Romney offers few specifics in speech to Latino leaders
June 21st, 2012
12:23 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney offers few specifics in speech to Latino leaders

Lake Buena Vista, Florida (CNN) – In a speech to a skeptical audience of Latino leaders outside Orlando Thursday, Mitt Romney offered few specific on hot-button immigration policies but said he could be a compelling alternative to President Barack Obama.

The presumptive GOP nominee told the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials he would streamline the process for family members of legal immigrants to enter the country, and would adjust upward the caps on immigration and temporary visa allocations for some countries.

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But Romney skirted the headline issue this month: Obama's recently announced order that would effectively allow the children of some undocumented workers a path to legal status.

Romney criticized the president's move as being "temporary" and a nakedly political calculation, while not detailing how he would propose to address those illegal immigrants afforded temporary status under Obama's new policy.

"Last week, the President finally offered a temporary measure that he seems to think will be just enough to get him through the election," he told the Latino leaders seated around tables in a cavernous ballroom. "As President, I won't settle for stop-gap measures. I will work with Republicans and Democrats to find a long-term solution."

Romney's speech, given one day before President Barack Obama was to address the same group, took aim at the incumbent Democrat for failing to turn around the economy.

"This isn't an election about being a Republican, Democrat, or an independent. This is an election about the future of America," he said. "Is the America of 11% Hispanic unemployment the America of our dreams? We can do better."

The Latino leaders in the audience listened politely to Romney's speech, but the response was markedly less enthusiastic than what the GOP candidate has enjoyed at many of his recent events.

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.

In a statement, the Obama campaign immediately circled back to Romney's pledge to veto the DREAM Act.

"After seven days of refusing to say whether or not he'd repeal the Obama administration's immigration action that prevents young people who were brought here through no fault of their own as children from being deported, we should take [Romney] at his word that he will veto the DREAM Act as president," said Obama for America Director of Hispanic press Gabriela Domenzain.

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.

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 • Immigration • Mitt Romney
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Paul Price

    Did you notice he will allow the minor children of LEGAL residents to remain here. HUH?

    He also promised to ""staple a green card to the diploma of any illegal alien who gets a college degree".

    June 21, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  2. sahara

    When he can not get to specifics, he thinks we are fools, during the midterms, the GOP promised jobs. jobs, jobs, and since we won overwhelmingly and got to congress, they have not, i mean, search all the history books, the GOP are yet to pass any job bill, how can they pass the job bill when their masters are instructing them on what to do, no job plan, stood against the dream act, the Jobs bill was killed in the GOP controlled congress, they have voted more than 200 times against women reproductive rights, tell me if we can fall for this ploy again, GOP are spinners, and Mitt Romney doesn't tell the truth thats the problem Independence have with him and its a shame

    June 21, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. fayse

    I listened speech and I heard several misleading comments. Yes, during the first two years of this Admistration, there was a majority of Democrats in the House & Senate. BECAUSE of that majority, the Republicans has the power of the filibuster and they used it a record amout of times. They blocked every measure that they possibly could. The President did try to get the Dream Act passed, the bill was blocked. As for Romney wanting to build a fence on the borders, we can't afford it. Mitt is a liar and he will say anything to get elected.
    Obama / Biden 2012 Yes!!! four more years.

    June 21, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  4. Lemone

    Robme is soo scripted and saying what he thinks they want to hear.. I wouldn't vote from him if I was on another planet.
    Obama/Biden2012

    June 21, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  5. n

    "We may not always agree, but when I make a promise to you, I will keep it" .As Romney speaks, The virtual Etch-A-Sketch hands of Romney, are shaking him up, down, right and left as he states, "I will work with Republicans and Democrats to find a long-term solution", (Good luck with that). Listen to this omission "For two years, this President had huge majorities in the House and Senate – he was free to pursue any policy he pleased. But he did nothing to advance a permanent fix for our broken immigration system". What Romney failed to mention. The republican obstructionist regime filibustered for the entire 2 years, plotting "This Presidents failure, before he walked through the White House Doors. A true leader would first acknowledge the truth, even if he put himself at risk. A true sign of weak leadership is Romney in the flesh for all to see pass the words of deception, that comes out of his mouth. Romney is a fake. Republicans independent thinkers, say no to this chicken hawk weasel, he is not for the average middle class republican. Say no to this 1% percent hijacking. Let you voices be heard, show carriage, cross the party line that divides. Become "We The People" Vote for the one who cares about the real diverse melting pot America espire to be

    June 21, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  6. kari

    how are you supposed to advance in getting degrees when majority of the states wont allow illegal immigrants to attend colleges. ? romney sit your retarded old ass down. no chance. he is such aflip flopper he always opposed dream act .

    June 21, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  7. Q

    RINO......Amnesty is against GOP program. Can not vote for this loser........TEAMERICA

    June 21, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. Four and The Door

    This is the problem with Obama having a rubber stamp YES congress for 2 years. What did he do with it? Not the stuff he says Republicans are holding him up from doing now that 2012 has arrived. Excellent point Mitt Romney is making here and I hope he holds Obama's feet to the fire about the things he could have accomplished vs. the things he actually accomplished.
    One thing is for sure. The message in November when Obama is decisively shellacked will be Accountability. His economic experiments and liberal agenda for 2 years have not been forgotten. And fortunate for America there will be an excellent guy for the job on the ballot as well. Romney 2012.

    June 21, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  9. Dean

    Close the border and kick out ALL illegals. Then begin letting them back in under intense screening measures.

    June 21, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  10. Sal

    Bring very wealthy doesn't mean that you are intelligent. Take our politicians in Washington for instance, they may be book smart but lack any common sense whatsoever. 

    June 21, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  11. mm

    Romney has no plan for anything, except for the 1%. Latinos are well aware of that fact.

    June 21, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. You Can Actually Tell When He Is Lying

    I figured it out! After watching Mitt Romney closely for several months and studying his mannerisms, I have actually determined how to tell if he is lying or not. I have to self-disclose here and admit that this is not a scientific method and inform you that I am not an expert nor trained in the field of psychology or any related field of expertise.

    But, having said all that, I can now disclose what I have discovered through countless hours of study and review:

    If you watch really closely and you see his lips move............ he's lying.

    June 21, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  13. Vince

    Funny how Romney wouldn't state his position when he was running for the Republican nominee but now he has changed face to garner votes.
    A taste of what is to come if he gets elected. Good job, Republicans! LOL. Sad that this guy was the best you could do.

    June 21, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. Paul Price

    And, he is going to let minor children of LEGAL residents remain.

    June 21, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    This from a guy who represents the party of exclusion. Maybe you ought to run under the World Wildlife Fund symbol, Mitt. Instead of the elephant, you could be the "pander" bear!

    Latinos are not going to fall for it. If this is now such a big priority for Republicans now, what is STOPPING them from ACTING in congress? Regardless of what the President did...

    June 21, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. Mike from Calgary

    Romney must have memory problems of his debates castigating Gingrich for positions that Romney is now starting to tout. Is Romney stupid, forgetful ... or just incapable of telling the truth.
    But hey ... Romney reads well from a teleprompter doesn't he!

    June 21, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  17. Jules

    Hear that all your right wingers – Romney's your guy and he is going to dump you under the bus faster than you can say " $77,000 tax deduction for a horse." He cares about becoming president not about actually keeping his word or standing for something.

    June 21, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  18. Ferret out the BS

    I think the Hispanic population in this country, whether documented or not, know who is spewing BS and his initials are MWR.

    June 21, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  19. gop usa

    If Romney panders to illegals and latinos he will lose my vote,tough immigration is one of the only reasons why I considered voting for him.........many other repubs who back romney because of tough immigration will just not vote if he continues to pander to them...

    June 21, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  20. Jules

    For everyone who says that President Obama had a rubber stamp congress for two years – here are the facts: He did not have a fillibuster proof senate because Teddy Kennedy was so sick he could not work – and then, as you know Scott Brown won the seat vacated by Sen. Kennedy when he died. So – for the record – he did not have a congress to do his bidding for those first two years. Mitch McConnell was already implementing his plan in the senate to never give President Obama his way on anything.

    June 21, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  21. Razek

    well that didn't get into my mind what he said a few minuets ago , he never asked himself when you make a promised and u couldn't make it real that's not Ur fault because there are some one on the other side were fighting you over it to make it happened one more thing no president on earth can create jobs its only the companies which create jobs . third he didn't realize that all green cards holders even the permanent residents cant vote for elections or even apply for any governmental job ? Nonsense what he said in a major subjects including health care and creating jobs

    June 21, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  22. Woman In California

    "I will stand for a path to legal status for anyone who is willing to stand up and defend this great nation through military service," Romney will say. "Those who have risked their lives in defense of America have earned the right to make their life in America."

    So what does that say about you and your brood? It says Willard along with his five non-military sons should be ignored at ALL costs on ANYTHING slightly related to the military of which they would NEVER be a part of.

    I've seen Willard's vision of Amer(cia) and it doesn't include ME or any minorities being successful in it. Look no further than the crowds he drags himself out of bed to speak to and you'll agree.

    June 21, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  23. Boo

    Robmey and the rest of the Republican hypocrites apparently forgot that Obama tried to pass the "Dream" act two years ago regarding immigration and the Republican lying hypocrites blocked it.

    June 21, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  24. AKsteve

    Every picture I see of Romney speaking has a room full of white people in the audience. I wonder if this speech is just to get some pictures of other races is his campaign portfolio.

    In any case, it is clear the the GOP is primary rich old white guys. And this doesn't fit in with the current America. His conservative views are outdated. Hey GOP, it is 2012. Not 1984.

    June 21, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  25. mrindependent

    Does anyone else think that this is a complete flip flop from his primary positions ?

    June 21, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
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