While campaigning in Arizona, Mitt Romney, the man considered likely to run for President against President Obama, did not speak to his immigration policies, even though immigration will likely be a key issue in the campaign. Although Romney met with Hispanic business leaders at the Arizona Historical Society Museum in Tempe as part of a roundtable talk, he refused to discuss immigration in depth.
At one point, one individual at the discussion suggested that Romney should support legislation such as the DREAM Act, which would allow children of undocumented immigrants to seek citizenship by going to college or taking part in the military. Although Romney and other Republicans have opposed this type of legislation, Romney thanked the participant for his suggestion and did not elaborate about his views.
Initially during the campaign, Romney took a tough stand on undocumented immigration. However, some experts predict that Romney will likely lose if he alienates the minority and Latino electorate. In a recent interview, Romney seemed to ease up on his tough stance, stating that he was looking for “realistic” options for legal immigration. He stated that he would like to see the path made easier for skilled and English-speaking educated immigrants to come to the US legally. Earlier in the campaign, Romney stated that he did not support any plan for undocumented immigrants that did not compel them to leave the US and return using legal channels.
Polls suggest that registered voters with Hispanic background support Obama, with 67% support, as opposed to Romney, who only receives 27% of the support. In the last federal election, President Obama led by a similar margin against John McCain.
There is no doubt that the immigration debate is especially heated in Arizona, which currently has an unemployment rate of 8.6%, higher than the 8.2% rate nationally. According to the U.S. Census, about 30% of Arizona’s population is Hispanic, so alienating voters in this region could have an important impact on this year’s election. However, Romney, during his recent Arizona visit, stressed his opposition to Obama and his plans for economy, rather than immigration issues. President Obama is also expected to aggressively campaign in Arizona, according to some experts.
Romney is not yet the official Republican presidential nominee, but experts predict that he will be the one running against President Obama later this year. Romney’s primary opponents include Rick Perry of Texas and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. Romney has also received an endorsement from previous Presidential hopeful John McCain.