Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry tells Newsmax on Tuesday that unless the nation's borders are secured, "all of this talk about immigration and immigration reform is a waste of time."
"You have to secure the border," Perry, 65, told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV
. "The American people are not going to trust Washington, D.C., until you secure the border."
"This is something that we have to deal with in this country — and we can secure the border."
Perry made his exclusive remarks during a visit to Newsmax’s Washington DC studios. In the interview, which will air on Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET on Newsmax TV,
Perry said that:
- He would announce whether he will seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination in late May or "the first of June."
- The abuse-of-power case filed against him last year was "nonsense" and his attorneys had moved again to quash it.
- Americans were looking for a president with "executive leadership" experience.
- He had a "good" relationship with Sen. Ted Cruz, who announced his candidacy last month, and that he looked forward to a "respectful, civil" debate should he jump into the ring.
Perry, who left the State House in January as the longest-serving governor in Texas history, told Newsmax that "the porous nature of that southern border was something that the United States needs to be concerned about."
Last year, the former governor deployed as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to help stop the surge of illegal children coming across the border from Central America.
"We've had a 74 percent decrease in the apprehensions along that southern region, that 150-mile region, which is where the bulk of the apprehensions occur," he said.
Since he was no longer in office, Perry said he could not confirm reports by Judicial Watch
last week that the Islamic State (ISIS) was operating a camp in northern Mexico within eight miles of El Paso.
"It shouldn't surprise anyone that any enemies of this country would use the southern border as … one of their options to penetrate," he said.
Stronger border security includes putting "boots on the ground," enhanced "strategic fencing" — and especially, aviation technology.
This strategy, Perry told Hayworth, would protect the 1,800-mile border from Tijuana, Mexico, to El Paso "24-7 … with technology, fast- and quick-response teams, that can address any of the illegal activities or the suspicious-looking activities at that particular point and time — secure the border, and then you're going to have a conversation about immigration."
Perry cited his response to the border crisis as an example of the "executive leadership" experience that Americans will be seeking in their next president — labeling President Barack Obama an "inexperienced United States senator."
"Americans are going to want to see that executive leadership, an individual who has sat and made decisions every day," Perry told Newsmax. "You don't just get to go to the governor's office and make a speech and then walk off and go home.
"You have to deal with the decisions that you make. You have to live with the results."
Other emergencies included the explosion of the Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003, the Hurricane Katrina aftermath two years later, and last year's Ebola crisis.
Perry called those situations "the day-to-day that happens to a governor."
"You have to have that executive leadership. That's not something you can learn. You have to live it."
He touted his record of creating as many as 1.4 million jobs in the Lone Star State since December 2007, as well as strong budget management.
"The job-creation record is going to be a powerful story across this country," Perry said. "I'd like to see what happened in Texas happen all across this country, so that people can take care of their families — and they know that they have an opportunity to have a brighter future because we put economic policies, tax policies, and regulatory policies. We've cut spending, we've built up our military.
"People will know they can live in safe communities and have a good job to take care of their family," he said. "That's the vision that everybody ought to have for America."
Perry blasted state Democrats
on the power-abuse case.
"They play for keeps in the state of Texas on their politics," he told Newsmax. "If they can't beat you at the ballot box, then they'll try just about any other way to do that."
The case involves an alleged abuse of Perry's veto power
in 2013 in trying to force Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to resign by cutting off funds for a public corruption program she manages.
The county "is the blueberry in the tomato soup," Perry said. "It's kind of the last bastion of liberalism in the state of Texas."
Even though two previous motions to quash the indictment have been denied by state court Judge Bert Richardson, Perry said he expected an appeals court to eventually "throw this nonsense out" so that "we can get on about our business."
Regarding Cruz, Perry called him "an incredibly bright, capable United States senator. I'm proud to call him my friend.
"Anybody who gets in this race at the level of which we're seeing will make all of the competitors better. Ted will certainly do that — and I know I'll look forward to being on the stage with him as we discuss the issues that are very important for America.
"I can promise you we'll be both respectful, civil — and with a real look to the future for this country."
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