Romney tweaks Perry over illegal immigration
September 23rd, 2011
11:08 AM ET
3 years ago

Romney tweaks Perry over illegal immigration

(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney continued attacking rival Rick Perry over illegal immigration Friday.

The former Massachusetts governor responded to Perry's assertion during Thursday's GOP presidential debate that those who disagree with providing in-state tuition to the children of illegal immigrants lack a heart.

"My friend Gov. Perry said if you don't agree with his position on giving that in-state tuition to illegals, that you don't have a heart," Romney said at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando. "I think if you're opposed to illegal immigration, it doesn't mean that you don't have a heart. It means that you have a heart and a brain."

Perry passed a state-based DREAM Act in Texas, which allowed children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates, a decision he defended Thursday.

"If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for on other reason that they have been brought there by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart," Perry said.

During the debate Romney said the discount "makes no sense," and on Friday said it was a plan that "cannot be sustained."

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Filed under: 2012 • Immigration • Mitt Romney • Rick Perry
soundoff (172 Responses)
  1. FedUp

    I do not agree with Gov. Perry on this issue. If my grandchildren, whose father has put 18 years in the military so far, can not get in-state tuition to any college she chooses, then an illegal immigrant should not get it either. They can pay out of state rates, the same as my grandchildren.

    September 23, 2011 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  2. Ray E. Georgia

    Well,
    It is a ways yet to the nomination but Perry looks a bit ragged at present. Illegals all need to go. We can't baby sit the world Perry is sending mixed signals on immagration.

    September 23, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  3. 1crusader

    Of course, on technical grounds, Romney is correct; but , even though I don't agree with Perry about very much, there is a human element to this.These are children who were brought across the border by their parents, and had no control or say in the matter ( and have applied for citizen's status ).The very reason that we have so many people come here illegally is to survive.If it helps their children's generation to have a better life, I think that we should show some compassion.

    September 23, 2011 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. GOP Failed America

    Ragarding Perry's position on state tuition to being allowed to illegals, I don't believe Perry cared anything about helping ilegals more than he cared about getting the Hispanic vote in Texas for Governor. In Rick Perry you can expect a guy who puts his own interests before those of his own constituents, unless you can buy him for the right price.

    September 23, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    Going to sit back and let this little scenario play itself out. It's a "no win" for both of them.

    September 23, 2011 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  6. truefax

    This is funny as hell, if you live in upstate NY, there are towns with colleges 15 mins away, but accross the border. Born and raised in NY if you decide to go to the school in mass or vermont you pay out of state tution. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    Let the go, just pay their way just like anyone else who comes from out of state and wants to study in Texas...

    I am a liberal on most issues but it's just plain unfair for someone from Arkansas to have to pay out of state tution to go to the University of Texas but not the illegal...

    Perry is an idiot.

    September 23, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  7. Larry L

    I rarely agree with Governor "Good Hair" Perry but this might be an exception. What would Republicans propose to do with children of parents here illegally? Do we keep them uneducated, unemployable and unable to contribute to our tax revenues? Do we round up all 11 million people and put them in concentration camps and totally consume the judicial system while trying to deport them? I don't think even Hitler had that big a capability to isolate a population and place them in prison. Assuming they come mainly from Mexico, what if Mexico simply refuses to take them? Republicans need solutions to real problems rather than just screaming at cars on the freeway...

    September 23, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  8. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    right here in Texas this morning the question was asked if Perry was a "compassionate conservative" with his stance on this subject. Well if he is then he can forget about being the GOP nominee if the far right has anything to do with it since compassion and empathy is something they sorely lack. It would not shock me if Perry reverses himself on this issue if it shows the Tea Party ain't going along much with it.

    September 23, 2011 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  9. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Did you hear all of them at their circle jerk...I mean debate...say they wanted a continuous fence across the southern United States manned with Border Police? Who would pay for such a plan? I thought that were all broke! John McCain lied to the citizens of Arizona by promising to build a fence around Arizona to keep out all of the illegal Mexicans and Canadians. Of course as soon as he tricked the voters into reelecting him, he quickly forgot his promise. The Taliban has no integrity. Lies, hate, fear...

    September 23, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. Dave

    Perry couldn't care less about immigration, legal or illegal. His position was all about getting the state's Hispanic vote. Period.

    September 23, 2011 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  11. V. P.

    I don't like Perry or Romney, glad I'm not Republican but will suffer if that party gets in the White House.

    September 23, 2011 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  12. durundal

    So let me get this right, Perry wants to help give education to illegals? Thats fine and very humane of him, but whats the point when the level of education is set/hamstrung to the poing of being somewhere between 'ding fries are done', and 'thank you for shopping at WalMart'?

    September 23, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  13. Bill from GA

    And for those Bleeding-Heart Liberals (I'm mostly one myself), giving ANY benefits to children of illegals is more incentive tor them to ILLEGALLY come here. If we reward those who come here illegally, with jobs or higher education for their children, we will never solve this issue.

    Give jobs and benefits to those who respect our laws. And fix the laws, on immigration, if we could only keep Congress on the job for more that two weeks at a time. ( Maybe we need some of them illegal Mexicans in Congress; they are hard workers.)

    September 23, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  14. Anthony

    I commend Governor Perry for taking a principled position on this issue. Children who came to this country illegally did not do it on their own, so they should not be punished for their parents' action. Romney and other Republicans should stop claiming to be Christians if they don't act like Christians.

    September 23, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  15. The Elephant in The Room

    Latinos have a disproportionately strong influence in the election outcomes in Texas. While running there, Perry pandered to them; he`s not the least bit humanistic; Perry wanted to keep his job and didn`t want to piss off Hispanic Americans.

    Now though, he figures, "its Texas, hell I can`t lose that". Not to Romney and certainly not to Obama so he can move to pander to the rightwing, anti-brown-anything zealots in the Republican Party.

    Latinos won`t be fooled. Perry might squeak by in Texas but he won`t win the chicas & muchachos. With former Army General Ricardo Sanchez running for Senate as a Democrat, he might not win Texas. In other states [Colorado, Az, New Mexico, Florida] Perry will lose the latino vote big time because he is from the party that has no solution to the immigrants & immigration ISSUES (plural). The Party of NO, once again.

    September 23, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  16. My DOG has created my SHOVEL READY projects than Obama's Stimulus Plan

    What would Republicans propose to do with children of parents here illegally? Do we keep them uneducated, unemployable and unable to contribute to our tax revenues? Do we round up all 11 million people and put them in concentration camps and totally consume the judicial system while trying to deport them?
    ==========================================================================================
    VERY easily solved. Anybody here illegally has SIX MONTHS to remove themselves voluntarily. Reporting to the nearest INS office and requesting a bus ticket and we'll pay for it.

    After 6 months, if you are here illegally and get caught, it'll be one year in jail then immediate deportation.

    Of course, my specially designed fence/moat/fence/landmines/electrical fence system will have to be completed along the southern border first.

    People that say it cannot be done are liars. They simply do not want to do it.

    September 23, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. Annie, Atlanta

    I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I agree with Rick Perry. (Phew – now that's done, and lightning didn't strike!)

    However, after the last three debates, I want to know what the heck we have become. A soldier serving in Iraq booed because he's gay. A hypothetical situation where an uninsured 30 year old shoudl be left to die, and the audience cheers. A governor who has executed a whole lot of prisoners, who doesn't loose sleep over it, and the crowd cheers on. These are our neighbors, friends, and families. And I feel revulsion.

    September 23, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  18. Didi

    As a Texan i disagree with giving special tuition rates to illegals. However, this passed the TX legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support so even if Perry had opposed it, his veto would have been overridden. So why would he alienate the Latina vote?

    September 23, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  19. Joe

    Send them all back. If I rob a store and give the money to my kids they aren't allowed to keep that money because it was stolen in the first palce. Equally, if I am an illegal immigrant, my kids can't benefit from my illegal act by gettting in state tuition. It is a simple situation once you take the politics out of it so obviously Perry will never see it....

    September 23, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. DwayneL

    Perry lost my vote and I'm sure MANY more with his support of in-state tuition for illegal aliens! These people are criminals and they should not get any preferential treatment over Americans!

    September 23, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  21. Tom

    I am still trying to understand exactly how someone who is in this country illegally gets into public school here in the first place. I had to provide birth certificates for my kids. So where is the check? Do other states not have this requirement? If it is that easy to fake citizenship that is scary.

    September 23, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  22. magyart

    Once again Rick Perry was booed for his support of illegal aliens, by giving them "in state" college tuition and refused to support a border fence. He's unable to explain how he will actually secure our borders.

    Let's not forget Perry wanted to build an international, NAFTA super highway, from Mexico through Texas. This would have resulted in more imports for us and exportation of our jobs.

    Most of the candidates did a better job, than Perry. I personally like Ron Paul.

    September 23, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  23. Lou

    Rick Perry is another big spending compassionate illegal loving conservative in the vein of George W Bush. Texas Republicans love illegal aliens for cheap labor. We need a stand up man like Romney with real world business experience to get us out of this mess, not a George Bush clone.

    September 23, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. My DOG has created more SHOVEL READY projects than Obama's Stimulus Plan

    Perry's way too soft on illegal immigration. Of course he's a former Democrat so that is probably the origin of this character flaw.

    September 23, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. DB

    So, explain to me how a immigrant all of a sudden gets "in-state" tuition? Aren't they out of state people? So, the gov is also admiting to harboring illegals and giving them shelter, sending their kids to school...etc?

    September 23, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
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