AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry said Monday that he won’t attend a meeting of border state governors if it isn’t held in Arizona, which some of the participants are boycotting in protests of the state’s tough new illegal immigration law.
For 27 years, governors representing U.S. and Mexican states along the border have met to discuss common interests. The annual conference rotates location, and this year it was slated to be held at a Phoenix resort. But all six Mexican governors wrote Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on June 30 saying they would refuse to visit her state because of the immigration law, which they said promotes “ethnic and cultural prejudice.”
In light of the boycott, Brewer canceled the meeting. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson suggested that the conference be moved to another location rather than canceled. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said last week that he would entertain such a move so that the meetings and cooperation could continue.
Asked by Fox Business Network host Neil Cavuto whether he would consider attending the meeting if it were held elsewhere, Perry made it clear where he came down – in support of Arizona. “I talked to Jan [Brewer] early on and I said, ‘Listen, we’re not going to be coming to the meeting. Regardless of what anybody else is saying … we’re going to support you,’ ” Perry said.
He said it is Arizona’s turn to host the meeting. “If other governors decide they don’t want to come in some type of protest, frankly, that’s their business and it’s their loss,” Perry said. “That’s my call on it. I won’t be there.”
While Perry was clearly in support of Arizona and Brewer before a national audience, in Texas, he has repudiated the law. This weekend, while addressing the National Council of La Raza in San Antonio, Perry told the 2,000 Hispanics in attendance that he would oppose Texas’ adopting a similar law. It “may be right for Arizona, but it ain’t exactly right for Texas,” the governor said.
That’s a good start, governor. But Texas can do better.