Tuesday, June 19, 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.

Comments
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but it’s also suppression

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Monday to allow Ohio’s purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they haven’t voted, Ohio’s purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Free rides will serve as a test of whether the streetcar is serious transportation

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride for free?This fall, the TECO Streetcar Line eliminates its $2.50-a-ride-fare, providing the best opportunity yet to see whether the system’s vintage streetcar replicas can serve as a legitimate transportation a...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

AT&T and the case for digital innovation

A good way to guarantee you’ll be wrong about something is to predict the future of technology. As in, "One day, we’ll all …" Experts can hazard guesses about artificial intelligence, driverless cars or the death of cable television, but technologica...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

The Florida Department of Children and Families has correctly set a quick deadline for Hillsborough County’s main child welfare provider to correct its foster care program. For too long the same story has played out, where troubled teens who need fos...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

This fall voters will have 13 constitutional amendments to wade through on the ballot, but Amendment 4 should get special focus. It represents a rare opportunity to rectify a grievous provision in the Florida Constitution, which permanently revokes t...
Published: 06/13/18
Updated: 06/14/18