Texas Republicans wrapped up their two-day convention yesterday, calling upon the administration to pass a stricter law against illegal immigration. Over 8,000 delegates and alternates approved a slate of GOP priorities that envisage calls for enacting Arizona-like immigration laws in Texas. The proposed law criminalizes illegal immigration in Texas and makes it compulsory for the law enforcement agencies to verify citizenship when a person is detained.

The convention kicked off on Friday with pledges of unity and anti-Democrat speeches. The final hours of the convention saw heated debates over GOP policy priorities. The discussions and resolutions passed at the Republican Party platform set the base for the policies that GOP activists want from the elected officials.

The proposed law, which is quite similar to the one passed by Arizona, has stirred national debate. Many rights group and Democrats have strongly denounced effort s to bring Arizona-like laws to Texas. Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has warned that Arizona-like immigration laws could be counterproductive for the state and that it was not right way to fix the problem.

Another controversial plan calls for an “open carry” law that allows residents to carry firearms in public even without a concealed weapons permit. On the final day of the convention, Mississippi Gov. Haley said that the stakes in the 2010 polls were much “higher than any midterm election in my lifetime.”. The Gov called upon activists to focus on the Democrats who had led the country to the “biggest lurch to the left in American history.” Barbour asked to resolve their internal disputes amicably and not to seek “purity” test of leaders who may differ with them on several occasions. “We cannot forget unity because some people will let purity be the enemy of unity,” Barbour said. “It’s a big party and we need everybody who is on our side.”

However, Barbour’s rousing speech did not prevent GOP activists from slamming their moderate speaker. They also passed a resolution seeking removal of Straus, who came into power in 2009 with the help of House Democrats. Texas Republicans selected Steve Munisteri as the new chairman in a three-way clash, throwing out incumbent Cathie Adams of Dallas. Munisteri is a 52-year-old retired businessman and Houston lawyer. He will be leading the party for the next two years.

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