In his column at the New York Daily News, Albor Ruiz explains the critical importance of the immigration issue for Latino voters:
Lately much noise has been coming from the Republicans about how immigration is not that big an issue for Hispanics and how it will not turn Latino voters away from Mitt Romney, their presumptive presidential contender.
The economy, not immigration, is the number one issue for Latinos, they say. And the economy is Romney’s strongest point, they argue.
I have news for them: As poll after poll makes clear, even if it is not at the top of their list of concerns, there is no more defining issue than immigration for the nearly 20 million Latinos who are eligible to vote.
Yes, it is true that, not surprisingly, Hispanics share the concerns of the rest of the population. But it is also true that a politician’s attitude towards immigration is decisive in earning the trust of Latino voters.
Recently both Latinos and general voters were polled by Wall Street Journal/NBC/Telemundo. The research confirmed once again what many of us already knew: Latino voters see immigration as very important. It also ratified that even if for other voters immigration is not as important, they are far more open to practical solutionis than what Romney and Republicans believe.
On immigration, Mitt Romney has chosen to take the counsel of notoriously anti-immigrant Kris Kobach, who drafted Arizona’s SB 1070 and Alabama’s HB 56. Kobach is also the inspiration for Mitt’s pronouncement that “the answer is self-deportation.” Apparently, even some fellow Republicans know that’s not the answer. Mitt’s harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric during the primaries warranted an “intervention” from Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
For the past few months, Mitt has been mostly silent on the immigration issue, even in the wake of Obama’s DREAM relief announcement and the Supreme Court decision on SB 1070. But his silence speaks volumes; the GOP nominee has maintained his hard line positions and adopted a strategy of trying to avoid the conservation rather than changing his beliefs. Besides endorsing self-deportation, Romney vowed to veto the DREAM Act, and he thinks Arizona’s SB 1070 is a “model for the nation.”
As Albor Ruiz states, “there is no more defining issue than immigration for the nearly 20 million Latinos who are eligible to vote.”
Mitt has clearly defined himself as anti-immigrant.