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Immigration Policy: Polarized Politics, Elusive Reform

Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012

During an online forum broadcast last month by the Spanish-language Univision network, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney assured the mostly Latino audience that, if elected, he would achieve sweeping immigration reform, while also promising not to pursue mass deportation of the 10 million to 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. The Romney campaign has invested heavily in ads on Spanish-language media in swing states from Colorado to Virginia, and has deployed his son Craig, who speaks Spanish, to help court Latino voters.

These efforts underscore the fact that Latinos are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States and a crucial voting bloc in the 2012 election. Unfortunately for Romney, the outreach is also unlikely to alter his chances of winning over this constituency, which supports President Barack Obama and other Democratic candidates by a ratio of more than 2-to-1. Romney’s difficulties with Latino voters stem from his endorsement during the GOP primaries of more-punitive immigration policies, positions that appealed to the Republican Party base’s hard-line stance against undocumented immigrants. Notably, however, Romney’s position on immigration reform has grown increasingly vague and elusive in the waning stages of the campaign. ...

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