WATCH: Rick Perry Tells Conservatives, 'If Washington, D.C. Will Not Do Its Job To Secure Its Border, Texas Will'

Rick Perry was addressing the Defending the American Dream Summit

Speaking to the Defending the American Dream Summit, hosted by Americans for Prosperity, former Texas governor Rick Perry suggested that individual states could take initiative in securing America's southern border even if the federal government dragged its feet on the issue.

Perry, who famously sent the Texas National Guard to the border to assist the United States Border Patrol during the Obama Administration, told the crowd that illegal immigration from Mexico represented more than simply an existential or political threat, but that drug dealers and human traffickers make securing the border an imminent need.

Perry also pledged that Texas would take the lead in handling illegal immigration even if the United States Congress refused to come to an agreement on the border wall.

“Because of the danger that is posed by these drug smugglers, these transnational gangs, human traffickers — that is the reason that I deployed the National Guard to the border to secure it,” Perry told the audience. “If Washington, D.C. will not do its job to secure its border, Texas will.”

“Here’s what it comes down to — defending the border is not a political option, it is a constitutional obligation,” he continued. “And until the federal government meets that duty, secures that border — all talk, all talk of immigration reform is pointless because Washington has no credibility on the matter.”

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Rick Perry currently serves as the Trump White House's Secretary of Energy. He is rumored to be interested, however, in challenging sitting Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2018 mid-term elections.

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