To Understand Mitt Romney's Immigration Posición, You First Must Rewind


Before 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney addressed immigration to amigos at the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce conference, he brought it up at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa which I covered.

This emotional hot button issue was reduced to a line of "we are a nation of immigrants."

Then there was his charla in the Spring with another friendly group, the conservative leaning, pro-business non-profit The Latino Coalition where he didn't mention immigration but as I write in ¿It's the economía, estúpido? referred to young illegal immigrants when he stated: “No matter what circumstances they were born into, every child has a dream about where they can go or what they can become.”

I'm going to draw a direct arc between these two statements.

I'm feelin' so good...

Hit it Live Aid!

But this election is no warm and fuzzy rendition of "We Are the World."  The present is harsher, which requires us to "rewind" back to the Republican pissing contest primary debates where the former Massachusetts governor attempted to "out conservative" his competitors, proposing, for example, self-deportation of an estimated 12 million people as a viable federal immigration policy (which was codified in the non-binding but soul-revealing Republican platform).

Romney also hailed the Kris Kobach-inspired, if not outright authored, anti-illegal immigration laws such as Arizona's as templates for federal law.

And although during this news cycle, the GOP presidential nominee claims to not know his "informal advisor," by "rewinding" through my own archives I discovered not just praise for the immigration positions of the Kansas Secretary of State, but Romney campaigned with Kobach before the South Carolina primary.

Dime con quien andas y te diré quién eres, Mami drilled into our heads as kids.

The Wise Latina Club's Viviana Hurtado on Mitt Romney's 47% Comment & Immigration

This trip down memory lane doesn't sabotage Romney's smart suggestions to improve our immigration laws by strengthening the employee immigration status verification program, allowing guest workers, and stapling green cards to the diplomas of graduating immigrants. Neither does belonging to the so-called 1% of Americans (a term coined by the Occupy Wall Street movement claiming that wealth was concentrated in top 1%).

What unravels Mitt Romney are his own words, specifically that he would write off 47% as Obama-voting freeloaders.  Whereas his campaign has accused President Obama of fostering an "us v. them" political cleave, these remarks at a $50,000 a head Boca Raton fundraiser put him at the head of the class warfare charge.  Romney's own words confirm average Americans' suspicions that he is out of touch with the reality of those who are struggling.

Click here to watch the video published on the liberal Mother Jones website.

Any Costco-shirt-wearing-convention revelations on CNN meant to make him, if not more like us, just compassionate and empathetic of others' lot in life, went up in smoke.

No opposition research, no political super PAC could have done more damage.

For Latinos, this damage has been in the works for months as my “rewind” proves because immigration is the elefante in the room that despite ranking behind the economy, deeply matters.  The President leads Governor Romney by a 2 to 1 margin, according to the latest Obama-Romney match up long shot according to the latest Fox News Latino survey.  Among Latinas, it's a mind-blowing 6 to 1 lead, according to the most recent ImpreMedia/Latino Decisions survey.

Can Governor Romney recover from the "47%" remarks, heck months of a poorly run campaign?  Possibly.  Although voters, especially Latinos have the memory of an elephant.

A version of this post was first published as Mitt Romney's Immigration Position, ‘the 47%,’ and the Great Rewind on September 20, 2012 in Fox News Latino where I am a regular politics columnist.

Click here to read my other Fox News Latino politics columns.

Can Governor Romney recover from the 47% comments?