by JACQUES BILLEAUD Associated Press March 2, 2012 6:54AM
23593205 Article Extras
PHOENIX — America’s self-proclaimed toughest sheriff finds himself entangled these days in his own thorny legal troubles: a federal grand jury probe over alleged abuse of power, Justice Department accusations of racial profiling and revelations that his department didn’t adequately investigate hundreds of Arizona sex-crime cases.
Rather than seek cover, though, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is seeking to grab the spotlight in the same unorthodox fashion that has helped boost his career as a nationally known lawman.
Arpaio on Thursday unveiled preliminary results of an investigation, conducted by members of his volunteer cold-case posse, into the authenticity of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, a controversy that has been widely debunked but which remains alive in the eyes of some conservatives.
At a news conference, Arpaio said the probe revealed that there was probable cause to believe Obama’s long-form birth certificate released by the White House in April is a computer-generated forgery. he also said the selective service card completed by Obama in 1980 in Hawaii also was most likely a forgery.
“We don’t know who the perpetrators are of these documents,” Arpaio said, although he said he doesn’t think the president forged the documents.
Earlier, the 79-year-old Republican sheriff defended his need to spearhead such an investigation after nearly 250 people connected to an Arizona tea party group requested one last summer.
“I’m not going after Obama,” said Arpaio, who has criticized the president’s administration for cutting off his federal immigration powers and conducting a civil rights investigation of his office. “I’m just doing my job.”
Some critics suggest Arpaio’s aim is to divert attention from his own legal troubles while raising his political profile as he seeks a sixth term this year. The sheriff vehemently denies such strategies are in play.
“You say I need this to get elected? are you kidding me? I’ve been elected five times. I don’t need this,” he said in a recent interview.
Democratic state Sen. Steve Gallardo said Arpaio is pandering to relentless critics of the president.
“It doesn’t matter what President Obama does, they’ll never support him,” Gallardo said. “It’s those folks who will continue to write checks to Sheriff Joe because of this stuff.”
Arpaio’s probe comes amid a federal grand jury investigation into the sheriff’s office on criminal abuse-of-power allegations since at least December 2009, focusing on the sheriff’s anti-public corruption squad. Separately, the U.S. Justice Department has accused Arpaio’s office of racially profiling Latinos, basing immigration enforcement on racially charged citizen complaints and punishing Hispanic jail inmates for speaking Spanish. Arpaio denies the allegations and said the investigation is politically motivated.
Critics also have sought Arpaio’s resignation for more than 400 sex-crimes cases over a three-year period ending in 2007 that were either inadequately investigated or weren’t investigated at all by the sheriff’s office after the crimes were reported. The sheriff’s office said the backlog was cleared up after the problem was brought to Arpaio’s attention.
Speculation about Obama’s birthplace has swirled among conservatives for years. “Birthers” maintain that Obama is ineligible to hold the country’s highest elected office because, they contend, he was born in Kenya, his father’s homeland. some contend Obama’s birth certificate must be a fake.
Hawaii officials have repeatedly confirmed Obama’s citizenship, and Obama released a copy of his long-form birth certificate in April in an attempt to quell citizenship questions. Courts also have rebuffed lawsuits over the issue. Of late, the president’s re-election campaign has poked fun at it, selling coffee cups with a picture of the president’s birth record.
On Thursday, Obama’s campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt offered a light-hearted dismissal of Arpaio’s probe — he tweeted what he referred to as a “live link” to the sheriff’s news conference, but instead provided a link to a snippet of the old conspiracy-theory based TV series, “The X-Files.”
Arpaio has said he took deliberate steps to avoid the appearance that his investigation is politically motivated. instead of using taxpayer money, the sheriff farmed it out to lawyers and retired police officers who are volunteers in a posse that examines cold cases. other posses assist deputies in duties that include providing free police protection at malls during the holiday season or transporting people to jail.
Even as he is under fire by the federal government, the sheriff remains popular among Republicans.
GOP presidential candidates have courted him for his endorsement throughout the primary season. at last week’s GOP presidential debate in Arizona, Arpaio won loud cheers. during a question about Arizona’s border woes, Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said the government ought to give local police agencies the chance to enforce immigration law as Arpaio has.
Bruce Merrill, a longtime pollster and senior research fellow at Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, said the subject of the investigation plays to the sheriff’s base of supporters. And, he said, it highlights Arpaio’s gift for publicity.
“It’s something that the press will cover,” Merrill said. “He’ll get a lot of exposure from it.”
PHOENIX – is President Obama’s birth certificate a fake? Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he knows the truth.
“I cannot in good faith report to you that these documents are authentic,” he said during a news conference Thursday.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio has become the only law enforcement official in the country to investigate the questions about President Obama’s birth — and it comes as his office is under scrutiny for the mishandling of more than 400 sex crime investigations, and an investigation by the feds over racial profiling allegations.
It has some wondering why the sheriff is spending any time on this at all.
The sheriff and his volunteer investigators revealed what they say is evidence that president Obama’s birth certificate is a fake. They spent months studying the electronic version released by the White House last year, and they determined the document had been manufactured and electronically manipulated.
They point to what they call ‘anomalies’ in the date stamp, and also say there is evidence around the lettering that indicates it was added in later, and not part of the original document.
“Upon close examination of the evidence, we are prepared today to say we believe probable cause exists indicating forgery and fraud may have been committed,” said Sheriff Joe.
“We have identified a person of interest in the forgery of the birth certificate. We are not prepared to give you any more information than that.”
The White House isn’t commenting, but the Obama re-election campaign tweeted out what it said was a link to sheriff Arpaio’s press conference — but actually re-directed you to a video of the TV show “The X-Files.”
Arpaio says no tax payer money was used. It was all volunteer investigators. but is this a legitimate use of his office?
Some people say it’s another dog and pony show for the sheriff — a distraction from the spotlight he’s been under after a federal government investigation.
Criminal defense and civil rights attorney Antonio Bustamante says the sheriff has strayed far away from his public duties.
“If he were held to standards of a physician or attorney he would be thrown out or sued for malpractice. He conducts police malpractice,” says Bustamante.
There is a laundry list of things the sheriff is under investigation for: including his jails’ conditions, misspending of county funds, and racial profiling.
“He’s got those pressures. He’s got public disgrace of embarrassment, of not investigating cases of sexual misconduct,” says Bustamante. “It might be a tactic to take people’s minds away from his problems with the federal government.”
Sheriff Arpaio is asking for a congressional investigation into Obama’s citizenship.
We were the only station to sit down with the sheriff for an extensive one-on-one interview on an issue that most people considered done and over with. We asked him: why even take this up?
Press play for our full 15-minute interview with Sheriff Arpaio.
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- Canada’s criminal sitting pretty as price tag for prisoners soars
- Taxpayer watchdog calls for end to ‘hug-a-thug-athon’
- Behind bars with America’s toughest sheriff
You couldn’t buy a cheeseburger for the same money — yet at 60 cents a day, Sheriff Joe Arpaio still thinks he’s spending way too much on food in his jails.
That’s 60 cents per prisoner for two meals, including a bologna sandwich for brunch and a hot meal of surplus army food or some other discount grocery for supper, amounting to 2,500 calories.
Salt and pepper are banned, saving taxpayers in Arizona’s Maricopa County $20,000 a year, and coffee is outlawed for the same reason: it costs too much, and the convicts don’t deserve it.
“it bothers me — I don’t think you should live better in prison than you do on the outside,” said Arpaio.
“I mean what do you want, a Hilton Hotel? So it does bother me, yes.”
The man called “America’s Toughest Sheriff” is predictably disgusted over the latest report from Corrections Canada, showing incarceration costs in this country are soaring.
The most recent figures show the average penitentiary prisoner now drains $113,974 a year from the federal government, the cash going towards food, clothing, furniture, medicine and staff at the jails.
That’s up from $88,067 a year a half-decade ago, an increase experts have blamed on everything from staff salaries to costs stemming from the federal government’s tough-on-crime policy.
But one thing most can agree on is the relative comfort of Canada’s prison system compared to many in the world, with free health care, recreation, dental services, entertainment, education and libraries.
Food is via a menu and costs roughly $10 a day per prisoner, enough to keep one of Sheriff Joe’s inmates in grub for two weeks — that’s if the inmate isn’t paying for his own food, which the richer cons are required to do.
Arpaio is the man many hardcore prison critics turn to when it comes to questioning the money being spent on rapists, murderers and child molesters in Canada.
Here, the federal government is shelling out $312 per prisoner, per day, to keep criminals healthy, entertained and secure while they pay their debt to society.
And providing prison comfort, according to the sheriff notorious for re-establishing chain gangs, is Canada’s biggest mistake.
“they think you should make it nice, so they live better in jail than some of the people outside,” said Arpaio.
And he’s right. in Canada, an honest senior can collect a maximum of $11,840 a year under the Canada Pension plan, about a tenth of what the federal government pays to house Canada’s worst.
Arpaio said it was soon after his election as sheriff two decades ago that he decided to do his utmost to spend as little public money as possible on people who deserve no comforts.
“I put them in Korean war tents, which was a huge cost saver — it was $100,000 to build a jail for 2,000 people, versus $80 million,” said Arpaio.
If that move made him popular with voters, it was the former federal narcotics officer’s continued cost cutting measures that have brought him lasting fame around the world.
When told about the ten dollars Canadian inmates get for their menu each day, Arpaio just laughed.
His theory is the food should keep the inmates healthy, and that’s it.
“we do go out and pick fruit and vegetables from farms, and that’s one way to save money, and the other way is not to feed them steak and pizza with pepperoni,” he said.
“another thing I did three years ago was to do away with breakfast and lunch and just give them brunch, which is a bologna sandwich, an orange and some donated cookies.”
He says a recent interview with a journalist from Norway left him shaking his head over the cushy prison system in that country, similar to Canada’s in terms of prison amenities.
He says officials in Canada may not have the appetite to make the cuts he has, but that’s how you save money.
“in 20 years as sheriff I just do what I feel is common sense — take away porn, take away coffee, take away cigarettes and take away salt. I can go on and on,” said Arpaio.
“it sends a message out that if you’re going to commit a crime you’re going into a tough jail system.”
WASHINGTON — Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Phoenix-based department repeatedly arrested Latinos illegally, abused them in the county jails and failed to investigate hundreds of sexual assaults, the Justice Department charged Thursday after a three-year civil rights investigation.
Justice officials are expected to file suit in U.S. District Court in Arizona asking a federal judge to order changes in the department run by Arpaio, 79, who bills himself as “America’s toughest sheriff” for his stance on illegal immigration.
the Department of Homeland Security, reacting to the Justice Department report, revoked Maricopa County jail officers’ authority to detain people on immigration charges, meaning they cannot continue to hold immigration violators who are not charged with local crimes.
the Arizona probe is one of 20 similar federal investigations under way nationwide by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division – “more than any time in the division’s history,” said Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez. many of the investigations began with requests from local police departments, such as in new Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and others are under way in Seattle and Portland, Ore. Federal prosecutors in new Orleans have obtained criminal convictions and prison sentences against several police officials for brutality in the days after the hurricane.
Perez, in a letter of warning Thursday to Maricopa County officials, said “deputies, detention officers, supervisory staff and command staff, including Sheriff Arpaio, have engaged in a widespread pattern or practice of law enforcement and jail activities that discriminate against Latinos.”
he described Latinos arrested on unreasonable traffic stops, businesses raided when Latinos gather out front, inmates mocked with racial epithets, and 432 cases of sexual assault and child molestation, often involving Latinos, that “were not properly investigated over a three-year period.”
One Latino was intentionally hit by a patrol car and dragged, with instructions for other deputies to “leave him there,” prosecutors said. A Latino motorist was incarcerated for 13 days for not using his turn signal. Emails written by deputies caricatured Mexicans as being from “Mexifornia,” and deputies derided Latino inmates as “wetbacks,” “Mexican bitches,” “stupid Mexicans” and unprintable epithets.
Prosecutors say the abuse begins with deputies targeting Latino drivers, who it said were four to nine times more likely to be stopped than whites, and asserted that officers “treat Latinos as if they are all undocumented, regardless of whether a legitimate factual basis exists to suspect that a person is undocumented.”
the findings set the stage for a faceoff with the often abrasive sheriff.
Perez warned that if Arpaio was not interested in making drastic changes, “we are prepared to file a civil action to compel compliance.” that lawsuit would ask a federal judge to force Maricopa County “to address the violations of the Constitution and federal law.” A federal criminal investigation of the department’s public corruption unit is continuing.
Arguing that Arpaio’s leadership has long fostered a bias against “dark skin” people, Perez told reporters, “We have peeled the onion to the core,” adding, “we have to do cultural change, and cultural change starts with people at the top.”
Arpaio said at a televised news conference in Arizona that he would try to cooperate, but that “if they are not happy, I guess they can carry out their threat and go to federal court.”
he criticized the Justice Department findings as “a sad day for America as a whole,” and said that federal government intervention into his sheriff’s office would only lead to the release of jail inmates being held on immigration charges after committing previous offenses. Inmates could be transferred to federally controlled facilities instead, however.
“Don’t come here and use me as a whipping boy for a national and international problem,” he said. “We are proud of the work we have done to fight illegal immigration.”
Arpaio was first elected sheriff in 1992 and has remained a popular figure, particularly among conservative illegal immigration hawks. Voters in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, re-elected him in 2008 with about 55 percent of the vote. A former Drug Enforcement Administration agent, Arpaio has provided something of a Rorschach test for Arizonans, representing either a refreshingly tough approach to policing or an example of law enforcement gone wild.
Maricopa County, which has nearly 4 million residents, has been particularly troubled by illegal immigration. the area has become a hotbed of gun running, kidnappings and drug smuggling. the Justice Department warning letter noted that violent crime rose by 69 percent between 2004 and 2007, including a 166 percent increase in homicides.
Arpaio has responded by housing inmates in tents, clothing them in pink underwear and serving green and blue meat.
Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., said the sheriff’s department could not be reformed unless Arpaio stepped down. “He’s the one who made himself a national figure by violating people’s rights,” Grijalva said.
Paul Charlton, a former U.S. attorney in Arizona who represented two local government officials who butted heads with Arpaio, only to be retaliated against, said of the sheriff: “If not for the federal government, this county would be run like a fiefdom.”
in recent months, there have been some signs that Arizonans are weary of Arpaio’s get-tough approach on illegal immigration. Earlier this year, Arpaio ally Russell Pearce, president of the state Senate and author of SB 1070, the state’s controversial law targeting illegal immigrants for deportation, failed to push through a raft of anti-illegal-immigration bills. in November, Pearce was booted from office in a recall election.
the same group that targeted Pearce, Citizens for a Better Arizona, has recently turned its attention to Arpaio.
Prosecutors said Arpaio often was personally involved in abuses. in 2008 he received a letter expressing dismay that none of the employees of a local Sun City McDonald’s restaurant spoke English. the sheriff wrote a note thanking the writer “for the info” and promising to “look into it.” Two weeks later, at Arpaio’s request, his deputies conducted an immigration operation in Sun City.
that same year, after receiving a letter about day laborers in Mesa, Arpaio responded, “I will be going into Mesa.” soon afterward his deputies conducted several crackdowns on crime in that community. when another letter arrived complaining of “dark skin” people in Phoenix, Arpaio passed it to his command staff with orders to “have someone handle this.”
Richard Serrano and Ashley Powers write for the Tribune Washington Bureau. (Serrano reported from Washington and Powers from Las Vegas. Staff writer David G. Savage in Washington contributed to this report.).
Do you know how to deal with a vicious dog if ever you need to save yourself or a loved one? Here’s how:
A 125 pound dog attacked five-year-old Selena Burks as she played with friends in Alabama on April 8, 2008. She suffered crushed ribs, a punctured lung and liver. An heroic 11-year-old boy kicked the dog away and possibly saved her life.
An elderly woman was walking her little dog when a pit bull suddenly attacked her dog and clamped its jaws around its head. the woman had no luck trying to pry the pit bull’s jaws apart and could see her dog dying. So she bit the pit bull’s neck as hard as she could. It let go and backed off, but came back to attack the little dog again. the woman bit it again. That’s when a neighbor ran up and hit the pit bull with a baseball bat and drove it away.
The Humane Society says children are more likely victims of a dog attack because they behave in ways that dogs find disturbing, like running, yelling or making sudden moves, and less likely to be perceived as dominant because of their small size.
10-year-old Kenny survived a dog attack by a huge Mastiff. As the dog lunged at his throat, Kenny instinctively threw up his arm. the dog latched onto his forearm as Kenny remembered his father’s advice, Plunge your thumb deep into the dog’s eye. Kenny burst the dog’s eyeball like a grape. the dog released him and fell whimpering to the ground just as Kenny’s older brother arrived with a pipe and beat the vicious dog to death.
Usually, a dog’s body language indicates it’s about to attack by standing still with a stiffly upright tail while barking and snarling. An especially attack-prone dog usually will not back away, and in fact may try to circle around and attack from a different angle.
Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says that our impulse is to run when threatened by a dog attack. That’s the worst response – it triggers the chase instinct in dogs (and knocking down a runner from behind is easy).
Instead, stand still and act calm. Don’t stare into its eyes because dogs consider that an aggressive challenge, so just look in its general direction and watch it with your peripheral vision. Oftentimes it will eventually lose interest and wander away.
Make fists so the dog won’t bite off a finger and cross your forearms across your chest. Be ready to protect your most vulnerable anatomy – the front of your torso from your groin to your throat – often a dog’s primary target. let the dog sniff you. In a low voice say, No Stay still until the dog leaves. Back away slowly until it’s out of sight.
An ultrasonic dog repellent is useless on a vicious dog attack, but pepper spray usually works.
If a dog does attack you, try to feed it your jacket, bike equipment, briefcase, or purse as a distraction while you back slowly away toward safety. if you’re knocked down or fall, curl into a ball and keep your arms wrapped around your ears, face, and neck (with your hands curled into fists). try not to scream or roll around.
If a vicious dog has clamped onto you, do not try to wrench yourself free – that’ll just add to the damage.
One myth says to use a free hand to grab the dog’s jaw and nose, pinning the nostrils shut. It can’t breathe with its mouth full and nostrils shut, so must release you. Unfortunately, that’ll be a very brief solution – until it immediately resumes its attack. Since a vicious dog can severely injure or even kill you, an aggressive defense may well be necessary.
A second myth says putting your thumb into a dog’s mouth and pressing down on its tongue (while curling your fingers into a fist around its jaw) engages the dog’s gag reflex making it unable to bite down. However, that may well be very dangerous for your thumb.
AGGRESSIVE DEFENSE: ATTACK THE BEAST
A passive defense may well be futile, if not deadly. You can strangle an attacking dog by pressing with all your might on the carotid arteries on both frontal sides of its throat (a few inches below its jaw’s hinges). Its brain is quickly deprived of blood/oxygen and the dog will go limp within seconds (or die, if held longer). YOU NEED BOTH HANDS with your thumbs pressing while your fingers grasp the back of the dog’s neck for leverage.
If you release the limp dog too soon, it will regain consciousness within seconds and perhaps attack again. thus you may want to first bang its head against a solid surface to knock it out, or break its ribs by ramming its chest with your bent knee, or heel-stomp on its legs to break them so the dog will be less able to attack you further.
In 2002, a stray pit-bull dog attacked a two-year-old Detroit boy and began dragging him down the street. Horrified witnesses tried to intervene but the dog would attack them briefly then resume dragging the child. No police were nearby, six people were hurt, and the child seemed doomed until a passing motorist noticed the commotion, stopped, and shot the dog to death.
If a dog has clamped onto another person or dog, simply use the same grip but now you’ll be behind the dog and your thumbs will be on the back of its neck for leverage while your fingertips press on the carotid arteries.
Make sure you press on the carotid arteries on both frontal sides of its throat, rather than pressing on its windpipe in the center of its throat because that merely chokes it (depriving it of oxygen to its lungs) and takes 30-90 long seconds for the now violently convulsing beast to be rendered unconscious (or dead, if held longer).
What if the dog has already clamped onto one of your hands or arms? IF YOU CAN’T USE TWO HANDS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE DOG’S THROAT, try to grab its collar or loose skin to wrestle it to the ground and kneel on its throat. Or, quickest of all, plunge your thumb deep into its eye to burst it That’ll probably stop the dog attack. if not, to most effectively defend yourself, strangle the beast
DOJ Report Slams Sherriff Joe Arpaio, DHS Restricts 287(g) and Secure Communities Programs – New America Media
American Immigration Council, News Report, Posted: Dec 15, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. — after a three-year investigation into the abusive practices of Sherriff Joe Arpaio’s Maricopa County Sherriff’s Office (MCSO), the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced today that it had found a pattern and practice of civil rights abuses, including extreme cases of racial profiling. The enormity of the violations, the majority of which were experienced by immigrants and Latinos, has led the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to suspend its cooperation agreement (under section 287(g)) with the sheriff’s office and restrict the MCSO’s access to immigration databases through the Secure Communities program. The dual announcements from DOJ and DHS reinforce what many in Arizona and the broader immigration community have long argued: the practice of allowing local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law increases the likelihood of racial profiling and pretextual arrests which leads to disastrous results for entire communities. The DOJ’s Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez commented on the investigation noting “MCSO’s systematic disregard for basic constitutional protections has created a wall of distrust between the sheriff’s office and large segments of the community, which dramatically compromises the ability to protect and serve the people. The problems are deeply rooted in MCSO’s culture, and are compounded by MCSO’s penchant for retaliation against individuals who speak out.” The DOJ has requested a response from Maricopa County and writes “if MCSO is not interested or if we deem that MCSO is not engaged in good-faith efforts to achieve compliance by voluntary means, we are prepared to file a civil action to compel compliance.” The report contains a review of the constitutional abuses rampant in Maricopa County including an analysis by a leading expert on measuring racial profiling who examined MCSO traffic stops and found that “Latino drivers were between four to nine times more likely to be stopped than similarly situated non-Latino drivers. overall, the expert concluded that this case involves the most egregious racial profiling in the United States that he has ever personally seen in the course of his work, observed in litigation, or reviewed in professional literature.” Today’s announcements also highlight the critical issues at stake in the upcoming Supreme Court review of Arizona’s SB 1070, a law that institutionalized the role of state law enforcement in federal immigration matters. Even under the best of circumstances, ceding immigration authority to state officers presents an array of complex and politically charged issues. Under the worst of circumstances, as illustrated by Sherriff Arpaio’s MCSO, state and local law enforcement agencies enforcing federal immigration laws can be disasterous.
Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known for his tough and controversial stances on illegal immigration, endorsed three term Texas Governor Rick Perry for the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday morning during a campaign swing with Mr. Perry through new Hampshire.
The self-titled America’s Toughest Sheriff, who famously re-instituted chain gangs in 1995 and has also been a major supporter of his state’s controversial SB1070 immigration law, said that Perry has done more to combat illegal immigration along the U.S. border then any of the other candidates.
Sheriff Arpaio knows the struggle border states face as Washington politicians and bureaucrats fail time and again to properly secure our nation’s southern boundary with Mexico.
- Rick Perry, GOP Presidential Hopeful
“I’m endorsing Rick Perry because we need a tough-on-crime president who will champion and fund full-time border security operations from Brownsville to San Diego,” Arpaio said. “Governor Perry has a superior border security record and plan to make our border and our nation safer.”
The Republican Maricopa County sheriff, who has even been criticized by President Barack Obama over his immigration tactics, was a sought after endorsement by GOP Presidential hopefuls, particularly by Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, looking to solidify their immigration stances with a vote of confidence from one of the nation’s most well known anti-illegal immigration advocates.
“Sheriff Arpaio knows the struggle border states face as Washington politicians and bureaucrats fail time and again to properly secure our nation’s southern boundary with Mexico,” said Gov. Perry. “I am honored to have Sheriff Arpaio’s support for my presidential campaign and our shared goals of fighting border crime with more personnel, border fencing and surveillance. A secure border is vital to protecting America’s national security, public safety and jobs.”
The endorsement from Arpaio could prove helpful to Perry who has faced criticism about his stance on immigration from the right for his support of DREAM children.
The governor caused a backlash from conservatives when he said in a Republican presidential debate that those who oppose giving in-state tuition benefits to the children of illegal immigrants “have no heart.” the remarks came in a September debate hosted by Fox News and Google.
Perry later said his remarks were “inappropriate.”
The illegal immigration issue has also been a hotbed for clashes between Perry and GOP presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Romney has said that Perry provided a magnet for undocumented immigrants to settle in Texas by supporting a law that allows people who are in the country unlawfully to attend public colleges at in-state tuition rates.
“You said I don’t want to build a fence,” Romney said. “You talk about magnets — you put in place a magnet.”
Perry has also said the federal government should extend work visas permitting undocumented immigrants to move freely between the U.S. and their home countries, but stressed that he still opposes amnesty or a path to citizenship.
“As president, I will secure the border within a year putting thousands more federal boots on the ground, strategic fencing and aerial resources to fight border crime and make our states and nation safer,” Perry said.
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