Among the GOP presidential candidates, likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney staked out the most severely anti-immigrant position on the campaign trail. He has admitted that his immigration plan is to make the lives of undocumented immigrants miserable so that they self-deport, and he has promised to veto the DREAM Act if elected president.
And at least one Arizona Republican agrees whole-heartedly with Romney: Russell Pearce, the former state senator who helped write SB 1070, the state’s harmful anti-immigrant bill. On Tuesday, he told the Washington Post that Romney’s immigration views are the same as his own:
“His immigration policy is identical to mine,” Pearce said. “Attrition by enforcement. It’s identical to mine – enforce the laws. We have good laws, just enforce them.” [...]
Of Romney’s position on illegal immigration, Pearce said, “I don’t want to take credit for being there and helping him write it, but much of his policy was modeled — by people who I’ve worked with — after my legislation.”
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), who has played an instrumental role in authorizing illegal immigration laws in Arizona, Alabama and elsewhere, has served as a Romney adviser since the beginning of this year.
Granted, Romney’s camp already is attempting to soften his immigration position as he heads into the general election and continues to trail President Obama among Hispanic voters in key states. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) defended Romney’s immigration record earlier this week. And Romney has gone after President Obama’s immigration record in an apparent attempt to deflect.
But all the position shifting and reframing will not change the fact that Romney is the most anti-immigrant Republican running for the party’s presidential nomination.