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Controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio plans to endorse Texas Gov. Rick Perry for the GOP presidential nomination this week, NBC News reports.

Arpaio, the self-proclaimed the self-proclaimed toughest sheriff in America who prices himself on his uncompromising stand on illegal immigration, will campaign with Perry in New Hampshire this week, NBC News quotes a source as saying.

Perry is one of several Republican presidential candidates, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who have sought the Maricopa County sheriff’s endorsement.

Perry received widespread criticism after a Florida debate in which he said anyone who opposed giving tuition breaks to the children of illegal immigrants “did not have a heart.” He later apologized for the remark.

And, in an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV after that Sept. 22 debate, the Texas governor acknowledged that he had chosen his words poorly, but he stood by his view that the decision in his state to extend tuition breaks was the right one.

“I was probably a bit over-passionate by using that word and it was inappropriate,” Perry said. “In Texas in 2001 we had 181 members of the Legislature — only four voted against this piece of legislation — because it wasn’t about immigration it was about education.”

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