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UPDATED: Frank Sharry: Romney's New Spanish-Language Immigration Ad is a "Fraud"

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UPDATED: Univision just published a fact-check on this ad.  Here’s an excerpt:

“And to achieve permanent solutions for undocumented youth.”

During the primaries, Romney said he would veto the current version of the DREAM Act, which would have given undocumented youth a special path to citizenship for those that serve in the military or pursue a college degree. Romney has only made clear that undocumented immigrants that complete military service will eventually become citizens. The Romney campaign did not respond to our request to clarify if college-bound undocumented youth will also be given a path to legalization under his presidency.

In the second presidential debate two nights ago, Mitt Romney worked hard to appear softer on immigration than he was during the primaries, and unfortunately, some people are buying it.

Here are a couple of the misconceptions:

  • That Romney now supports the DREAM Act.  He doesn’t; rather he has vowed to veto the DREAM Act.  On Tuesday, he offered that DREAMers should have an opportunity to become permanent residents—but only if they join the military.  As Steve Dinan of the Washington Times wrote, that difference “matters immensely.”  While a military option for DREAMers could help up to tens of thousands of immigrant youth, that’s “a long way from the estimated 1.7 million illegal immigrants that could earn tentative legal status under President Obama’s new non-deportation policy or under the Dream Act.”
  • Self-deportation is a “choice.”  Let’s be clear: self-deportation is the theory behind anti-immigrant laws like Arizona’s SB 1070 and Alabama’s HB 56.  It involves making life as miserable for immigrants as possible—by making jobs and public services unavailable to them, by making them too terrified to drive or leave their homes, by shutting off their power and utilities—so that they are forced to leave.  There’s no “choice” about it.

Yesterday, Romney came out with yet another attempt to look moderate on immigration: this Spanish-language ad.

Notice that Romney attacks Obama for failing to enact comprehensive immigration reform—a plan Romney does not support—as Obama promised in 2008.  Also notice that Romney refers to “undocumented youth” after spending Tuesday’s debate calling them “illegals.”

Today, Elise Foley at Huffington Post reported that immigration advocates have called on Romney to take down  the misleading ad:

Immigrant rights groups called Thursday for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to stop airing a Spanish-language television ad that debuted Wednesday, calling its claims that he worked with Democrats on immigration reform as Massachusetts’ governor and would do the same as president, misleading.

“Romney’s ad is a fraud,” Frank Sharry, executive director of pro-immigration reform group America’s Voice, said in an email. “The only permanent solution we know Romney will advocate is ‘self-deportation,’ which is code for a purge of millions of hardworking Latino immigrant families.”

Romney vetoed Massachusetts’ version of the Dream Act, which would have given in-state tuition to some young undocumented immigrants, Sharry pointed out.


Erika Andiola, an undocumented immigrant and political director of Dream Action Coalition, said Latino voters won’t be convinced by Romney’s recent statements.

“After running on an anti-immigrant platform all year, he is now trying to mislead the Latino community without details on a real solutions,” she said in an email. “Self-deportation, e-verify, SB-1070, and a military pathway only to residency are not the solutions Dreamers and the Latino community are looking for.”

The Dream Action Coalition held a press conference today to talk about the ad, which focused on how Romney has promised to veto the DREAM Act—and how Romney did veto a 2004 state DREAM Act tuition bill (that was supported by both parties) when he was governor of Massachusetts.  The DRM Capitol Group has been birddogging Romney through many of his campaign events this general election, and announced plans to continue to do so until he takes the ad down.