RNC Hispanic Outreach Director Bettina Inclán started a media firestorm yesterday when she said that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is “still deciding what his position on immigration is.” As we wrote yesterday, Inclán’s colleagues at the RNC immediately tried to walk back those comments, as they should have. Romney’s immigration positions are extremely clear — and extreme.
Other comments from Inclán yesterday received less attention, but are just as revealing. The Hill reported “Inclán said Hispanics are disappointed with Obama’s lack of progress on immigration, saying that the election would be a referendum on Obama’s record.” Inclán said, “The reality is this president has deported more Hispanics than any president in American history.”
Well, how many Hispanics would Mitt Romney deport if he were president? The Romney campaign web site, which Inclán tweeted out yesterday after her gaffe, spells out the zero tolerance policy toward immigrants that he has often espoused on the campaign trail and criticizes the President for not doing enough on enforcement. “Instead of taking a strong stand on illegal immigration,” the site says, President Obama “has ordered immigration officials to enforce immigration laws ‘selectively,’ leading to the dismissal of many deportation cases.”
So Inclán criticizes the President for deporting a record number of Latinos, while Romney criticizes the President for being too soft. The hypocrisy is undeniable, and the strategy quite obvious.
As Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice, says:
Romney is polling dismally with Latino voters, and has nothing positive to offer on immigration, so his surrogates are ramping up attacks on President Obama’s immigration record. But Latino voters aren’t stupid. The record number of deportations under Obama is of grave concern. But Romney’s plan to tighten the screws and force millions of immigrants to pack up and leave on their own is a chilling alternative. Even if Romney’s advisors don’t know where he stands, Latino voters do.