Perry’s Immigration Stance Challenged By Romney & Bachman During GOP Debate

September 23, 2011 1:20 pm 0 comments

Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s chances of garnering the nomination for the GOP’s presidential candidacy took a beating Thursday night during a debate in Florida thanks in large part to his stance on immigration.

Republican presidential hopefuls such as Massachusetts’ Gov. Mitt Romney and Congresswoman Michelle Bachman of Minnesota jumped on Perry’s policy that allows the children of undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at Texas colleges. The GOP candidates claimed that the policy was a “magnet” for people crossing the border from Mexico as well as a taxpayer subsidy for law-breakers and evidence that Perry is not the ardent conservative he appears to be.

After the debate , Perry defended his state’s version of the so-called DREAM Act and said that it was appropriate for a state that shares a long border with Mexico. “If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they have been brought there by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart,” Perry said.

Perry is currently the GOP front-runner and also heads a state that is over 37 percent Hispanic, according to 2010 Census data. He has recently found his stance on immigration to be a hindrance as he battles to maintain his lead in the polls.

Both his opponents and conservative commentators have criticized the Texas governor for his position before and it seems likely that they will continue to harp on the point as the election season heats up. “As president of the United States, I will build a fence on our border against illegal immigration,” Michelle Bachman said, speaking to the Conservative Policy Action Conference of Florida. “And we will not have taxpayer-subsidized benefits for illegal immigrants or their children.”

Mitt Romney also latched on to Perry’s comment that if you’re opposed to undocumented immigrants than “you don’t have a heart.”

“I think if you’re opposed to illegal immigration, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a heart. It means that you have a heart and a brain,” Romney said. The Massachusetts’ governor is no stranger to controversy surrounding the immigration debate, as in his 2008 presidential bid it was revealed that he had hired a company that employed undocumented immigrants to work on his lawn.

He fired the company shortly soon thereafter.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a moderate conservative who sits low in the polls, came to Perry’s defense during the debate. “I believe immigration is a human as well as an economic issue, and that children of illegal immigrants shouldn’t be punished for the sins of their parents,” Huntsman said.

While leading the polls in the GOP race, Perry is still a controversial figure among many Republicans. A onetime Democrat who switched to the GOP in the late 1980s, Perry is known for his strong support of a path to citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants and his opposition to a barrier between the U.S. and Mexico.

During the debate Perry did try to appeal to the more hardline Republicans by touting his state’s $400 million investment in border security and saying that he sided with Arizona on the state’s controversial law aimed at deporting undocumented immigrants. However, Perry has said in the past that Arizona’s model is not right for Texas.

Immigration will be a key issue as Republican hopeful’s vie for the GOP candidacy in the upcoming months. While the candidates need to maintain their conservative base, they also need to appeal to the rapidly growing Hispanic population in the U.S.

Many Hispanic in the U.S. have become frustrated with the Obama administration’s lack of progress when it comes to comprehensive immigration reform, especially after this week’s report that he has sent home over 1 million undocumented immigrants while in office – on pace to deport more in one term than former President George W. Bush did in two.

“In addition to our concerns about the administration’s apparent abandonment of immigration enforcement, we also have significant concerns about how this new policy was developed.” said Clarissa Martínez de Castro, Director of Immigration and National Campaigns for the National Council of La Raza. “(Obama) support was dropping among Latinos … If at the end of the day what you have is an announcement that is sound from a policy perspective and it is actually good politically — we should be so lucky to have more of those.”

Photo:eschipul @Flickr.

Leave a Reply


Other News

  • Mexico North America Today in Latin America Fugitive Police Official Captured Over Mexican Students’ Disappearance

    Fugitive Police Official Captured Over Mexican Students’ Disappearance

    Top Story — The former deputy police chief of Cocula, Guerrero, has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of 43 students from nearby Iguala, the Mexican Attorney General’s Office announced on Friday. César Nava González had been on the run since Sept. 26 — the night of the students’ disappearance — and was apprehended on Nov. 16. According to the attorney general’s office, Nava González went into hiding in Mexico City, and then in the city of Colima. He […]

    Read more →
  • North America Today in Latin America United States Sidestepping Congress, Obama Unveils Plan To Protect 5 Million From Deportation

    Sidestepping Congress, Obama Unveils Plan To Protect 5 Million From Deportation

    Top Story — U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday unveiled a three-part executive order on immigration that would protect up to five million undocumented immigrants from deportation, sidestepping a year of gridlock over immigration reform in the Republican-led House of Representatives. The president’s plan, presented in a fifteen-minute speech, would also expand border enforcement and facilitate legal immigration for skilled immigrants. Obama stressed that while the nearly five million undocumented immigrants affected would be allowed to register and legally seek […]

    Read more →
  • Central America Honduras Today in Latin America Missing Beauty Queen, Sister, Found Dead in Honduras

    Missing Beauty Queen, Sister, Found Dead in Honduras

    Top Story — The bodies of reigning Miss Honduras María José Alvarado, 19, and her sister Sofía, 23, were found in a riverbank grave in an area west of the capital city, Tegucigalpa, police announced Wednesday. Since the sisters went missing on Nov. 13, their disappearance has become national news in the country with the world’s highest peacetime murder rate. Sofía Alvarado’s boyfriend, Plutarco Ruiz, has been arrested and is considered the main suspect in the killings. Aris Maldonado, an […]

    Read more →
  • Andes Colombia News Briefs North America Colombian Government and FARC Agree on Process to Free Kidnapped General

    Colombian Government and FARC Agree on Process to Free Kidnapped General

    An agreement has been reached between FARC rebels and the Colombia government on steps to release Gen. Rubén Darío Alzate, according to a statement released by the Cuban and Norwegian governments, which were involved in brokering the deal. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has suspended two-year-old peace talks with the FARC in the wake of Alzate’s capture, insisting that the talks would not resume until Alzate was returned. Alzate, who is the the highest-ranking officer to be taken by the […]

    Read more →
  • Mexico North America Today in Latin America Peña Nieto Says Protesters Seek To Destabilize Mexico

    Peña Nieto Says Protesters Seek To Destabilize Mexico

    Top Story — Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto on Tuesday accused “violent movements” of taking advantage of anger over the September disappearance of 43 students to sow unrest as discontent over the issue shows no sign of abating. His remarks come as pressure builds over the missing students from the rural Ayotzinapa teacher training school in Guerrero state, who officials recently said corrupt local police arrested and turned over to a drug gang, which killed them and incinerated their bodies. […]

    Read more →
  • Andes Peru Today in Latin America Report Highlights Activist Murders in Peru Ahead of Lima Climate Talks

    Report Highlights Activist Murders in Peru Ahead of Lima Climate Talks

    Top Story — Just two weeks before the U.N. Climate Change Conference begins in Lima, Peru, nonprofit Global Witness has released a widely publicized report naming the country the fourth deadliest in the world to be an environmental or land activist. Since 2002, 57 activists have been killed in Peru, more than half of them in the last four years. Peru is facing international scrutiny due to the slow pace of an investigation into the Aug. 31 killing of four […]

    Read more →
  • Brazil Southern Cone Today in Latin America Brazil Arrests 27 in Petrobras Corruption Scandal

    Brazil Arrests 27 in Petrobras Corruption Scandal

    Top Story — Brazilian authorities on Friday arrested 27 people in connection with an investigation into a multibillion-dollar corruption scheme at the state-run oil company Petrobras. Among the 27 was the firm’s engineering director, the second senior executive to be arrested in connection with the scandal. Following the arrests, President Dilma Rousseff said that the “symbolic case” would change Brazilian society forever. Rousseff served as energy minister under her predecessor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The investigation began when a […]

    Read more →
  • Colombia News Briefs Colombia Suspends Peace Talks Over General’s Apparent Kidnapping

    Colombia Suspends Peace Talks Over General’s Apparent Kidnapping

    Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has suspended the government’s peace talks with FARC guerrillas after the group’s apparent detention of an army general, jeopardizing the future of the negotiations at a key moment. General Rubén Darío Alzate and two others reportedly went missing in the rebel-dominated northern province of Chocó. The president has said that all signs point to FARC, and that he expects the group to release the three before continuing with negotiations. The FARC, however, have not confirmed […]

    Read more →
  • Andes Today in Latin America Venezuela Venezuela Court Refuses to Release Opposition Leader, Despite U.N. Appeal

    Venezuela Court Refuses to Release Opposition Leader, Despite U.N. Appeal

    Top Story — A Venezuelan court has refused to release leading opposition politician Leopoldo López, despite appeals by the United Nations, the López’s defense lawyer said Thursday. López has been imprisoned along with other opposition figures since February for his alleged role in anti-government protests that left at least 40 people dead and hundreds injured. He faces charges of inciting violence in an attempt to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro, who took office after his predecessor and mentor Hugo Chávez died […]

    Read more →
  • Andes Blog Colombia Today in Latin America FARC Apologizes for Killing Indigenous Leaders

    FARC Apologizes for Killing Indigenous Leaders

    Top Story — The FARC, Colombia’s largest rebel group, has issued a statment saying that they “profoundly lament” killing two indigenous Nasa men near the southwestern municipality of Toribío earlier this month. The apology comes after seven FARC rebels were put on trial in a tribal court for the killings on Nov. 9, and five of them given long prison sentences. The two Nasa men were part of the indigenous guard, the police force in the indigenous territory. According to […]

    Read more →