Romney faces skeptical Latino audience
June 21st, 2012
10:13 AM ET
2 years ago

Romney faces skeptical Latino audience

Orlando, Florida (CNN) – Mitt Romney will face a skeptical audience that is opposed to nearly all of his positions on illegal immigration when he addresses a conference of Latino leaders in Orlando on Thursday.

The unofficial GOP nominee is expected to lay out some of his positions on the hot button issue at the gathering of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, a Romney campaign policy adviser said Wednesday.

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In a policy session at the conference just hours before Romney's scheduled speech, a labor organizer with the Service Employees International Union blasted Arizona's immigration law and other "copycat" laws across the country as legalizing "racial profiling." Romney has said he supports the Arizona law but does not see it as a model for the country.

Eliseo Medina, the Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU, warned more Latino leaders will settle their differences over immigration policies at the voting booth in the fall.

"There will be many more of us in 2014, 2016, 2020 and on into the future," Medina said.

Romney has come under growing pressure on the immigration issues ever since President Obama announced a White House policy change that halts the deportations of some undocumented youth.

"Romney has refused, in at least six different interviews, to say where he stands on the issue," Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said in a statement.

The GOP contender has blamed the president for the lack of progress on immigration reform.

"He said, for instance, to the question of illegal immigration, that he was going to deal with immigration his first year he was going to focus on that," Romney said at an event in Davenport, Iowa on Monday. "Did he do anything on immigration when he had a Democratic House and Senate? No. This is a president who has said one thing and done another."

Romney took a hard line stance on immigration throughout the Republican primary season. He promised to veto the DREAM Act, legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for young illegal immigrants.

"The question is if I were elected and Congress were to pass the DREAM Act, would I veto it and the answer is yes," Romney said in Iowa last December.

In recent months, Romney has softened that view, indicating he might be open to a Republican version of the DREAM Act that was being drafted by rising GOP star, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

Earlier this week, Rubio's office said the senator had shelved the proposal in response to the president's move on deportations.

While some Republican leaders are adamantly opposed to any effort to provide a path to legal status for the undocumented, other GOP lawmakers are looking to Romney for guidance.

"I think we're going to wait until we hear what Governor Romney has to say on this issue," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said earlier this week.

"There may be others behind me who want to address it. But my view, he is the leader of our party from now until November and we hope beyond," McConnell said.

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Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Latinos • Mitt Romney
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Why would they be skeptical about Romney saying undocumented workers are looking for a "free deal" and that he'd veto the DREAM act?

    June 21, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  2. Blameit Ontheotherguy

    Promise them the DREAM Romney and then blame it on the other guy after the election. Latino's don't seem to know the difference...

    June 21, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  3. vic , nashville ,tn

    DC republicans didn’t say a word when Arizona, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina passed immigration laws,

    Now they don’t have words KARMA

    June 21, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. Craig from LA

    He made his bed in each of the Republican debates with the fringe right and now has to sleep with them. HE WAS CLEAR –
    1. 11 to 20 million undocumented people and their families must self-deport. This is impractical, inhumane and would devastate our economy by removings millions of decent hard working folks.
    2. He is against the Dream Act. These fine kids have done NOTHING wrong and only want to serve the country they love and the only one have ever known. Romney's stance is heartless, unChristian and not in the spirit of this great nation. Shame on him!

    Romney cannot deny his Republican debate comments and generations of immigrants and progressives will remember.

    June 21, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  5. eddieb

    Oboy Romney is the leader of the GOP you got to love this crap...

    June 21, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  6. Four and The Door

    The overwhelming majority of American Latinos are in the country because they are documented citizens and many because their families have been here as long as most of our families. They are not one-dimensional thinkers hung up on amnesty or wide open borders. And this being the case, Obama still has his record of failures to explain to the Latino American community. They want to see a vision forward for America and a capability for improving our economy and tackling the national debt. This is why they will also support Mitt Romney in a big way.

    June 21, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. SafeJourney

    Of course Latinos are skeptical. Do you think they are going to believe anything Mitt says? Especially after what Mitt said in the dabates at the beginning of the year. Actions speak louder than words.

    June 21, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. Rich

    Romney will surround himself with Latinos and Hispanics just to get the votes, but he will not support them once he is elected. We know that by the actions of the current Republicans governors. Romney indicated in MICH he would operate like they are. So you know what that means. taking away your freedoms.

    June 21, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  9. dreamer96

    Mitt Romney just does not sound genuine...so many people do not believe what he says..and did you notice in the middle of believe is the word lie....

    June 21, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  10. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    Romney has campaigned against Latino issues all through the primary season to pander to the racist elements of the Tea Partiers and the extreme conservative elements of the Republican Party. Now that he is the presumptive Republican nominee, He is trying to backtrack on his previous positions to try and trick Latinos in to voting for him. Romney is using Rubio to pretend the Republicans are the party for Latinos. Unfortunately for Romney, Latinos are not stupid nor are they forgetful.
    This is a standard Republican tactic. Later in the election process, Romney will be shown with Latino, Black and Asian Republicans to pretend that Republicans care about the issues important to each group. He will also be shown with strong Republican women and openly gay and lesbian Republicans. For the same reasons.

    June 21, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. 2cents4free

    "Earlier this week, Rubio's office said the senator had shelved the proposal in response to the president's move on deportations."

    LOL!!!! What proposal??? The laziness of the media has reached an all time high. Everyone knows Rubio's plan was always going to be the opposite of the Presidents plan. In other words no plan. What a joke!

    June 21, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  12. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    I didn't realize there is one big hispanic master brain that tells them all how to think and vote! It seems a LOT of them are as ticked off at Obama for ignoring an dviolating our immigration laws as almost every legal citizen is. And as LEGAL AMERICAN CITIZENS they should be outraged at the lawlessnes of Obama and the preferential treatment being given law breakers.

    June 21, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  13. Peace

    Romney should understand that Latinos are not stupid. They know what he will say is all about to hook up their votes. They will not be swayed for that. Even my dog knows who loves her and who do not, even if one will throw to her a bone full of meat!

    June 21, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  14. judy

    whats this ? romney campaign told florida gov to play down unemployment numbers because they are to good. Sounds like mittens. Latinos are tired of thei lying rich boy.

    June 21, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  15. rs

    What Latino policy does Romney have? He belongs to the party that seeks to disenfranchise poor and minority voters; deport illegals; warmly embraces Arizona's "papers please" Nazi Germany era law. Worse, after nearly a week, still doesn't know if he'd overturn or retain Mr. Obama's Executive Order if he won the Presidency.

    Maybe his Latino Policy is Rubio for VP. He does know Rubio is Cuban, right?

    June 21, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  16. emma

    And Romney probably changed the minds of many Hispanics who had planned to vote for Obama as a result of his speech.

    June 21, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  17. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    When Rick Perry has to explain to Mittens that self deport is stupid, you would think that even someone as dense as Romney would get it. Instead, Mittens just panders to the extreme right and digs himself in deeper. Under Mittens policy, even his daddy would have to go back to Mexico.

    June 21, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  18. Phil Thomas

    Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. He made his statements pretty clear in the many primary debates, he danced around the issue in to many interviews to count even with Hannity on his lap. We live in the best country in the world we just need people to vote and send a message and not fall victim to the millions and millions of dollars his cronies will invest to propagate his lies

    June 21, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  19. maf

    It continues to disgust me that Romney repeatedly states that President Obama should have done something while holding the power of both houses! This is really a lie that he perpetuates!! The President and the Democrats only held a filibuster proof majority in both houses for about 2 weeks. No one could have predicted Ted Kennedy's health issues and once he was unable to fulfill his duties, the obstructionist Republicans seized their opportunity to grid lock the nation.
    For Mitt to refer to this incorrectly time and again, well he loses all his credibility (if he had any) with those who are paying attention.

    June 21, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  20. Thomas

    "My opinion on immigration is what you would like my opinion on immigration to be. Until the next group has a different opinion, but regardless my answers will be vague." – Mittens 2012

    June 21, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  21. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE/ConservaFASCISTS

    Let's see how his self deportation stance works over on this crowd. Willard was quick to denounce what the President did last week, but he hasn't said if he will repeal the President's executive order.

    June 21, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  22. Jerry

    My fellow Latinos, PLEASE wise up. Ask yourself what Mr. Obama and his lying/divisive administration done for us. If you have been keeping up with the news and other developments, YOUR "conclusión" will be "ABSOLUTAMENTE NADA".

    Don't let the divisive/lying pro-Mr. Obama ads fool you. Most, if not all the so-called Mr. Obama supporters that appear on the ads have been handsomely compensated ($$$). Therefore, the lying game continues to be perpetuated.

    Don't allow Mr. Obama and his cronies to continue disrespecting us. Lets demonstrate to Mr. Obama and his cronies that Latinos are definitely smarter that they think we are.

    ¡Adelante!

    June 21, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  23. incredulous

    -"The question is if I were elected and Congress were to pass the DREAM Act, would I veto it and the answer is yes," Romney said in Iowa last December.

    In recent months, Romney has softened that view, indicating he might be open to a Republican version of the DREAM Act that was being drafted by rising GOP star, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.-

    In other words, he flip flopped. Again.

    June 21, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  24. Myviewis

    The Latino vote has won Obama re-election. I don't see why Latinos would listen to anything Romney has to say when they plan on voting for Obama to thank him for stopping deportation for 2 years. The only thing that will make Latinos happy is if we turn the United States over to them and the United States becomes one more Latino country of the American continent, then the Latinos will have to go after Canada. Remember, Latinos think that because Colombus discovered America America should be Latino and forget that the Native American Indian exists. Latinos don't care about the Native American Indian actually having a say in their land. So Latinos are trying to take the land from the Native American Indian, how different is that from the Pilgrims, early settlers taking it away from the Native American Indians??? Bottom line, Native American Indians own the United States land, not the Latinos, British, Spaniards, Germans, Italians, Chinese, etc... that came to occupy this land.

    June 21, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  25. ST

    It really astonish me a lot. Keeping in mind that Romney senior (George Romney) is from Mexico. One could think that Mitt could be on the the frontline fighting for Latinos. But it is quite the opposite. Latinos have the right to ignore this man completely.

    June 21, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
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