REASON 80: Romney has called the Arizona immigration law SB 1070 a model for the nation.
Barack Obama is the first president I have ever thought of as “my president,” and these last four years have been the only time when I felt my vote and my opinion made a difference. Growing up, my parents never voted, because they were immigrants and they thought they didn’t have the right to. Even though they paid taxes, they didn't feel empowered enough to entitle themselves to a voice. As a result, they allowed politicians who didn’t care about them to work against their best interests.
As much as Mitt Romney would like to convince voters that he cares about people like my parents, he does not. In the past, Romney has called the punitive and inhumane Arizona immigration law SB 1070 a model for the nation. SB 1070 allows Arizona law enforcement officials to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally, thereby enabling racial profiling. Romney selected a leading proponent of SB 1070, Kris Korbach, as his adviser on immigration (later demoting him after taking heat for the appointment). During the Republican primaries, Romney strongly criticized Governor Rick Perry’s support of a Texas law granting undocumented immigrant students access to in-state college tuition rates. Furthermore, he advocated for a 2,600-mile fence along US-Mexico border. In 2008, he said:
“My plan is this, which is for those that have come here illegally and are here illegally today, no amnesty. Now, how do people return home? Under the ideal setting, at least in my view, you say to those who have just come in recently, we’re going to send you back home immediately, we’re not going to let you stay here. You just go back home. For those that have been here, let’s say, five years, and have kids in school, you allow kids to complete the school year, you allow people to make their arrangements, and allow them to return back home. Those that have been here a long time, with kids that have responsibilities here and so forth, you let stay enough time to organize their affairs and go home.”
Recently, the former governor has changed his tune on immigration—as he has with myriad other issues—in an attempt to woo undecided voters in the general election. He is now saying that he would not overturn a directive by President Obama that allows hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children to stay in the country. But don’t be fooled by this backtracking. In January, Korbach told Fox News that Romney held the most far-right views on immigration of any of the GOP presidential candidates. Now Romney has shaken the etch-a-sketch again and would like you to think otherwise. The fact is, Romney has demonstrated routine ignorance with regards to the issues and interests of immigrants.
When I was growing up, I didn’t understand how significant it was that my parents felt that they didn’t deserve to vote. Now I understand too well what it means. Immigrants need a voice. They need to matter. And they need a president who respects their humanity.
Los Angeles, California