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As we predicted yesterday, Kris Kobach – the Kansas Secretary of State and legal architect of the Arizona and Alabama anti-immigrant laws – continues to drive the immigration policies of Mitt Romney’s Republican Party. Yesterday, he persuaded the RNC platform committee to adopt the key elements of his radical immigration approach, designed to drive millions of Latino immigrants out of the country in a strategy that he calls “attrition through enforcement” and Mitt Romney calls “self-deportation.” On the very same day, Romney’s Hispanic Committee co-chair articulated the campaign’s ambitious goal of winning nearly 38% of Latino voters this November – a far cry from recent polling that has him attracting as low as 22%.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Boston, we have a problem. While the Romney campaign announces its plans to nearly double the candidate’s Hispanic support, the Republican Party doubles down on radical immigration policy stances. When is the Romney campaign going to get it? Telling Latino voters – most of whom know undocumented immigrants and many of whom live in mixed-status families – to vote for their guy while the Republican Party is telling Latino immigrants to get out and go home is hardly a winning electoral strategy.
Yesterday, Republican platform committee drafters endorsed a witch’s brew of hard line immigration provisions sponsored and fought for by Kobach. As POLITICO reported, Kobach won out despite the efforts of “Republican National Committee staff, who worked in close consultation with Mitt Romney’s campaign” to try and avoid explicitly endorsing some of the draconian proposals championed by Kobach. But Kobach prevailed, in part, by reiterating Romney’s own hard line immigration stances from the primary – positions that Romney has never distanced himself from, even as he has sought to avoid discussion of what to do with America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants in the general election.
Also yesterday, Romney campaign Hispanic Leadership Team co-chair Jose Fuentes noted that the campaign is seeking to win at least 38% of Latino voters nationwide this November. For Romney to achieve the 38% threshold, he will have to dramatically improve his current standing among Latino voters. According to a Univision summary of ten polls of Latino registered voters, Obama leads Romney by 66.7 percent to 22.9 percent. Needless to say, the “very aggressive” messaging and media efforts geared to Latino voters Fuentes predicted will do little to counteract the damage done by embracing and advocating Kobach’s extremism.