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A series of media outlets reported yesterday that a key phrase used in Mitt Romney’s stump speech and campaign advertisements, “Keep America American,” turns out to be a slogan the Ku Klux Klan used in the 1920s to protest the arrival of Irish immigrants. Separate from the specific origins of the phrase, it’s shocking that Romney would choose a slogan like this to sum up his worldview. But certainly it provides important insight into the way the candidate would govern on a number of issues, including immigration.
According to our own Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
The fact that the Ku Klux Klan originated this phrase speaks for itself. But let there be no mistake – alongside Romney’s stated goal of deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants, this phrase makes it clear that Mitt Romney is appealing to the ugly side of America rather than our hopeful, forward-thinking side.
On the campaign trail, Romney has endorsed mass deportation as his immigration policy vision, meaning his goal involves evicting the entire undocumented population from the U.S. without exception. For example, at last Saturday’s ABC News/Des Moines Register debate, Romney said:
My own view is those 11 million people should register the fact that they’re here in the country. They should be given some transition period of time to allow them to settle their affairs and then return home and get in line at the back of the line with everybody else that wants to come here….So, from my viewpoint, the key measure is this: no favoritism for permanent residency or citizenship for those that have come here illegally.
However, the “line” that Romney is referring to simply doesn’t exist – hence the need for comprehensive immigration reform in the first place.
As America’s Voice has recently highlighted, the Romney immigration approach is not only extreme and impractical, but it is not favored by Republican voters and caucus-goers during the primary season nor general election voters.
With each passing day, it’s clear that the candidate whose selling point was supposed to be his viability in the general election is not that at all. He’s embraced extremist viewpoints and adopted policies that appeal to the xenophobic corners of American society. If Romney does emerge from the primary season as the Republican nominee, let’s hope he recognizes that the American public is in no mood for this brand of divisive politics.