As governor of a state where immigration is a major talking point for politicians, Perry wanted to appear tough on border security but also not alienate himself from Hispanic voters, according to the Washington Post.
Three times during his terms of office, Perry ordered the National Guard to the Texas-Mexico border, the Washington Post reports. At the same time, he supported low, in-state college tuition for undocumented immigrants.
"Are we going to kick these children over to the curb and say you cannot have access to college?" Perry said in 2011, referring to the state's 2001 law allowing undocumented immigrant students to pay in-state tuition rates. "Because the fact of the matter is there's no way they could pay the out-of-state tuition. And are we going to have them on the government dole over here because they're not educated?
He's also accused the federal government of being soft on immigration. "You're not going to have comprehensive immigration reform until the border is secure," Perry told Fox News last year. "The American people do not trust Washington to do these two things at the same time. They expect the border to be safe. [...] And if this president does not do what's required to secure the border first, I will suggest to you: Whatever he does is going to be a failure."
On gun control
"As governor, I have been proud to sign many pieces of legislation supported by the state affiliate of the NRA," Perry said during an annual NRA meeting in Houston in 2005. "We have protected Texas shooting ranges from junk lawsuits that tried to shut them down for making too much noise. ... We have also worked hard to strengthen our right to carry law because it is a good law that has made our people safer ... In Texas, we believe that people should have the right to protect themselves, whether they have called Texas home for years or are just visiting for a few days."
However, more recently, Perry said he was wary of laws that allowed gun owners to carry firearms in public, according to the Huffington Post. Gun owners should be "appropriately backgrounded, appropriately vetted [and] appropriately trained," Perry said in an interview with the Texas Tribune and the Washington Post in February. "We license people to drive on our highways. We give them that privilege. The same is true with our concealed handguns."
After Trump made fun of Perry for wearing glasses during a speech last month in South Carolina, Perry pulled no punches in lampooning his fellow presidential contender.
"He offers a barking carnival act that can be best described as Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued," Perry told an audience at the Opportunity and Freedom PAC forum. "Let no one be mistaken: Donald Trump's candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded."