September 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm
Mitt Romney focused on economic issues and avoided policy specifics on immigration with his speech Monday before the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles.
Calling the GOP the “rightful home” of Hispanics, Romney sought to appeal to Latino voters – the fastest growing segment of the U.S. electorate and a key voting bloc in Florida.
While most of Romney’s speech focused on economic issues, it also contained language at the end on immigration.
As he did in his address before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in June, Romney delivered a short-on-specifics-pledge to “fix our immigration system.”
Romney– who took a hard stance on immigration policy during the primary–delivered a vague message that stressed themes, not details. The former Massachusetts governor said he favors a “transparent,” “fair,” “permanent” solution but provided no new information on how he would fix the system.
“Americans may disagree about how to fix our immigration system, but I think we can all agree that it is broken,” Romney said. “I will work with Republicans and Democrats to permanently fix our immigration system. America is a nation of immigrants and immigration is essential to our economic growth and prosperity.”
As he did in June, Romney hit Obama for failing to act on immigration until facing re-election.
“For years, Republicans and Democrats seem to have been more interested in playing politics with immigration than with actually fixing it. Candidate Obama said that one of his highest priorities would be to fix immigration in his first year in office,” Romney said. “Despite his party having majorities in both house of Congress, the president never even offered up a bill.”
Romney’s campaign has struggled to come up with a response to Obama’s June executive order that suspended deportations of those who came here as children of illegal immigrants and are students or serve in the military.
When asked about the DREAM Act in the primary, Romney said he would veto it, but has since said he favors a measure of the proposal that allows immigrants who serve in the military to achieve legal status—a point he stressed Monday.
The lack of detail on immigration comes as Romney advisers are pledging to bring more specifics to the campaign. In a conference call with reporters on Monday, Romney adviser Ed Gillespie acknowledged that voters are looking for more details and said, “we’re going to meet the demand.”
The Romney campaign, which has set a goal of winning 38 percent of the Hispanic vote, continues to trail Obama by wide margins among Hispanic voters. A poll released Monday by Latino Decisions found 68 percent support Obama, versus 26 percent who support Romney.
In addition to his Hispanic Chamber of Commerce speech, Romney will sit-down for an interview with Telemundo and participate in a Univision candidate forum later this week.
Obama’s campaign on Monday mocked Romney’s Hispanic outreach efforts, releasing a web video calling Romney’s pitch one of the candidate’s “most implausible makeovers yet.”
The web ad accuses the GOP candidate of trying to make “his extreme policies seem appealing to Latino voters.”
“Romney only has a few short weeks to overhaul his positions and slow his declining popularity with Latino voters,” says a voiceover in the ad. “Can he cover up his belief in self-deportation with a bold new wallpaper choice?”
– Nora McAlvanah