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. SaintM

    Justin Beiber's Colon–that's a good one. I'm waiting for them to start talking. Then Perry's ugly duckling, weakling wife will be forced to sit behind him and swallow her suffering as his lacivious personal life gets splashed across newspapers and the internet. Please gals, start making calls to the MSM, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and tell us your Rick Perry stories.

    October 13, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Texan

      ...gals (or guys)....

      October 13, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  2. Globey

    yes and yes...we just have to increase more tax and introduce state income tax,,
    state income tax should be 35% just as fed tax .

    October 13, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  3. gman21

    Rick Perry seems to be hard core racist.

    October 13, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. Rich

    Why don't some of the white Texas trash go to work instead of snorting Oxys all day and the Mexicans wouldn't have so much work you are worried about...Typical Tea Baggers that vote AGAINST their own best interest...

    October 13, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Juan in El Passo

      Texas has one of the lowest UE rates in the country for white, latinos and blacks. Your comment is in and of itself racist and doesn't state anything of value besides showing that you are a liberal hatter with no job yourself. Why don't you go to NY and Occupy Wall Street with all the other liberal bumbs. Be sure to take your corporate made electronics with you so you can continue with the hatter comments.

      October 13, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Woops

      Except you forget the the Texas unemployment rate is only 26th in the nation. The reason for Texas' low unemployment is: No housing bubble (never had a good housing market to begin with), they pump their money out of the ground (oil), and energy prices have substantially increased. Not every state has the ability to pump cash out of the ground – take away Texas' oil and see how it fairs.

      It should be noted that Texas ranks 44th in the USA in per-student expenditures and 43rd in high school graduation rates. Seventeen percent of Texans lived below the poverty level in 2009, compared with 14% for the nation. Being poor, stupid, living in poverty, no healthcare, but being "gainfully" employed is clearly a hallmark of Texas. Take away the oil and you're left with...

      October 13, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Sarah the Stench that Stays and Stays and Stays

      I don't even like seeing Texas in the weather forecast.

      October 13, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Jazzpianist

      A "bumb who is a liberal hatter". Must be a stylish "bumb".

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

      A "bumb who is a liberal hatter". Must be a stylish "bumb", Juan in El Paso.

      October 13, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Tommie

      There are so many things wrong with Texas. Shame really. This is a great state but we are in serious decline because right wing politics is so nonsensical that it refuses to invest in education and the states future. Rick Perry represents that short sidedness run amok.

      I guess 25% uninsured, bottom five in education, the most people put to death, and substandard air quality is how we prove Jesus loves us.

      October 13, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. ithink122

    After looking over some of the articles dealing with this issue, it appears some people don't quite understand it. It's not that these children were born in the US, therefore automatically giving them citizenship, and that they have satisified the residency requirement. If that were the case, they would be covered under the current in-state tuition law already, as the only requirements are US citizenship and a certain length of residency. This law was created for children that were born in another country and came into this country with their parents as illegals and are therefore not legal citizens.

    I understand the humanitarium aspect of allowing them in-state tuition and the benefit to the state. Perry himself said he signed it becaues it was in the states best interest. But wouldn't it make more sense just to make them citizens? If you are going to give them the benefits of citizenship anyway with laws like this, why not just grant them amnesty and give them US citizenship? It just sounds to me like he realizes that granting them the benefits of citizenship are in the states best interest because a greater number of highly educated residents are good for the economy, but he just can't bring himself to fully admit it and make it official.

    October 13, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • mike

      Enforce the damn laws: here illegally? Deport them! And we're not ready to do the work illegals do, then sooner or later we'll become a third world nation. We can't have it both ways.

      October 13, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • ithink122

      So, educate them up to a high school graduate level and then kick them out? Again, that doesn't make any sense from either a humanitarian or economical sense. Even Perry has figured that out. But my question was, why not just make them citizens if you are going to give them the benefits of citizenship anyway? It just reminds of the old "separate but equal" philosophy that segregationists had.

      October 13, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  6. Proud Latina

    Thank God somebody mentioned all the other illegals in this country who are also here on visas for education, work, sneak in family members etc., who are not citizens either. They are having kids here and getting Medicare for their healthcare. Look at Georgia and Alabama, they passed strict immigration laws for what! No roofers, no construction workers and the tomatoes are rotting in the field because no American citizen can hack being in the heat picking crops. Even if the farmers were advertising and paying up to $10/hr. They didn't come back to work, some only worked a half day. This was in the Houston Chronicle.

    October 13, 2011 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Jack Me

      Then my friend, you pay for them. I can make it without tomatos! They are getting better educations than what my kids received and paid for. It is BS!!

      October 13, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • weecharles

      you keep going on about how your kids are having to pay for their education. this is the same argument that you know is true, but think you can fool others into believing your lies. IF YOU ARE AN ILLEGAL, YOU DON'T GET FINANCIAL AID IN TEXAS or any state benefits when you go to college besides the in state tuition. if you kick them all out of school. you are going to end up with a whole bunch of young people with nothing to do. send them back to mexico and they will have the same problem and then the cartels get that many more people to recruit and the cycle goes on thanks to the racism and ignorance of republicans.

      October 13, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • jbblineman

      Proud Latina
      If you hispanic people are such great workers why are you still a third world country. Stay home pick your crops. U.S. did not become the only superpower because of the illegal mexicans thats for sure.

      October 13, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Nancy

      In Latin America and the rest of the Latino countries, white Americans invaded our courtiers, they have their business there and as they do here they also pay close to nothing to the workers. We, Latinos are hard workers, but are being exploited by the American organizations .

      October 13, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      Mexico is far from a third world country. Look at this:

      Mexico has one of the world's largest economies, and is considered both a regional power and middle power.[17][18] In addition, Mexico was the first Latin American member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD (since 1994), and a firmly established upper-middle income country.[19] Mexico is considered a newly industrialized country[20][21][22][23] and an emerging power.[24] It has the thirteenth largest nominal GDP and the eleventh largest by purchasing power parity. The economy is strongly linked to those of its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, especially the United States.[25][26] Mexico ranks fifth in the world and first in the Americas by number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites with 31,[27][28][29] and in 2007 was the tenth most visited country in the world with 21.4 million international arrivals per year.[30]


      October 13, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clay

      Yeah your right we used slaves for free labor. Then we have switch are hate for one group to another are history is covered by people who the thought of get out.

      October 13, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gunny

      You are probably one of the most ignorant individuals I have seen post anything. The US became a superpower on the sweat of immigrants beginning with the Italians, Irish, and other Europeans. These immigrants were the ones fighting both of your world wars and yes those immigrants from Germany (former Nazis) were responsible for putting our astronauts on the moon for the most part. Educate yourself before posting something so ignorant.

      October 13, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Latino professional

      Clean your mobile home. Bigot.

      October 13, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland Tony

      I don't get your point. If they have work or education visas, they are not here illegally. And most if not all pay full tuition which in most cases with living expenses factored in exceeds 30K per year .......Most return to their native countries after their graduation to make the big bucks. Those who graduate with sought after skills maybe offered jobs by multinational firms somewhere but not necessarily here in the US. The remarks about Alabama et..al...I am with you 100%.

      October 13, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat_ten754

      Come on, you know that MOST illegals are indeed Mexican or some other latino. I do believe that Americans would be less upset with all the illegals if they learned to speak English immediately, as do other immigrants.

      October 13, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland Tony

      Apparently you haven't visited inner cities throughout America. The little Koreas...Chinatowns....Lil Saigons....etc.

      October 13, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Real american


      October 13, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jack Me

    Perry should move to California. He would feel right at home. All illegals must go home and come back the legal way.
    If you went to Mexico illegally, you would go to prison and that is a fact!

    October 13, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • weecharles


      October 13, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  8. D. Guajardo

    This is for Diane Boyd. If you are an out of stater, then you have never contributed a single penny in Texas to support Texas universities because you do not pay Texas taxes. Meanwhile the illegal childs family has paid taxes through sales taxes , property taxes anytime they pay rent, license fees, and countless other fees. They have earned instate tuition and out of staters have not. They are NOT getting free tuition they are merely getting a service that they have earned whether they are legal or not. It behooves the state to have these kids educated. They are staying and not going anywhere. So educate them because they are the future whether we like it or not!

    October 13, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • af090391

      Your silly if you think all that sales tax adds up to in state tuition AND road construction and other state activities. In fact, a state gets a large portion of its income from federal tax dollars, something out of state people pay in to and illegals do not.

      And yes, it behooves them to have educated people in the state, but removing illegals from the state would allow people who are actually supposed to get funding as a citizen to have a better chance at going to college. We are not doing our job right if we are going to let illegals steal college money and college openings from citizens.

      October 13, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • weecharles

      are you kidding me? your saying that illegals don't pay federal taxes. you are a bold faced liar. most of the illegals have jobs out in the fields. these are owned by large companies so they are going to pay them with checks because then they get tax breaks. when you get a pay check there are state taxes, medicare taxes, and yes FEDERAL TAXES!

      October 13, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • HandfulOfPeter

      illegals do not pay federal income tax. They pay other taxes yes, but not federal income tax.

      October 13, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Texan

      Texas does not have a state income tax. The only tax they would pay is sales tax.

      October 13, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rich

    There wouldn't be so many tea party "citizens" around all day crying if they wanted to do the hot back breaking field work the people from Mexico are doing.I don't see any of the "jobless GOP" taking any jobs away from the people that want to work from Mexico.........

    October 13, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  10. lolita

    we'll hang him like a piñata

    October 13, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  11. steve

    here's a thought for those of you not utilizing that grey matter between your ears.

    If you are a US citizen by legal means, and had to go through the proper channels to gain citizenship, why would you support someone who is allowing others to get the same benefits without going through the proper channels? Just because a person is from an Hispanic culture does not mean they will vote for all things that benefit the illegal aliens coming from the same culture.

    the illegals aren't voting, the legals are.

    besides, Perry is firstmost a (greedy) politican. I have considered voting for him if he gains the presidential nomination if for no other reason than to get him out of Texas. (sarcasm, for those not aware)

    October 13, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. Portland Tony

    It appears that most of you rednecks down there in Texas didn't take advantage of instate tuition offered to legals. How do I know this? You voted for. Bush then Perry to be your Governor.

    October 13, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  13. Proud Latina

    I am very proud to say our family on both sides have gotten an education: associate degress, bachelor degrees, master's degree, and we are very proud of our Phd also. All of our family has contributed to this country in education, work, and have volunteered and served in for this great country. I have taught my children to get ahead and do well in school. And most importantly, my children are proud and not ashamed of their Hispanic heritage because we are hard workers. Our family are all U.S. citizens. And yes I do consider myself a Tiger mom and proud of it!

    October 13, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  14. TIM

    This has always baffled me. Perry is trying to make is easier for illegal immigrants to have an education but cut most of the funding for education. I mean I know he is a hippocrate, but this is too much. Wait, could he really not care about illegal immigrants' education? Could he be just trying to bring in more capital for Texas universities and colleges? That definitely sounds more like Perry. Why would anyone believe he care about an illegal immigrant's college education when he doesn't care about the education for any of Texas' youth? It would make you sick if you saw just how little of funds are given to Texas schools. Perry = Curse of Texas

    October 13, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. clc777

    people we need to stop trying to help Perry get to the White House. if he comes to your town. Tell them to go home and take his followers with him, we do not want another Bush administration and out White House .

    October 13, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
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