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On Immigration, Portman’s Record Speaks Louder Than Last-Minute Campaign Promises

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Last night, former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland (R) said that he “very strongly” supports a path to citizenship for aspiring Americans, while his rival, incumbent Senator Rob Portman, expressed support for just legalizing their status.  Some are reporting that this means the candidates largely agree on immigration.  But for veterans of the immigration debate, Portman’s last-minute campaign promises don’t undo his record of opposition.

Said Lynn Tramonte, Director of Ohio’s Voice: “Well isn’t that convenient?  Now that there’s no bill to vote on, but there is an election taking place, Rob Portman says he supports immigrants.  When he had a chance to do the right thing in 2013, and vote yes on a bill that would actually help Ohio immigrants and families, he bolted.  He has his excuses, of course, but they are pure Washington politics.  The real test of a leader is whether you do the right thing when the cameras are off, and Rob Portman has repeatedly failed to do the right thing for Ohio’s immigrants.”

Cleveland attorney David Leopold explained the truth behind Rob Portman’s 2013 games on immigration in a Cincinnati Enquirer op-ed that begins: “It’s hard to say what’s more disheartening: Sen. Rob Portman’s vote against the toughest immigration bill in Senate history, or his feeble justification for abandoning it.”

As Leopold explained: “Senate colleagues gave Portman a chance to include his E-Verify piece as part of a larger amendment that was guaranteed to pass. He turned their offer down because he wanted the glory of a separate vote on his piece that never came. His own party blocked votes on amendments, and he lost his chance.”

Tramonte continued: “Here are the facts: Senator Portman voted against immigration reform in 2013; he opposes DACA and DAPA; and he stood by Donald Trump’s side through every anti-immigrant twist and turn of his campaign.  A fluffy Spanish language campaign ad promising to ‘create better jobs’ and a too-little-too-late promise to support immigration reform are no substitute for the actions he has taken against Ohio’s immigrants.”