Perry revisits immigration debate
November 29th, 2011
12:42 PM ET
11 years ago

Perry revisits immigration debate

Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) - A stringent opponent of illegal immigration backed Rick Perry Tuesday, as the Texas governor aimed to toughen his image on an issue that has become a rallying cry among many GOP primary voters.

Illegal immigration hard-liner Sheriff Joe Arpaio, of Maricopa County, Arizona, said Perry's experience working to secure the Texas border was unparalleled in the GOP field.

"He doesn't just talk about it, he does something about it," Arpaio said. "We have to look at someone who's already doing something about this problem."

During a question-and-answer session at Joey's Diner in Amherst, New Hampshire, Perry waded into the debate that has damaged his campaign and incensed some conservatives: how to approach the millions of illegal immigrants already living in the United States.

As governor, Perry signed legislation granting some children of illegal immigrants in-state tuition at Texas colleges.

He suggested Tuesday that the solution to dealing with the illegal immigrants already in the country was more complicated than some would wish.

"There's going to be an appropriate discussion in Congress with how to deal with an individual who has been here maybe for some long period of time," he said. "I don't know if I know all the answers."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has faced some criticism for advocating a path to legality for some illegal immigrants who have been in the country for years and have integrated into their communities. He has since insisted that he does not support amnesty however.

For his part, Perry said he did not support amnesty in any form and vowed to deport every illegal immigrant who was apprehended under a Perry presidency. He said all other concerns were irrelevant until the border was secure - something he promised to do within a year in office.

He also apologized again for suggesting in a CNN-GOP sponsored debate that opponents of the in-state tuition law were heartless, after a voter said she found the law hard to accept.

At another point in his speech, Perry sought again to differentiate himself with Gingrich, who has surged in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Without mentioning the former House speaker, Perry suggested he was a product of Washington and could not significantly change the way the federal government operates.

"We have establishment politicians, people who have worked in Washington DC, have been lobbyists in Washington DC," he said. "There's only one outsider that's standing on that stage, and that's me. I'm willing to go to Washington DC to overhaul it."

Gingrich has said the work he did for companies in Washington was not lobbying, and said he was paid as a thinker and a historian.

Filed under: 2012 • Immigration • Rick Perry
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Ok?

    "Gingrich has said the work he did for companies in Washington was not lobbying, and said he was paid as a thinker and a historian." and Dr. Murray is innocent...

    November 29, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  2. ConservaFASCISTS/TEAhadists

    Congress should have passed the DREAM Act last lame duck session rather than holding the economy hostage. I give credit where credit is due though. Perry gets some brownie points for passing the DREAM Act in Texas. But that's all the props he get's. As fars as the racial profiling Sheriff Joe goes, his endorsement doesn't mean squat.

    November 29, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  3. v_mag

    I wanna see Joe Arpaio's birth certificate. The real one, not that short form junk. I think he was born in Mexico and should be deported. Doesn't Arpaio sound like a Mexican name? In fact, I think he's the head of a Mexican drug cartel. He's mean enough to be, anyway. He looks like one of those guys on the FBI posters at the post office. I'm sure he's a crook, even if I don't have any evidence.

    And who needs evidence, anyway? All us white guys know what an illegal looks like, so we should just run Arpaio and his ilk out of the country on a rail.

    November 29, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  4. Thomas

    Perry has no Brains but he has MONEY $$$$$$$$$$$$$ !

    Newt Gingrich has a diabolical brain without money !

    This makes them the perfect insider outsider , Northern Southern GOP Christian right Neanderthal presidential candidates to beat Obama.

    Gingrich / Perry
    2012 year or regression or CONTRACT ON THE WORLD ?

    November 29, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "Perry revisits immigration debate"

    Yeah, whatever. Cowboy Fonzie shoudld probably think about revisiting a midde school level civics class first.

    November 29, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  6. Enough is Enough

    How are going to toughen your image Rick, just give illegals a $50,000 break on in state tuition instead of the current $100,000 you now give. I am as you describe one of the heartless who doesn't want his tax dollars subsidizing illegals.

    November 29, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  7. vic , nashville ,tn

    Grover Norquist and Sheriff Joe Arpaio must stay away from politics,

    November 29, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "He has since insisted that he does not support amnesty however."

    Say it like it is, CNN, and stop being wimps about it. The A#1 concern for these people is that it would add millions of new voters who are, most likely, going to lean Dem. That's the ONLY reason they talk about "legality" instead of "citizenship." It's a superficial attempt to appear "humane" and "compassionate" while essentially saying that these people never get to vote on how our government treats them and their rights.

    November 29, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Sorry Folks,
    The American people, by about a 9 to 1 Ratio, want all illegals off of American Soil. If you remember, they couldn't get the Bill thru Congress when the Democrat's were in controll of Congress. So don't expect any Bill that even approaches Amniasty to get anywhere. There is a process to become a Citizen of the U.S. already. in place. Those that want to become citizens should check it out. Otherwise get used to being at the bottom of the barrel for the next century.

    November 29, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. WDRussell

    Just in case Perry becomes president of the nation of Texas, Sheriff Joe wants to be in charge of the ethnic cleansing units.
    Evil loves company.

    November 29, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "The American people, by about a 9 to 1 Ratio, want all illegals off of American Soil."

    You guys must really REALLY hate Google. Not a single poll I could find supports your assertion. Moreover, while usually about two thirds of Americans express concern abotu illegal immigration as a "serious problem" and want more done to protect the borders, about the same percentage express concern that irresponsibly enacting tougher immigration laws will result in abject harassment of Hispanics. YOu can find my numbers with Google...not yours tho.

    November 29, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  12. Voice of Reason

    As these candidates fall over each other to take a 'tougher' stance on immigration, they cater to their base, but ignore the fact that they are alienating the majority of votors... I mean really, Do we want to vote in the candidate who caters to the insanity of Joe Arpaio ?

    November 29, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  13. Woman In California

    Dirty words to republicans:

    Taxes (on rich people ONLY)

    Perry spoke one of the dirty words and he will never be forgiven.

    November 29, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    I think I should re-send that application to Mr. Cain to join my political party, the "CommonSenseIsTooDamnScarce" Party.

    November 29, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  15. Ron

    One racist Redncek supporting another...why am I not surprised.

    November 29, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. ted

    blah blah blah. all any of them want is to reduce taxes on the rich and corporations to zero, tax the crap out of the 99%.

    November 29, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  17. daveyfrank

    Perry has had 9 years to secure the border of Texas. It gets worse everyday. He now thinks he can do the entire border in a year?

    November 29, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  18. Mikey

    So much for having a heart or compassion. In order to revive his Presidential campaign, he is willing to toss them aside, continuing the tradition of strong conservative values. LOL

    November 29, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  19. Anon-i-mouse

    Dumb and dummer. Perfect together.

    November 29, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. GoodGodYall

    IF Joe backs him good enough for my friends and family.

    November 29, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  21. us1776

    What a duo !

    Sheriff Nazi and Gov. Alzheimers


    November 29, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |