Rick Perry’s Latino problem
Some Texas Latinos might appreciate Gov. Rick Perry's illegal-immigrant tuition stance, but Latinos still largely don't vote for him.
October 12th, 2011
11:25 PM ET

Rick Perry’s Latino problem

Presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry is taking heat from many in his own party for supporting a state policy giving in-state tuition rates to children of illegal immigrants.

But while this position may be seen as favorable for Latinos - a large majority of Texas’ illegal immigrants are Latino, with more than 60 percent of them hailing from Mexico alone, according to the Pew Hispanic Center - it hasn’t gained him much Latino support in his own state.

Almost two-thirds of Latino voters in Texas vote Democratic, and Latinos overwhelmingly vote against Perry, a Republican.

In a GOP presidential debate last month, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney criticized Perry for supporting Texas’ illegal-immigrant tuition policy. Perry responded this way: “If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state … by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart.”

After the debate, Perry fell from frontrunner status.

Some Texas Latinos came out in support of Perry’s stand in that debate, including state Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio.

“I was happy to hear that,” Villarreal said of Perry’s in-debate response. “I thought, wow, this is the first time I’ve seen Gov. Perry take a position based on principle at a political cost.”

But Villarreal also said Perry’s policy priorities, especially cuts to education, have hurt Latino families in Texas.

“I look at the policy outcomes of the last legislative session, and think this is the exact opposite of what Hispanic families want for them and their children,” Villarreal said.

And many Latino voters apparently feel the same. So what does this mean for Perry and the rest of the GOP? Click the audio player to hear the rest of the story from CNN Radio's John Sepulvado:

You can also listen to the CNN Radio Reports podcast on itunes or subscribe to the podcast here.

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Filed under: Immigration • Politics • Republican Party • Rick Perry • Texas
soundoff (354 Responses)
  1. TakeNoBull

    I bet millions of illegal Mexicans vote but do we really care?

    October 13, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. el americano

    So in Alabama all the crops of tomato are rotting because all the inmigrants that pick it up left due to the new law that was passed. Now the state is going to provide workers for the farmers. I wonder who it will be...

    October 13, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • mb2010a


      October 14, 2011 at 6:38 am | Report abuse |
    • tensor

      American citizens.

      October 14, 2011 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
    • debbie strom

      You have a lot of people sitting in the jails use them. Why not they sit there and do nothing most of the day, but there butts to work

      October 14, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. Portland Tony

    Why all the derogatory comments about race and foreign nationals who are here legally. It's one thing to rant about illegals...but come on. Most who are legally either pay big bucks to attend prestigious Universities or are employed by multinational corporations. It appears that bigotry never dies. If an individual doesn't look like you, smell like you, dress like you, talk like you.....they are somehow inferior to you. Take your 12-pack and go back to your trailer park.

    October 13, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Norps

    I don't have time to read this, what is Perry's Latino problem? I'm betting its that they exist?

    October 13, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jeffbaseball

    The mess that is Texas. Perry blamed the Mexicans for the flu a couple of years ago. Does anyone remember that? Total bigot. And chief spokesman for the Tea Bigot Party

    October 13, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
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