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CNN "State of the Union with Candy Crowley" - Transcript: Israel and Childrens' Immigration Crisis


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CROWLEY: How -- so, no pause on either side at this point.

John Vause in Gaza for us, Wolf Blitzer in Jerusalem, thank you both.

I want to bring in Texas Governor Rick Perry, who of late has been criticizing the Obama administration for its stance toward Israel.

Governor, you have talked about the president's policy of calculated ambivalence. Where does that manifest itself? What exactly are you talking about?

PERRY: Well, even, from my perspective, more than that from the secretary of state.

When -- when you have the president and his administration trying to second-guess Prime Minister Netanyahu, then I think you see what I'm making reference to, the idea that our best ally in the Middle East, the longest-serving democracy in that part of the world -- and there -- there's any air between us and Israel is -- is beyond me.

I don't understand why this administration would criticize Israel for trying to protect their citizens and their country from a group who have clearly stated that they will not be satisfied until Israel is wiped off the face of the earth. We need to be standing up with Israel, sending a strong message to those in the Middle East that would attack this democracy, that we are their ally, and they can count on us.

CROWLEY: Governor, we -- we have heard the president and Secretary Kerry talk about Israel's right to defend itself. They did express their worries about the large number of civilian casualties that seem to be taking place in Gaza.

And, yesterday, we heard Benjamin Netanyahu, the president -- I'm sorry -- the prime minister of Israel saying that he thinks the president and Kerry have been terrific.

So you don't believe that?

PERRY: No, I -- I think that there have been messages that have sent both publicly and privately that have not been strong in their support of Israel.

I think, when you look back at the rhetoric and the -- what they have done, I -- I don't think that they have been as strong with Israel as they should be. You know, and the fact is, you have Hamas that are using their children to protect their missiles, and I think Prime Minister Netanyahu was very for forthright, very specific when he said that Israel uses their missiles to protect their children.

And there is a very different perspective, if you will, and a very different result in those two people and their statements, and, frankly, in -- in the -- in the two organizations. It...

CROWLEY: Governor, you have long been a staunch supporter of Israel. But I wonder, if you will, when you look at the pictures that we're seeing, and we know that Netanyahu has expressed his regret for the civilian deaths, but when you look at the 1,700-plus Palestinian deaths in Gaza, the large majority of which are civilians, we are told, what is your thought about that? What is your reaction to that?

PERRY: War is a horrible thing.

There are individuals who lose their lives. But when we have a fairly good understanding that Hamas is actually using their citizens as shields, at that particular point in time, it loses a lot of the -- the power, if you will, from my perspective, is, when you use your civilians as a shield, that speaks volumes about who you are and what you believe in. When you look back at Hamas' statements about they will not be

satisfied until Israel is wiped off the face of the earth, then you start understanding the mentality a little bit better of a terrorist organization like Hamas.

CROWLEY: Let me turn you to the border crisis specifically that has been in the headlines recently for the unaccompanied minors that are crossing the Rio Grande largely to come into the United States.

The president has said, because Congress has not dealt with the immigration issue at all, that he feels he has to do this on his own. What we are led to believe by reports is that the president may, in fact, make some moves that would perhaps cut down on the number of deportations that are taking place now, for which he's been widely criticized by the Latino community, and that he may, in fact, give temporary status to those without documents that are currently in the U.S.

What do you think of both those things?

PERRY: Well, I think that is a side issue.

What we are substantially more concerned about in the state of Texas, and I will suggest to you across this country, are the 80 percent-plus of individuals who don't get talked about enough that are coming into the United States illegally, and committing substantial crimes.

Since September of '08, we have seen 203,000 individuals who have illegally come into the United States, into Texas, booked into Texas county jails.

And, Candy, these individuals are responsible for over 3,000 homicides and almost 8,000 sexual assaults. I wish the president would respect that desire of Texans and the citizens of this country to secure the border. That's the real issue here, and one that all too often gets deflected by the conversation about unaccompanied minor children, which that is a tragedy, the idea that parents are putting their kids or they're being forced to get on a train or a bus and travel 1,500 to 1,800 miles, where they're very exposed to being abused, both physically and otherwise.

But the fact, from my perspective as the governor of Texas, it's the reason that we are deploying 1,000 National Guard troops, so that the people of the state of Texas will feel that at least the leadership in the state of Texas is doing something to try to make their communities safer, and that is my goal.

CROWLEY: Governor...

PERRY: I intend to continue to be focused on that as we go forward.

CROWLEY: Governor, I have to point out that a number of fact- checkers have said that that 3,000-homicide figure is wildly off. But let me talk about the National Guard that you want to send.

And this is the state sending the National Guard. As I understand it, it's going to cost you $12 million, $13 million a month.

How long are you prepared to spend Texas money to keep the Guards at the border?

PERRY: We will continue to do what we have to do to keep our citizens safe.

And let me go back to those numbers. You know, what is the -- what are the number of -- I do stand by them, by the way, but what are the number of homicides that are acceptable to those individuals? How many sexual assaults do we have to have before the president of the United States and Washington, D.C., acts to keep our citizens safe?

That border is not secure. And we see it every day, not just in Texas, but I will suggest to you the other 47 contiguous states of individuals who are committing crimes against our citizens. It's time for us to secure that border.

CROWLEY: So, you are prepared, if I understand you, to keep the National Guard along the border, to help the current border guards in perpetuity? Is there the kind of money, is there the kind of support...

PERRY: What I'm prepared to do...

CROWLEY: ... in Texas for that?

PERRY: What I'm prepared to do is not just the National Guard, but our Department of Public Safety, our Texas Ranger Recon Teams, the Parks and Wildlife wardens that we have deployed there.

And then I will suggest to you there will be other individuals who come to assist in securing that border. That's what -- I think that's what the American people want. They'd like to see a president who leads this country and says, you know what, we do have a problem on our southern border. We're going to deal with it.

And the president refuses to lead on this, from my perspective.

CROWLEY: And, Governor, to those who say that you're calling up of the National Guard in Texas is a part of your road to become president and to run for president again, your response is?

PERRY: I'm the governor of the state of Texas. My citizens' safety is what is foremost here. And it hasn't got anything to do with anything other than those numbers of individuals who are coming across the border.

And when you think about the idea that some of them are from countries that have substantial terrorist ties, whether it's Pakistan or Afghanistan or Syria, we are at historic record highs with individuals being apprehended from those countries. We say it's time to secure the border. Hasn't got anything to do

with anything, other than the American citizens expect Washington to respect the Constitution and secure the border, one of the things that's actually enumerated in the Constitution. We'd like for them to do their duty.

CROWLEY: Governor Rick Perry, as always, I thank you for joining us. Appreciate your time.

PERRY: Thank you, Candy. You're welcome.


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