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Rick Perry not likely to receive respite from immigration criticism in Iowa

Image has not been found. URL: http://images.americanindependent.com/2012-80.jpgCriticism hasn’t eased for Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the wake of his statement during a recent debate that the border can’t be secured and defense of his state’s tuition policy for some undocumented immigrants — and a two-day tour in Iowa this week doesn’t look like it will hold solace.

Craig Halverson, national director of the Minutemen Patriots and a resident of Griswold, told reporter William Petroski of The Des Moines Register his group will picket the Texas Republican’s appearance in Council Bluffs on Friday on grounds that he is weak on immigration and not supportive enough of American workers.

During an earlier presidential debate, hosted by CNN and the Tea Party Express, Perry discussed a law in Texas that allows some children of immigrants who have entered the country illegally to attend state-run higher education facilities, pay in-state tuition and receive fee assistance. He also stated flatly that those who believe that answer to immigration woes is a border fence are wrong, drawing a chorus of disdain from the boisterous tea party attendees.

According to Texas law, students who have lived in the state for at least three years and have graduated from high school or obtained a GED certificate are qualified to pay in-state tuition at Texas universities.

“I’m proud that we are having those individuals be contributing members of our society rather than telling them, ‘You can go be on the government dole,’” Perry said, who held up the 2001 law as bipartisan and an issue of states’ rights.

“We were clearly sending a message to young people, regardless of what the sound of their last name is, that we believe in you; that if you want to live in the state of Texas and you want pursue citizenship, that we are going to allow you the opportunity to be contributing members in the state of Texas and not be a drag on our state.”

Unsurprisingly, rival 2012 candidates and their various supporting PACs have been burning shoe leather and ad dollars in an effort to show stark contrast with Perry on the issue of immigration. But the defense Perry placed on his state’s immigration stance is also causing continued stir within grassroots circles.

Jerry DeLemus, chairman of the Granite State Patriots Liberty PAC, a tea party umbrella group, described the Texas answer as “wrong-headed” and a “big negative” against Perry’s White House hopes. Katrina Pierson, a member of the Dallas Tea Party’s steering committee, said “Governor Perry has not met the standards, for me, to be the President of the United States if he can’t even address the real issues here in Texas.” Pierson contends that there can be no honest discussion about the national economy without including immigration policy.

In addition, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who will also visit Iowa this week, has acknowledged his personal affection for the Governor, but has also stated that he does not agree with Perry’s rhetoric regarding the border or immigration. Finally, tea party darling Ann Coulter has called Perry “a little bit too much like George Bush” when it comes to immigration.

In response, Perry appears to have veered away from his stump speech selections to focus more on his faith. During a speech at Liberty University Wednesday Perry delivered what supporters of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann would likely recognize as a “testimony of faith.”

“What I learned as I wrestled with God is that I didn’t have to have all the answers; that they would be revealed to me in due time — and that I needed to trust him,” Perry told attendees at the Virginia-based Christian university, which was founded by the late televangelist Jerry Falwell.

Perry’s remarks did not include discussion of any of the more controversial issues that surfaced during the earlier debate: immigration, “ponzi scheme” Social Security or mandatory HPV vaccinations.

It remains unclear what topics will be up for discussion when Perry greets Iowans in Jefferson on Thursday night, and in Newton, Des Moines, Atlantic and Council Bluffs on Friday. Locations and exact times are available on the Factbook calendar, which is now also accessible through The Iowa Independent’s Facebook page.

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