As Donald Trump travels to visit the Texas-Mexico border, former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) is calling out his competitor in the Republican presidential race for being a “hypocrite” on the issue of border security, saying that Trump is “a known employer of illegal immigrants” who is making his first trip to the border “after weeks of talk.”
As Breitbart News reported, Perry and Trump have been engaged in a weeks-long war of words. Trump has taken swipes at Perry and other Republican candidates on the issues of immigration and border security, and Perry has fired back that Trump doesn’t understand what he is talking about, and that he is unfit to be Commander-in-Chief after attacking Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) service record last weekend.
Trump has refused to apologize for attacking McCain or dial down his rhetoric, and Perry has sought to portray him as someone who is making a lot of noise, but does not truly understand the complex issues regarding border security, much less match Perry’s experience as Governor of the state with the largest border with Mexico.
To use the Texas slang, according to Perry, Trump is all hat and no cattle.
Thursday, Trump is traveling to the border, specifically the Texas town of Laredo, as Breitbart Texas reported. Trump was originally supposed to be joined by members of the local Border Patrol agents’ union, but they backed out on Wednesday.
The cancellation appears to be a combination of factors: pressure from the AFL-CIO, under whose control the Border Patrol union falls, and reaction to Trump’s comments that he was going on this trip to be “honored” by the agents, and that the “agents supported him.” The statement released by the local union said that while “our border with Mexico is not secure and there’s no doubt that we need to have an honest discussion about that with the American people,” they would no longer be participating in the event because they did not endorse candidates for political office, and no such endorsement had been discussed for any presidential candidate.
A few hours before Trump was scheduled to land in Texas, Perry released a statement, followed by a s series of press links, sharply criticizing Trump, saying it will “take more than a day trip for him to convince the American people he is anything but a hypocrite when it comes to border security,” and slamming him for his record of hiring illegal immigrant labor at his construction projects.
The press links included after Perry’s statement provide details about the “nearly $1 billion” Texas spent on enhanced border security efforts.
Border security watchdogs, including Breitbart Texas’ Brandon Darby, have criticized Perry for concentrating those efforts on the Rio Grande Valley Sector instead of the entire border, including the Laredo Sector where the Zetas cartel is active.
Perry countered these criticisms by emphasizing that border security is first and foremost a federal responsibility, and that Texas “focused our resources on the areas that needed it most – like the Rio Grande Sector,” which Perry pointed out, “accounts for more than 50 percent of illegal crossings on the entire U.S.-Mexico border, and more than 70 percent of illegal border crossings in Texas alone.”
Regarding Trump’s record of hiring illegal immigrant labor, the Washington Post reported earlier this month that about 15 construction workers on Trump’s new hotel project at the site of the Old Post Office Pavilion in Washington, D.C. were in the country illegally, having either crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally or overstayed their visas. A 1990 New York Times article described a lawsuit filed against Trump for allegedly hiring 200 undocumented workers to do the demolition work to clear the land for Trump Tower.
Perry hit this issue again in a tweet Thursday morning, saying that Trump’s record of hiring illegal immigrants meant that his border security record was “non-existent” and a “farce.”
— Rick Perry (@GovernorPerry) July 23, 2015
Consistent with the way he has conducted himself throughout the campaign, Trump has remained unfazed by Perry or any of his critics, tweeting that he expected the Laredo visit to be “exciting and informative.”
Unlike Donald Trump, I have been battling the federal government over border security for years. Border security is a federal responsibility, but when it became clear Washington wouldn’t act, I told President Obama if he wouldn’t secure the border, Texas would. During my time in office, Texas dedicated nearly $1 billion to border security, and we focused our resources on the areas that needed it most – like the Rio Grande Sector, which accounts for more than 50 percent of illegal crossings on the entire U.S.-Mexico border, and more than 70 percent of illegal border crossings in Texas alone.
After weeks of talk, today Donald Trump will finally make his first trip to the Texas-Mexico border to see Texas’ work to fill in the gaps left in border security by the federal government. While he is there, I hope he will explain to the people of Laredo why he thinks they should be on the hook to secure our country’s border with Mexico, rather than the federal government. I hope he will explain to the Hispanic Americans he meets why he thinks they are rapists and murderers. And I hope he will apologize for ridiculing the selfless work of the men and women of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers, Texas Game Wardens and Texas National Guard to protect our communities in the face of the federal government’s failure to secure the border.
As a known employer of illegal immigrant labor, Donald Trump’s record on border security is non-existent at best and a farce at worst. It’s going to take more than a day trip for him to convince the American people he is anything but a hypocrite when it comes to border security.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.