This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 28, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: The breaking news today is about Arizona, but Texas has its own illegal immigration problems. Texas Governor Rick Perry joins us live. Good evening, Governor.
GOV. RICK PERRY, TEXAS: Hey, Greta. How are you ? First off, let me tell you -- apologize for night before last. I do pretty good about controlling the economy down here in Texas, but the weather's another thing.
VAN SUSTEREN: I know. I heard the storms wouldn't let your plane land for a long time, so I totally...
PERRY: It was rough. I apologize.
VAN SUSTEREN: No apology...
PERRY: Thanks for letting me back on.
VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed. You're welcome any time. OK, Governor, illegal immigration -- is it a problem for your state? If so, describe it to me. You know, put it -- tell me how it affects you.
PERRY: Sure. Well, look, it is a huge problem, I would suggest, on all of the states along the border with Mexico. But here's the bigger issue for me, Greta, and it's one that we tried to really focus on and tried to get the people all across the country to look at. We can have these discussions and debates and -- about immigration reform, but nothing matters. Those things really don't matter until you secure the border.
That's what I've been trying to get the federal government to focus on for the last four, five years. I mean, I've had requests with the Department of Defense to allow us to use Predator drones and use that real- time information in Texas for better than five years. And we're finally getting some relief there.
But the issue is about border security. That's the failure of Washington, D.C. You cannot have a discussion about immigration reform if you don't secure the border. So I mean, we certainly support Arizona's sovereign right to pass the laws. As a matter of fact, we're one of eight states that has filed an amicus brief to support Arizona in that effort. But it's all for naught if we do not do what the federal government is supposed to be doing, which is securing our border. I always believe you extend the military, you secure our border and you deliver our mail, preferably on Saturday and on time. And the federal government is a failure at two of those three.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we were recently down on your border with Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. She announced two things. One is that you were getting some troops, and the other thing is I think you're getting anywhere from $12 million to $15 million to help secure your borders. Is it insufficient? And I know that you've also invited the president down there and sent him a letter. But are they just not doing enough? Because it seems they're at least trying to do something.
PERRY: Well, I said this was a good first step. But look, we -- we got a 1,200-mile border. They're talking about sending 1,250 National Guard troops to an 1,800-mile border that we have with Mexico, the entire U.S./Mexico border. The idea that you're going to send 280 to Texas is -- it's almost -- it's offensive, the fact of the matter is. And I've said that. I've said it to the administration and I've said it publicly.
You need 3,000 Border Patrol on the border between El Paso and Brownsville. That 1,200 miles, you need Predator drones in the air. You need technology, whether it's night vision. You need motion detectors and the types of cameras that we can use. You -- you can secure the border. We've done it. Greta, we spend $115 million to $120 million biannum (ph) using our own Texas state troopers, our Texas Rangers, our National Guard to go in where the federal government has been abject failures at this.
You know, here's one of my great concerns, is that we have a federal government that's now suing to stop states from doing border security, and that's their responsibility. I mean, it's becoming really frustrating when we're seeing a Mexican governor assassinated across the border from Texas. You've got bullets hitting the city hall in El Paso. You've got bombs exploding in El Paso.
The border with Mexico is a war zone. These drug cartels are using it as a base of operations, and we've got to have our federal government come in and secure that border because if you don't secure the border, you're never going to have immigration reform. You can pass laws until the world looks level, it's not going to make any difference. Secure the border, Mr. President!
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you had a chance -- have you had a chance -- have you had a chance to talk to Governor Brewer since the ruling came down today?
PERRY: I haven't. Jan and I talk to each other from time to time, but I haven't talked to her today, so -- but I'm sure I'll have that opportunity. We've discussed a number of issues together, not only this but the border governors' conference, et cetera. And you know, Jan and I are pretty much on the same page of the hymn book, and you know, we're supporting her in her effort of being a governor of a sovereign state.
VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, please stand by. We'll take a quick break. We have much more with you next.
VAN SUSTEREN: Texas Governor Rick Perry is back with us. Governor, you mentioned moments ago about the conference, the governors' conference, the one with the southern border governors in the United States and then the governors from the northern part of Mexico. It was originally scheduled to be in the state of Arizona this year, but the governors in Mexico canceled because they wanted to boycott Arizona. So then Governor Brewer then canceled it because they weren't going to show up.
And then Governor Richardson of New Mexico says, I'll have it in my state, and now he's having it. Is he doing that to be diplomatic, or is he doing that to sort of be petty? Which is it?
PERRY: I don't know. I think you need call Bill to find out. You know, I met with the incoming governor of Tamaulipas just this last week, Egidio Torre, whose brother was assassinated over five weeks ago down there, right before they had their elections. And so we have good working relationships with our border governors. We talk to them on a fairly regular basis.
And you know, the bottom line is, is I don't want to be a part of this border governors when it's clearly a slap at Jan and Arizona. It was her time to do it. If they wanted to say, Listen, we're not going to come to Arizona, that's their call. But don't, you know, move it down the road and then expect all of us to go follow. I'm not going to be there.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's sort of interesting because what was sort of started this before Governor Richardson got into this is that the governors of the states in Mexico -- the reason that they were opposed to going to Arizona is they said that because of the racial profiling of SB-1070, which, incidentally, the federal government never even alleged in this lawsuit there was any racial profiling...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... so it's sort of the foundation for their objection to going to Arizona never -- you know, wasn't -- simply wasn't there, at least not on that particular issue. Yet they get backed up by Governor Richardson and essentially by Governor Schwarzenegger of California because he said he'll go to New Mexico.
PERRY: Yes. Well, you know, again, I wish the politics would get set aside. We've got a lot of issues that are important. You know, there are Mexican citizens who are dying daily because of these drug cartels. And Mexico and the United States need to be working together.
But the fact of the matter is, the federal governor's failure to secure that border on our side to me is the greatest failure that we've got going out there. I hope President Obama will take an hour away from a schedule -- he's going to be in Austin on August the 9th for a fundraiser. I'm in town. I'll make an hour available, sit down with him, with our Department of Public Safety director, Steve McCraw, who's been running our homeland security for the last two or three years, been part of the architect of creating our surge operations. I'll show the president of the United States how to secure the border!
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, it's interesting because, you know, the Department of Homeland Security says, We're giving more people, we're giving more money, and it's safer and more resources. Yet simultaneously, the State Department has issued a warning telling American travelers to stay away from northern Mexico. So we can't have it both ways. You know, if it is so much safer...
PERRY: Well, you can't.
VAN SUSTEREN: ... then why -- why are we -- why are we issuing warnings to Americans to stay away from northern Mexico?
PERRY: Greta, it's not safer, and I think that's the key issue here. The ranchers on our side, they're seeing individuals taking drugs across. We're seeing people being coyotes, taking individuals across. The border is a war zone in places. Nuevo Laredo, they had multiple gun battles across the border from Laredo just this last week.
The border is not a safe place today because the drug cartels have, basically, free range. And until we have the troops and the law enforcement individuals on the border at the amounts that are going to send a clear message to the bad guys that we've got you out-gunned and out- manned, they're going continue to have that type of activity down there.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I tell what's also -- and I don't want to be some alarmist (INAUDIBLE) and the only people I can talk to (INAUDIBLE) governors or Department of Homeland Security or whatever. But when I read in the paper that on our border that there's now a car bomb, which, certainly, that's a whole new form of warfare -- you know, we hadn't seen car bombs on our borders.
VAN SUSTEREN: But you know, before it was the drug cartels shooting at each other. Then you got people caught in the crossfire. Then you get sort of the -- the people in the drug rehabs or -- who -- someone'll go in and execute 17 of them and do horrible things. But now -- but now this new single incident, a car bomb with a remote control set off by a cell phone - - it changes it a little bit.
PERRY: Well, we have seen the cartels continually changing their operations, their mode of operation, as we probe in. As we find out where they're doing business, et cetera, they will change their tactics. I mean, these are very sophisticated individuals who have substantial amounts of money. Their weaponry is highly sophisticated. They use fully automatic 7.62, I mean, big rounds. These people mean business. And until we get people on the border, we have the boots on the ground to be able to impact them and they know we mean business, they're going to continue to control the border.
VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, if the president won't take a tour with you, you know, we'll be happy to come down with our cameras, take a tour and look at it, show it to our viewers. So maybe you'll invite us to take a look...
PERRY: Come on down. We'll be happy to show it to you.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Governor, thank you.
PERRY: Greta, thank you.