Bryan Fischer
Perry wrong on immigration and it will hurt him
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By Bryan Fischer
September 24, 2011

Follow me on Twitter: @BryanJFischer, on Facebook at "Focal Point"

Rick Perry has a number of liabilities in his resume, but of them all the one liable to do him the most damage is his stance on immigration.

Grassroots conservatives insist that our borders be respected and that those who trespass on our sovereign soil not be rewarded for breaking the law.

Yet this is what Gov. Perry has done as governor and promises to do as president. He continues to defend his first-in-the-nation DREAM Act, which offers a tuition break to state schools in Texas to students who have no legal right even to be in the United States.

Meanwhile, students from other states who do have the legal right to be in the state of Texas are forced to pay higher fees. This is unjust and worrisome for Americans concerned about the rule of law.

Gov. Perry has had ample opportunity to modify his stance and has refused to do so, going so far last night in the Orlando debate as to question the compassion of those who have a problem rewarding illegal behavior. Said he, "If you say that we should not educate children that have come into our state for no other reason than they've been brought here by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart."

This is dangerously wrongheaded and narrow thinking, because the question naturally rises, where is the governor's "heart" for those hardworking Americans who are being forced by the lax hand of government to subsidize illegal behavior? Where is his heart for those who are paying not only for the education of illegals but for their health care and food stamps and housing subsidies and the additional law enforcement costs imposed by illegal aliens?

Public colleges and universities in Texas are, of course, funding by the taxes confiscated from working Texans. Since tuition charges typically only cover about a third of a school's operating budget, these taxpayers are in fact subsidizing a substantial part of the higher education costs of illegal students. That's wrong.

Nineteen million Americans are out of work while seven million illegal aliens are holding jobs they're not entitled to. Where is the compassion in Gov. Perry's heart for those 19 million Americans?

The Heritage Foundation has estimated that one illegal alien, on average, contributes about $10,000 to the American economy while sucking down over $30,000 in welfare-type benefits. Where is Gov. Perry's "heart" for the Americans who have to support not only their own families but families who don't have a right to be here in the first place? If charity begins at home, then Gov. Perry knows where to start.

Gov. Perry is making the mistake here that so many well-intentioned Christians make: thinking only with their hearts rather than with both their hearts and their heads. I do not question the compassion of the governor's heart, only the clarity of his thinking.

It's fine to say we should not punish children for the sins of their fathers. But neither should we reward them. And we are not just rewarding the children, we are rewarding the parents, since many of them stole into the U.S. because they wanted to give their children a shot at a decent education. (The solution: help Mexico improve its educational system.) So Gov. Perry simply cannot get around the fact that he is rewarding the illegal behavior of aliens who have no right to be here. That is an exceedingly troublesome position for someone who wants to be our nation's chief law enforcement officer.

Gov. Perry continues to insist that it is impossible to build a security fence along our southern border. This is nonsense. We built the Empire State Building in 17 months, and we can build a fence in less time than that. We do not lack the ability, we lack the will.

This is where Gov. Perry needs to be reminded of the Scripture and its teaching on immigration. God is the one who has established the borders of nations and given them the sovereign authority to secure those borders. Paul tells us in Acts 17:26, speaking of the nations of the world, that God has "determined...the boundaries of their dwelling place."

A boundary is obviously meaningless unless it is, well, a boundary, which can be secured and protected by civil government. Without defensible borders, a nation is not a nation at all.

The civil code of ancient Israel insisted on full equality under the law: "One law and one rule shall be for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you" (Numbers 15:16). Yet Gov. Perry insists on giving illegals a break which is denied to American citizens. Thus Gov. Perry is denying American citizens the same legal status he insists on giving to illegals. This again is fundamentally unjust.

Public schools at every level should be reserved for students who have a legal right to be in this country. The immigration status of every applicant should be checked and enrollment reserved for legal residents of the United States. If illegal aliens wants to pursue higher education, let's repatriate them to their native land where they can pursue education to their heart's content.

John McCain's misguided immigration policy got him crosswise with the Tea Party-types in America before there was a Tea Party, and was in part responsible for the noticeable lack of enthusiasm his presidential campaign generated among conservatives.

Gov. Perry is running exactly the same risk. Sen. McCain modified his immigration position — insincerely, it turns out — to fend off a conservative challenger in his last re-election bid. Gov. Perry shows no signs of adjusting his views in the least.

There is no question that this is going to let a significant amount of air out of his tires, and dramatically increase the chances that a RINO in elephant's clothing — Mitt Romney — ascends to the highest office in the land.

There is much to like about Gov. Perry: his faith, his political philosophy and his record on jobs in Texas. But conservatives will have to do some triage here in deciding whether to throw their support behind him. Immigration could be the hole that sinks his boat.

(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)

© Bryan Fischer

 

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