The announcement this weekend by Governor Rick Perry of Texas that he is a Republican candidate for President of the United States was not particularly welcome news to Latinos and, in particular, those who live in Texas. According to a report in the new Latino Voices of the Huffington Post (August 14, 2011), Latinos have not fared particularly well under Perry’s eleven-year run as governor.
Latinos represent 38% of that state’s population and yet many are still mired in poverty and low educational attainment. Running a deficit this year, Perry has slashed the state’s education budget affecting especially Latino students.
Texas has the lowest rate of people with health insurance and many of these are Latinos.
Perry brags about his job creation skills and yet most of these jobs are dead-end minimum wage ones that many Latinos occupy.
On immigration, Perry opposes any comprehensive immigration reform that would include amnesty for the eleven million undocumented in the country most of them Latinos. He also opposes most of the provisions of the proposed Dream Act that would allow a pathway to legalization and citizenship to the undocumented children of undocumented immigrants.
Perry favors an even greater militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border. He is against driver’s licenses for the undocumented. He has called for the elimination of “sanctuary cities” in his state. He favors mandating that voters show a photo I.D. in order to be allowed to vote that many believe will discourage voters and in particular minority ones such as Latinos.
Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio has called such proposals by Perry as “easily the most anti-Latino agenda in more than a generation.”
This is part of who Rick Perry is and his record with respect to Latinos. Latino voters are expected again to play a major role in the 2012 presidential election especially if it is close and, no doubt, many will be looking at Perry’s record and relationship with Latinos in Texas that leaves much to be desired.