While some say GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has alienated Latino voters with his stance on illegal immigration, the candidate attempted to clarify his position (ABC) on the issue ahead of today’s Wisconsin primary.
“We love people coming here legally, particularly that speak English, that can work in jobs here, that can create new industries, that are innovative,” Romney said. “I want to work on an immigration policy that secures the border and that also simplifies the legal immigration process so that we bring in people here that can help build our economy and build our future.” He added he is in favor of giving green cards to people graduating with advanced degrees.
Romney’s comments came on a day when the Obama administration arrested more than 3,100 immigrants residing illegally in the United States and who were convicted of serious crimes or otherwise considered threats to national security (AP). The Homeland Security Department is reviewing about 300, 000 other cases and has suggested it would consider reprieves for “the lowest priority” immigration offenders, such as veterans, people here since childhood, and the elderly. However, the Associated Press notes Latinos eye this promise warily since the Obama administration has already deported a record 400,000 people.
Jobs and the economy remain at the top of voters’ important issues lists, especially when pitted against government birth control policies, says a new Gallup poll. Of those polled, 79 percent said they considered unemployment “extremely” or “very important” in this year’s presidential campaign, as opposed to only 44 percent who were concerned about birth control. They also ranked the federal deficit (77 percent) and gas prices (73 percent) similarly high. Seventy-seven percent said a candidate’s views on international affairs, including defense and terrorism, were “extremely” or “very important” when deciding for whom to vote.
“In general this year, voters give values issues a low priority when contrasted with the more dominant issues relating to the economy,” pollsters said. “The finding that voters place the controversial issue of federal policies about birth control well below economic, healthcare, and international issues confirms this basic fact of political life.”
President Barack Obama focused on jobs and trade in meetings with Canadian and Mexican leaders Monday. U.S. trade in goods with the two neighbors exceeded $1 trillion for the first time last year, Obama said in a Rose Garden press conference with President Felipe Calderon of Mexico and Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, and discussions continue on how to improve competitiveness, especially for small and medium-sized businesses, which usually strike their first export deals with Canada and Mexico.
“We agreed to continue making our borders more efficient and more secure so it’s faster and cheaper to travel and trade,” Obama said. “We’re expanding cooperation to create clean energy jobs and combat climate change.”
Discussion of the Keystone pipeline, which would stretch from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, was conspicuously absent from the press conference (Globe and Mail).
–Gayle S. Putrich, Contributing Editor