Exclusive: Rick Perry reacts to halt on immigration order

Former Texas governor says ruling is a 'victory for the rule of law'


This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," February 18, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST: In a the "Kelly File" exclusive, new fallout tonight after a Texas judge stopped, for now, the president's plan allowing millions of illegal immigrants to remain in the United States. The administration had planned to start the paperwork today on the president's plan, but a group of 26 states led by Texas challenged the executive action saying President Obama did not have the authority to go around Congress, something President Obama himself had argued repeatedly throughout his first term. Now, the whole thing is on hold. And the administration says it is working on an appeal of the ruling. Earlier, I spoke about all of this with Former Texas Governor Rick Perry.


KELLY: Governor, good to see you tonight. So this is a victory for Texas under your successor, and yet, President Obama seems undeterred. He maintains he has the authority to do this. What say you?

RICK PERRY, FORMER TEXAS GOVERNOR: Well, it's a victory for the rule of law. And that's what this is really about. So you got 26 states that are standing up and saying that this country is based on the rule of law. You can't have presidents just willy nilly going around and using their executive fiat whenever they feel it's in their best interest or what they want to see.

KELLY: You, unlike a lot of other governors in this country, have done an effective job at sort of walking the line on immigration. The Washington Post paid you that compliment not long ago. And they said that you've been tough on illegal immigration, but you've managed not to alienate Hispanics in your state pointing out you won nearly 40 percent of the Latino vote back in 2010. You've done that by policing the boarder, the National Guard and so on, and yet, in the state, you've been a little kinder and gentler when it comes to immigration policy. However, do you agree with Barack Obama when he says with respect to the illegal immigrants who are now here, "We're not just going to ship them off. It's not who we are."

PERRY: Well, I think reality tells you the real issue we have to deal with here is not that the American people are going to accept a conversation or for that matter a debate about immigration policy until the border is secure. I don't think American people trust Washington to deal with this issue of immigration reform until the border is secure. That's the reason we did what we did in Texas. It's the reason I invited the president to come down and see that his policies, whether it was the (INAUDIBLE) other policies they put into place during the six years of this administration are what's really driving a lot of the illegal immigration that's occurring and a lot of the illegal activities that are occurring.


KELLY: What does that mean for illegal immigrants here now? Say we get a President Perry in office and you're working with the Congress to pass immigration reform that would tighten up the border security. But meantime, we still have 11 million illegal immigrants in the country. What do you do with them prior to the moment you get that border secured?

PERRY: I don't think anyone with a sense of reality thinks we're going to ship 11 million or 12 million people back to where they're from. Again, I go back to the conversation that has to occur and then it's not a conversation. It's got to be action. And we have to secure the border. We have a 74 percent reduction of apprehensions after we surged our National Guard along with our law enforcement down to that southern 150-plus-mile region of the border.

So I think it's fine to have a conversation, but the American people are not going to trust Washington. They're not going to trust anyone until they see that the border is truly secure. We know how to do that. We'll be happy to show not only this president but this Congress.

Listen, Congress could have dealt with this years ago, but they haven't. So this isn't just Barack Obama's problem. This is also Washington, D.C. and Congress in my opinion that has been do-nothing about securing the border.

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