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September 19th, 2011

Rick Perry’s Illegal Immigration Problem

Illegal immigration has not received a heavy amount of media coverage during this campaign season, but it remains a hot topic among Iowa Caucus goers.  TheIowaRepublican poll conducted in late June shows illegal immigration is the most important topic among 15% of caucus goers.  That is a very significant part of the electorate.  It also could be bad news for frontrunner Rick Perry.

One of the main areas where Perry disagrees with many conservatives is immigration.  As Governor of Texas, Perry signed a law that granted in-state college tuition to the children of illegal aliens.  Perry defended his stance during last week’s GOP presidential debate.

“If you’ve been in the state of Texas for three years, and working toward citizenship, you pay in-state tuition,” said Perry. “It doesn’t matter what the sound of your last name is. That’s the American way.”

The Minutemen Patriots disagree with Perry’s view of “the American way”.  A group of 15 protested against the Texas governor during his campaign stop in Council Bluffs last Friday.

“We’re against Rick Perry,” said Craig Halverson, national director of the Minutemen Patriots.  “He’s the worst possible candidate.  Just like when McCain was here and we were against McCain and McCain basically left Iowa with his tail between his legs.”

Halverson differs with Perry on several issues, but the primary one is immigration. “We don’t want him, we don’t need him,” Halverson told  “We want someone to represent American people, not illegal aliens.  What does he not know about the word illegal?”

Perry also opposes building a border fence in Texas.  Many conservatives feel a fence is a necessary part of solving the illegal immigration problem as well as bolstering national security.

“It’s bad times for Americans across the country and that’s why these people are here,” Halverson said of the protest in Council Bluffs.  “They’re fed up.  To have Rick Perry in office, that’s just a continuation of the agenda under a different name and calling it the Republican Party.”

Perry has yet to be truly vetted by Iowa caucus goers.  So far, his campaign stops have not allowed for Question and Answer sessions.  That is a part of the process that Iowans usually demand from presidential contenders.  Perry will surely face some difficult questions from Iowans, if his campaign allows for Q&A.  It is risky for Perry’s candidacy to be put him into that sort of situation.  It is cowardly for him to avoid it.

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About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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