Texas Gov. Rick Perry said talk about President Barack Obama signing an executive order to halt deportations of 5 million illegal immigrants is a "side issue" to what his state faces, as thousands of illegal border crossers commit violent crimes against Americans.
Since September 2008, Perry said, 203,000 illegal immigrants have been booked into Texas county jails. He said there have been 3,000 homicides and 8,000 sexual assaults.
"I wish the president would respect that desire of Texans and citizens of this country to secure the border," the Republican governor said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
When host Candy Crowley said that fact-checkers have said Perry's numbers are "wildly off," he stood by them.
"What are the number of homicides that are acceptable?" he said.
Perry has sent 1,000 National Guardsmen to the border to bolster security as a flood of unaccompanied children from Central America overwhelm Border Patrol agents. He told Crowley he will send more state help, including members of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Ranger reconnaissance teams, parks and wildlife wardens and "other individuals."
The moves have nothing to do with any plans he might have for running for president again in 2016, he insisted, but rather with keeping Texans safe.
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