This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," August 13, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY, R-TEXAS: Don't know why they took a five-week vacation without dealing with this issue, because I will tell you one thing. The narco-terrorists didn't take a vacation. You all know that. I know that. And Washington needs to know that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Fired up and not letting up, Texas Governor Rick Perry ripping Washington for taking a break without a border deal.
The Texas governor talking to a group of National Guard troops training to head to the border, the very troops he ordered to go to the border, but the federal isn't picking up the tab for them going to the border.
To Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry on where this plan stands right now.
Governor, good to have you.
Obviously, you're sending these 3,000 Guardsman down there, the government says on your dime, that is, your state taxpayers' dime. First off on that, has that been updated? Any change on the part of Washington there?
PERRY: Well, it's pretty hard for them to change it when they're not in town.
So, Kevin McCarthy, he gathered up the votes before the House left, which I appreciate. But Harry Reid thought it was more important to go on vacation.
So, we're going to get this job done. I think the American people -- this isn't just a Texas problem either, Neil. This is the -- all across this country, there are individuals who are crossing illegally into this country that are committing crimes against the citizens of America.
So this is an American issue. And it's not a Republican or a Democrat issue. This is an American issue. And we need to be addressing it. And we need to be addressing it as soon as they get back.
CAVUTO: All right.
Now, in the meantime, they're not addressing. As you pointed out, they're in the middle of a five-week vacation. And so you are -- are having to deal with this right now with these 3,000 Guardsmen, your critics say could make a problem even thornier because there will be confusion over who has authority to do what and where.
How do you answer that?
Well, it's 1,000 additional Guard troops. Five weeks ago, we deployed additional Department of Public Safety, our Texas Ranger recon teams, our Texas Parks and Wildlife wardens to assist. We have been working with the Border Patrol.
And, by the way, the men and women on Border Patrol, the individuals who are down there working, are really good men and women. The problem is the folks that are giving them instruction, their leadership in Washington, D.C., is failing, from my perspective, because they don't have them right on the border.
But we work well with our federal counterparts, our local law enforcement counterparts. And we have been doing this for some time. We just haven't had the numbers that we're going to have on the border now. So we full well expect in that area of operation to be fully capable of really reducing the crime that's going on in that part of Texas and stopping that illegal impact that's occurring there.
CAVUTO: You mentioned Harry Reid earlier, Governor. He said what you're doing is a political stunt. What do you say?
PERRY: Well, I say the same thing to him that I say to President Obama. Why don't you come down there and take a look at what's going on?
Talk to the -- talk to the mother and the father and the family of the Border Patrol agent who was killed by an individual who has been deported multiple times. Look them in the eye, Harry Reid, and tell them that it's a political stunt.
I will tell you, we're going to do what we have to do in the state of Texas to protect our civilians. Harry Reid needs to try that on.
CAVUTO: Where do you think this goes? They could talk about each side has their own view of immigration reform, Governor, as you know. And Republicans criticize Democrats for not putting enough emphasis on border security. Democrats say that Republicans are not interested in the long- term solution for all the millions of illegals who are already here.
When and where do you think this will be settled?
Well, here's the -- here's the truth of the matter. The American people -- regardless of where your political loyalties may be, the American people do not trust Washington to deal with the issue of immigration reform until this border is secure.
And I will tell you that if they waste their time trying to deal with an immigration bill that is all-encompassing, comprehensive before they secure the border, they're wasting their time.
CAVUTO: What is a secure border, Governor, to you?
PERRY: Well, when the citizens of this country feel that there is enough individuals on the border to stop the influx of individuals who are coming in here, who we don't know who they are today.
And I will tell you, just in the five weeks since we have surged in with our Department of Public Safety and Ranger recons and those individuals, we have seen a 56 percent reduction in the number of apprehensions in that area of operation.
So, we know how to particularly push down the numbers of individuals that are coming across illegally. So I think that Americans and certainly the citizens of Texas, when they feel comfortable that their lives are no longer being put in jeopardy by individuals who have been deported multiple times -- and that's going to require boots on the ground.
It's going to require strategic fencing in the metropolitan areas. And it's going to require a substantial number of aviation assets, which, by the way, the FAA will not let us use drones at this particular point in time for looking down, unarmed drones to look down 24/7 in all types of weather, so that we can have these fast-response forces move in and make apprehensions.
If the FAA would -- would allow that, it would be substantial help. So those are the three things that need to happen that the American people can feel comfortable that this country is being secured on the southern border.
CAVUTO: Governor, I don't know if you had a chance to see this dust-up in Tucson, Arizona, where a number of residents tried to prevent the arrest of an illegal, actually stopped law authorities from doing so.
What did you make of that?
PERRY: Well, I didn't see it.
But that's the reason that the federal government needs to engage, and engage in an appropriate manner. And when I mean appropriate, I'm talking about put the boots on the ground, get the aviation assets in place. Secure the border, Americans will feel a lot better about it. States don't need to be doing this. Citizens don't need to be doing this. The federal government needs to be doing its constitutional duty.
CAVUTO: Now, in the meantime, sir, as you know, we have got these tens of thousands of largely illegal kids who have to be registered for classes, that is, by law, we're told, this fall, I'm sure a good number of them in Texas. Do you have the money for that?
PERRY: Well, we do, but it's -- again, it's a symptom of this administration's failure of leadership.
In May of 2012, I sent a very clear message to Homeland Security and to the president that these unaccompanied children were coming in on the backs of trains, putting them in jeopardy, misused, abused, being recruited by the cartels and other unsavory types.
And we told this administration that if they did not address this, that those numbers would explode. That is exactly what has happened. So, again, a failure of leadership by this administration to deal with an issue that's been brought to their attention over two years ago.
CAVUTO: Governor, I would be remiss if I didn't follow your travel schedule.
I noticed quite a few of your travel plans have involved the state of Iowa. I think you have been there six times of late. And that's raising talk that you're not only considering running for president, you all but are.
So that must be true, right?
PERRY: Well, now until November the 4th is my focus in Iowa and South Carolina and North Carolina, all states that I have been to in the last three weeks.
They have got United States Senate races. I want to see America change trajectory. And I think if you elect individuals like Joni Ernst in Iowa and Thom Tillis in North Carolina, make sure that Rick Scott, the governor of Florida, and Nikki Haley, who's running in South Carolina, that those individuals are elected to office for another four years, we can change the trajectory of this country.
CAVUTO: But you also went out of your way to help the Republican gubernatorial candidate who Chris Christie, as head of the national Republican Governors Association has ignored. Why?
PERRY: Because I think it's better to have a Republican in office no matter what state it is, whether it's in New York or whether it's in Florida or whether it's in New Mexico.
That's what we ought to be focused on is really helping Republicans across the board. And I make the argument that it's their policies on taxes and regulation and legal system and accountable public schools that will make the states more competitive and then teach our friends in Washington, D.C., that the 10th Amendment really means something, that Washington needs to do the few things that they are enumerated in the Constitution to do, like secure the border, and leave everything else up to the states.
CAVUTO: Governor Rick Perry, a pleasure, sir. Thank you very, very much.
PERRY: Thank you, sir.
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