New York State Senator: Romney Uses Immigrants As A ‘Pinata’

Mitt Romney has wavered between the extreme anti-immigrant positions he staked out during the GOP primary and moderating his views on immigration to appeal to Latino voters in the general election.

For instance, the GOP presidential candidate recently said he would not take away deportation deferrals that DREAM Act-eligible young adults have received under President Obama’s deferred action policy, but confirmed that he would end the temporary work permits if elected president. The tone is a stark contrast from the Romney who attacked rival Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) for supporting in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants in Texas, calling it a “magnet for illegal immigration,” or argued that immigrants should “self deport.”

But at least one Latino leader isn’t buying Romney’s suddenly centrist position. Ahead of tonight’s debate in New York — where undocumented immigrants are allowed to pay in-state tuition at state universities — state Sen. Adriano Espaillat (D) is calling out Romney for his harmful, far-right immigration stances:

Mitt Romney has committed to the most extreme, xenophobic positions on immigration, including the promise that he will veto the Dream Act,” Mr. Espaillat said in a statement to explain his protest, which took place in front of Hofstra University where tomorrow’s debate will be held. ”When he comes to New York…Mitt Romney should explain his hypocrisy on immigration and why he’s used immigrants as a piñata to appeal to extremists in his party.


Last spring, Espaillat said Romney had become twisted into a “xenophobic pretzel.”

About 1.7 million undocumented immigrants could benefit from Obama’s deportation deferrals that Romney would stop. And despite the GOP presidential candidate’s promise to veto the DREAM Act, it could add $329 billion to the U.S. economy.