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Rick Perry | NumbersUSA - For Lower Immigration Levels

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Rick Perry


Candidate Page
Updated: 01/04/12
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Tell Rick Perry how he can do better on immigration:

Rating Sources


Click on individual ratings to view quotes and other source materials for that rating.

Oppose Amnesty/Legalization
  • Gov. Perry's position on amnesty has been evolving into a tougher stance and by the end of November had earned him a Good rating. His latest public comments are unequivocal opposition to amnesty. Unlike some others who state such opposition, he does not define amnesty as only when giving U.S. citizenship to illegal aliens. He has spoken against Pres. Obama's various "administrative amnesties." But he fails to rate an Excellent rating because he has continuously defended his support as governor for Texas in-state tuition for illegal aliens (a form of amnesty for a portion of illegal aliens). He doesn't rule out that some illegal aliens might some day be deemed to have compelling enough cases to deserve consideration for an amnesty, but these should not be discussed until enforcement is fully in place.
  • On November 30, 2011 in Concord, New Hampshire, Gov. Perry said he would "detain and deport" every illegal alien apprehended on his watch. Perry also said, "Amnesty is not on the table, period. Amnesty is not on the table, period." However, Perry refused to address what he would do with illegal aliens who have been in the country for many years.
  • When Gov. Perry was asked at the Republican debate on September 7, 2011, how to handle the 11 million illegal aliens living in the United States, he said: "[Once the border is secure] then you can have an intellectually appropriate discussion about immigration reform."
  • At the GOP Presidential debate on September 12, 2011, Gov. Perry for the first time stated that he opposed the federal DREAM Act amnesty: "I'm not for the DREAM Act that they are talking about in Washington D.C. that is amnesty." But he then defended his part in enacting a section of the DREAM Act (in-state tuition for illegal aliens) in Texas: "What we did in the state of Texas was clearly a states right issue. And the legislature passed with only four dissenting votes in the House and the Senate to allow this to occur. We were clearly sending a message to young people, regardless of what the sound of their last name is, that we believe in you. That if you want to live in the state of Texas and you want to pursue citizenship, that we're going to allow you the opportunity to be contributing members in the state of Texas and not be a drag on our state."
  • During his time as Governor of Texas, Rick Perry consistently supported allowing illegal aliens to pay in-state tuition at Texas' state colleges and universities. On July 24, 2011, he told the New Hampshire Union Leader, "To punish these young Texans for their parents' actions is not what America has always been about."
  • In a September 2010 interview, Gov. Perry said the following regarding the Obama Administration's memo advocating an administrative amnesty for illegal aliens: "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.”
  • In A December 2006 editorial, Gov. Perry wrote: "But to me neither amnesty nor mass deportation is the answer. The first unfairly rewards those who broke our laws, and the latter is not only unrealistic and unenforceable, but it would devastate our economy. That’s why I support a guest worker program that takes undocumented workers off the black market and legitimizes their economic contributions without providing them citizenship status.... Along with millions of Americans, I think it is wrong to reward those who broke our laws with citizenship ahead of those who have followed the law and are waiting to enter this country legally. And like millions of Americans I do not support amnesty."

Mandate E-Verify

Reduce Overall Immigration
  • We are unaware of Gov. Perry ever saying anything about the overall numerical level of immigration. He appears oblivious to the possibility that never-ending, immigration-driven, rapid population growth might be negative for Americans' quality of life or the natural environment.

End Chain Migration
  • Gov. Perry has said nothing about the need to reduce or end non-nuclear family chain migration.

End Visa Lottery
  • Gov. Perry has made no statements regarding the visa lottery.

Limit Unfair Worker Competition
  • Gov. Perry has not shown an empathy for unemployed Americans who must compete with an ever-growing number of foreign workers in their occupations. Before the current Jobs Depression, he made a number of pronouncements about worker shortages and the need for more foreign workers. He has failed since then to revise those opinions, leaving him just inside the Bad rating.
  • In his February 2007 State of the State address, Gov. Perry said: "Ultimately, the best way to crack down on illegal hiring practices is for Congress to finally pass a guest worker program. A guest worker program recognizes the contributions of foreign workers and captures their income in our tax system, ensuring they contribute to the public services we provide them. And a guest worker program will help us know who crosses our border legally rather than not knowing who crosses our border illegally."
  • In his January 2007 oath-of-office address, Gov. Perry said: "We must have a guest-worker program that recognizes the economic contributions of foreign workers and the desperate conditions that bring them here."
  • In A December 2006 editorial, Gov. Perry wrote: "I would rather know who is crossing our border legally to work instead of not knowing who is crossing our border illegally to work. A guest worker program that provides foreign workers with an ID removes the incentive for millions of people to illegally enter our country. It also adds those workers to our tax base, generates revenue for needed social services and it can be done without providing citizenship."

Secure Border & Fence
  • Gov. Perry tends to ridicule a border fence and those who support it. But he is a long and strong proponent of a number of specific remedies for border security, enough to earn an EXCELLENT rating.
  • At the November 22, 2011, GOP Presidential Debate, Gov. Perry said, "So putting that secure border in place with strategic fencing, with the boots on the ground, with the aviation assets, and then working with Mexico in particular, whether it's putting sanctions against the banks, whether it's working with them on security with Mexico, all of those together can make that country substantially more secure and our borders secure. As the President of the United States, I will promise you one thing, that within 12 months of the inaugural, that border will be shut down, and it will be secure."
  • At the GOP Presidential debate on September 12, 2011, Gov. Perry said: "Strategic fencing in the metropolitan areas absolutely has a role to play. But the idea that you're going to build a wall from Brownsville to El Paso and go left for another 800 miles to Tijuana is just not reality. What you have to have is boots on the ground. You've got to have 450 Border Patrol agents trained up, 1,500 National Guard troops. You've got to have the aviation assets in the air putting real-time information down to the law enforcement. We understand and know how to secure that border, but we can't do it alone. And the federal government has to step up and do what their constitutional duty is, and that is to secure the border with Mexico."
  • When Gov. Perry was asked at the Republican debate on September 7, 2011, what was required to secure the Southern border, he replied: "Well, the first thing you need to do is have boots on the ground. We've had a request in to this administration since June -- or January of 2009 for 1,000 border patrol agents or National Guard troops, and working towards 3,000 border patrol. That's just on the Texas border. There's another 50 percent more for the entire Mexican border. So you can secure the border, but it requires a commitment of the federal government of putting those boots on the ground, the aviation assets in the air. We think predator drones could be flown, that real-time information coming down to the local and the state and the federal law enforcement. And you can secure the border."
  • At a private reception in New Hampshire on September 3, 2011, Gov. Perry said: "No, I don't support a fence on the border. ... The fact is, it's 1,200 miles from Brownsville to El Paso. Two things: How long you think it would take to build that? And then if you build a 30-foot wall from El Paso to Brownsville, the 35-foot ladder business gets real good." Perry also said he supported "strategic fencing" and National Guard troops to prevent illegal immigration and violence from Mexican drug cartels.
  • In his February 2011 State of the State address, Gov. Perry said: "On a broader scale, we should also continue our investment in border security because the threat of cross-border violence has only grown, as the drug wars escalate. I don't raise the issue of border security as a criticism of our neighbors to the south, but to show our resolve and unity in the struggle, as they deal with a wave of violence unlike anything outside of the world's war zones.... border security is not just a hot button issue for the talk shows, but a matter of life and death for American citizens, in the border region and in communities across our state.... Despite our frequent requests, Washington has yet to dedicate sufficient resources to secure our international border. We still need 1,000 National Guard troops to support current law enforcement operations on our border until they can provide those 3,000 more border patrol agents. We also need Predator drones flying along the Texas-Mexico border, providing real time intel to our state and local operation centers. It's time for our delegation in Washington, on both sides of the aisle, to step up and speak out in support of our state's needs. If it seems that their interest in this legislative session is higher than usual, that's to be expected in a redistricting year."
  • In his February 2007 State of the State address, Gov. Perry said: "I am also proposing a $100 million investment in a more secure border. There is no such thing as homeland security without border security. It is not hyperbole to say terrorists view our international border with Mexico as a prime point of entry – that is the conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community.... The best plan to secure our border involves intensive operations with federal, state and local officials working together to seal off common illegal crossings. So far we have used all available resources to fund additional patrol hours, new vehicles, and new technology for local law enforcement."
  • In his January 2007 oath-of-office address, Gov. Perry said: "We must secure the border with manpower, not unmanned walls."

Implement Entry/Exit
  • Gov. Perry has said nothing about fully implementing an entry/exit system for foreign students, tourists and temporary workers.

Support Local Enforcement
  • Gov. Perry has been especially active in trying to stop city officials who refuse to obey federal immigration laws (as through Sanctuary City ordinances). To rate an "Excellent," he needs to take a position on federal legislation that allows more local enforcement and on how he would change the way federal officials respond to state and local requests for more enforcement.
  • In his February 2011 State of the State address, Gov. Perry said: "I also want to thank Senator Williams and Representative Solomons for supporting my efforts to abolish sanctuary city policies, restrictions that handcuff our police officers as they work to uphold the law and protect our communities.... Texas law enforcement professionals must have the discretion to use their judgment; judgment honed by years of training and experience, when it comes to inquiring about immigration status during lawful detentions and apprehensions."
  • In April 2010, Gov. Perry expressed concern with portions of Arizona's interior enforcement law, SB 1070: "some aspects of the law turn law enforcement officers into immigration officials by requiring them to determine immigration status during any lawful contact with a suspected alien, taking them away from their existing law enforcement duties, which are crucial to keeping citizens safe." Perry also said a Texas version of SB 1070 "would not be the right direction for Texas."

Punish Business Violators
  • Rick Perry has acted to increase state penalties on businesses that violate immigration laws. For an "Excellent" rating, he needs to state what he would advocate on federal penalties.
  • In his February 2011 State of the State address, Gov. Perry said: "It is also time to seriously address the demand side of illegal immigration. We must establish criminal penalties for employers who knowingly hire workers who are here in violation of immigration law."
  • In May 2006, Gov. Perry signed legislation requiring employers that hire illegal aliens to pay higher taxes.

Tackle Refugee Fraud
  • Gov. Perry has made no statements addressing the issue of refugee fraud.

End Birthright Citizenship
  • Gov. Perry has made no statements regarding the ending of Birthright Citizenship.