RICK PERRY’S immigration policy is different than GOP rivals – CNN.com
Perry’s immigration policy is different than GOP rivals
By Rachel Streitfeld, CNN
September 13, 2011 1:09 a.m. EDT
(CNN) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry found himself standing apart from his GOP rivals on a pair of immigration issues during a CNN/Tea Party Debate in Tampa, Florida, Monday night.
Sounding more like a previous Texas governor who brought “compassionate conservatism” to the White House, Perry staunchly defended legislation he signed that aids the children of illegal immigrants even as the audience at the debate roundly disagreed.
The Texas governor was asked about a measure he approved in 2001 that grants in-state tuition rates and financial aid to the children of illegal immigrants.
“The bottom line is it doesn’t make any difference what the sound of your last name is. That is the American way,” Perry said. “I’m proud that we are having those individuals be contributing members of our society rather than telling them, you go be on the government dole.”
Several people in the audience of tea party activists booed Perry’s support of that policy, which is anathema to hard-line conservatives. They argue it provides an incentive for immigrants to enter the country illegally. Perry said he did not favor amnesty for illegal immigrants.
“The American way is not to give taxpayer subsidized benefits to people who have broken our laws or who are here in the United States illegally,” said Rep. Michele Bachmann, who used the opportunity to tout her conservative credentials. Perry has overshadowed her campaign since entering the race last month
Perry also made waves when he said the key to securing the border would be to deploy enough “boots on the ground,” which he contended the federal government had failed to do.
Several of his opponents disagreed, arguing that the correct approach to tamp down illegal immigration would be to build a border fence between the United States and Mexico.
Perry has called the notion — especially in rural areas — “preposterous” and, at the debate, asserted his authority as the candidate with the most experience dealing with border security and immigration issues.