Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rick Perry Faces Immigration Hurdles in Iowa

I mentioned over the weekend that Rick Perry should expect more attacks on his soft immigration positions.

Well, there's more news, from yesterday at LAT, "Rick Perry backs off 'heartless' comment." And AoSHQ, "Perry: On Second Thought (Or First?), I Shouldn't Have Said You Were Heartless."

And from the other day, at LAT, "Rick Perry's Immigration Record a Tough Sell in Iowa":

It came up unbidden in the crowd of neighbors waiting recently for the Texas governor to drop by Uncle Nancy's Coffeehouse in Newton, the former corporate home of the washing-machine giant Maytag.

"I'm not sure I like Perry's approach to immigration," said Doug Ringger, a retired Maytag marketing man. "That concerns me a little bit — or a lot. I haven't heard him say we need to seal the borders."

Iowa voters are not alone in expressing such concerns, though they might seem jarring in a state whose small towns and cornfields are hundreds of miles from the nation's southern border. The state has faced little of the political turmoil over illegal immigration that has long been a staple of politics in California, Arizona, Texas and other places that are home to greater numbers of undocumented workers.

But the 2008 arrest of nearly 400 illegal immigrants at a meatpacking plant in Postville highlighted the arrival of undocumented workers in Iowa as never before. At the same time, the growth of Iowa's Latino population has sparked discomfort among some of the white conservatives who dominate the Republican caucuses.

Though Iowa remains the sixth-whitest state in America, its Latino population has surged from 33,000 in 1990 to 152,000 last year, census figures show. Even in the absence of precise figures showing how many residents are undocumented, that cultural shift has helped turn illegal immigration into a key issue for Republican caucus voters, said Dennis Goldford, a politics professor at Drake University in Des Moines.

"That presence, particularly with regard to very small-town rural Republicans who tend to think the country they know is disappearing, this becomes a problem for them," Goldford said.
Also: "In Iowa, Anita Perry defends husband's immigration views."

VIDEO: Javier Manjarres, "Rick Perry - “I Am Not for Amnesty”."