WASHINGTON, June 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In his speech to the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), Governor Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, offered a murky response to President Obama's bombshell announcement last week implementing key aspects of the DREAM Act, even though the legislation was defeated in Congress as recently as December 2010. Gov. Romney spoke only about his own plan to "supersede and replace" the administrative amnesty announced last week by his opponent.
"Gov. Romney's criticism of President Obama's election-year antics seems to be that his amnesty does not go far enough," observed Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). "After stating definitively that he would veto the DREAM Act during his campaign for the Republican nomination, Gov. Romney needs to be more forthcoming with the American people about his plan to 'supersede and replace' President Obama's backdoor amnesty. Would it be superseded and replaced by a "super-sized" legislated amnesty that Gov. Romney formerly vowed to veto, or would it be superseded and replaced by a meaningful effort to encourage illegal aliens to return to their home countries?
"The country faces a true immigration crisis of lawlessness and job displacement that challenges the future American dream, yet Gov. Romney's speech to NALEO failed to offer real vision or leadership on immigration policy that will resonate with American voters in any sector," stated Stein. "And it most certainly did not reflect the outrage most Americans feel after having just witnessed President Obama usher in a massive illegal alien amnesty plan without congressional or legal authority.
"Mr. Romney provided no forceful response to either the legitimacy of the de facto amnesty announced by President Obama last week, or the fact that the President took that action without approval from Congress. Equally disappointing, was Gov. Romney's failure to articulate a plan to reform America's legal immigration process in a way that reduces immigration to serve the national interest," Stein said. "Millions are unemployed, and with a current policy that admits over a million new foreign workers every year, we hear nothing but more promises of higher and higher levels of legal immigration, more labor displacement, more economic misery for what was formerly known as the American middle class. Where is the leadership?" he asked.
"While the foremost concern of voters in 2012 is the state our economy and unemployment, Mr. Romney missed an opportunity to rally to the defense of American workers in his speech. At no time did Gov. Romney even raise the issue of how the President's plan to grant work authorization to an estimated 1.4 million illegal aliens will affect some 23 million unemployed or underemployed Americans," observed Stein. "This is an issue that would certainly resonate with Americans of Hispanic descent, as it would the entire electorate."
Romney's NALEO speech also failed to provide any compelling vision for reforming America's broken legal immigration system. "Gov. Romney conceded that our current system of selecting immigration makes no sense and serves no identifiable public interest," said Stein. "However, instead of advocating the elimination of endless family chain migration, Gov. Romney's proposals would leave the existing system intact and add more visas on top of an already bloated system. His speech called for more family-based migration and wholesale additions to employment-based immigration without regard to its impact on American workers. How does that qualify as immigration reform?" Stein asked.
Romney's speech did include some positive ideas about enhancing border enforcement, implementation of systems to better track who is entering and leaving the country, and the use of E-Verify to determine worker eligibility. "After three and half years of Obama aggressively dismantling our immigration enforcement capability, any discussion of protecting our borders and meaningful immigration enforcement in the workplace is refreshing. However, repairing our nation's immigration policies will require more than cosmetic improvements and small tweaks. Unfortunately, the plan Gov. Romney laid out today came up far short of the objectives this nation urgently needs," concluded Stein.
Founded in 1979, FAIR is the country's largest immigration reform group. With over 250,000 members nationwide, FAIR fights for immigration policies that serve national interests, not special interests. FAIR believes that immigration reform must enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs, preserve our environment, and establish a rule of law that is recognized and enforced. Visit FAIR's website at www.fairus.org.
SOURCE Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)