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Romney's New Entry in Immigration Fray

Candidate: Mitt Romney

The Ad: We all know Hillary Clinton and the Democrats have it wrong on illegal immigration. Our party should not make that mistake. As governor, I authorized the state police to enforce immigration laws. I opposed driver's licenses and in-state tuition for illegal aliens. As president, I'll oppose amnesty, cut funding for sanctuary cities and secure our borders. Legal immigration is great, but illegal immigration - that's got to stop.

Analysis: By opening this ad, airing in Iowa and New Hampshire, with pictures of Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards, Romney is ignoring his GOP rivals and trying to capitalize on the flap over immigration at last week's Democratic debate. He also ignores President Bush's failed plan to create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants--as well as the disclosure that a lawn-care company used by Romney employed undocumented workers.

As Massachusetts governor, Romney opposed driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, providing a clear contrast with the leading Democratic candidates. But despite the ad's tough talk, he took no action for most of his term against cities such as Cambridge that declared themselves sanctuary cities that would not report immigration violations to federal authorities. Romney's authorization of specially trained state troopers to arrest illegal immigrants took place two weeks before he left office.

By adding the caveat that "legal immigration is great," Romney appears to be trying to reassure Hispanic voters who have grown wary of the Republican Party's aggressive use of the issue.

--Howard Kurtz

By Washington Post editors  |  November 9, 2007; 11:17 AM ET
Categories:  A_Blog , Ad Watch , Mitt Romney  
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Next: Bill Clinton and Obama Agree: GOP Will Make Immigration an Issue

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