Similar to the way he ducked the key immigration questions at his speech at last week’s NALEO conference, Mitt Romney today avoided a substantive response to today’s Supreme Court ruling on Arizona’s immigration law – despite being in Arizona. Additionally, while Romney’s statement attempted to call out President Obama for a lack of leadership on immigration matters, his transparent evasiveness instead underscored how Romney is failing the most basic leadership test – taking a position one way or the other on the pressing immigration questions at issue.
McKay Coppins of Buzzfeed nailed it with this post, identifying three key questions that remain unanswered by Romney:
Does he agree with the Supreme Court’s ruling on Arizona “show me your papers” law?
In Monday’s ruling, the Supreme Court upheld the “show me your papers” provision of Arizona’s controversial, which requires police officers to check the legal status of anyone they suspect of being an undocumented immigrant. Evan after issuing a statement, Romney’s position on the provision remains entirely unclear.
In the written statement, Romney criticized Obama for failing to “provide leadership on immigration,” and said broadly, “I believe that each state has the duty — and the right — to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law.” His aides then told reporters the candidate would have no further comment on the ruling.
Does Romney believe law enforcement can or should be required by a state to check the legal status of any individual they deem “suspicious” of undocumented status?
Would he reverse Obama’s order to stop deporting certain immigrants?
Ten days after Obama issued an executive order to stop deporting illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children or have served in the military, Romney has managed to completely evade a core question: Will he reverse the policy if elected president?
In a speech to Hispanic leaders last week, Romney used some rhetorical gymnastics to make it seem like he was going to answer that question:
“Some people have asked if I will let stand the president’s executive action,” he said. “The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the president’s temporary measure.”
Left unanswered is whether he would reverse Obama’s policy while in the process of pursuing the “long-term solution,” and whether he would let the policy stand if Congressional action failed.
Does he agree with the parts in the Arizona immigration law that were struck down?
The murkiness of Romney’s position on the Arizona immigration law isn’t contained to the “show me your papers” provision — he has yet to weigh in on five provisions that were struck down today by the Supreme Court.
Among them: allowing police to detain immigrants indefinitely while they check their residency status, criminalizing the act of applying for a job for undocumented immigrants, and making it illegal for day workers to block traffic while waiting to be picked up for a job.
Romney has pushed back against Democrats’ false claims that he once called Arizona’s immigration crackdown “a model for the nation,” insisting that he was referring only to the state’s use of E-Verify. But Romney, who has cited the author of the legislation as an immigration adviser, has remained mum on whether he supports the rest of the law.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
What hypocrisy. Romney claims that President Obama has failed to lead on immigration reform when it is Romney who is failing the leadership test. In fact, he comes across like the school kid who says, ‘I know you are, but what am I.’
The President’s record is clear: 1) he tried to move comprehensive immigration reform but was blocked by Republicans; 2) he fought for the DREAM Act but it was stopped by Republican opposition; 3) his Justice Department sued Arizona even though it was unpopular to do so; and 4) he provided relief to DREAMers in a bold executive move.
Romney’s positions are anything but clear: 1) he says he’s for immigration reform but has yet to articulate anything close to a coherent, comprehensive plan; 2) he says he wants to help DREAMers but promised to veto the DREAM Act; 3) he opposed the litigation that led to key parts of the Arizona anti-immigrant law being found unconstitutional; and 4) he says he opposes Obama’s executive action to protect DREAMers but won’t spell out if, as President, he’ll rescind it or maintain it. Nor will he spell out what and how his secret “long-term solution” for the DREAMers might look like.
Let’s just say that on immigration, Mitt Romney is no profile in courage.
Access polling and analysis on the Supreme Court decision on SB1070 and Latino voters: http://www.latinodecisions.com/blog/2012/06/24/supreme-court-decision-on-sb1070-could-alienate-latino-voters/