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. Calvin Bonner

    For all the politicians in Washington. The national debt is something we all have been paying for all of our lives. Everytime you pay your taxes. So why are you guys making such a big deal about it. Spend money to make money, we will never be out of debt. Quit fooling the american people and put the american money back to work now!

    October 13, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. g.r.r.

    If Perry (and republicans as a whole) were smart, they would push for a modified HR-2164 (required e-verify). It should be strengthened, but should also come with a modified dream act as well. Basically, allow those illegals that have served, as well as those that have been raised here for more than 5 years, to obtain their citizenship. For all others, send them back.

    October 13, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. Me

    I am a mexican american and I hate this stupid law! Those illegal kids, sorry for your parents' bad decisions, but go the hell back to mexico!

    October 13, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Manuel

      As a Mexican American also, I would like YOU to go back to Mexico. Jose, I too enjoy tacos.

      October 13, 2011 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Celiborn

      wow, de que cerro de bajaste? totally rude comment.

      October 13, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  4. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    So, let me get this straight. If you are legally in this country (by birth, or immigration status) and you have children enrolled in schools in Texas, the state has cut aid that help your kids get a foot up in life. But if you are the child of illegal immigrants and living in Texas you get a break on college tuition. Now, don't get me wrong – I am a Liberal Dem as far as social policy goes, but I side with the Blue Dogs when it comes to fiscal matters in others. In this case, I would rather see them scrap the policy of in-state-tuition and return the needed funding to the PreK-12 range.

    October 13, 2011 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. RichieP

    Stupid article. It just says that more latinos vote democratic than republican, nothing at all about if or why they prefer any other republican candidate over Perry. I've got some news for you, CNN. I guess you don't know this, but the republican primary hasn't happened yet. Rick Perry is not competing against democrats; he's still competing against other republicans who all have publicly expressed more hatred for latinos than he has.

    October 13, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |

    I am mexican. I eat tacos y burritos. mmmmmmm tacoooos.

    October 13, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Casual

      I think you left your meds in the car....ya better go get them. We get it.....tacos......we get it, you have an issue with 'mexicans' you are just hilarious. Enough with the tacos.........

      October 13, 2011 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Manuel

      Casual, how is the quality of your wife's taco? Is it traditional (i.e. "old school") or modern?

      October 13, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Monica

      tacos makes you fat and we have enough fat people ( Liberals and non-Liberals ) in this country, so , take you taco and hide in your behind.

      October 13, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mike

    No matter how much pandering Republicans do, they will never win the Latino vote. When whites are a minority, the small government GOP we know today is finished. The GOP should have gone hell-for-leather and stopped illegal immigration decades ago, and restricted legal immigration too. Too late now.

    October 13, 2011 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Get ItRight

      Mike, you are saying when Whites are a minority, well I've got news for you. You are wrong if you are thinking that Mexicans or Latinos are not White. They are! Just ask any County Clerk or District Clerk in any state or look at any Hispanic's birth certificate and it will say unequivocally 'WHITE' in regards to their race. I just hate it when some one tries to make Latinos or Mexicans a "race". They are not a race. They are an *ETHNICITY* for your information! But just as you may be White, they are too, so get over it already and give credit where credit is due and stop trying to make the Mexican or Latino a 'race'. It is clearly not, again, it is an ethnicity and that distinction must be clearly made. Also, they are incorrectly grouped, by some, as "people of color". That applies and has always applied *only* to Blacks or African-Americans, not to others especially members of the White race like Mexicans and Latinos. I can see many need a good education on this and I sure hope they get it soon!

      October 13, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |

    Buy tacos from my taco stand. Y chilli rellanos. They are muy fabuloso. Muy muy bueno ! 🙂

    October 13, 2011 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Manuel

      I will buy your tacos. Your tacos are the best in the world!

      October 13, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Blah3


      October 13, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dont matter no way

    Its funny they have a comments section....
    No One gives a rats ass what your comment is....They (Politicians) are going to do what they want to do anyway.
    They dont care what none of ya'll are talking about..
    nice Dialogue for the Minions....thats all it is...

    October 13, 2011 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Manuel

      I am Manuel. I eat tacos. Politicians listen to me. My wife and kids also listen to me after I eat delicious tacos. You too will listen to me.

      October 13, 2011 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Casual

      Dude....you stopped by......welcome to minionland. However, I do see what you are saying, but, we certainly can't just shut up.

      October 13, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Manuel

      Dude, when I eat Tacos, I cannot be silenced!!! There WILL be noises.

      October 13, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  10. Casual

    Now gee, why do you suppose my hispanic friends don't vote for Republicans? HHHhmmmmm, I wonder about that?

    This has been the Grand Old Parties problem for a couple of decades now. People know that a large population of Republicans are bigots, well, since most bigots are white, and now the tides are changing and there are way more minorties in our great country, who vote, oh, and are American citizens....they remember how much ya'll don't like them. How much your party bashes them......how your party talks about their heritage......do they think all of the 'mexicans' in our country are illegal?

    The Repugs better wake up, it is 2011, and we are not raising our kids like bigots, the vast majority of us want to see a America where we all get along, where we don't hate folks who are gay, or hispanic or black. Just becasue your party has a couple of token black members, or a couple of hispanic people, by no means makes them DEMOCRATS......you know the Liberals and bleeding hearts....I wear it like a badge.

    October 13, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Manuel

      Casual, do you eat tacos?

      October 13, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
    • sir si

      You are correct! And the republicans should set up funds to send these illegal children to college! They have suffered enough!!

      October 13, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • BlackPantherss2020

      @Casual.....i hear ya man , I hope they to continue to sleep on us , But never forget how those types of people think . We're ok with them when they need a vote but then turn around and want to strip funding for education and everything else that the Amercian citizen may need . Always remember republicans are a party for the rich , and whites ........who wants to be part of a party thats exclusionary............

      October 13, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ted

    They should not only go back but pay back every penny they stole via schooling and healthcare.

    October 13, 2011 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  12. Orlando

    For the life of me, I've yet to understand those who side with the pro illegal immigration side. As others here, I too am of Hispanic descent, yet remain solidly opposed to illegal immigration, and against any laws which facilitates their illegal status. Those states which have toughened their immigration laws are doing the right thing. Enough is enough!

    October 13, 2011 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  13. sir si

    Why don't we all just contribute a certain percentage of our earnings and give it to the illegals. I think it is only fair that we help them and help their children get an education. Also, I believe that the rich should set up college funds for the illegals, in an effort to give back.

    October 13, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  14. txrbt

    Perry's in-state tuition is nothing but a jobs bill – it's meant to keep the classrooms of generic colleges full and people employed.

    October 13, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  15. yellow rose

    Its too bad people don't realize just how much the illegals are costing every American taxpayer - Too bad our government doesnt do anything about it every time there is an election they allow more into the country for votes - do the math people Mexicans don't practice birth control and that's one reason they are spilling over into the US .. Now we don't have enough jobs for all these people. Too bad Mexico is so corrupt, they need to clean up there mess.

    October 13, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
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