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July 29. 2014 8:14PM

Texas Gov. Perry says illegal immigration is a national security issue

The illegal immigration crisis at the Mexican border is a national security issue that reaches the Granite State some 2,000 miles away, according to Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Perry joined Republican State Committee Chairwoman Jennifer Horn in a call with New Hampshire reporters Thursday and accused President Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, of being soft on illegal immigration.

“We can no longer wait for Washington to act,” said Perry, who ordered 1,000 additional National Guard in his state to the border last week to bolster security. “You cannot have national security if you do not have border security.”

Perry, a possible presidential candidate again in 2016, dismissed questions about political aspirations. “2016 will take care of itself,” he said. He also steered clear of taking sides in the U.S. Senate GOP primary here.

Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown sounded similar notes this week and criticized the president and Shaheen for “pro-amnesty” policies.

The immigration problem at the southern border is a humanitarian crisis because of the more than 50,000 children who are illegal immigrants, many of whom are flooding across the Texas-Mexico border from Central American countries and are being apprehended in large numbers.

Critics of the administration say part of the danger of those entering the country illegally is that it sends a message to others that there are no consequences.

Obama, speaking July 10, acknowledged the challenge in addressing those who have flocked to the Rio Grande valley. “It is unlikely that their children will be able to stay,” Obama said.

The President also sent a $3.7 billion proposal to Congress for emergency funds to address the crisis, but that supplemental spending met immediate opposition from Republican leaders on Capitol Hill.

About half of the $3.7 billion would go to border security, enforcement and expedited removal of people, according to the White House.

The other half would go to treat those children humanely, as well as try to tackle the root of the problem in Central America.

Perry, during the conference call, said his decision to mobilize 1,000 Guard members at the border was prompted in part by the criminal activity of thousands of illegal immigrants, including homicide and assaults.

Horn introduced Perry as a governor on the front lines of the crisis, and she called Shaheen “a loyal foot soldier” for the White House.

“The Washington Post reported just last week that the administration knew about the building humanitarian crisis at the border over a year ago, but did nothing to solve the problem,” Horn said. “This is the type of failed leadership that unfortunately Granite Staters have come to expect from both President Obama and from Senator Jeanne Shaheen.”

Though Scott Brown’s name was only spoken by reporters during the call, the New Hampshire Democratic Party portrayed the press conference as Brown welcoming Perry to New Hampshire.

After Brown launched an ad focusing on the immigration crisis earlier this week, Democrats responded that Shaheen voted for comprehensive immigration reform to increase border security. Some Republicans, including U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, voted for the same reform bill in 2013.

dtuohy@unionleader.com


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