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. Nicki

    Do these politicians not realize that illegal immigration is the reason our country is in the shape it's in? How much money is spent on welfare, Medicaid, food stamps, and other programs that are given to these people? And did they pay taxes to support these programs? I don't think so! You don't pay taxes on drug money.

    October 13, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • FN

      Not exactly true Nicki but for debate sake where are your facts. Didnt think so 🙂

      October 13, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • One Day

      I would say two unfunded wars is the reason we are in the shape we are.

      October 13, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • John in NY

      It's not the reason we are were we are today, but it sure as hell isn't helping.

      October 13, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • SCAtheist

      You have to be kidding. What facts do you have to support that claim?

      October 13, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • San Antonio

      Nicki = ignorance.

      October 13, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Vince

      This argument is so tired....its been shown to be untrue so many times. I thought once Glenn Beck got booted it would stop and people would come up with rational fact based arguments. Once again, I've put to much faith in the American voter.

      October 13, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason Price

      Are you serious? You do know that illegal immigrants don't qualify for the benefits you claim they receive.

      October 13, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • ArmyofOne

      I agree with you Nicki. I have first hand seen the waste of state and federal dollars while stationed in a border town. The city had more schools than a city of the same population elsewhere. The border inbound to the US reserved two lanes from 6-8 for school aged children going to the US to attend school. Over 50% of births were to those who crossed illegally and left without paying the bills. So yes, we do waste millions if not billions on illegal immigrants.

      October 13, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • expert

      back to the kitchen

      October 13, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • ArmyofOne

      Jason Price–When they have a child in the US, since the child is now a US Citizen, they are allowed services. Even to include WIC which you can find immediately across the border for sale in corner stores.

      October 13, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • JP

      Illegals cost taxpayers over 100 billion a year, they are not the reason we are in this situation, but they sure contribute to it.

      October 13, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • taka

      There is one Republican who is looking ahead.

      October 13, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • nkm


      October 13, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Carrie

      Nicki I totally agree with you, personally I would not vote for Perry because of the fact that he supports the illegals with education. How do we elect this people america used to be strong in every way but now we get weaker as time goes on. What a sad sad world we live in...until we get rid of the trash in congress and in the presidency we are screwed!!!

      October 13, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  2. Diane Boyd

    I moved to Texas from Colorado a few years ago and my daughter attends UTA. If I still lived in Colorado I would never pay more as a out of state resident than an illegal . I think this hurts the universities in Texas attract out of state students. Why do illegal’s get a discount when taxpayers do not ?

    I really do not think it is fair and it should be appeal. If Perry is serious about securing the border why doesn’t he pass state laws similar to Farmers Branch, TX laws on illegal immigration annd support the cities in Texas that are trying to deal with illegal immigrates bankrupting their education and health care systems by receiving millions of dollars in free education and medical procedures ?

    I would like Perry to have a heart for the million of US tax payers and Texans first

    He has been governor for 12 years and never talked about the border problem until Obama became president. Oh well its nice to know he can not do the 2 step running for President as he has running for governor.

    October 13, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  3. mike

    "Texas’ illegal immigrants are Latino, with more than 60 percent of them hailing from Mexico alone"

    Duh, seriously CNN? How many "experts" did it take to get these numbers? I see these fools standing for work, urinating at intersections, leaving beer cans everywhere, it's DISGUSTING.

    October 13, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • FN

      If were going to get rid of people for being disgusting how about we start at the trailer parks Mike.

      October 13, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • TheyWant ToWork

      So you see Latinos standing for work, eh Mike? Well, doesn't that TELL You Something already! They WANT to work! They don't want to leech off of you. They only need a chance to get ahead and be productive! As to any urination taking place, I suppose it is only they who urinate openly in public in your opinion? Figures. You need to get your prejudice in serious check buddy!

      October 13, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • San Antonio

      All while the white man sits at home doing nothing. Why? They have welfare to fall back on. Then, they blame others for all the problems in the world. Give us a break. Wah, wah.

      October 13, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. Carlos Saenz

    If Mr. Perry had a ranch with the "N*&&^%head" comment; I can only guess what he thinks about illegal immigrants in his own state.

    October 13, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mark

    I know I will sound heartless, but what part of illegal did Perry not follow. I know these children are not here of their own volition, but while I may not have a heart, I am paying taxes and this is something their parents are not doing. So I am paying for the education of their children while they are not.

    Oh yes, I know they pay sales tax. And if the Fair Tax were in place, I would shut up. But it is not. So they are NOT paying income taxes. They are not paying into Social Security. Ask the kid where Mommy and Daddy are, then provide them with transportation back to their country. But if you make it more pleasurable to come here, they will keep coming. If they come here legally, then welcome. But illegal is AGAINST THE LAW!

    October 13, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • JennyTX

      To Mark: Some illegals get paid with paychecks, and through their paychecks they pay into Social Security and Medicare, yet never receive any of those benefits. But YOU do.

      October 13, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. Justus

    This jerks stand on illegals just sank his chances of becoming a washington dog catcher, much less anything else.

    October 13, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  7. palintwit

    Did all you teabagging chumps actually believe that I was going to run for president ? I just wanted you to send me your money ! Bwwaaaaaahhhaaaaaaaa ...

    October 13, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  8. JP

    Perry is heartless towards taxpayers since he thinks their hard earned money should be used to give benefits to illegals.

    October 13, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. Civitas

    The problem is with Latinos, just as with other minority groups, it doesn't make any difference how much you give them, they always want more.

    October 13, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      how ignorant you are.

      October 13, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  10. Lets not generalize

    Please, when you write an article about the Latino community, I will suggest being more specific, since the Latino community includes many countries and as far as I am concerned, in Texas the Latino community are Mexicans.
    Mr. Perry may have problems with Mexicans voters in Texas but no in the rest of the country.

    October 13, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • ThereAre ManyOthers

      Speaking of Latins in other countries, the other countries where people considered to be Latin reside includes: Italy, France, Spain, South America, Mexico, Portugal, Romania. How many knew that? Bet not so many. But they are all Latin! Some Italians, also from a Latin country of people, however feel they are somehow Anglo for some reason. It sure appears that some go to great extents to deny their *Latin* heritage and one just has to wonder WHY not be PROUD of It instead! Remember Valentino who was nicknamed the Latin Lover! He was one exception and kudos to him for that!

      October 13, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. RobBobo

    A lot of people trying to frame illegal immigrants as criminals don't understand the concept of culpability.

    An infant child doesn't make decisions for her parents. And when she's 18 as an adult, what you want her to do is say, well I'm an adult now, I've never lived in Mexico – I don't know anything abou that country, but I'll go move there for the rest of my life.

    Well you wouldn't make that choice, and nobody would. What happens is when someone has lived here there whole life – its the only country they know, and they want to continue to live in – what in their hearts is their home country.

    And you say, well why don't you become citizens then – I know some of you ask that, because you see it on the forums all the time – educate yourself, there is NO PATH TO LEGAL CITIZENSHIP. NONE.

    The only way to become a citizen is through marriage to a citizen, or if you won the green card lottery – realistically speaking most people never win that lottery. No, what happens to most people is they just in legal limbo for decades.

    Stop holding children responsible for their parents – hold the parents responsible. If you find that illegal family early and send them all back to Mexico – great.

    but if you let them stay here 20 years, and that infant is now college age – for gosh sakes, give that person a path to legal citizenship.

    As far as having a "latino" problem – Perry has nothing like that – the reality is, money is drying up everywhere and politicians who would ordinarily never make a cut – they have to do it anyway. And that creates anger. Look at greece.

    Whoever takes the blame for those cuts, is going to feel the heat. Perry is taking some blame, and there is backlash.
    Put a democrat governor in next year – that democrat will take the blame and feel the heat.

    It's just like that today.

    October 13, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  12. dreucalypt

    After Arizona, and, more recently, Alabama, it's hard to believe that any Republican candidate is going to have a lot of Latino support for a long time.

    October 13, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Great Analysis

      You're Right, dr! The Buck HAS to Stop Here after all that plus being obstructionists in Congress by not passing The Dream Act and wanting to erect fences along the U.S./Mexican border! Now if any Hispanic thinks Republicans are their friends, think again amigos as you are not only delusional but sadly enough you are accepting the further egregious marginalization of your proud heritage.

      October 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. s

    well, the cuts to education are affecting all children across the nation, it's not as if only latinos in Texas are hurt by the loss of school funding, none of us are happy that our schools have lost funding.

    October 13, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. carlos

    I am a gay latino, brought to this country illigally by my parents who wanted a better life for me. I have witness hatered, discrimination first hand by mostly uneducated conservative republicans. I grew from that and didnt allow it to ditermine my own outcome. I am a professional family man (yes married to the man of my life, and have an adopted daughter)and I'm happy maybe all you racist people should try it, BE HAPPY!

    October 13, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Estefania

      well, to be honest with you, Carlos, in my case mostly of the discrimination I have experience is done by Liberals, white and black, they are the most racists , because they see us all as illegals and treat us as such.

      October 13, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  15. Tragic Kingdom

    I am not about to hire people standing around on a corner, drinking beer and p!ssing in public no matter WHAT nationality they are! I would probably call the cops saying there's a Frat party going on at the corner of 5th and Main!

    October 13, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Jorge

      So you're saying that you wouldn't hire a bunch of Southern Gypsy r&dn&cks...oh, excuse me *ahem* IRISH TRAVELLERS, in front of Labor Ready???

      October 13, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
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