Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is like something the Tea Party grew in a vat. He flirted with ending Medicaid in Texas. Believes his state should be able to opt out of Social Security. He embraces outlandish claims that everything from federal public school programs to clean air laws are unconstitutional. And he even once claimed that Texas might secede from the union unless the federal government does exactly what he wants it to do.
Yet for all his eagerness to spearhead America’s march back to the 19th Century, there is one blemish on Perry’s conservative credentials — he lacks a long record of irrational hatred for immigrants. Übernativist and former Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) isn’t happy:
When I ran for president in 2008, I tried to pressure the Republican candidates to take a hard line against illegal immigration. For this, Perry called me a racist.
When he first took office as governor in 2001, Perry went to Mexico and bragged about his law that granted “the children of undocumented workers” special in-state tuition at Texas colleges, the first state in the nation to do so.
“The message is simple,” Perry concluded, “educacion es el futuro, y si se puede.” Education is the future, and (echoing Cesar Chavez’s slogan) yes we can. […]
Perry opposed Arizona’s tough anti-illegal immigration law SB 1070. “I have concerns,” he explained, “with portions of the law passed in Arizona and believe it would not be the right direction for Texas.”
He spoke out last year against using E-Verify to prevent illegal immigrants from getting jobs as state employees, who get their paychecks from the taxpayers. He insisted it “would not make a hill of beans’ difference.”
Numbers USA, a group that supports immigration control, gives Perry a “D-“ for his positions supporting amnesty, open borders, and opposing border security.
In other words, Rick Perry dreams of an America where the children of white citizens and the children of undocumented Mexican immigrants can both have a place together in crumbling classrooms led by an underpaid teacher. He has a dream where immigrants and native-born Americans can someday toil together in minimum wage jobs that barely allow them to feed their families. He has a dream that one day the sons of immigrants and the sons of native-born citizens will be able to sit down together in an overcrowded emergency room and wait hours for inadequate care.
And yet, Rick Perry’s dream may not be harsh enough to please the American right.
There is little to love in Tancredo’s nativist assault on one of the few humane aspects of Perry’s record, but he closes his op-ed with the best description anyone has ever made of Rick Perry’s stance on immigration. “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.”