Reporting from Amherst, N.H. — Texas Gov. Rick Perry had hoped to assuage concerns about his views on illegal immigration by winning the backing of tough-talking Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., but at his first event with Arpaio in New Hampshire on Tuesday he was confronted by a voter who said his record on in-state tuition for illegal immigrants in Texas had probably cost him her vote.
Arpaio, who backed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the 2008 race, told voters here he was supporting Perry because "he's been fighting this battle as a governor."
"He doesn't just talk about it, he does something about it," Arpaio said. "He is an honorable, ethical person with a great family. I'm here to lend all my support to ensure that he becomes president of the United States."
The Texas governor argued that the U.S. needs "full-time surge operations on the border" and promised to be a "law-and-order president." "I have made the commitment that within a year of being inaugurated that border will be shut down, that border will be secure," he said, promising that he would immediately deploy thousands of National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico frontier while training additional Border Patrol agents.
But Alice Bury of Amherst, who said her grandchildren were considering attending college in Texas, told Perry she was troubled by what she views as "a double standard" for out-of-state students and illegal immigrants who would be eligible for in-state tuition. Perry defended that policy in a debate earlier this year by saying that Americans who would begrudge that benefit to children brought to the United States "by no fault of their own" didn't have a heart.