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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio's attempt at immigration policy shows challenges for Romney

17

September

Mitt Romney will say later today in a speech that he'll work on immigration reform if elected, making the same pledge that Barack Obama did and never accomplished.

"For years, Republicans and Democrats seem to have been more interested in playing politics with immigration than with actually fixing it," Romney will say to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles, according to excerpts released by the campaign. "Candidate Obama said that one of his highest priorities would be to fix immigration in his first year in office. Despite his party having majorities in both house of Congress, the president never even offered up a bill. Like so many issues confronting our nation, when it comes to immigration, politics has been put ahead of people for too long. I will work with Republicans and Democrats to permanently fix our immigration system."

Obama has disappointed many Hispanics for not following through on his promise, though he still holds a large lead over Romney among the voting group. Romney took hard line immigration positions during the primary, so he'll have to carefully balance that with his new tone. The politics remain heated. Ask Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who was working on a Dream Act alternative and encountered resistance from conservatives who said it was amnesty.

Obama sidestepped Rubio with an executive decision granting some young illegal immigrants work permits and allowing them to avoid deportation.

"We will never achieve a legal immigration system that is fair and efficient if we do not first get control of our borders," Romney says in his speech. "I believe we can all agree that what we need are fair and enforceable immigration laws that will stem the flow of illegal immigration, while strengthening legal immigration."

Jeb Bush, who like Rubio has sought to become a voice on the issue, is writing a book called Immigration Wars.

Frank Sharry of the pro-immigration America's Voice said Romney needs to be more specific.

"While Romney is content to call for a permanent fix to immigration, as he does in his advance remarks today, we still await answers to the key immigration questions: if he’s president, what will happen to the DREAMers who President Obama moved to protect and who now are applying for deferred action status?" he said in a statement. "And what will happen to the rest of the undocumented immigrant population living and raising families in America, given that Romney sees Arizona’s immigration approach as a ‘model’ for the nation and has not retreated one inch from his ‘self-deportation’ stance?  The only thing bold about Mitt Romney’s remarks is his belief that he can get away with offering platitudes instead of policy substance and that it will somehow win over Latino voters.”

 

[Last modified: Monday, September 17, 2012 12:53pm]

    

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