Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says he is against the state law, signed by presidential hopeful Rick Perry in 2001, which allows in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.
But Dewhurst, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, was quoted as saying in a later interview that he still supports Perry’s bid for the White House and considers the Texas governor “the best person in the race” to topple President Barack Obama.
According to a report Wednesday by McClatchy newspapers
, Dewhurst said in a television interview last weekend that he would have rejected the tuition bill.
Perry’s support for tuition for illegal immigrants has drawn criticism from some GOP conservatives and tea party activists who have carved out tough positions on illegal immigration. His position has also been criticized as weak by some of his rivals for the Republican nomination.
The lieutenant governor’s comments on the tuition bill came as surprise to some in Texas.
But McClatchy reported that state political analysts chalked it up to Dewhurst’s desire to attract more conservative support for his bid to succeed Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is not running for re-election in 2012.
“If we’re not going to give fellow Americans who live in Louisiana or Oklahoma or New Mexico the ability to come to Texas and have in-state tuition and save, then is it fair to give that break to people who are not citizens here?” Dewhurst was quoted as saying in the television interview. “So I would not have signed that law.”
Later, however, Dewhurst drew a distinction between his opposition to the law and his overall support for Perry’s presidential candidacy.
“I’m a big supporter of Gov. Rick Perry, I’m supporting him for president, and I think he is the best person in the race to beat President Obama in November of 2012,” he was quoted as saying.
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