In N.H., Rick Perry Talks Tough on Illegal Immigrants

Jim Cole/AP Photo

AMHERST, N.H. –  Gov. Rick Perry has come under fire from conservatives for some of his immigration policies, but with the endorsement of the infamous and conservative Sheriff Joe Arpaio from Arizona, Perry told voters in New Hampshire he supports tough state laws that give local law enforcement new powers to combat illegal immigration.

Standing in the middle of a diner as patrons ate their breakfast the Texas governor suggested he would detain and deport any illegal immigrant who is apprehended by law enforcement.

“I call this a horrific policy, but the Obama administration has a catch and release policy where non0-violent illegal aliens are released into the general public today. My policy will be to detain and to deport every illegal alien that we apprehend. That is how we stop that issue,” Perry said at a crowded Joey’s Diner Tuesday off Route 101A here in New Hampshire Tuesday morning.

Perry, who promised to be a “law and order president” and pledged to secure the border within one year of his inauguration, offered no exact plan for how he would deal with the illegal immigrants currently residing in the country but stressed that he would not offer any type of amnesty.

“We have to identify everybody that’s here, and there’s going to be an appropriate discussion in Congress on how to deal with an individual who has been here maybe for some long period of time,” Perry said. “Amnesty is not on the table period. There will be no amnesty in the United States. We’re a country of law and the idea that we’re going to tell people that somehow or another that that’s all forgiven is not going to happen. How we deal with them is a conversation. I don’t know if I know all the answers. I want to talk to the American people.”

At the morning stop here, Perry was endorsed by controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio.

“I like the governor, in fact I’ll say it right now it’s a pleasure and an honor to endorse you for president. One reason I like him because he’s been fighting this battle as the governor. He doesn’t just talk about it. He does something about it,” Arpaio said. “I don’t know the governor that much, I’ve talked to him a few times but to me he’s an honorable, ethical person with a great family. We need that too in Washington. He’s a fighter and I’m here to lend all my support to ensure that he becomes president of the United States.”

Arpaio declined repeated opportunities to address Perry’s support of in-state tuition rates for illegal immigrants, saying it was a Texas issue, not one in Arizona. Arpaio is slated to join Perry at two town halls in Manchester and Derry this afternoon.

The Texas governor chided the Justice Department for its lawsuit against Arizona for its illegal immigration policy, calling the priorities of the federal government “completely out of whack.”

“What they ought to be doing is stopping illegal immigration, not suing states that are doing something about it.”

Perry was asked by a voter named Alice Bury, whose grandchild was accepted to a Texas University, to explain his support of in-state tuition rates for illegal immigration, an issue that’s dogged the Texas governor since September.

“Our legislature made that decision and that is a state by state decision,” Perry said in defense. ” I said in a debate something that was very inappropriate and I said people were heartless and that was an absolutely inappropriate thing to say. I understand your concern about the issue of illegal immigration and that was absolutely an incorrect thing for me to say.”

As Perry left the diner for a full day of town halls in New Hampshire, a voter gave the Texas governor some words of encouragement, telling him to “give ‘em hell” today.