Romney: Opposing Tuition Breaks for Illegal Immigrants Isn't Heartless, It's Smart

Riding the wave of his strong debate performance last night, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney shot back at Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s remark that suggested not supporting education for illegal immigrants is akin to not having a heart.

“My friend Gov. Perry says if you don’t agree with his position on giving that in state tuition on illegals then you don’t have a heart,” said Romney, in remarks made to an audience at this morning’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando.

“Um, I think if you’re opposed to illegal immigration it doesn’t mean you don’t have a heart — it means you have a heart and a brain,” said Romney, evoking cheers from the crowd.

Last night’s exchange hinged on whether illegal immigrants should be granted in-state tuition discounts. Romney believes they should not get a discount on education and has called to turn off the “magnet of extraordinary government benefits.” He argued last night that illegal immigrants in Texas are granted in-state tuition at a nearly $100,000 discount.

Perry meanwhile suggested that it’s wrong to not provide education to children who have been brought to the U.S. “by no fault of their own.”

“I don’t think you have a heart,” he told Romney.  ”We need to be educating these children, because they will become a drag on our society.”