- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 19, 2015

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that while a conversation about immigration reform has to start with border security, it’s unrealistic to think that the approximately 11 million people in the country illegally can just be sent home.

“I don’t think American people trust Washington to deal with this issue of immigration reform until the border’s secure — that’s the reason that we did what we did in Texas,” Mr. Perry said Wednesday evening on Fox News’ “The Kelly File.” “It’s the reason I invited the president to come down and see that his policies, whether it was DACA or other policies that they put into place during the six years of this administration are really what’s driving a lot of the illegal immigration that’s occurring.”

But, he was asked, what do you do with the approximately 11 million illegal immigrants in the country before you get the border secured?

“I don’t think anyone with a sense of reality thinks that we’re going to ship 11 or 12 million people back to where they’re from,” he said.

“But again, I go back to the conversation that has to occur … it’s got to be action,” he added. “We had a 74 percent reduction of apprehensions after we surged our national guard along with our law enforcement down to that southern 150-plus-mile region of the border.”

Mr. Perry, a possible presidential contender in 2016, also said Mr. Obama wasn’t the only one to blame.

“And so I think it’s fine to have a conversation, but the American people are not [going to] trust Washington — they’re not [going to] trust anyone until they see that the border is truly secure. We know how to do that — we’ll be happy to show not only this president, but this Congress,” he said.

“Listen — this Congress could have dealt with this years ago, but they haven’t,” he continued. “So this isn’t just Barack Obama’s problem — this is also Washington, D.C. and a Congress that [in] my opinion has been do-nothing about securing the border.”

Mr. Perry also called a federal judge’s ruling against Mr. Obama’s executive actions on immigration this week was a “victory for the rule of law.”

“You can’t have presidents just willy-nilly going around and using their executive fiat whenever they feel it’s in their best interest or what they want to see,” he said.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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