As we’ve noted many times, Mitt Romney put his anti-immigrant views, including opposition to the DREAM Act, front and center in his campaign for President. What else we could we expect from someone being advised by Kris Kobach?
The next primaries are on February 28th in Michigan and Arizona. When the Romney campaign rolled into Arizona this week, DREAMers were there to greet him:
Romney at times struggled to talk over a small but vocal group of protesters outside the Mesa Amphitheatre who were calling on Romney to reverse his opposition to the Dream Act. The legislation would provide a path to citizenship for some undocumented students or military members.
Romney didn’t address the protesters but focused instead on Obama and his fellow Republican competitors.
More on the protest and the political implications for Romney:
Prior to the rally, other protestors met outside the venue. One of them was a group of young residents who were representing the DREAM Act. This is a proposed bill to allow children who are not US citizens the choice of attending college or enrolling in the military to help them earn a path to citizenship.
Mitt Romney has been opposed to the legislation and prefers instead that they “self-deport.” This is a term which has recently been used by Romney and Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, who is a lawyer who has worked much of his life to encourage the passage of laws which will make it difficult for undocumented residents to live comfortably in the country. His hope is that this “attrition by enforcement” with laws like Arizona’s nearly defunct SB1070 will cause them to leave the country. Kobach has been actively advising Romney on immigration related issues during his campaign.
It is possible that such strict policies could end up hurting Romney and other hard line Republicans in key swing states in the general election. The racial make-up of the crowd wasn’t lost on reporters at the event. The vast majority of the crowd was white which was significant because the venue is located in the diverse town of Mesa. Considering that Arizona has a thirty percent Latino population, it appeared that few of them were in attendance at the rally.
DREAM Act proponent Erika Andiola explained that “when it comes to the general election, if he does end up as the candidate for the Republican Party, he is going to have to get the Latino voters on his side, otherwise he is not going to win.” In regard to Rick Santorum, she said, “our biggest threat is Romney because he has been aligning himself with so many anti-immigrant voters. Santorum has been talking, but Romney has been making action.”
And, video of the protest from our friends at DRM Capitol Group: