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The general election has started in earnest, which means the etch-a-sketching has begun.
Last week on CNN, Anderson Cooper 360 aired a segment probing into Mitt Romney’s recent (and changing) positions on immigration, and what he has said about the subject as he travels from conservative South Carolina to Latino-vote heavy Florida. He’s said that he supports Arizona’s arch-anti-immigrant law SB 1070 but refuted the idea that he ever called that law a “model” for the country. He’s said that he would veto the DREAM Act if it ever came to him as president but has expressed willingness to look at a watered down version of the bill currently being floated by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).
Watch the video below:
Crooks and Liars today links to what Romney actually said during the CNN debate in February:
KING: Governor Romney, the border security is part of the equation, what to do about whether it’s 8 million or 11 million illegal immigrants in the country now is another part of the equation. And Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who’s with us tonight from Maricopa County — he’s in the audience — he told me — he told me this week here in Mesa — these are his words — “it’s called political garbage, if you will, to not arrest illegals already in this country.”
You’ve talked to the governor about self-deportation, if businesses do their job, asking for the right documents, the people will leave. What about arresting? Should there be aggressive, seek them out, find them and arrest them as the Sheriff Arpaio advocates?
ROMNEY: You know, I think you see a model in Arizona. They passed a law here that says — that says that people who come here and try and find work, that the employer is required to look them up on e- verify. This e-verify system allows employers in Arizona to know who’s here legally and who’s not here legally.
And as a result of e-verify being put in place, the number of people in Arizona that are here illegally has dropped by some 14 percent, where the national average has only gone down 7 percent.So going back to the question that was asked, the right course for America is to drop these lawsuits against Arizona and other states that are trying to do the job Barack Obama isn’t doing.
And I will drop those lawsuits on day one. I’ll also complete the fence.
As Crooks and Liars asked, “If Romney doesn’t support the Arizona law, why did he say he wanted the law suit against it dropped? And why did he think it was a good idea to take on an extremist like Kris Kobach for an adviser?”
Therein lies the real rub. It doesn’t matter whether Romney called SB 1070 a model for the nation or not, just as it doesn’t matter whether Romney calls SB 1070 author Kris Kobach an advisor or a supporter. Romney’s support for SB 1070 and its theory of self-deportation is well-documented. However he chooses to phrase it, what Romney genuinely believes is that it’s OK to make life as miserable as possible for immigrants because that will lead them to pack up and leave. Self-deportation laws like SB 1070 and Alabama’s HB 56 lead to incredible trauma and turmoil for immigrant families, the kind that can’t be etch-a-sketched away. If Mitt Romney thinks that he can get Latino voters to forget about these extremely harsh and discriminatory anti-immigrant policies just by tweaking what he says about them, he’s in for a November surprise.