Romney Makes His Pitch to Hispanics

Currently Rasmussen Reports has Mitt Romney leading President Obama 47%-43% among likely voters, while Gallup has Obama’s approval/disapproval at 43/49 and Romney leading Obama 47%-45%. So evidently Obama’s partial immigration amnesty wasn’t the political master stroke that many in the media called it. Today it was Romney’s turn to make his case to Hispanics, before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Orlando. Romney’s approach was, I think, smart. Rather than pandering to Hispanics as an interest group, he included them in the message he is taking to all voters:

Three and a half years [after President Obama took office], over 23 million Americans are out of work, underemployed or have just quit looking for work.  At a time when we should be gaining momentum, we’re losing it.  Job growth has slowed and this week, we learned that the number of job openings has fallen again.

Hispanics have been hit disproportionately hard.  While national unemployment is still above 8%, Hispanic unemployment is at 11%.

The middle class has been crushed under President Obama. More Americans are living in poverty today than at any point in history. Over two million more Hispanics are living in poverty today than the day President Obama took office.

Home values have plunged, our national debt is at record levels and families are buried under higher prices for food and gasoline.

And yet our President says the private sector is doing fine. This is more than a policy failure; it is a moral failure. …

Tomorrow, President Obama will speak here, for the first time since his last campaign. He may admit that he hasn’t kept every promise. And he’ll probably say that, even though you aren’t better off today than you were four years ago, things could be worse. He’ll imply that you really don’t have an alternative. He’s taking your vote for granted.

I’ve come here today with a simple message: You do have an alternative.  Your vote should be respected.  And your voice is more important now than ever before.

This November, we’ll make a choice.  We can continue along the path we’re on – or we can choose a better way.
Instead of continuing with the policies of the last three and a half years, we can revitalize our free-enterprise economy.  We can lead the world in what we invent and build and create. And let me make this very clear—this is the only way we can strengthen the middle class.  And this is the only way we can create sustained prosperity. Raising taxes to grow government does not grow the middle class. 

Today, I am asking you to join me because, while we may not agree on everything, we share the same goal, the same vision, and the same belief in American greatness that draws so many to our shores.  Liberty’s torch can burn just as brightly for future generations of immigrants as it has burned for immigrants past.

We know our kids can’t succeed if they’re trapped in failing schools. That’s why, as President, I will give the parents of every low-income and special-needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school. When it comes to education, a choice for every parent means a chance for every child.

An effective immigration system can also strengthen our economy, as it has since the nation’s founding.
Unfortunately, despite his promises, President Obama has failed to address immigration reform.

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. Instead, he failed to act until facing a tough re-election and trying to secure your vote.

Last week, the President finally offered a temporary measure that he seems to think will be just enough to get him through the election.  After three and a half years of putting every issue from loan guarantees for his donors to Cash For Clunkers before immigration, now the President has been seized by an overwhelming need to do what he could have done on Day One.  I think you deserve better.  

Some people have asked if I will let stand the President’s executive action. The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the President’s temporary measure.

As President, I won’t settle for a stop-gap measure.  I will work with Republicans and Democrats to find a long-term solution.  I will prioritize measures that strengthen legal immigration and make it easier. And I will address the problem of illegal immigration in a civil but resolute manner. We may not always agree, but when I make a promise to you, I will keep it.

Let me speak to a few principles that will guide me.

As I have said many times, it is critical that we redouble our efforts to secure the borders. That means both preventing illegal border crossings and making it harder to illegally overstay a visa.  We should field enough border patrol agents, complete a high-tech fence, and implement an improved exit verification system.
Our immigration system should help promote strong families, not keep them apart.  Our nation benefits when moms and dads and their kids are all living together under the same roof.  But, today, too many families are caught in a broken system that costs them time and money and entangles them in red tape.  For those seeking to come to America the right way, that kind of bureaucratic nightmare has to end.  And we can do this with just a few common-sense reforms.

As President, I will reallocate Green Cards to those seeking to keep their families under one roof.  We will exempt from caps the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents.  And we will eliminate other forms of bureaucratic red tape that keep families from being together.

Immigration reform is not just a moral imperative, but an economic necessity as well.  Immigrants with advanced degrees start companies, create jobs, and drive innovation at a high rate.  Immigrants founded or cofounded nearly half of our 50 top venture-backed companies.  They are nearly 30 percent more likely to start a business.  And that kind of risk taking is something we need more than ever because new business starts are now at a 30-year low.

I will work with states and employers to update our temporary worker visa program so that it meets our economic needs.

And if you get an advanced degree here, we want you to stay here – so we will staple a green card to your diploma. We want the best and brightest to enrich the nation through the jobs and technologies they will help create.

We also have a strong tradition in this country of honoring immigrants who join our military and put their lives on the line to keep this country safe. Since September 11, 2001, the United States has naturalized almost 75,000 members of the Armed Forces. Too many of these patriots died on distant battlefields for our freedom before receiving full citizenship here in the country they called “home.”  

As President, 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. Those who have risked their lives in defense of America have earned the right to make their life in America.

But improving access to legal immigration is only one part of the equation. We must also make legal immigration more attractive than illegal immigration, so that people are rewarded for waiting patiently in line. That’s why my administration will establish a strong employment verification system so that every business can know with confidence that the people it hires are legally eligible for employment.

I’m a receptive audience, of course, but that strikes me as a pretty effective pitch.

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