With the general election campaign now in full swing, immigration is increasingly figuring into election dialogue as President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney vie for Latino voters.
Romney so far, according to many analysts, has struggled with Latinos and new questions were raised about Romney’s position on immigration (FoxNews) after the GOP’s top coordinator on Latino outreach said the candidate was still formulating his position. While the GOP scrambled to retract the comment, the Obama campaign pounced with an email to reporters (ChicagoTribune) arguing Romney’s position is both clear and “extreme.”
Though Romney has spoken on immigration, what narrative and policy implications they have seem to be cause for significant debate. While a number of analysts have called his position hardline and alienating for Latinos, Romney is even confusing some anti-immigration activists. “Many say they’re not entirely sure what Romney’s positions on immigration really are. And even if they were, they wouldn’t believe the promises that he’s making anyway,” writes Suzy Khimm at the Washington Post.
Anthony Gregory at The Huffington Post targets Romney specifically for his silence on Sen. Marco Rubio’s version of the Dream Act. “No doubt he fears being accused of defending ‘amnesty.’ In Republican politics, an accusation such as this can be poisonous to a campaign,” Gregory says.
Republicans meanwhile hope to counter all this with Obama’s inability to get comprehensive immigration reform through Congress. And individual states continue to battle in court on controversial laws attempting to tackle the issue, including an impending Supreme Court ruling on Arizona’s law this summer.
For more on the candidates’ stances, check out CFR’s Issue Tracker on The Candidates and Immigration.
Suggested Other Reading:
This CFR Independent Task Force report examines the benefits of immigrants in the United States and encourages immigration reform that allows the legal immigration system to operate more efficently, shores up laws regarding the employment of illegal immigrations and offers a fail way for illegal immigrants currently in the United States to earn the right to stay legally.
At the Brookings Institution, Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney look at the impact of immigration on U.S. employment and wages, real and perceived. “Although many are concerned that immigrants compete against Americans for jobs, the most recent economic evidence suggests that, on average, immigrant workers increase the opportunities and incomes of Americans,” the report notes.
— Gayle S. Putrich, Contributing Editor