Rick Perry—Another Texas Governor for Amnesty

Texas governor Rick Perry is expected on Saturday to announce that he will be a candidate for the GOP nomination for President.

Perry is a ten-year Texas governor, but he was recruited for the GOP by Karl Rove only in 1989—remarkably, he served as Texas chairman of Al Gore’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination as recently as 1988. (Michael Dukakis won.)

A big question among the chattering class: will Perry remind voters too much of Bush. With the Tea Party Republicans, and the majority of Americans not eager to repeat the Bush presidency, there needs to be some difference between the two.

Well, there are some differences between the two. Bush was a New England transplant to Texas of blue blood roots, while Perry is a native Texan with some blue collar roots. Bush qualified his conservatism with the “compassionate” prefix, while Rick Perry has implicitly criticized the label by calling himself an unapologetic conservative. Evidently, there is bad blood between the Bushes and Perry.

According to the New York Times, “On government spending, immigration and education, Mr. Perry’s criticisms of Mr. Bush have given him cachet with conservatives, especially with Tea Party voters.” [Perry Breaks with Fellow Texan: Bush, By Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny, July 5, 2011]

In the Huffington Post, Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto argues that “The most striking difference between Perry and Bush is their relationship with Latinos”. According to DeFrancesco Soto, Bush has “Latino Love,” which Perry lacks. She explains “The key difference between Bush and Perry when it comes to the Latino population is in their immigration and Latino policy related stances.” [Latino Love: Bush v. Perry, June 10, 2011]

DeSoto cites two measures that show Perry’s supposed anti-immigrant sentiments: his support for an anti-Sanctuary City measure and a voter ID law to prevent illegal aliens and other non-citizens from voting. The latter passed, while the former failed in the Republican-dominated legislature, apparently because of the objections of key GOP big business donors. It is unclear how much Perry really pushed for the bill.

Perry does deserve some credit for these stances. But they are the exceptions to his generally anti-enforcement and pro-amnesty record. Whatever the media (and Bushbot) perception, Perry in this respect is virtually indistinguishable from Bush.

I have criticized the Republican Party for failing to really take a solid position on ending birthright citizenship and or reducing legal immigration. However, it has shown significant improvement since the Bush years. The majority of Republican politicians are now

Unfortunately, on all these issues, Perry comes out on the wrong side, causing Numbers USA to give him a D-.  And while many Republicans with questionable records seem to have flip-flopped in the right direction recently, Perry has actually reiterated support for many of his bad policies.

This, citing Texas’ “rich history with Mexico”, Perry said enacting SB 1070, “would not be the right direction for Texas”. He claimed that having police checking the status of suspected illegal aliens involves “taking them away from their existing law enforcement duties, which are critical to keeping citizens safe.” (Apparently, having illegal aliens roam the state without fear of deportation also keeps citizens safe). [Texas Gov: Arizona Immigration Law `Not Right` for Texas, Associated Press, April 29, 2010]

And that’s just on illegal immigration. On legal immigration, Perry is of course god-awful. He once said on a trip to Mexico that he supports “free flow of individuals between these two countries who want to work and want to be an asset to our country and to Mexico.” [U.S. Congress lacks `maturity` to solve immigration, Perry says`; By Paul Kiernan, Associated Press, August 28, 2007]

When Perry was challenged by the Bush-backed “moderate” Republican Kay Bailey Hutchinson in the primary, she was easily able to campaign to his right on immigration. Thus Hutchinson called for E-Verify for all state employees (not much, but a start). Perry’s response:

“E-Verify would not make a hill of beans` difference when it comes to what`s happening in America today. You secure the border first, then you can talk about how to identify individuals in an immigration situation.”

[Hutchison says Texas state doesn`t use E-Verify, Politifact, January 14, 2010]

Perry didn’t explain why we can’t prevent illegal aliens from getting taxpayer funded jobs ntil the border is secure. But in any case, he has opposed real border security as well. In 2006 George Bush signed the Secure Fence Act after 98% Senate Republicans and 97% of House Republicans and even the majority of Senate Democrats voted for the bill.  However, a year after the bill passed, Perry said at the aforementioned speech in Mexico City:

“We know how to deal with border security, and you don`t do it by building a fence. You do it by putting boots on the ground; you do it by using the technology that`s available … and coordinating very highly with local, state and federal officials…But the idea that you`re going to build a 1,200-mile wall … is idiocy. It absolutely would not work.”

Echoing Janet Napolitano, Perry added, “If you build a 40-foot wall, then the 42-foot ladder industry takes off.”

In fact, of course, just as E-Verify and border security are not mutually exclusive, neither is a border fence and increased manpower and other technology. The purpose of the double layered border fence called for in the Secure Fence Act is that, with adequate “boots on the ground”, you will catch the illegal aliens before they make it to the second fence. Illegal aliens may be able to use a 42 foot ladder to climb over a fence, but that will take a few minutes, by which time they should be caught on the way back down.

In 2006, Perry authored an op-ed on “comprehensive immigration reform” on the Gubernatorial website. Just like Barack Obama and George W. Bush, he said “neither amnesty nor mass deportation is the answer” and then went on to support amnesty, calling for “a guest worker program that takes undocumented workers off the black market and legitimizes their economic contributions without providing them citizenship status.” [A better way to secure the border, December 14, 2006]

In 2010, Perry came out against Obama’s creeping administrative amnesty, telling Fox News “The idea that the administration unilaterally is going to be handing out citizenship to the United States is pretty offensive to people who stood in line for long periods of time to become citizens…so I think it’s a really bad idea.” [Governor Rick Perry on the Report of a New Amnesty Plan for Illegals, Fox News Video, September 22, 2010]

But there are two things to keep in mind when looking at this quote. First, Perry did not say that Congress should not be giving amnesty. Secondly, he referred to Obama “handing out citizenship” and legal immigrants waiting “to become citizens”—but Obama’s proposed administrative amnesties would not give illegals citizenship; rather, they give them immunity from deportation.

Of course, Perry may have simply been ignorant of exactly what the Obama amnesty memos contained. But given his past calls for amnesty without citizenship, his wording is very suspect.

Perry’s support for amnesty without citizenship and voter ID laws may signal that he at least recognizes that illegal aliens are not “natural Republicans.” He is probably hoping to have it both ways: cheap labor without the political costs to the Republicans.

But in some areas, Rick Perry actually took his own unique initiatives to undermine our immigration laws.

It was Rick Perry who proposed the Trans-Texas Corridor, better known as the NAFTA Superhighway, which would have created a road from Mexico to Oklahoma over which America did not have full sovereignty.

And back in 2001, Perry signed the first-ever state DREAM Act to give in state tuition to illegal aliens. Just this last July, in the early primary state of New Hampshire, he defended his decision, blustering “To punish these young Texans [=illegal aliens] for their parents` actions is not what America has always been about.” [Perry gives first NH interview, By John DiStaso, Manchester Union Leader, July 24, 2011]

Of course, spending tax dollars to send illegal aliens to colleges, where they will benefit from anti-white Affirmative Action quotas, punishes American students and taxpayers.

(The Union Leader noted that Perry told them he did not support the federal DREAM Act, though there was no further elaboration.)

Rick Perry may claim to be an “unapologetic conservative”. But when it comes to immigration, like George W. Bush, he is an unapologetic supporter of amnesty, foreign workers, and lax enforcement.

“Washington Watcher” [email him] is an anonymous source Inside The Beltway.