Mitt Romney draws immigration contrast with Rick Perry
By MAGGIE HABERMAN
9/2/11 – Politico
Mitt Romney starts to make the contrast with Rick Perry over immigration, an area where the Texas governor’s critics see an opening, in his remarks at the National Hispanic Assembly in Florida this morning.
Romney urged “completing construction of a high-tech fence,” and pointed to another key issue:
“Finally, we must stop providing the incentives that promote illegal immigration. As governor, I vetoed legislation that would have provided in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants.”
While he never mentioned Perry, the comment was designed to highlight the Texas bill, signed by Perry, permitting in-state tuition for some illegal immigrants.
It was never clear in the 2007 Republican presidential primaries that immigration is the driving force in Republican primaries that some would like it to be. However, Romney is faced with just two options with Perry — wait for him to implode, or start framing him as not what he claims to be.
Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) repeated his opposition to a controversial proposal to build a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border while campaigning in New Hampshire.
“No, I don’t support a fence on the border,” Perry said reports the Associated Press.
“The fact is, it’s 1,200 miles from Brownsville to El Paso. Two things: How long you think it would take to build that? And then if you build a 30-foot wall from El Paso to Brownsville, the 35-foot ladder business gets real good,” he added.
The Texas governor instead proposed using what he termed “strategic fencing” and National Guard troops to control migration and drug trafficking along the border.
Perry’s opposition to the fence may harm his standing amongst Tea Party activists who have strong concerns about illegal immigration.
Perry, a late entrant into the race for the GOP’s 2012 presidential nomination, has quickly vaulted to frontrunner status.
A Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday shows Perry as the choice of 24 percent of Republican voters with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney receiving 18 percent. The poll was the latest to confirm Perry’s quick surge to the top of the GOP pack.
9/3/2011 | APNews
He may have been 2,000 miles from the border, but Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry’s immigration record in Texas quickly became the focus in New Hampshire Saturday afternoon.
Speaking to hundreds of Granite State voters at a private reception, the Texas governor was asked whether he supported a fence along the Mexican border.
“No, I don’t support a fence on the border,” he said, while referring to the long border in Texas alone. “The fact is, it’s 1,200 miles from Brownsville to El Paso. Two things: How long you think it would take to build that? And then if you build a 30-foot wall from El Paso to Brownsville, the 35-foot ladder business gets real good.”
Instead, Perry said he supported “strategic fencing” and National Guard troops to prevent illegal immigration and violence from Mexican drug cartels.
The answer produced an angry shout from at least one audience member. And it exposed an ongoing rift with some conservative voters over Perry’s immigration record.
Tea party activists in Texas have been particularly upset by his steady opposition to the fence. He also signed a law giving illegal immigrants in-state tuition for Texas universities. And Texas tea party groups sent Perry an open letter this year expressing disappointment over his failure to get a bill passed that would have outlawed “sanctuary cities,” municipalities that protect illegal immigrants.
Perry has surged to the lead in national polls since joining the presidential race just three weeks ago. But New Hampshire Republicans are just getting to know him.
“I think there are a lot of questions out there still,” said tea party activist Jerry DeLemus, chairman of the Granite State Patriots Liberty PAC. “We don’t know him very well.”
Even in New Hampshire, he said illegal immigration is a key issue with his members and raised concerns about Perry’s immigration policies. DeLemus said a border fence should be part of any policy.
“Any deterrent is a good deterrent,” he said after Perry’s second private reception in Chichester.
Saturday’s visit marks the third time Perry visited the first-in-the-nation primary state since joining the race.
Despite having deep Southern roots and conservative social positions, the Texas native has indicated he will compete aggressively in New Hampshire, where both Republicans and independents vote in the primary election.