Governor Rick Perry apologized today for calling his supporters “heartless.”
“I was probably a bit over-passionate by using that word and it was inappropriate.”
The Hill Tube reported:
Rick Perry said Wednesday that he was sorry for saying at last week’s Republican debate that those opposed to providing an in-state tuition break to the children of illegal immigrants “did not have a heart.”
Advertisement - story continues below
“I was probably a bit over-passionate by using that word and it was inappropriate,” Perry said in a interview with Newsmax. “In Texas in 2001 we had 181 members of the legislature — only four voted against this piece of legislation — because it wasn’t about immigration it was about education.”
But Perry stood by his argument that building a fence along the entire Mexican border was unwise. The Texas governor said that the fence would likely be expensive, ineffective and violate the property rights of those who owned land on the border.
“In the metropolitan areas where the fencing actually can play a positive role, absolutely,” he said. “But you have to have boots on the ground … having an obstacle without observation is no obstacle at all. So just the idea of building a fence and saying, ‘That will take care of it, let’s just build a fence,’ has never worked in the history of mankind.”
Other candidates seized on Perry’s support of the tuition credits — and arguments against a fence — in an attempt to discredit him during the debate. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann argued that taxpayer dollars shouldn’t benefit those in the country illegally, while Jon Huntsman suggested his position on the fence might be “treasonous.” But while Perry walked back his “heartless” comment, he insisted that his experience as governor of a border state best prepared him to handle immigration issues.