Finally making a statement about yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling, which overturned key portions of Arizona’s infamous immigration statute (SB 1070), presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney blamed President Obama for failing to solve the immigration problem:
“You see when [Obama] was running for office, he said he would make it his first priority, his first-year agenda, to reform our immigration system, and make it work for the American people, and for those who want to come here legally. He did not do that…And so the Supreme Court had to step in because states had to step in—states looking for a way to solve the problems that he didn’t address—[they] tried to address it in their own ways and now the Supreme Court’s looked at it and what we’re left with is a bit of a muddle.”
While Romney’s statement, during a campaign stop in Salem, Virginia, continues a tactic of blaming President Obama for failing to solve the immigration “problem”, Romney has so far been unwilling to commit himself to saying whether the now largely invalidated Arizona law was a good thing or a bad thing.
Yesterday, asked repeatedly if Romney had any or no opinion about the Arizona immigration law, Romney spokesperson Rick Gorka refused to address the question, and simply repeated the Romney talking-point:
“Ultimately, this debate comes back down to the federal government, and the President failing to address this. Had the President followed through on his campaign promise to address illegal immigration in the first year, this debate wouldn’t be necessary.”
However, in light of the Supreme Court decision, and what it actually said about the legalities of immigration in the USA, the question is what is the true nature of the debate, and does it help or hurt Romney?
While the Supreme Court acknowledged, for example, the phenomenon of large numbers of illegal aliens in the United States, in rejecting Arizona’s (and other states’) authority to independently deal with the situation, the Court pointed out something that many Americans may not know:
“As a general rule, it is not a crime for a removable alien to remain in the United States.”
In fact, the US federal government is given wide discretion, in the Constitution, and in federal legislation, in how it deals with illegal immigration—including ignoring it.
Recently, demonstrating the federal government’s discretion and authority in immigration matters, President Obama ordered that the Homeland Security Department would “allow certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children..to be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings.”
Actions such as this, which Romney rejects as “stopgap” remedies, nevertheless are favored by many Hispanic voters, a demagraphic Romney badly needs to change at least some of its minds about voting against the GOP, and its perceived anti-Hispanic-immigration bias. In order to achieve that end, it is likely going to be necessary that Romney be able to see beyond a “muddle”in the current US immigration reality.