In an interview with The Daily News after he introduced Texas Gov. and current GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry at a fundraiser in Memphis Wednesday, Tenn. Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey defended the recent controversial remarks and stance of Perry over immigration – specifically, over a Texas state law that makes possible a college tuition break to the children of illegal immigrants there.
Ramsey has been an early – and ardent – supporter of the Texas governor.
In one of the recent Republican presidential debates, Perry said opponents of that policy were “heartless”. But Perry walked that back somewhat Wednesday, saying “heartless” probably represented a poor choice of words. Perry said pretty much that same thing to Newsmax, and it got wide play nationally on Wednesday as an apparent softening or position-shuffling by Perry.
At his fundraiser Wednesday at the Memphis Botanic Garden, though, Perry at least got to do what he hasn’t always been able to in the rapid-fire setup of presidential debates, and that is to more fully explain himself on immigration.
“I want to share with you why we did what we did in Texas,” said Perry, whose remarks were videoed by Shelby County Commissioner Chris Thomas and posted to Thomas’ Facebook page.
Perry said Texas had a need to take some kind of action because of an inadequate response to the immigration issue by the federal government.
“Texas is a unique place, from the standpoint of a 1,200-mile border with a foreign country,” Perry said. “For decades, we’ve had this open border that has allowed people to come into the state of Texas. The federal government is not going to round everybody up and send them back to the country of their origin. That’s not going to happen.
“We made the decision we would rather those young people go to our institutions of higher learning and be educated. You either keep them uneducated and have them on the rolls of the government, or educate them and let them become part of the workforce in that state.”
Ramsey said even if a state like Tennessee wouldn’t have pursued the same policy choice, that doesn’t mean Texas was wrong for doing so.
Ramsey said the states are “50 laboratories of democracy. And until the federal government does its job, the burden is on Texas, whether they like it or not.”