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Perry campaign targeted by immigration enforcement activists

That in-state tuition law that sailed through the Texas Legislature and across the governor’s desk 10 years ago continues haunting Rick Perry’s presidential campaign in strange new ways, most recently with a hardline anti-illegal immigration group protesting outside a Perry fundraiser, and new complaints about social media censorship from the governor’s supporters.

In Charlotte, N.C., right now, outside a Perry fundraiser at San Antonio’s Modern Mexican restaurant, the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC is mounting an afternoon protest “designed to forewarn the 81% of Americans found in numerous polls to oppose in-state tuition for illegal aliens about Rick Perry’s unpopular support for illegal immigrants.”

The group announced Thursday that the protest was just one in a nationwide series, designed to tell the world that Perry, in the words of ALIPAC President William Gheen, supports the “illegal immigration invasion of America.”

“Close examination of Rick Perry shows a man that wants to appear to be tough on illegal immigration while in truth he is supporting the illegal immigration invasion of America,” said William Gheen. “Our protest today and the coming protests across the nation are designed to warn voters about Rick Perry’s real positions on illegal immigration before it is too late.”

The group got even more publicity than it bargained for earlier this week, when Americans for Rick Perry’s social media director Clint Cox flagged a Facebook post on the ALIPAC protest to have it removed, the latest awkward attempt from the governor’s camp to avoid negative social media mentions. ALIPAC seized on the mini-scandal.

This flap over the 2001 law granting in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants has also offered a taller soapbox to tea party groups in Texas that have been asking Perry to bring the Texas Legislature back to harshen up the state’s immigration laws.

It’s a drumbeat they’ve kept up since just after the last legislative session ended, but on Thursday Politico’s Reid Epstein called it “a new front” for Perry’s immigration defense, with the groups’ plans to offer yet another call for a special immigration session of the Legislature. As Dallas-area tea party leader Katrina Pierson suggested to Politico, it’d be a chance for Perry to “clarify his position on illegal immigration.”

“If he can’t get the job done in Texas with a supermajority, with something that he says is a priority, how is he going to get that done in D.C.?” Pierson said. “You have control of everything in Texas, and you still can’t it done. He doesn’t want to get it done.

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