Perry's stance on Texas Dream Act unpopular among Republicans - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Perry's stance on Texas Dream Act unpopular among Republicans

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The GOP candidates for president will be talking about foreign policy when they take the stage for another debate tonight.

Among the topics they're sure to talk about is immigration.

Governor Rick Perry has taken some heat from other candidates in recent weeks for his immigration policies as Texas governor, including the Texas Dream Act, a bill passed in 2001 that gives in-state tuition to the children of illegal immigrants as long as they have lived in Texas for three years, graduated from a Texas high school, and who promise to apply for permanent residency.

"I started looking back when this came up with the governor on national television and that's probably the only vote I regret casting in the legislature," said State Representative Leo Berman of Tyler.

There are a handful of students here at UT Tyler because of the Texas Dream Act. In a debate last month, Rick Perry said the people who don't want to educate students who are here illegally through no fault of their own have no heart. He later took back those remarks.

But Smith County Democratic Party Chair David Henderson says Perry's stance on immigration will be helpful with Hispanic voters, should he make it to the general election.

"It makes perfect sense to educate as many people in the state as possible. One of the problems with the U.S. economy is an undereducated workforce. There are lots of jobs available for well-educated people, and the more people we can educate the better," Henderson said.

But many Republicans, including State Representative Berman, just won't support Rick Perry because of his support for the Texas Dream Act.

"I think it effectively dropped him out of the race," Berman said. "He is a friend of mine, I've worked with him on numerous bills, but there is a point to the whole thing. And the point is, if you're heartless, are you heartless about the US citizen student who should be in that classroom and who should be getting in-state tuition? What about those kids?"

The GOP debate tonight takes place at 7 pm in Las Vegas. It airs on CNN.

Copyright 2011 KLTV. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly