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Mitt Romney has been characteristically cautious in taking a stand on President Barack Obama’s DREAM decree, opposing the policy move while remaining coy about what he would do in its place. Romney continued to walk that tightrope today in a speech to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.
Romney vowed to “replace and supersede” the president’s policy — kind of like “repeal and replace” — with his own bipartisan, long-term immigration solution. His proposals include unspecified increases in legal immigration, more green cards for family reunification and immigrants who receive advanced degrees at American universities, a path to citizenship for immigrants who serve in the military, but no real word of amnesty for the vast majority of illegal immigrants. Romney told the group:
I will prioritize measures that strengthen legal immigration and make it more transparent and easier. And I will address the problem of illegal immigration in a civil and resolute manner. We may not always agree, but when I make a promise to you, I will keep it.
Romney also argued that Obama takes Latino votes for granted. All in all, Romney is staking out a position to the right of both George W. Bush and John McCain’s if not quite the same in tone as the attrition strategy he advocated during the primaries. But questions remain about what kind of legal immigration increases we’re going to be looking at if he wants to effectively admit more skilled immigrants and do more family reunification.
Also, in a reminder that immigration is not necessarily the magic bullet in solving the GOP’s outreach to Hispanic voters, the Los Angeles Times reports that the “only discordant note was a loud ‘boo’ when Romney’s call for the repeal of Obama’s healthcare law drew a smattering of applause.”
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