Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is demanding federal reimbursement to county jails for inmates who are in the United States illegally.
The Austin American-Statesman reports Dewhurst conveyed his demand in a letter to President Barack Obama. The Republican is drawing a primary tea party challenge from state Sen. Dan Patrick of Houston.
In an email, Dewhurst asked supporters to sign a petition backing his demand. He said "it's outrageous that county jails pay for housing more than 130,000 people that illegally enter our state." He added his belief that "the immigration conversation begins and ends with strict border security as our counties can no longer fund this massive financial burden."
The White House did not respond to messages from the American-Statesman and The Associated Press.