Rick Perry and His Foreign Friend

Apparently, Rick Perry values an Islamophobe over Central American children. (Photo: Nicholas Roznovsky / Mays Communications / Flickr)

Apparently, Rick Perry values an Islamophobe over Central American children. (Photo: Nicholas Roznovsky / Mays Communications / Flickr)

Texas Governor Rick Perry may not want to let Central American children into Texas, but that doesn’t mean he hates all foreigners. Some of his best friends are foreigners!

Like the right-wing Australian author Nick Adams who Perry anointed an “honorary Texan” last year.

Meanwhile, 52,000 children have been apprehended crossing the United States’ southern border since October—most of them from the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

If Perry had his way, all 52,000 children would be returned to their home nations. As he said himself before the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, “Some might think allowing [child migrants] to stay is a more humane option, I assure you, it is not. Nobody is doing any of these children the slightest favor by delaying a rapid return to their countries of origin.”

Perry’s “solution” to the crisis includes deploying 1,000 additional National Guard troops, instituting medical screening for migrants, and even flying Predator drones along the southern border.

This is despite the fact that the majority of children should be eligible for protection. Many are seeking refuge from the violence, poverty, and crime that has plagued their nations in part due to decades of U.S. foreign policy. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that 58 percent of child migrants “raise potential international protection needs.” Despite the risks of repatriation, many of these children will return to Central America.

But if Central American children, most of whom “raise potential international protection needs,” have no place in Perry’s Texas, then who does?

Luckily, Perry has answered that question with the only-in-Texas award of “honorary citizenship.” A recent “honorary Texan,” Australian author Nick Adams is now part of an esteemed lineage that includes Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck. A newfound conservative idol, Adams is the author ofThe American Boomerang, a celebration of American exceptionalism, Judeo-Christian values, and limited government.

Adams may be from Australia, but his book reads like the playbook of the American ultra-right. Sprinkled throughout his admiration of the United States are more sinister comments espousing xenophobic and racist beliefs.

For example, Adams asserts, “The Muslim mind is inferior to the Christian mind because of Muslim ideas.”He goes on to say, “In the likely war between the Islamist and America, certainly a day of infamy, Americans must eradicate the enemy as mercilessly and thoroughly as possible.”

This is the man who Governor Perry believes should be an “honorary Texan.” A xenophobic and Islamophobic man has been put on a pedestal, while children—many of whom have been abused and face violence in their home countries—are turned away.

Noah Habeeb is an intern at Foreign Policy in Focus.