EL PASO, Texas — Bad news for thousands of people who wanted to see North Carolina, Texas and other states secede: They are still in the U.S.
The White House has responded to petitions from people in 10 states asking that they be allowed to break away from the country, saying the Founding Fathers who created the nation "did not provide a right to walk away from it."
More than 25,000 people signed each petition, which were created a few days after President Barack Obama won re-election. The White House has promised to respond to any petition that gets that many signatures within 30 days.
Jon Carson, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, issued a response quoting Abraham Lincoln's first inaugural address and a Supreme Court opinion after the Civil War. It said America was created as a "perpetual union," but one that allows people with different beliefs to debate the issues.
"Democracy can be noisy and controversial," Carson said. "Free and open debate is what makes this country work. ... But as much as we value a healthy debate, we don't let that debate tear us apart."
The petitions said the federal government didn't share the same values held by the Founding Fathers, but Carson argued that the writers of the U.S. Constitution addressed the need for policy change through elections, not secession.
Still, part of the response also suggested that people who signed the petitions be deported.