Paul Ryan voted against the DREAM Act in 2010 and voted for the infamous Sensenbrenner bill in 2005, which would have turned undocumented workers and anyone who helped them – including their priests and pastors – into felons. On the campaign trail this year, Ryan attacked President Obama for not passing the very type of immigration reform that all Republicans opposed. Ryan’s opposition to the DREAM Act and immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship is especially curious given his reputation for fiscal discipline – and the array of projections from CBO and other independent analysts showing that the DREAM Act and comprehensive reform would be an economic and fiscal boon to the nation.
While Ryan’s selection was far from a Romney attempt to improve the Republicans’ standing with Latino voters, we can nonetheless expect to hear spin that Latino voters will respond to Ryan’s small government agenda and the tenets of the Ryan budget. Yet in the October 2011 impreMedia/Latino Decisions tracking pollof Latino voters, by a 73%-22% margin, Latino voters opposed cutting spending on Medicare.
For those holding out hope that the VP selection would represent an indication that Romney and the Republicans are ready to start improving their immigration stance – and to start repairing their brand image among Latino voters in the process – today’s selection of Paul Ryan is a troubling reinforcement of the Republican immigration status quo.