Supreme Court and as secretary of state.
"But the fact is we're all united," he said. "We're united with this common spirit to make life better for ourselves, for our families."
Though Perry is supporting a sanctuary cities bill, he did not back a more aggressive bill copying Arizona's illegal immigration law. Perry got 39 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2010, a respectable showing.
For a presidential run, Perry must take delicate steps to keep as much Hispanic backing as he can.