Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney delivered a hotly-anticipated speech to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) on Thursday, hotly anticipated because he was supposed to address his position on President Obama‘s recent immigration policy change. Think what you will about Romney’s speech, but he failed to answer whether he would reverse that policy, and built the immigration portion of his speech around a naked lie.
The portion of the speech that’s getting all the attention is the point at which Romney claims he’s about to say whether he would reverse the President’s policy, which allows young undocumented immigrants to apply for deportation relief, if they meet the requirements of the DREAM Act. Romney has punted on the issue several times since last Friday’s announcement. Here’s what he said Thursday:
Some people have asked if I will let stand the President’s executive action. The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the President’s temporary measure.
See what he did there? The strong implication is that he’d leave it in place while he worked on his “long-term” solution, unless you heard a strong implication that he won’t. If he wasn’t going to answer the question, it’s just weird that he brought it up. The balance of his remarks make clear that his long-term solution, if it ever got done, would not include all of the provisions the President’s policy does.
What the mainstream media really ought to be focusing on, though, is the outright lie that Romney told the NALEO conference, coupled with a very misleading, but popular, misconception:
For two years, this President had huge majorities in the House and Senate – he was free to pursue any policy he pleased. But he did nothing to advance a permanent fix for our broken immigration system. Instead, he failed to act until facing a tough re-election and trying to secure your vote.
Last week, the President finally offered a temporary measure that he seems to think will be just enough to get him through the election. After three and a half years of putting every issue from loan guarantees for his donors to Cash For Clunkers before immigration, now the President has been seized by an overwhelming need to do what he could have done on Day One.
The popular misconception that Romney alludes to is the notion that President Obama had controlling majorities in both houses of Congress for two years, when in reality, the Democrats only controlled filibuster-proof majorities for a total of about 14 weeks. Romney escapes pant-immolation because he used the less-specific “huge majorities.”
But the idea that the President “did nothing to advance a permanent fix for our broken immigration system” is a provable lie, one that the President will surely call out when he speaks to NALEO tomorrow.
Compounding the lie, however, is the fact that Romney expects this audience not to realize that the DREAM Act, the very piece of legislation that inspired the President’s policy change, the bill that Romney claims the President “did nothing” to advance, was killed by a Republican filibuster.
For every reporter who will be speaking to Mitt Romney between now and November, here is an example of President Obama “doing nothing to advance a permanent fix for our broken immigration system,” including the DREAM Act that the Republicans blocked. This is from July 1, 2010, via The White House:
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