Texas Governor Rick Perry reminds me of a better looking, more confident George W. Bush (not that I would necessarily describe GWB as handsome). Both men were popular governors of Texas, both men were yell leaders in college, both were mediocre students, both can channel the Lord in their vernacular in a way that resonates with evangelical Christians, and both governors oversaw plenty of executions while in office. Yet Perry had once taken a more balanced approach to immigration following GWB’s lead, even signing into law the Texas DREAM Act back in 2001.
Recently, Governor Perry stated this when asked about the Texas DREAM Act, “To punish these young Texans for their parents’ actions is not what America has always been about.” This statement leads one to believe that he may support some version of the federal DREAM Act. Yet as the political discourse on immigration has continued to become more extreme, Perry has toughened his stance on the issue.
The Huffington Post‘s Yolanda Gonzalez Gomez writes:
“As governor of a state in which nearly 38 percent of the population is Latino and where 1.6 million — mostly Latino — undocumented workers reside, Perry has been clear in his opposition to the inclusion of amnesty in the immigration reform proposals voiced by President Obama, and has favored only a limited version of the DREAM Act.
Under Perry’s mandate, Texas has reinforced security along the border with Mexico, adding more agents, and he has argued for the use of the National Guard, military-style special ops and unmanned aircraft outfitted with high-tech cameras to further monitor and control the border region.
This intensified vigilance has not come cheaply. In a report released by his own administration, the government reported having spent over $400 million since 2005 on border security programs.
Perry has also been a vocal supporter of the Texas Department of Public Safety’s program to request valid residency documents from driver’s license applicants who are not U.S. citizens.
At the beginning this year, Perry presented an emergency package of initiatives to the Texas state legislature that included the elimination of so-called ‘sanctuary cities’ in the state, a requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls, and a mandate that local police comply with federal immigration laws.”
Governor Perry’s “get tough” stance on immigration will give some in the Latino community a reason to pause, but this is where President Obama will have a tough time distinguishing himself from whoever becomes the GOP presidential nominee because of his own aggressive deportation record.
Perry will also have to answer questions about his own job creating record, which recent reports have shown to be at the lower end of the wage spectrum. Recent state budget cuts in Texas will also likely impact jobs, as people are laid off.
But Rick Perry is certainly interesting…ok, I’ll admit, he can be funny, and he is going to likely get more traction than Mitt Romney will get with the average conservative and possibly even with Latino conservatives who don’t mind a Jose Cuervo joke every now and again.