Romney vows to fix immigration

2012-09-17 10:09

Los Angeles - Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will tell Hispanic voters on Monday that he believes in their pursuit of the American dream, and will pledge to work across the aisle to "permanently fix" immigration.

"I believe in you. I believe you can do a better job than government," Romney will tell members of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles, according to excerpts released late on Sunday by the campaign.

"I believe that you, and that your dreams and freedoms, will build a stronger future for all of us, and for our children. This belief in free people and free enterprises is the American heritage. This is why America has outperformed the world," he will say.

Romney badly trails President Barack Obama among Latino voters, and his address is a bid to peel some away from the incumbent in battleground states like Nevada, Colorado and Florida, where large Hispanic populations could prove decisive in the 6 November election.

But it is also an opportunity for him to turn the page on a week in which he was seen as fumbling badly on foreign policy, when he came out with swift and severe criticism of the president's handling of deadly anti-US violence in the Middle East, and return to chastising Obama for his economic record.

"No one is exempt from the pain of this economy, but the Hispanic community has been particularly hard hit," he is to say, citing Hispanic unemployment of more than 10%, compared with the national average of 8.1%.

Halt to deportations

Romney has had trouble connecting with Latinos, who now make up the largest minority voting demographic in the country.

Obama has hit Romney for promising to veto the Dream Act, legislation that would offer a path to permanent residency for illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and graduate from US high schools.

In the middle of the summer campaign season, Obama ordered a two-year halt to deportations of illegal immigrants who would have benefited from the Dream Act, which has been blocked by Republicans in Congress.

Obama's political foes criticised the move as a naked grab for votes among Hispanics, but Obama has hit out at Republicans in Congress for their failure to honour a 2008 campaign promise to pass reform that would bring more than 11 million illegal immigrants out of the shadows.

Romney on Monday will remind voters that Obama had pledged to make fixing immigration his priority in his first year in office, but despite Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress, the president failed to introduce any significant immigration legislation.

If elected, the Romney "will work with Republicans and Democrats to permanently fix our immigration system", the nominee will say.

"I believe we can all agree that what we need are fair and enforceable immigration laws that will stem the flow of illegal immigration, while strengthening legal immigration."