This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," July 12, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, ANCHOR: Word of a potential second Arizona lawsuit not coming as a big surprise to Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry. I spoke with the governor just moments ago.
GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS: I think this administration keeps throwing things at the wall and seeing if something can stick. And the fact is that they need to, first, secure the border. That's the issue that the federal government could take care of so much of this debate if they would simply do the job that all of us thought that our federal government was supposed to do.
You know, my dad taught me there were three things: secure the border, stand a military, and deliver the mail, preferably on time and on Saturdays, but, you know, and the federal government only does one of those.
We have a wonderful, incredibly capable military, but the other two, our federal government is abject failures at. So if they would simply put the boots on the ground, use the technology available — I have been asking for Predator drones along the Texas-Mexico border for over four and a half, five years. We finally are starting to get some movement on that. The use of strategic fencing in the metropolitan areas...
CAVUTO: So, I assume what you're saying, as well, sir, is that Governor Brewer of Arizona — what she signed on to is not racist and is not illegal by that math, right?
PERRY: I — you know, look, every state has to make their decisions what's right for their state. For instance, we used upwards of $250 million over the last four years, Neil, in securing the Texas border because of Washington's just a total failure in being able to put the people on the border and — and secure it.
CAVUTO: So you're not doing — you're not doing, Governor, what your colleague in Arizona is doing. Why not?
PERRY: Well, here's — because every state's different.
PERRY: Listen, I totally respect Jan's position of being able to do what she feels and her legislature feels they need to be doing on that border.
Texas happens to be — you know, we've got 1,200 miles of border. We have been actively pursuing this issue of border security. And here's the bottom line, Neil, you cannot have an immigration reform debate until you secure the border.
CAVUTO: So when — when...
PERRY: That has to be taken care of first.
CAVUTO: I'm sorry, sir. When she went ahead and canceled this 10 border governors' meeting that was slated for September in Arizona because some of the Mexican governors protested the Phoenix locale, you and a number of others who would have attended that, New Mexico's governor, California's governor, looked at saving a venue and still conducting it, and she seemed to get her nose out of joint at that.
What's the deal there? Is this meeting still on? Did you mean to offend her? Was she offended?
PERRY: Let me, kind of, clear up a little — I talked to Jan early on, and I told her — I said, listen, I said, we're not going to be coming to the meeting. Regardless of what anybody else is saying or what have you, I said we're not going to be able to be there. We're going to support you.
It's supposed to be in Arizona. And if others governors decide they don't want to come, in some type of a protest, frankly, that's their business and it's their loss. I think this idea of boycotts and not going here or not going there — sitting down and talking has always been rather smart. But the fact of the matter is this is Arizona's time. And that's what we told Jan, and, you know, we weren't going to move this to another state...
CAVUTO: If it's not in Arizona, it's not happening, period?
PERRY: That's my call on it.
CAVUTO: So when Governor Richardson in New Mexico and Governor Schwarzenegger of California say, hey, we're still game to have it on, you're saying not you?
PERRY: I won't be there.
You know, could I get your thoughts, sir, on will these Democratic governors who are at the White House this past weekend, and they're expressing what one called "grave concerns" about the White House stance on illegal immigration and that it's a political suicide mission. What do you make of that?
PERRY: Well, I think those are very wise and very thoughtful and intuitive governors. You know, this whole issue of Washington coming in to our states and telling us how to run our states, in direct conflict with the 10th Amendment — you know, whether you're a Democrat or Republican, you ought to be offended. You have been elected by the people of your state to make the best decisions for the people, in my case, of the state of Texas.
And whether it's Obamacare; whether it's — they tried to come down here and take over our public schools and use money to lure us into this Race to the Top, and we said no, thank you very much. We know how to best run our schools in the state of Texas, just as we best know how to take care of our people from the standpoint of health care and health care delivery.
And now we're finding out that this administration totally and absolutely misrepresented the cost of Obamacare. And then you throw on top of it the federal government coming down and saying, we're going to sue you, Arizona, over your right to decide how best to defend your own border and deal with immigration.
If they would just do their job first, of securing the border, then a whole lot of these issues wouldn't be raising their heads and becoming the conflictual issues that they are today.
CAVUTO: Now, Governor, you haven't been doing quite the fight that Governor Brewer has across the nation because of her crackdown on illegal immigration, but you have been a vocal opponent to illegal immigration that has been unchecked in this country.
And some argue that it has cost you a great deal of support in the Latino community. Right now, the latest polls — and again, these are just polls, sir, but against Houston Mayor Bill White, you're doing close to even, when you once had a double-digit lead over him.
I know we don't necessarily put stock in the latest numbers, but the trend ain't been your friend. Is it because of this immigration thing?
PERRY: Well, I'm — like you, I don't put a lot of faith in a poll that's done four months out from — of an election.
This is my third time that I have run for the governorship of the state of Texas, and I understand that people want to hear solutions, they want to hear something positive. And we're doing that: Here's what we've done to secure the border of the state of Texas, here's what we've done to create the best economy in America.
And at the end of the day I feel very confident that people, Hispanics, African-Americans, Anglos, Asians, you name it, they're going to be looking at the record of what I have done in the state of Texas, particularly from the economic side and keeping our citizens safe. That's what people want. They just want a good job and live in a safe community and have an opportunity for their kids with school to do better than they have done.
That is across the board culturally what people in Texas want. That's what I'm going to be talking about. And I feel real comfortable at the end of the day we'll have the great privilege to serve the people of state of Texas for four more years.