Texas Republican Gov.Rick Perry defended Jeb Bush’s remark that illegal immigration is an “act of love,” claiming he “understands about people breaking a law to take care of their family” — particularly when for decades U.S. policy was “come on over, don’t worry about it.”
Perry spoke with Fox News’ Stuart Varney about the former Florida Republican governor’s illegal immigration apology, which inspired a ferocious backlash from the right.
The Texas governor first tried to dodge the question, noting that as the Mexican economy improves the illegal immigration question may prove a moot point.
“The immigration issue may be one that’s fixing to change, and change in a great way,” Perry claimed. “Because Mexico is about to liberalize their energy policies, and we’re going to see a great outflow of individuals –”
“Is it an act of love, governor, when someone comes across that border to feed their family?” Varney interrupted.
“I think in a lot of cases it’s about ‘I want to be able to take care of my family,'” Perry admitted. “And for 40 years, we’ve sent the message that, ‘Come on over, it’s okay, don’t worry about breaking the law.’ And then all of a sudden the rules get changed, 9/11 occurs, and we have drug cartels.”
“I totally understand about people breaking a law to take care of their family,” he asserted, “particularly when the country whose law you’re breaking has for 40 years basically said, ‘Come on over, don’t worry about it.'”
“And we did that, and we have to stand up and truthfully say that that was the message all too often through the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, even the ’90s,” Perry said. “That’s the message we sent to individuals in Mexico: Come on over here, we need your work.”
Perry had his own “act of love” moment during the Republican presidential debates in 2011, defending Texas’ policy of providing in-state college tuition to illegal immigrants.
“If you say that we should not educate children who come into our state for no other reason than that they’ve been brought their through no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart,” he declared at the time.
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