Mitt Romney now pandering on immigration reform

Mitt Romney and his incompetent advisors are inching him closer and closer to a weak immigration position that validates Obama's position on the issue. Romney's advisors clearly aren't smart enough to understand that won't work.

The latest example of Romney weakening on the issue is from yesterday (link):

Mitt Romney on Monday flatly accused President Obama of reneging on his campaign promise to bring up sweeping immigration reform, despite enjoying a Democrat-controlled Congress for his first two years in office.

"This has always been a priority for the President he chooses to do nothing about," Romney said. "Let the immigrant community not forget that, while he uses this as a political weapon, he has not taken responsibility for fixing the problems we have."

...Romney also pledged he would address immigration during his presidency, if he's elected, though his views on a solution differ significantly from the president's.

"That is something that I will not just talk about in this campaign. This will be a priority of mine if I become president to make sure we finally reform our immigration laws step by step, secure the border, improve our legal immigration system, so we can keep people here and welcome people here who will make America a stronger nation," he said.

The GOP front runner's comments came at a town hall meeting at the Moore Oil Company after an audience member, noting that his girlfriend would have to return to Spain soon when her visa runs out, asked about immigration reform.

"My own view is our immigration policies are upside down," he continued. "We make it very hard for people who have skills that we need - education and English-speaking and workplace skills - make it very hard for those people to come here and to stay here. On the other hand, those that don't have any of those things are often times able to come either across the border or over-stay their visas and remain in this country indefinitely. So we've got it backwards."

As to the audience member's predicament, Romney said that if a foreigner has a degree from an institution of higher learning - a master's, a PhD - in this country, then the government should "staple a green card to their diploma."

"Welcome them here to the United States of America. We want those people in our country," he noted. "At the same time we want to make sure that we stop illegal immigration so we can protect legal immigration. Legal immigration is something we conservatives like. We love people coming here legally, particularly that speak English, that can work in jobs here, that can create new industries, that are innovative."

1. Romney shouldn't be chiding Obama for not succeeding with "reform": he should be pointing out the problems with comprehensive immigration reform in the first place (see that link). It would be very easy for Romney to use "reform" and the DREAM Act to discredit Obama and the Democratic Party. Instead, he's validating those groups' position on the issue.

2. Romney is implying the false canard that the system is broken; he would have made the Meg Whitmaning complete if he'd explicitly used that phrase.

3. The phrase "immigrant community" is something one might hear from, say, the far-left New York Immigration Coalition, no matter how Romney meant it. It might even be a reference to "the community", an ethnocentric codeword for Latinos as used by Luis Gutierrez and others and others.

4. Romney is using the phrase secure the border in a sense that's perilously close to the "secure the border first, then some form of amnesty" meaning; see the link.

5. Romney is explicitly promoting mass skilled immigration; see the link.

6. The phrase "staple a green card to their diploma" is a hoary old talking point which appears to have been started by Andy Grove. (A future post will provide examples of other using it; this note will be replaced with a link).

7. While the "we conservatives" was a nice touch, not all conservatives - or all liberals - support massive immigration. Romney's new position is that of the "high-immigration right". He's not yet at the Chris Cannon level, but he's definitely within sighting distance of the Michael Bloomberg level. The problems with the last paragraph in the quote are discussed on the skilled immigration page.

Do you want to keep Romney on the straight and narrow? Here's what I need you to do: tweet the link to this post or your thoughts on Romney's emerging immigration position to his advisors:

@edwgillespie (Ed Gillespie)

Whatever you have to do, try and wise them up to how weakening his immigration position isn't going to help Romney.

UPDATE: Here's a list of Mitt Romney's surrogates on Twitter. That list will be maintained, the one above won't be.