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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Politics > Rick Perry emerges more and more as a reluctant ally to Latinos

Rick Perry emerges more and more as a reluctant ally to Latinos

LatinaLista — Aside from Tea Party groupies, it’s pretty safe to say that most Americans look at the GOP debates with a mixture of curiosity, amusement, boredom and disgust.

Though most polls have the same two candidates leading the way — Cain and Romney –, it’s only a question of time before anymore scandals surface or videos of candidates acting loopy before fundraising audiences that can change the dynamics of the race overnight.

Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Yet, if the Latino community were asked to pick the one GOP candidate that didn’t diss Latino immigrants, in turn the Latino community, at every turn at the mic and understood that there has been a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Mexico that still needs to be respected, there is only one candidate who comes close to checking off those boxes — Rick Perry.

Though he does as bad on the debate stage as his Lone Star predecessor, George W. Bush, and he acts like he wants to follow the Tea Party anti-immigrant platform, he, like Bush, understands that Latino immigrants are part of the fabric of this country.

Yes, it’s not what Tea Party followers want to hear. And it’s fertile fodder for his opponents, but the truth is Perry hasn’t backed down from his stand on granting in-state tuition to undocumented students in Texas or opposing the idea of building a border wall.

Now, he’s opened his mouth again and it’s bound to garner the wrath of his competitors even more.

While he’s opposed to granting citizenship to undocumented immigrants, he’s not opposed to them working here legally and returning to their home countries.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry says America should extend work visas to allow illegal immigrants to move freely between the U.S. and their home countries — but opposes a path to citizenship.

The Republican presidential candidate told CNN’s John King on Thursday that expecting authorities to arrest and deport millions of illegal immigrants isn’t realistic.

That’s the first rational thing coming from the mouth of any GOP candidate.

To be honest, some in the Latino community were waiting for Newt Gingrich to speak up first. After all, he created a bilingual web site to “give voice” to Latinos called The Americano.

Too bad he couldn’t, and still can’t, find his own voice to defend the Latino community from some of the attacks of his competitors. But giving voice to a constituency and actually speaking on their behalf are two different things.

It seems only one presidential candidate understands that so far.

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