Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) blamed the largest chemical weapons mass killing in more than a decade on what he described as lax security at the U.S. Southern border, in remarks before a conservative audience Friday.
Perry told attendees of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that “no one should be surprised” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad crossed President Obama’s so-called “red line” when he deployed chemical weapons because Assad “knows” Obama hasn’t secured the U.S.-Mexico border:
Here’s the simple truth about our foreign policy. Our allies doubt us and our adversaries are all too willing to test us. No one should be surprised. No one should be surprised that dictators like Assad would cross the President’s red line because he knows the President won’t even defend the line that separates our nation from Mexico.
Perry proceeded to say that “any conversation about comprehensive immigration reform must begin with comprehensive border security” and that he told the President last summer, “If you will not secure the border between the U.S. and Mexico, Texas will.” Perry then deployed his state’s National Guard to the border, which scholars flagged as potentially unconstitutional.
But the comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate last year with Obama’s strong support and was thwarted by House Republicans did indeed include strong border security provisions that are very similar to those supported by House Republicans, including better technology to track visa over-stayers and to implement E-verify. The difference is that they also include other provisions aimed at making the reform “comprehensive.”
Even without comprehensive reform, the United States already has in place robust border security measures, including higher spending on border security by the two federal immigration agencies than was spent by every other federal agency combined. Border agents now patrol every single mile of the border and run checkpoints as far away as 100 miles of the U.S. border.
Perry’s comments are the newest attempt to link international terror to the U.S. southern border. Over the past few months, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and others have linked ISIS to the southern border, despite reports from federal officials that there is “no credible information” and very low probability that terrorists would cross the southern border by land.