President Barack Obama made a recent splash with his decision to use his executive power to create a path to legal residency for undocumented young immigrants who were brought into the country as children. Now, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is prepared to offer his own proposals to ease immigration restrictions.
Political analysts see a political motive in the actions of both men: They want to cultivate Hispanic voters.
McClatchy News Service reports that Romney is scheduled to talk about immigration issues today (Thursday, June 21) in Florida, a key presidential battleground with a large Hispanic population.
The McClatchy reporter’s lead paragraph says Romney is offering “few new proposals.” That may be true, but to me it’s big news that the Republican nominee is proposing any kind of easing of restrictions on immigration. There is a slice of the GOP base that seems to favor a zero-tolerance, zero-clemency, ship-em-all-out approach.
Romney is proposing permanent residency and even eventual citizenship for young people who crossed the border illegally with their families, as kids. But there’s a big qualifier: military service.
Romney’s package of proposed immigration reforms also includes a business-friendly increase in existing immigration quotas for highly-skilled workers, as well as the raising of immigration quotas for individual countries that tend to drive skilled professionals from those countries into Canada, Australia and so forth.
Of special interest to Whatcom County, Romney also proposes improvements in temporary visas to allow growers to bring in seasonal farm labor.
He also pledges to complete a “high-tech fence” and take other measures to stop illegal border crossing.