By CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry does not support a petition for the Lone Star State to secede from the union.
But a lot of people do.
The online petition asking the federal government to allow Texas to withdraw from the U.S. following President Barack Obama's reelection has nearly 100,000 signatures. It appears on a section of a White House website called “We The People" and cites economic difficulties due to the federal government's inability to cut spending.
Supporters suggest that secession would protect Texans' standard of living and "re-secure their rights and liberties."
The leader of the Texas secession movement tells Politico that Obama's reelection was a "catalyzing moment" for his group's efforts to leave the United States. He insists, "This is not a reaction to a person but to policy" and what they see as a federal government that is disconnected from its constituents.
Even though the number of signatures far surpasses the 25,000 required for a White House response, none has been made.
For his part, Perry says he "believes in the greatness of our union and nothing should be done to change it," although he says he shares the frustrations many Americans have with the federal government.
Texas is America's second-biggest state in area and population. It was its own nation for 10 years before joining the union in 1845.
And Texas isn't alone here. Petitions calling for secession of more than two dozen states - including Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Florida and Delaware – have been filed.
Here’s my question to you: Should Texas be allowed to secede from the union?
Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.
And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.
Rick Perry loves to talk about all the jobs he's created in Texas... but that's only part of the story... and a bit misleading at that.
The other part of the Perry story is that nearly 1 in 5 Texans in the state where he is the governor are living below the poverty line; and that the poverty rate is growing faster in Texas than the national average.
CNN Money reports that Texas ranks 6th in terms of people living in poverty.
Both demographic and economic factors play into this high poverty rate - more than half the state are minorities and many Texans have little education. Especially in southern Texas, many families live in shanty housing with no electricity or indoor plumbing. In 2011.
Also, the poor in Texas don't get much help. The state has one of the lowest rates of spending on its citizens per capita; and it has the highest share of those without health insurance.
Relatively few Texans collect food stamps - even though many more qualify for them - and receiving cash assistance is difficult. Experts say part of the reason more people don't seek help is the Texas mentality that you should pick yourself up by your own bootstraps.
For his part, Texas governor Rick Perry says creating jobs is the best way to help his citizens. And it's true that Texas has created 40% of the jobs added in the U.S. in the past two years.
But many of these new jobs are low-paying ones. More than half a million workers in Texas last year were paid at or below the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. That's just $15,000 dollars a year for someone working full-time.
Texas has the highest percentage of minimum wage workers in the country... tying with Mississippi at nearly 10%.
With jobs and the economy sure to be the top issue in 2012...
Here’s my question to you: How much will it hurt Rick Perry that nearly one in five Texans are living in poverty?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
(PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
From CNN's Jack Cafferty:
As the debate over illegal immigration – and now over the 14th amendment – heats up, consider this:
In Texas alone, there are more than 60,000 babies born to non-citizens every year. These babies automatically become U.S. citizens.
The Dallas Morning News reports that last year these births represented almost 16% of the total births statewide. And, that from 2001 to 2009, there were more than 542,000 births to illegal immigrant women.
Let me repeat, all these babies automatically become U.S. citizens... and we're just talking about Texas here.
This is why some Republicans want to consider changing the Constitution's guarantee of citizenship for anyone born in the United States.
House Minority Leader John Boehner says many illegal immigrants come here just so their children can become U.S. citizens. Boehner points to parts of our country where schools and hospitals are being overrun by illegal aliens.
Other Republicans say if both parents are here illegally, why should there be a reward for that behavior? And they have a point.
But opponents worry about the children, saying they didn't break any laws, yet would have no rights and nowhere to go.
Others claim the whole issue isn't about babies, but rather about politics and using immigration as a wedge issue headed into the midterm elections.
The 14th amendment became law in 1868. It was meant as a way to block states that prevented former slaves from becoming citizens.
Changing it would require a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate, and approval of three-quarters of the state legislatures. My guess is if it was put to a vote of the people it would pass yesterday.
Here’s my question to you: At least 60,000 babies born to non-citizens every year in Texas alone get U.S. citizenship. What should be done about it?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Jack Cafferty sounds off hourly on the Situation Room on the stories crossing his radar. Now, you can check in with Jack online to see what he's thinking and weigh in with your own comments online and on TV.
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