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Romney, in Orlando, Plays Catch-up On Immigration By Promising More Green Cards

| June 21, 2012

A bus usually can't outrun a train.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney acknowledged that Hispanics may not always agree with him, but he offered a vision Thursday of an America more welcoming to certain legal immigrants and their families.

Speaking to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Orlando, Romney primarily talked about the economy, reprising his usual stump speech that tries to make the case that President Obama hasn’t led the nation in a robust enough recovery. Romney did highlight the specific concern to his audience: Hispanic unemployment is at 11 percent, compared to about 8 percent for the nation as a whole.

But Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is expected to officially accept his party’s nomination at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in two months, focused much of his speech on immigration, offering more details than on many prior occasions.

While he started by acknowledging that Hispanics may disagree with him on some issues, “there is much more that unites us than there is that divides us,” he said.

Romney said he hopes to crack down more on illegal immigration, including pushing for a border fence and strengthening efforts to find people who enter legally but overstay visas. Romney also tempered his remarks in light of his audience.

“I’m going to address the problem of illegal immigration in a civil, and resolute, manner,” he said.

But he spent most of his time talking about making it easier for legal immigrants to come to America, and making a case for the necessity of welcoming them.

“I will prioritize efforts that strengthen legal immigration and make it more transparent and easier,” Romney said. “…Too many families are caught in a broken system. For those seeking to come to America the right way, that kind of bureaucratic nightmare has to end.”

Also, more non-citizens would be able to stay legally in the United States under Romney’s plan because he would exempt from current numerical caps on green cards the spouses and minor children of green card holders.

Romney also pledged to find a path to legal citizenship for any immigrant who serves in the U.S. military, and argued that visas ought to be automatic for science and technology students who come here to be educated – and under current rules then often go home to create jobs in other countries because they’re not allowed to stay.

“I’d staple a green card to the diploma of someone who gets an advanced degree in America,” Romney said, after noting that a huge number of new companies here are started by immigrants – about half of the top venture-funded firms, he said.

Romney’s reach out to Hispanics comes a week after President Obama took over what had been one of the best chances Republicans had to convince Latinos to give them a look. Hispanic Republicans, led by Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, were pushing to allow children who were brought here illegally by their parents to stay in the country under some circumstances. Obama last week by executive order did the same thing.

Romney said Obama should have done that earlier, and accused him of doing it simply to get Hispanics’ votes. He didn’t give details, but said he would put in place a permanent program that would go beyond what Obama has ordered, creating a long-term solution.

Obama is slated to address the same group on Friday.

Hispanics are thought to be one of the biggest keys to the presidential election this year – a huge number live in the critical swing state of Florida, and more and more are registering as independents, leading both parties to see their votes as up for grabs.

–David Royce, News Service of Florida

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5 Responses for “Romney, in Orlando, Plays Catch-up On Immigration By Promising More Green Cards”

  1. question says:

    Still laughing at Mr. 4-Car-Garage-Elevator…pumping gas.

    Thank you for the morning chuckle!!

    [kinda representative of how much he knows his ‘followers’ will buy… a n y t h i n g :)

  2. Dorothea says:

    Will the real Mitt Romney please stand up. Is this the same Mitt Romney who, just a few short months ago, chastised Rick Perry for giving the children of illegal immigrants in Texas in-state college tuition rates? Is this the same Mitt Romney who attacked Newt Gingrich for suggesting that elderly illegal immigrants who have been in this country for 25+ years should be allowed to stay? Is this the same Mitt Romney who once supported “self-deportation?” Romney has shaken his Etch-a-Sketch pad and poof we have a new Romney.

    I listened to Romney’s lie a minute speech in Orlando. The writer of the above article gave the most benign and positive spin possible to Romney’s speech without the appearance of not adhering to the tenet of journalistic integrity that reporters should report the news, not their opinions.

  3. Geezer says:

    Good God, it’s a mannequin pumping gas!

  4. Yellowstone says:

    Yeah sure! This is the same party that thinks building high walls along our borders is a good idea.

    They also think it’s a good idea to kick the hispanics out of the low-wage force so some willing American can do it instead. Ha! An austerity that crippled the US’s farm production. Have you noticed it’s driving food prices ever higher – profits driven sky high – filling the pockets of the ‘job creators’ .

    So, how did those ideas work out for ya? Still got your job?

    The Photo: Refreshing to see Mitt filling his own gas tank. Wonder whose servant’s job has been eliminated?

    Remember these photos and VOTE!

  5. another voice says:

    He’s a liar and a thief. Anyone who votes for him is stupid and uninformed.

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