Rick Perry on In-State Tuition for Illegal Immigrants: “It’s No Free Ride”

ORANGE CITY, IOWA — Making his second stop in western Iowa, Rep. Texas Governor Rick Perry was confronted by a voter with questions about his immigration policy after a speech at the Blue Mountain Culinary Emporium in Orange City.

Fae Groff-Moritz from Remsen, Iowa asked the governor to explain what exactly in-state tuition rates for illegal immigrants in Texas means.

“It’s not a free ride. Because the border has been porous, we have to deal with this issue as a governor of a state and the state has to deal with it,” Perry said.

“At that particular point in time, we have to make a decision. Are we going to have tax wasters or tax payers?” Perry said about the legislation.

Perry noted that the Texas legislature nearly unanimously passed the in-state tuition for illegal immigrants legislation in 2001.

“They had to pursue citizenship. At that particular point in time they would become taxpayers and be part of the skilled workforce. If they didn’t, the state was probably going to pick up the cost of a substantial number of them because they’re unskilled. If anyone moves to the state of Texas and spends three years there, they’re eligible for in-state tuition so no free ride,” Perry said.

“It sounded like it when you were talking on TV,” Groff-Moritz said.

“Yes ma’am, sometimes in a one minute soundbite it’s hard to get all of that in,” Perry responded.

During the question and answer portion of his speech in Orange City, Perry expressed his commitment to freeing up the energy sector from over regulation to ensure the country thrives as an energy-independent country.

“We have to have a president who is committed to making this country as independent on the side of domestic energy as we can, and I understand that and I’m going to commit to that,” Perry said. “I want to be the president of the United States that oversees the revival of the domestic energy industry in this country.”

Perry was asked if he had an alternative to Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. The Texas governor praised Cain for developing a plan that resonates with voters, though he expressed concern about whether the plan would work.

“I think Herman has done a very successful job of penetrating through so people understand what 9-9-9 means. I think we’re all taking a look at that now and seeing what does it really mean to the country.”

An attendee asked Perry to name a few books that have influenced his thinking, and Perry cited Friedrich Hayek for informing him about economics and shedding light that Keynesian theories do not work. A spokesman for Perry said the book he was referencing was “Road to Serfdom.”

After the speech, Perry worked the crowd, explaining the need to reform Social Security to a group of high schoolers, wishing David Vogel of Orange City a happy 18th birthday, and sharing with a professor his learning experience in Texas.

“Being the governor of the state of Texas, there hasn’t been a day go by that I haven’t learned something,” Perry said.