Bachmann Tackles Perry on Border: It's Not 'Idiocy' to Build a Fence

By Fred Lucas | September 21, 2011 | 3:07pm EDT

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry put their hansds over their hearts during the singing of the National Anthem at the Republican presidential debate in Tampa, Fla., on Sept. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

( – Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) continued her criticism of GOP presidential frontrunner Texas Gov. Rick Perry, drawing attention to his record and comments on illegal immigration.

“Particularly on the area of border security there is a great compare and contrast. I know the governor had said it would be idiocy to build an actual wall and a fence on the southern border,” Bachmann said in Sheffield, Iowa, on Sept. 19.

“I believe very strongly we do need to build a fence, and I also believe we need to have the backs of the border security guards who are risking their lives to be able to secure that border,” she said.

Bachmann was referring to a comment Perry made in 2007 while in Mexico City on a trade mission intended to strengthen Texas ties with Mexico in trade, investment and energy. While there, Perry said, “We know how to deal with border security, and you don’t do it by building a fence.”

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According to the Associated Press, Perry said, “You do it by putting boots on the ground. You do it by using the technology that’s available ... and coordinating very highly with local, state and federal officials. But the idea that you're going to build a 1,200-mile wall ... is idiocy.”

Bachmann, once a strong second place nationally and a frontrunner in Iowa, has faltered in the polls since Perry entered the race in August. In the average of major presidential polls, Perry stands at 28.4 percent nationally. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has 20.6 percent, while Bachmann has fallen to a distant third at 7.7 percent.

Bachmann told the Iowa crowd she would be “fully resource” Customs and Border Protection (CPB) as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“We need to fully resource them, and I firmly believe we need to fully resource the ICE agents that are here in the interior, because there is a message that needs to be given loud and clear to our border security and to our ICE agents,” Bachmann said.

“It’s the facts that we have very good laws on the books, now enforce them. We need to tell them that they are expected to enforce the laws, and then I will have their back. That’s job number one,” she added.

She also attacked Perry for supporting in-state tuition in Texas for children of illegal immigrants.

“I do not believe American taxpayers should be subsidizing benefits for people who are in this country illegally or for their children,” Bachmann said. “And I hear that all across Iowa from people. They do not want to see their tax dollars to go to subsidize illegal immigrants or their children.”

Perry’s campaign Web site says that as president, “Rick Perry will force Washington to fulfill its constitutional duty to secure our international borders. As governor, Perry has directed hundreds of millions of dollars, manpower and resources to drastically reduce criminal activity along the border because Washington has refused to act. As president, Perry will take decisive action to defend our sovereign border because their can be no homeland security without border security.”

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