An array of Republican voices and surrogates are claiming that a President Mitt Romney would push for sensible immigration reform policy. Fluent Spanish-speaking son Craig Romney has appeared in Spanish language ads promising that his “father will work toward a permanent solution to our immigration system.” Senator John McCain (R-AZ) told NBC’s “Meet the Press” host David Gregory that Romney is “willing to address” the DREAM Act and “also immigration reform in a comprehensive fashion as well. He is willing to do that and is ready to do that. He understands the plight of these young people.” And last Sunday, Carlos Gutierrez, Commerce Secretary under George W. Bush, appeared on the “Enfoque” show on Telemundo and claimed that a President Romney would seek comprehensive immigration reform, claiming (translation by America’s Voice), a President Romney “will do something comprehensive and we have to start by changing the laws…Romney has said that he will deal with everything, the 12 million undocumented people. He will do it in a civil way, in a committed way that will fix the problem.”
Do we buy this? Would a President Romney actually push for sensible immigration policy changes? Unfortunately, evidence to the contrary of the claims of Craig Romney, Carlos Gutierrez, and John McCain continues to pile up.
The latest is the role that anti-immigrant legal architect Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State, continues to have in Romney’s Republican Party. As CNN’s Peter Hamby tweeted today, Kobach “is one of the delegates helping write the Republican Party platform” for their upcoming convention in Tampa. Kobach is the former senior counsel for anti-immigrant organization FAIR’s legal arm, a longstanding and continued advisor to Romney on immigration policy, and the architect of the Arizona and Alabama approach to immigration. While courts continue to rebuff Kobach’s objective—to have states wrest control of immigration policy from the federal government in the most costly, inhumane, and draconian manner possible—the Republican Party seems untroubled by the continued prominence of Kobach and other anti-immigrant leaders. In fact, notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, AZ, fresh from a civil rights trial where his anti-Latino bona fides were aired for the world to see, will also be speaking in Tampa to Western state Republican delegates at an event associated with the Arizona Republican Party (we’ll let the obvious joke pass about the fact that Arpaio’s appearance is at Tampa’s Lowrey Park Zoo).
Meanwhile, while Romney has largely refused to discuss immigration during the general election, he also has failed to distance himself from the hardline immigration stances that he adopted in the primary season. Romney has pledged to veto the DREAM Act, called Arizona’s approach to immigration a ‘model’ for the nation, and articulated the notion of “self-deportation” as his vision for the nation’s immigration policy.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director at America’s Voice:
Despite the magical thinking of Romney surrogates, let there be no mistake where Mitt Romney’s Republican Party stands on immigration. They continue to provide Kris Kobach not just a seat at the table, but an ear to the nominee. Meanwhile, Sheriff Arpaio, this generation’s Bull Connor, is courted and featured as a hero. Perhaps the Romney surrogates claiming that as President, Romney would push for sensible reform, know something the rest of the world does not. But the continued embrace of Kris Kobach and Joe Arpaio and the refusal of Romney to take out his Etch-a-Sketch to soften his hard-line primary stances should make it clear what’s in store in the case of a Romney presidency.