Perry Endorses Work Visas For Illegal Immigrants

AUSTIN (AP) – Texas Gov. Rick Perry proposed the federal government should extend work visas allowing illegal immigrants to move freely between the U.S. and their home countries — but stressed that he opposes amnesty or a path to citizenship.

Perry said in an interview with CNN’s John King on Thursday that expectations that U.S. authorities are going to arrest and deport up to 15 million illegal immigrants isn’t realistic. He added, however, that other Republicans, including fellow Texan George W. Bush, went too far when they previously proposed an immigration overhaul that included a path to citizenship.

The Texas governor also claimed his chief rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney, had once supported amnesty. Romney has drawn criticism for hiring a lawn care company that employed illegal immigrants at his family’s property in a Boston suburb for a decade — but has also said amnesty is not appropriate for illegal immigrants.

“You can put a program into place in which these individuals can be identified, and work visas in which they can move back and forth between their countries but not to become United States citizens,” Perry said. “And I think that’s where McCain, that’s where Romney, that’s where even Bush went wrong when they talked about the issue that, `we’re going to give amnesty to these individuals,’ and people just said, `no, we’re not.”‘

Perry didn’t elaborate on what such a visa plan would look like, saying only that authorities need to determine a better way to identify illegal immigrants and make them part of mainstream society. He also said the program would only work if the federal government first does a better job securing America’s borders.

“I disagree with the concept that somehow or another we’re going to pack up 10, to 12, to 15 million people and ship them back to the country of origin. That’s not going to happen,” Perry said. “So realty has to be part of our conversation. And then you need to have a strategy to deal with it. That is what I think we will have, but first you have to secure that border.”

Perry called Washington’s efforts to stop the flow of illegal immigrants “an abject failure” but said that, as president, he could accomplish the task in just a year using the existing fence, more border patrol agents and air surveillance. Perry also repeated his opposition to a fence running the length of the border, saying it would take 10 to 15 years to build.

“There’s places where a secure fence will work, and that strategic type fencing will work,” he said. “But the idea that people can easily just stand up and say `let’s just build a fence’ and be done with it and wipe our hands, and it’s going to secure the border, that’s not reality.”

Perry has seen his polling numbers plummet after a string of lackluster debate performances — and angered some conservatives by defending a Texas plan that extends in-state university tuition to illegal immigrants who were brought into the country as children and attend high school in Texas.

The governor again defended the initiative on Thursday, saying better education helps ensure those participating in the program contribute to society: “We want taxpayers, not tax wasters.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • NiteNurse

    I think at least this a start to tracking who’s here from Mexico but I doubt many workers will register.

  • Rod

    Abject or not,perry himself is a failure.On one hand he claims to being against amnesty or a path to citizenship but says you can’t throw out 10 to 15 million people.
    So what is the perry plan,give them all a work visa?
    Sober up governor and get real.

  • Curtis Pecanty

    I think if people want to be here from other countries, they should have to pay income taxes, social security and other taxes that us as Americans should. You should also have to get a drivers license or an Identification Card to show who you are to authorities. If you fail to follow these rules, then you will be deported at your own expense, no questions asked.

    • Dallas Artist

      That goes for Bank of America, ExxonMobil, GE, Chevron, Boeing, Valero, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, ConocoPhillips — all of whom didn’t pay a single cent in income taxes and who all received billions of dollars in IRS refunds in 2009.

  • Rod

    If anyone needs a work permit it should be perry.He doesn’t appear to work much for the job he is being paid for or live in the mansion the tax payers are footing the bill for.

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  • JR

    I say a work visa is better than what we have now, but I want fingerprints and DNA samples so when these people commit crimes in this country, they can be found and deported and refused entry into this country ever again.

    • OK...

      LOL. What planet have you been living on? Denied entry into the country? As if illegal immigrants go through border checkpoints and follow protocol when entering the country! They swim through rivers and traverse open areas of land. Most idiotic comment on this board yet.

      “Oh, I’m sorry, Mr. Gomez, you can’t come back into the country. Looks like the DNA, fingerprints, and ID card all indicate you are barred from entry.” Sheesh.

    • willow06

      What we have now is a law saying illegal immigrant s are not allowed in our country. I’d rather have the law enforced.

  • Colby Bauer

    This guy has officially lost his marbles. He’s in a tailspin since that embarrassing “speech” in Maryland, so now he’s in “let’s pander to everybody we can no matter how insane or contradictory is sounds” mode. If my already dysfunctional GOP nominated this buffoon, I’m going to sit out the election and watch Obama win again.

    • Colby Bauer

      Nominates. Passionate typing + no coffee = morning keyboard error.

  • Texas Granny

    Texas is over run with illegals that we taxpayers have to pay for. Perry says we can’t round-up 15 million illegals & ship them back to their home country, why not? In the 50’s President Eisenhower rounded up 13 million illegals and sent them packing. Perry is just another politician who does not want to do what he was elected to do, up hold our laws.

  • tacoman

    Illegal immigrants are ILLEGAL. Tp paraphrase one of our more literate Dallas Cowboys, “What do illegal mean?”

  • jmoses

    Dear, Colby Bauer
    If you allow something like this to keep you from voting, you’re as big an ass as he is. Please. vote for a democrat because we sure don’t need republicans with your assinine attidude.

    • You Need A Reality Check, You Rude A-Hole

      I’m sure Mr. Bauer will pay attention to the illiterate dunce who can’t even spell ASININE or ATTITUDE. Did you even move beyond 8th grade?

      Maybe he won’t compromise his values when he goes to the polls. Some people actually have principles, unlike the career politicians on both sides of the fence.

    • willow06

      I agree we should vote, but the Dems are as bad if not worse re: illegal immigration as the Reps. I’ll vote for the candidate who wishes to secure our state and Nation regardless of party affiliation.

  • willow06

    Dear Gov. Perry,

    You have TOTALLY lost any and all support I have ever had for you on any level. I am sick and tired of government officials (local, state, and federal) who refuse to enforce our laws. Your lawless attitude makes me ill. I wish we had someone in Texas who had the power and the guts to enforce our laws and who had a will to protect our citizens. How sad.

  • billy moore

    I say fine anyone that hire ill so much they will no longer have a bus and the ill will have to go back to mexico

    • Oy Vey

      Was that in English? Jesus Christ…

      • Oy Vey

        Oh, come on. Even YOU have to admit that sentence made NO SENSE whatsoever. How did you know I’m having a martini? ;-)

        By the way, did your teacher pass you because he or she felt sorry for your lack of literacy skills and overall intelligence, and didn’t want to hold you back? That’s what the context of your statement sounded like.

      • NiteNurse

        Take another shot of vodka and go back to grading your English papers. You’re probably my 12th grade English teacher who passed me you raging alcoholic.

  • Fed Up Conservative

    Rick Perry is far from my ideal conservative. He’s soft on illegal immigration, he’s in bed with special interest (Merck, et. Al.), and he doesn’t appear to be the brightest bulb in the chandelier. I’d much rather see Cain, or Romney (gag) get the nomination than this bozo.

  • tavarus rider

    Dear mr perry, if elected president are you gonna cut teachers nation wide just like you did in texas. Since when did education lose its importance.

    • Oy Vey

      Amen. See Billy Moore’s post if you don’t think education is important.

  • darrell

    “Texas Gov. Rick Perry proposed the federal government should extend work visas allowing illegal immigrants to move freely between the U.S. and their home countries”…

    now how are you going to do that and not send them back to their home country? or, are you just giving people a piece of paper and opening the flood gates even wider?

    illegal is illegal! send every damn one of them home where they belong. then if they want a work visa they can go through proper channels.
    im tired of these ECONOMIC TERRORIST INSURGENTS destroying our country.

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