Will Texas Gov. Rick Perry's immigration policies harm his presidential prospects? As time progresses, it seems like more and more conservatives are finding themselves disenchanted with the presidential contender's take on border security, immigration policy and the like.
Following controversial comments during the Fox News-Google debate, Perry is now apologetic. As you'll recall, he originally said the following last week in response to conservatives who opposed helping the children of illegal immigrants:
“I don’t think you have a heart“ if ”you say that we should not educate children who come into our state for no other reason than that they’ve been brought there through no fault of their own.”
In an interview with Newsmax, though, he's now singing a different tune:
“I was probably a bit over-passionate by using that word [heartless] and it was inappropriate. In Texas in 2001 we had 181 members of the legislature – only four voted against this piece of legislation – because it wasn’t about immigration it was about education.”
Watch these statements, below (around 5:28):
Perry continues to be critiqued over his immigration statements and policies. Last week, Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce appeared on "Radio ALRA," a show produced by the Arizona Latino Republican Association. During the dialogue, Pearce, who has become known for his staunch opinions on immigration, called Perry out. Watch below:
The infamous immigration enforcer told both the hosts and the audience that the Fox News-Google debate "outed" Perry on immigration. He continued, saying, "What's really sad is when you reward lawbreakers -- you encourage more lawbreaking." Here, the state senate leader was referring to Perry's stance on tuition assistance to the children of illegal immigrants.
Perry, of course, supported and signed a controversial Texas law that provides in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants -- a measure that is drawing negative attention in many conservative circles.
Also, a point that Pearce brought up was Perry's opposition to Arizona's controversial immigration law that was passed back in 2010 (SB1070). Pearce, who became well-known across the nation after he sponsored the legislation, highlighted Perry's pledge to veto any similar bills in Texas. The media reported on this back in 2010:
Pearce also discussed Perry's past negative opinions on a U.S. border fence. Below, watch Perry say, "The idea that we’re going to build a wall is nonsense."
If Perry can pass these views off as common sense, he will be successful in staving off further immigration criticism. But if public opinion drives the discussion (68 percent of Americans supported a border fence back in June 2010), he may find himself with an uphill battle.