INDIAN LAND — Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s solution to the stream of immigrants, many of them children, that are overwhelming border states includes building and patrolling a border fence and better diplomacy.
“It’s a humanitarian crisis that’s unacceptable,” Perry said of the problem that states such as Texas have experienced for years but has gotten worse recently.
Perry, speaking to more than 400 supporters of Republican U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney of Indian Land, said he first brought the problem to attention of President Barack Obama in 2012 but has been unsuccessful in getting him to come see the problem first hand.
Perry said the fence, and more border patrols, have worked in parts of Texas, but need to “done in all sectors.” That’s the responsibility of the U.S. government, Perry said.
The crisis has been a diplomatic failure, Perry said, because U.S. ambassadors where the children are coming from are not “talking to their counterparts.” He said these Latin American governments need to be told that U.S. foreign aid will be cut off if the flow of immigrants continues.
As for the immigrants, Perry said, the U.S. should take care of them while they are here, but then send them back to country of origin.
“The president is either inept or has an agenda or both,” Perry said.
Perry, who became Texas governor in December 2000 when then-Gov. George W. Bush resigned to become president, is not running for re-election. In 2012, he made a brief run for the GOP nomination for president, but ended his candidacy just two days before South Carolina’s primary.
Perry said a decision whether to run in 2016 for president will be made next year.
Regardless, Perry sounded like a politician seeking election Wednesday, before a capacity crowd at the City of Light facilities, headquarters of the World Reach ministries, in Indian Land.
It was politics in the round as Perry, microphone in hand, walked up and down the main aisle of the banquet room, talking about issues such as immigration, economic development, problems at the Veterans Administration hospitals and Republicans seeking to gain control of the U.S. Senate in the 2014 elections.
To solve the health care problems with the Veterans Administration, Perry said, “the answer is in the private sector” where veterans can get better and cheaper health care.”
As for the U.S. Senate races, “I’m looking forward to the day when Mr. Harry Reid is the minority leader.”
Gordon and Lynda Delph, who attended Wednesday’s barbeque fundraiser, said Perry’s presentation was “awesome,” because he not only talked about the “hot issues,” but has solutions based on his service as Texas governor.
“What’s important,” Gordon Delph said, “is he has a genuine love for this country.”
Don Worthington • 803-329-4066