ORLANDO -- Mitt Romney will take the stage at the annual NALEO conference just after noon for a closely watched speech reflecting the return of the sensitive immigration issue to the presidential campaign.
So far, Romney has stuck to broad strokes that show a softening of his hard-line positions in the primary. He denounced President Obama for last Friday's move to block deportations of young illegal immigrations, but only because he sidestepped Congress. Romney would not say whether he would reverse what Obama did and indicated support for doing something for the youths.
A campaign spokeswoman said his speech will "focus on the economy, address immigration."
Will Romney more forcefully embrace the concept Sen. Marco Rubio was working on? There's a clear upside to aligning with the popular conservative and Hispanic Floridian. But Rubio's plan, which was never put to paper, is not that different, and in some ways more extensive, than what Obama did. And many Republicans have branded Obama's move "amnesty."
One certainty is Romney will highlight the poor economy, which is hitting Hispanics harder than the non-Hispanic white population.
"It's been four years since President Obama last addressed the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, and it's clear why the President hasn't rushed back," said Romney spokesman Alberto Martinez. "President Obama's failed economic policies have left millions of Hispanics unemployed and in poverty. From Day One, Mitt Romney will enact policies that get our economy moving again for Hispanics and all Americans."