Last week, President Obama and Multiple Choice Mitt Romney both gave speeches to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (“NALEO”) in which they addressed economic and immigration issues. In his speech, President Obama outlined the economic issues at stake in this election, explained the importance of his new DREAMers immigration policy, reiterated his call for Congress to pass the DREAM Act, and explained why we need immigration reform and a Congress that will stop obstructing such reform.
Multiple Choice Mitt, meanwhile, was in full-bore Etch-a-Sketch mode. Romney did reiterate some of his anti-undocumented immigrant policies, saying that he would:
re-double our efforts to secure the borders – that means both preventing illegal border crossings and making it harder to illegally overstay a visa. We should field enough border patrol agents, complete a high-tech fence, and implement and improve exit verification system.
But gone was much of the anti-immigration rhetoric that Romney spewed during the GOP primaries. In its place was praise for legal immigration and a softer tone on undocumented immigrants. Romney also promised a “long term solution” for DREAMers but, outside of a promise to provide a “path to legal status” for anyone who serves in the military, he offered no details as to what that “solution” would purportedly involve.
What Multiple Choice Mitt did not address in his speech is whether he still supports the reactionary anti-immigration positions that he has long espoused, or whether he is willing to support sensible and humane policies to address the status of the approximately 11.5 million undocumented immigrants who are hard-working, taxpaying residents of the US. So, in this edition of Questions for Mitt Romney, we ask:
* Does Romney support President Obama’s DREAMers policy? It has been more than a week since that policy was announced, and Romney still refuses to give a straight answer as to whether he supports it, though a campaign adviser says he thinks Romney would repeal it.
* Does Romney still believe that the DREAM Act should be vetoed because it is a “magnet for illegal immigration”
* At a time of limited budgetary resources, does Romney believe it is good policy for the US government to be spending an average of $23,148 of taxpayer money to deport each DREAMer?
* Does Romney still support the strategy of “self-deportation,” which seeks to make life in the US so hard for undocumented immigrants that they “voluntarily” choose to leave the country?
* Does Romney still believe that Arizona’s harsh anti-immigration law is a “model” for the nation.
* Is Kris Kobach, the virulently anti-immigrant Attorney General of Kansas who crafted the self-deportation strategy, still an adviser to the Romney campaign on immigration issues? What role would Mr. Kobach play in a Romney Administration?
The simple reality is that Mitt Romney has a long track record of taking extreme reactionary positions on immigration issues, and during the GOP primary Romney espoused views that led blogger Steve Benen to justifiably declare Romney “the the most right-wing candidate on immigration of any competitive presidential hopeful in generations.” Nothing about Romney’s speech to NALEO last week changes the reality that, when it comes to immigration, a Romney Presidency would be marked by extreme anti-immigration policies of self-deportation, not the sensible and humane policies demonstrated by the DREAM Act.
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