Saturday, January 20, 2018
Editorials

Romney owes nation straight answer on immigration

Presidents do not get to dodge issues, and candidates for the nation's highest office should not get into that bad habit. Voters deserve a straight answer from Mitt Romney on whether he would continue President Barack Obama's new immigration policy or overturn it if he is elected. The Republican danced around the issue over the weekend, and he will have another opportunity to be more candid when he appears this week at a conference of Hispanic officials in Orlando.

Romney bobbed and weaved on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday, failing three times to directly answer how he would deal with the Obama policy as president. The new policy Obama announced on Friday allows an estimated 800,000 younger illegal immigrants to remain in the United States legally if they meet certain conditions. They have to have arrived in this country before they turned 16 years old and be younger than 30 years old, graduate from high school or hold a GED, or have served in the military. They must have been here for five straight years and cannot have a criminal record.

The policy is clear, but Romney's position on whether he would embrace it as president is anything but. He said Obama's policy "would be overtaken by events'' because he would purse a long-term change in immigration policy that would be passed by Congress, but that is no guarantee. Romney also complained that Obama's decision was political, but it is no more political than his determination to avoid taking a position.

The reality is both Democrats and Republicans were feeling pressure to adopt a more sensible immigration policy in an election year when Hispanic citizens represent a key voting bloc. Democrats complained the president had not done enough, and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio has been exploring legislation that resembles Obama's policy change. The president acted because Congress remains deadlocked over immigration, unable to pass sweeping reforms to address the 11 million illegal immigrants in this country. Congress also has failed to pass the Dream Act, which would create a path to citizenship for younger illegal immigrants who attend college or serve in the military.

Whether you are living in the White House or campaigning to move in, there is nowhere to hide on high-profile issues. Obama discovered that on the issue of same-sex marriage. He said for months that his views were "evolving,'' but he finally was forced to clarify his position last month after Vice President Joe Biden said he supported same-sex marriage. The president was unable to keep equivocating and declared his own support.

Now Romney faces a similar moment. He has used harsh anti-immigrant language in the past, supported Arizona's immigration law that the Obama administration has challenged in court and opposed the Dream Act. He owes voters a straight answer on whether he would continue Obama's new policy or overturn it if he is elected president, and he will have the perfect opportunity this week in Orlando.

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Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

The death last fall of a 20-year-old Florida State University fraternity pledge revealed pervasive dangerous behavior within the school’s Greek system. Andrew Coffey, a Pi Kappa Phi pledge, died from alcohol poisoning after an off-campus party, and a...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: Confronting racial distrust in St. Petersburg, one conversation at a time

The St. Petersburg Police Department’s heavy presence in Midtown on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the community animosity it stirred have raised a familiar, troubling question: Can St. Petersburg’s racial divisions ever be reconciled?That big ideal ...
Published: 01/19/18
William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

A surge of Democrats seeking local legislative offices and hoping for a "blue wave" in the 2018 election continued last week, led by Bob Buesing filing to run again versus state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa.In addition:• Heather Kenyon Stahl of Tampa has...
Published: 01/19/18
Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

The smiles, applause and at least one hug belied the grim impetus for a gathering last week at a neighborhood center in Tampa — the Seminole Heights killings.The Tampa Police Department held a ceremony to thank those who helped in the investigation t...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: State’s warning shot should get attention of Hillsborough schools

The state Board of Education hopefully sent the message this week with its warning shot about the slow pace of the turnaround at Hillsborough County’s low-performing schools.The board criticized the school system for failing to replace administrators...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18
Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

The Florida Legislature’s abrupt move to strip the University of South Florida St. Petersburg of its hard-earned separate accreditation and transform it back into a satellite of the major research university lacks detail and an appreciation for histo...
Published: 01/18/18

Another voice: Self-dealing by nursing home owners threatens patient care

The outsourcing of logistical support services, which became commonplace in the U.S. military in the 1990s and later was adopted by state prison systems, has now come to dominate the nursing home industry. And while nursing homes, unlike the military...
Published: 01/17/18
Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Three years into a crisis with its sewer system, St. Petersburg has a dandy new idea for dealing with the environmental fallout of dumping dirty water into the aquifer. Instead of committing to banning the outlawed practice, a consultant suggested th...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18
Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

A substitute teacher at a Plant City elementary school berated a class of fourth graders — and then the school principal. Another compared a student to a stripper. Others were caught napping, hitting children, making sexual remarks, giving students b...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18
Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

For the longest time, injured workers in Florida were basically at the mercy of the whims of employers to treat them fairly. A 2003 law aimed at reducing the cost of workers’ compensation coverage for businesses had the desired impact, but it also di...
Published: 01/16/18