Op-Ed: Rick Perry's Illegal Immigration Magnets Cost Texas Big

Op-Ed: Rick Perry's Illegal Immigration Magnets Cost Texas Big

Politicians who are given to shallow, yet colorful rhetorical flourishes and “a do as I say-not as I do” approach to political adversaries hope “We the People” are too stupid, too distracted, and/or too eager for a savior to notice the real impact of their own actions-or inaction. Hoping the people will react like political groupies and just swoon at the sound of an authoritative, finger-wagging tone, chameleon politicians have conveniently selective amnesia when it comes to their own records and policies.

The most astonishing example of this in recent days is Texas Governor Rick Perry’s rants about President Obama’s “policies that serve as a magnet to encourage illegal immigration“. That’s rich coming from Perry who has been Texas governor for almost fourteen years and has amassed plenty of public statements about his own favorite magnets for illegals.

Is it just me, or do Texans have a right to be offended when reflecting upon Governor Rick Perry’s own record of supporting and promoting taxpayer-funded magnets and policies that give aid and comfort to those here illegally?

Governor Perry’s Dream Act Magnet:

Perry vigorously defends his DREAM Act, which gives in-state tuition breaks and taxpayer funded grants to illegals to attend Texas colleges. In this August 2001 speech to the Border Summit, Perry bragged about signing the Texas DREAM Act into law, “We must say to every Texas child learning in a Texas classroom, ‘we don’t care where you come from, but where you are going, and we are going to do everything we can to help you get there.’ And that vision must include the children of undocumented workers. That’s why Texas took the national lead in allowing such deserving young minds to attend a Texas college at a resident rate. Those young minds are a part of a new generation of leaders, the doors of higher education must be open to them. The message is simple: educacion es el futuro, y si se puede.”

Who can forget Perry’s statement in one of the early 2011 GOP Presidential primary debates when he said that those who disagree with him on this issue “have no heart at all“? 

The Perry position, added to President Obama’s green light, spells “come on in”.

Governor Perry’s Support for a “bi-national health insurance” Magnet: 

In the same August 2001 Border Summit speech, Perry communicated his willingness to commit Texas taxpayer assets to Mexico, “I urged legislators to pass a telemedicine pilot program that will enable, through technology, a sick border resident of limited financial means to receive care from a specialist hundreds of miles away.” Perry went on to emphasize his support for, “an important study that will look at the feasibility of bi-national health insurance. This study recognizes that the Mexican and U.S. sides of the border compose one region, and we must address health care problems throughout that region. That’s why I am also excited that Texas Secretary of State Henry Cuellar is working on an initiative that could extend the benefits of telemedicine to individuals living on the Mexican side of the border.” 

The study guidelines outlined in House Bill 2498 were passed by the Texas Legislature in 2001 and signed into law by Governor Perry. Although the legislature never acted on the study’s findings, it is important to understand the stated purpose of this Perry-championed, Perry-signed bill:  “The legislature finds that it is in the best interest of the state to find a costeffective manner of delivering health care services through affordable health care plans to citizens residing on both sides of the TexasMexico border.”

This signals a propensity to offer magnets on a grander scale…from a Perry White House, perhaps?

Governor Perry’s Resistance to Stop the Job Magnets:

During the January 14, 2010, gubernatorial debate, former US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, challenger to Governor Perry, said, “The State of Texas does not even use the E-Verify system to determine if someone is legally in our country when they apply for a job.”

To which Governor Rick Perry responded, “E-Verify would not make a hill of beans’ difference when it comes to what’s happening in America today.”  

When bills have been filed in the Texas legislature that would crack down on the repeated and purposeful hiring of illegals in our state, the bills have been conveniently hung up in committee – never reaching the floor for debate. Governor Perry never gave any visible signs of support to these bills or to the legislators who authored them.

The job magnet serves the deep pockets of the open borders/cheap labor “Big Business” constituency. Perry’s done nothing to stop it in the fourteen years he’s been the Governor of Texas. Looks like a powerful magnet to me.

Governor Perry Never Supported a Border Fence:

While on the Presidential campaign trail, back in September 2011, Governor Perry told a New Hampshire crowd that a border fence is “nonsense” and sent yet another signal that many of his positions on illegal immigration mirrored those of the “open border” crowd, but his Presidential campaign position was nothing new. Back in August of 2007, speaking in Mexico, Governor Rick Perry declared the proposed construction of a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border “idiocy” while proclaiming that he would support a “free flow of individuals between these two countries who want to work and want to be an asset to our country and to Mexico.”

How could the “Welcome, come on in!” sign get any bigger?

Governor Perry’s Opposition to the “Interior Enforcement” of the Rule of Law:

Who can forget Governor Perry’s April 2010 “soft on illegal immigration” remarks when Arizona passed its illegal immigration enforcement law SB 1070, which would have released law enforcement to enforce the rule of law in compliance with the state’s constitutional duty to protect the life, liberty, and property of its citizens and legal residents? The Arizona law required state and local law enforcement officers to question legal status of an individual if an officer had reason to believe the person was in the country illegally. The law also made it a crime to lack registration documents and a state crime to be in the US illegally.  

Saying he believed “it would not be the right direction for Texas,” Perry asserted, “For example, 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 critical to keeping citizens safe. Our focus must continue to be on the criminal elements involved with conducting criminal acts against Texans and their property. I will continue to work with the legislative leadership to develop strategies that are appropriate for Texas.”

In that context, what do you call the latest Texas Department of Public Safety surge on the border if not a major distraction for state law enforcement from its other duties? This border crisis, coming four years after Perry’s rejection of an Arizona-like interior enforcement action to untie the hands of law enforcement, puts Perry’s attempts to thread the needle on illegal immigration into a completely new perspective.  

Perry’s Magnets – Not Convinced the Cost to Texas is Big?

As cited above, Governor Perry said, “Our focus must continue to be on the criminal elements involved with conducting criminal acts against Texans and their property.”

In that context, please read in entirety these two unclassified documents from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) for yourself…

The 2013 Texas Public Safety Overview 

2014 Texas Gang Threat Assessment

After reading these sobering reports, ask yourself, “How did Texas get here? How is it that Texas has six of the eight most dangerous drug and human trafficking cartels in the world working with transnational gangs in an elaborately established network of command and control centers all over our state? How did that happen if we were focused on “criminal elements involved with criminal acts”? Could it be that our state officials neglected to focus on keeping the criminal elements OUT of our state simply because they were too concerned with political correctness and maintaining the “welcome sign” magnets for those who willingly enter illegally?

Note:  Next week, my op-ed will cover the topic of Governor Perry’s broken promise to ban sanctuary cities in Texas. The suffering, the cost of lives, and the potential risk of real terrorism are just too great to let our governor get away with shaking his fist at Washington DC, while himself making Texas vulnerable. The cost to Texas – and perhaps the entire nation – is just too big to ignore it.

JoAnn Fleming is the Executive Director of Grassroots America – We the People, and a two-term Chairman, Advisory Committee to the TEA Party Caucus of the TX Legislature.


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