Rick Perry: Those Against In-State Tuition for Illegal Aliens Don't 'Have A Heart'

By Eric Scheiner | September 23, 2011 | 12:22pm EDT

Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at the Fox News/Google debate in Orlando, Fla. on Sept. 22, 2011. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

(CNSNews.com) - Texas Governor and Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Perry said of those that don’t support educating children of illegal aliens, “I don’t think you have a heart."

The statement came during last night’s FoxNews/Google GOP Presidential debate.

The question to Perry came about in regards to Texas offering in-state tuition rates for children of illegal aliens at the University of Texas.

Perry was asked a viewer question, "To date, it appears that you have not tried to stop the illegals from coming. We have high unemployment and a considerable amount of jobs going to illegals. Are you going to exert an effort to stop the abuse of U.S. citizens by illegals?"

Chris Wallace of Fox News followed up with, “Now, last year, more than 16,000 children of illegals, young people in Texas, took advantage of your in-state tuition rate. Speak to that issue. And just, generally, how do you feel being criticized by a number of these other candidates on the stage for being too soft on immigration, sir?”

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Perry responded, “For a decade, I've been the governor of a state with a 1,200-mile border with Mexico. We put $400 million of our taxpayer money into securing that border. We've got our Texas Ranger recon teams there now.”

“I supported Arizona's immigration law by joining in that lawsuit to defend it. Every day I have Texans on that border that are doing their job. But if you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they've been brought there by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart. We need to be educating these children, because they will become a drag on our society,” Perry added.

Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum was quick to criticize Perry on the discounted tuition issue. He told Perry that no one thought illegal students shouldn’t be educated, but that they should not receive a discounted tuition rate.

“I think you are sort of making this leap that, unless we subsidize this, the taxpayers subsidize it, they won't be able to go. Well, most folks who want go to the state of Texas or any other state out of state have to pay the full boat. The point is, why are we subsidizing?”

Santorum continued, “Not that they can't go. They can go. They just have to borrow money, find other sources to be able to go. And why should they be given preferential treatment as an illegal in this country?”

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