According to Yahoo News reporter Chris Moody, the Republican National Committee’s National Hispanic Outreach Director said earlier today that Mitt Romney’s “still deciding what his position on immigration is.” Romney’s apparent uncertainty, however, must come as an enormous shock to anyone who paid attention to his well-developed immigration policies during the Republican primary. Back before Romney decided he needs to appeal to Latino voters in order to win the general election, Romney frequently took the harshest, most anti-immigrant positions on immigration among all of the GOP candidates. Here are just a few examples of how clearly and completely unambiguous Romney’s stance on immigration was until the minute he no longer needed to appeal to a far right electorate:
- Self-Deportation: At a debate in January, Romney announced that the centerpiece of his immigration plan is to make undocumented immigrants “self-deport” because they “decide that they can do better by going home because they can’t find work here because they don’t have legal documentation to allow them to work here.” A Romney spokesperson later confirmed that Romney would do far more than simply target undocumented workers: “You turn off the magnets, no in state tuition, no benefits of any kind, no employment.”
- Killing The DREAM: Last December, Romney promised to veto the DREAM Act, which permits undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children to be placed on a path to citizenship if they graduate from college or serve in the military.
- Attrition By Enforcement: Former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce (R-AZ), the lead sponsor of Arizona’s harsh immigration law, said that Romney’s “immigration policy is identical to mine.” Pearce said they both share the same goal of “attrition by enforcement.”
- The Kobach Connection: Romney proudly accepted the endorsement of Kris Kobach, the author of Arizona and Alabama’s immigration laws. In additional to serving as Kansas’ Secretary of State, Kobach is an attorney with the Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal branch of Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled as a “nativist hate group.” Yet Romney did not simply accept this questionable endorsement, he campaigned with Kobach in South Carolina — on Martin Luther King Day. Although the Romney made a failed attempt to distance itself from Kobach after the primary effectively ended, Kobach remains an immigration policy advisor to Romney and his campaign.
So the RNC’s claim that Romney does not know what he thinks about immigration is simply untrue. Romney spent many months campaigning on harsh immigration policies, and he took such firm and convincing positions on these issues that many of the nation’s leading anti-immigrant lawmakers and activists rallied behind him. It’s not at all surprising that the RNC wants to Etch-A-Sketch away Romney’s views in light of their stunning unpopularity with Latino voters, but Republicans simply cannot hide from Romney’s clearly articulated positions during the GOP primary.