Saturday, July 7, 2012

Mitt Romney Refuses to Reveal His Immigration Reform Plan

by Sunnyjane

Master engravers nationwide are sharpening their chisel tips in anticipation of carving Mitt Romney’s first astute – or even mildly thought-provoking – words on the base of Mt. Rushmore.  To date, the big granite mountain in South Dakota is safe from blade and hammer because Romney's typical response of, Well, you know, we’re going to be looking at that and… just doesn't cut it.  (Pun intended.)

By the time our little neighborhood Trick-or-Treaters have finally come down off their sugar highs, Americans will stand in line at their specified polling stations (provided they have their state’s restrictive documentation in order) to vote in the 2012 general election for those candidates we wish to be our president, representatives, and senators.  In the meantime, there will be rallies, town hall meetings, campaign fundraisers, and debates.  Much will be written, opined, and argued about throughout the land.  Claims and counterclaims will be hurled freely against opponents.  The two presidential candidates, Democratic President Barack Obama and former Republican Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney, will state their positions -- their vision for America -- and voters will decide which position they support and for whom they will cast their ballot.

Well, that's the way it should be.  Rarely, if ever, has a candidate for the highest office in the United States simply refused to take a stand and explain his policy positions to the American people.    But Mitt Romney has done exactly that, which should make for some interesting presidential debates. Will Romney take a page from Sarah Palin's 2008 debate-prep book for vice president and, ahem, pivot? (Translation: just refuse to answer the moderator's questions and talk about something else -- anything else you're comfortable with -- like venture capitalism or offshore banking.)   Should voters wish to know what Romney thinks of the height of trees in Michigan, they will be relieved to learn that he thinks they're the right height.  So that issue is settled and we can all breathe easier.

And what of the really important issues?  The Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act pretty much knocked other campaign topics off the media's radar screen, including the Supreme Court's ruling on Arizona's immigration law.  But it's time to take a deeper look into how Mitt Romney would approach immigration reform because American voters deserve  the opportunity to evaluate the wannabe Commander in Chief's position on the subject. 

The Backstory in Brief 

In accordance with Arizona's line of succession, Jan Brewer became governor of that state in early 2009 after President Obama named Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Security in his new administration.

Ever mindful that she would have to run for governor in 2010, Brewer began to hunker down on familiar regressive issues, including hordes of illegals coming across Arizona boarders.  She claimed the citizens of her state were living in fear, that the crime rate had risen, that headless bodies were being discovered in the desert, and Phoenix had become the world's Number Two Kidnapping Capital.  The truth is that citizens living in fear is hard to calculate; the crime rate has gone down steadily since 1990; there have never been headless bodies found in the desert, and the kidnapping story is a hyped up stretch of the facts that was put forward as gospel by none other than John McCain.  As the Washington Post's Dana Milbank reported in July 2010, There's not a follicle of evidence to support Brewer's claims.

But never mind all of those bothersome facts.  In April 2010, Jan Brewer signed the racially motivated SB1070, the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, the genesis of which can be easily traced to one Russell Pearce, the first state legislator in Arizona history to be removed from office through a recall election.  In cobbling together this piece of legislation, Pearce sought assistance from the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which is identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  Added to that little piece of information, is the fact that this hate group has received funding from the Pioneer Fund, which has been identified by the SPLC as a neo-Nazi organization for advocating white supremacy in the U.S.  Can a clearer picture be painted here?   

SB1070 Goes to Washington

As the Washington Post reported after Brewer signed SB1070, President Obama criticized the Arizona law, which requires police to question anyone who appears to be in the country illegally. Obama called the effort "misguided" and directed the Justice Department to monitor its implementation, warning that it could violate citizens' civil rights. Immediate legal challenges were expected from outside groups.   

Democratic leaders immediately trashed the Arizona law, while typically, Republican lawmakers couldn't decide whether to support it and advance stricter immigration in their own states, or ignore it and try to get the Latino vote.  What a quandary, eh?

Various law suits were filed against the law, which would become effective ninety days  after Brewer signed it.  On July 6, 2010, the United States Department of Justice filed for an injunction against enforcement of the law, and the day before SB1070 was to go into effect, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction that blocked the law's most controversial provisions. 

Prior to the Supreme Courts' announcement that it would hear arguments on the constitutionality of the Arizona law, however, there was much beating of breasts and tearing  of hair during the 2012 Republican primaries.   In a February debate, Mitt Romney  called the controversial Arizona illegal immigration law a model for the country, and blasted the Obama administration for challenging it in court.  "I will drop those lawsuits on Day One," Romney said in response to a question on illegal immigration during a GOP candidate debate in Mesa, Ariz.  Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the bill, was in the audience.   Romney also declared on several occasions that he would build a high-tech fence...or advocate self-deportation...or veto the DREAM Act...or whichever gets the nod of his puppeteers.

Romney's fully packed agenda for what he would do away with on Day One got a little shorter when the Supreme Court handed down its decision on June 26, 2012.  Basically, the ruling said Arizona could not make laws outside of existing federal immigration laws, including making it a state crime for illegal immigrants who don't have registration cards and a state crime for illegals to seek work or hold a job.  It also struck down provisions that would have allowed police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without a warrant.  The one provision not struck down was the "show me your papers" part of the law; there will doubtlessly be law suits on that in the future, should Arizona begin forcefully implementing that part of SB1070.

The Predicament of the Political Puppet 

 Romney: Uh oh, I guess I said
something else that the puppet
masters didn't like!
So now the primaries are over and, in every practical sense, Mitt Romney is the Republican puppet candidate for President of the United States.  (Oh...goody.)   

The Republicans have outdone themselves in this election cycle by nominating a candidate who will   take orders from the murky confines of corporate boardrooms, political hacks, and unidentified big-money sponsors.   Romney's flip-flops, lies, obfuscations, and ignorance are legendary, and point out not only his willingness to change his stand with the latest smoke-signal from headquarters, but show that he is nothing more than a coreless political neophyte trying to compete on a national level.

"What is your position on immigration reform?" should not be a difficult question.  After the Supreme Court ruling, Romney had nothing to say about his own stand on reform, but merely sent out a six-line statement bashing President Obama: Today’s decision underscores the need for a president who will lead on this critical issue and work in a bipartisan fashion to pursue a national immigration strategy. President Obama has failed to provide any leadership on immigration. This represents yet another broken promise by this president. I believe that each state has the duty — and the right — to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law, particularly when the federal government has failed to meet its responsibilities. As candidate Obama, he promised to present an immigration plan during his first year in office. But four years later, we are still waiting. Yes, Mitt, and American voters are still waiting for something from you.  It's not like you haven't been running for president for five years; it's not like you didn't know immigration reform would be a campaign issue; and it's not like you didn't know the Supreme Court would rule on this Arizona law.  So, what's The Romney Plan?  

In an obvious Latino-outreach attempt, Mitt got bold on June 21 and spoke to the attendees at NALEO, clarifying absolutely nothing on how he would address immigration reform:  Some people have asked if I will let stand the president's executive order [to stop the deportation of young Mexicans who would be eligible to stay under the DREAM Act]...The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the president's temporary measure.  Uh huh.  Well, that's definitive.

Romney has been asked so many times to take a stand on immigration reform that there is neither time nor space to analyze them all.  But pertinent articles can be found at Daily Kos, Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, and The Political Carnival, just to name a few. 

Perhaps the most revealing interview with Romney on the subject came on Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer, who had been liberally chiding the candidate for not appearing on a non-Fox news program.  He said to Ed Gillespie at one pointYou think we're ever going to see him on one of these Sunday morning interview shows?   Gillespie responded by saying that Romney spoke to school children that week.  Never missing a beat, Schieffer said,  I know schoolchildren are happy to see him.
Schieffer finally got Mitt to come on Face the Nation.  "A" for effort, "F" for content. In typical Romney fashion, his answer to the question on President Obama’s decision to stop deporting hundreds of thousands of younger illegal immigrants went like this:

Schieffer again: "Well, what would you do about it?"

Romney said Obama “was president for the last three and a half years, did nothing on immigration.” 

Schieffer’s third attempt: “Sure, but would you repeal this?”

Romney: “Well, it would be overtaken by events, if you will, by virtue of my putting in place a long-term solution.”

Nice try, but Schieffer wasn’t buying: Just to make sure I understand, would you leave this in place while you worked out a long-term solution or would you just repeal it?”

Romney: “We’ll-- we'll look at that -- we'll look at that setting as we -- as we reach that.”

End Note

When you won't take a stand, you're on pretty shaky ground

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