Robert Reich misleads about immigration, Arizona, Mitt Romney

At the Huffington Post, UC Berkeley professor and former Clinton official Robert Reich shows a decided lack of interest in getting his facts right (link).

He writes:

...The movement of Hispanics into the Democratic camp has been going on for decades. What are Republicans doing to woo them back? Replicating California Republican Governor Pete Wilson's disastrous support almost twenty years ago for Proposition 187 -- which would have screened out undocumented immigrants from public schools, health care, and other social services, and required law-enforcement officials to report any "suspected" illegals. (Wilson, you may remember, lost that year's election, and California's Republican Party has never recovered.)

1. Pete Wilson was termed out (and by a law he helped pass; see ADDED below).

2. Reich is also wrong about Proposition 187; see that page for the actual facts of the matter.

The Arizona law now before the Supreme Court -- sponsored by Republicans in the state and copied by Republican legislators and governors in several others -- would authorize police to stop anyone looking Hispanic and demand proof of citizenship. It's nativism disguised as law enforcement.

Do I have to even point out that Reich is grossly misleading about what the law would do? For the actual facts, see the post about Laura Murphy of the ACLU.

Romney is trying to distance himself from that law, but it's not working. That may be because he dubbed it a "model law" during February's Republican primary debate in Arizona, and because its author (former state senator Russell Pearce, who was ousted in a special election last November largely by angry Hispanic voters) says he's working closely with Romney advisers.

The Romney campaign is seemingly incapable of pointing this out, but that Democratic Party talking point is misleading. Here's what Mitt Romney said (link):

You know, I think you see a model in Arizona. They passed a law here that says -- that says that people who come here and try and find work, that the employer is required to look them up on e- verify. This e-verify system allows employers in Arizona to know who's here legally and who's not here legally.

That's not a reference to the latest Arizona immigration law (SB1070). It's a reference to the 2007 worker verification law that state passed that doesn't do the same things as SB1070. In another instance, Romney said the Arizona law was a model, but that was only in relation to it being an example of individual states enforcing laws the federal government won't.

That doesn't mean that Romney should back away from SB1070: he should support it, just as long as his campaign is able to aggressively defend that support. But, at present, Romney hasn't supported it except as indicated in the last paragraph.

Hispanics are also reacting to Romney's attack just a few months ago on GOP rival Texas Governor Rick Perry for supporting in-state tuition at the University of Texas for children of undocumented immigrants. And to Romney's advocacy of what he calls "self-deportation" -- making life so difficult for undocumented immigrants and their families that they choose to leave.

1. Perry's tuition break for illegal aliens isn't just limited to UT.

2. The correct term is illegal aliens, not "undocumented immigrants".

3. Those given tuition breaks are themselves illegal aliens, irrespective of their parents' status(es). The media has a habit of misleading about that.

4. If we're going to decide policy on whether the life of a foreign citizen who's here illegally is easy or hard, what would Robert Reich have us do? Make things as easy as possible for people to come here and remain here illegally? Would Robert Reich care to put that up for a vote? Most government actions are designed to make doing one set of things difficult and one set of things easier: jaywalking vs. using the crosswalk, etc. etc. What sort of cheap emotionalism nirvana is Robert Reich promoting where the government couldn't make some things that aren't in the public interest difficult?

5. Reich isn't revealing the impact that the Texas law has had on Americans: every dollar spent on illegal alien higher education in Texas is a dollar that didn't go to an American student. See the DREAM Act page for a longer discussion.

6. See attrition for the facts about the proven-effective "self deport" plan.

ADDED: See RArmant's comment below. Wilson was termed-out after two terms. He won the second term in the same election as Prop. 187 was approved. That proposition passed 59% to 41%, and Wilson beat Democratic Party challenger Kathleen Brown 55% to 40% in the same election.