Live: Romney NALEO speech: Bipartisan immigration reform, economy; Update: Speech video added

posted at 12:22 pm on June 21, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Mitt Romney has begun a much-anticipated speech to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, which you can watch live here:

I’ll be adding some excerpts from the speech, as well as some commentary as we go along, so be sure to refresh the page in another tab.

The reason this has such a high profile is because of Barack Obama’s immigration policy change announced last week.  Romney will attack it as “a temporary stop-gap measure”:

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.  I think you deserve better.
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.

As President, I won’t settle for a stop-gap measure.  I will work with Republicans and Democrats to find a long-term solution.  I will prioritize measures that strengthen legal immigration and make it easier. And I will address the problem of illegal immigration in a civil but resolute manner. We may not always agree, but when I make a promise to you, I will keep it.

This is a smart attack, one that negates to some extent the impact of the leadership bump from announcing unilateral action.  It’s a tough promise to keep, though Romney will probably have more room to work than Obama does now.

Romney started off with the economy, though, not with immigration policy:

The middle class has been crushed under President Obama. More Americans are living in poverty today than at any point in history. Over two million more Hispanics are living in poverty today than the day President Obama took office.
Home values have plunged, our national debt is at record levels and families are buried under higher prices for food and gasoline

And yet our President says the private sector is doing fine. This is more than a policy failure; it is a moral failure.

He also got in a dig at Obama’s commitment to NALEO, pointing out that Obama’s appearance at the event tomorrow will be his first since 2008, the last time he needed NALEO’s votes.

Commenters are also noting that Romney got applause on repealing ObamaCare and pushing for school choice.  The latter is a good point to push; Gallup’s latest poll shows that confidence in public schools is at an all-time low.

On these points for reform, though, the applause was less enthusiastic:

Our immigration system should help promote strong families, not keep them apart.  Our nation benefits when moms and dads and their kids are all living together under the same roof.  But, today, too many families are caught in a broken system that costs them time and money and entangles them in red tape.  For those seeking to come to America the right way, that kind of bureaucratic nightmare has to end.  And we can do this with just a few common-sense reforms.
As President, I will reallocate Green Cards to those seeking to keep their families under one roof.  We will exempt from caps the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents.  And we will eliminate other forms of bureaucratic red tape that keep families from being together.

This line did better:

And if you get an advanced degree here, we want you to stay here – so we will staple a green card to your diploma.

Update: The speech just finished.  Romney got a polite and occasionally warm reception at NALEO for his speech.  He got mobbed after leaving the stage, but the applause never seemed overwhelming.  In this case, though, the effort counts more than the reception.  Romney laid down some key markers for tomorrow’s appearance by Barack Obama on the economy and immigration reform.  NALEO attendees at least have to consider Romney’s argument that Obama didn’t bother to address their agenda when he could have won practically any outcome he wished in 2009 and 2010 — and may want to hear from Obama as to why he hasn’t bothered to come around until the Latino vote suddenly looked like less of a lock.

Update II: I replaced the live video stream with the video of the speech, via The Right Scoop.

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Wait I don’t get something… If you have the time and money to get an advanced degree– then you have the time and money to get your citizenship the old fashioned way!

melle1228 on June 21, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Romney’s SAYING: be smarter than the current lower-achievement stastics that characterize many among you (Hispanics/Latinos have a very high lower education level dropout rate) (and most are employed in labor and entry-level work because of that and because of their higher than others illegal alien numbers among their ethnicity).

People enter the U.S. in high numbers on educational visas. Some become illegal aliens by overstaying those visas (as same with other visas such as medical visas and tourist visas). Working through academics with seriousness adequate to achieve a post-grad degree needs greater respect and more support from others — it’s an honorable goal, I think is what Romney is saying there.

Or, he could like Obama just say they all get amnesty without striving to do things differently than they’ve been doing…

I’m glad Romney’s taken and staying on the high road there.

I disagree with him about the “family unification” thing but I do, also, respect that from a position of humanity. UNFORTUNATELy, it’s a process that is widely abused by both legal and illegal immigrants because they bring in dependent young, old and affirmed otherwise and the taxpayers again get higher dependency roles because of that.

Remember when Russia was grovelling to establish a new form of government? Their economy was smashed, the U.S. had to ship wheat to Russia to prevent mass starvation…

Well, during that time, a practice that adults there engaged in was to bring (as tourists) their dependent elderly to the U.S. (New York/New Jersey areas) and then leave them there (adults went back to Russia, left their elderly family members here to live off U.S. taxpayers).

People from China and Central/South America do likewise now only they all stay afterward. Family unification — as with chain migration — both mean about the same things, results in so many loopholes that simply bolster our U.S. social services costs and liabilities.

Health screenings required, proven sponsors required is the only solution I can think of — no dependents on the public allowed. Harsh but necessary in so many situations.

Lourdes on June 21, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Didn’t Romney tell the Latinos to self deport? How are they suppose to vote for him when they’ve all self deported? Lololl

Uppereastside on June 21, 2012 at 4:28 PM

Why do you consider all Latinos illegals?

Sounds racist to me

OrthodoxJew on June 21, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Marcus Traianus on June 21, 2012 at 5:31 PM

You got that right. Politics has degenerated in to 2 sides shouting bumper sticker slogans past each other. It really is sad that he grown ups have gone away or been chased out of town.

MJBrutus on June 21, 2012 at 5:35 PM

Pay no attention to Bullshot Bill. He’s just here for the beer.

MJBrutus on June 21, 2012 at 5:28 PM


Lourdes on June 21, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Aside from the so-called “Hispanic/Latino voting block,” we need to consider that the growing immigration numbers from Asia (China, Korea, India, Taiwan if not also Japan in educational areas) involves a lot of folks who come from “government heavy” countries — they arrive here with the normal and usual expectation, per their own references, of a government that provides or is expected to be “top heavy” in meeting people’s material needs.

Lourdes on June 21, 2012 at 5:39 PM

Good dig on Obama for not showing up except in election years. Can’t these people see how little Obama really cares about their concerns?

rockmom on June 21, 2012 at 12:39 PM

There is another Obama community that these very same words could apply to -sad that many folks don’t mind being abused by their own folks.

Don L on June 21, 2012 at 5:39 PM

As President, I won’t settle for a stop-gap measure. I will work with Republicans and Democrats to find a long-term solution.

i.e. Amnesty.

He’s saying flat out that he’s going to pick up where W left off in 2007. He was lying through his teeth during the entire Primary run. Lying about repealing Obamacare when he’s stated openly, and sent his surrogates out to state that he supports the Mandate and only intends to fix Obamacare. He was lying about opposing Amnesty. He’s sore that the White House stole his thunder on the pathetic Romney/Bush/Rubio Republican Dream Act push, so now he’s going all out and promising Amnesty to these racist “Latino” advocacy groups just like McCain did in 2008.

People should not be fooled by the choir-boy image- Romney is sinister. He’s every bit the lying, scheming manipulator that Obama is only much worse. He would be many times more effective at implementing insane, destructive policies than Obama has been.

In going from Obama to Romney, Americans are running from one monster into the arms of another.

sartana on June 21, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Why do you consider all Latinos illegals?

Sounds racist to me

OrthodoxJew on June 21, 2012 at 5:33 PM

I’m certainl in no way associated with that user (to whom you respond there, quoted), BUT, in fairness, the fact is that something like 65 percent of illegal aliens (if not more, I think it’s more) are “Hispanic/Latino” — something like ONE THIRD of Mexico’s adult population is in the U.S. and the majority of them here illegally, and that’s just one country.

Lourdes on June 21, 2012 at 5:42 PM

GOP sure is a Stuck on Stupid Party.

Steveangell on June 21, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Coming from the guy who thought that Santoroum is the “smart” pick for the GOP

If Obama wins it will mean Conservatives really rebelled against Romney but voted in more Conservatives in the House and Senate. If Obama continues this Impeachment is a real possibility.

Do you even read before you post? If Romney loses it means that more conservatives were elected to the house and senate? Me thinks if Romney loses conservatives will lose a few seats in the house, and pick up only 2-3 senate seats,

However if Romney does win it means that much more conservatives will get elected, So if you really wanted a more conservative senate the best way is to make Romney win so strong that a lot of conservatives are elected in a wave election

Romney though as Governor had the right to issue Marriage Licenses so he did so for any Gay Couple that asked. Starting Gay Marriage in Mass. This action was as legal as Obama on Dream Act or appointing NORB members. Totally against Mass Constitution.

What the heck are you talking about, Romney even refused to issue marriage license to gays from other states, and went to court to block the legislation that required him to do that, So not only are you lying, he actually did fight against it

OrthodoxJew on June 21, 2012 at 5:48 PM

In going from Obama to Romney, Americans are running from one monster into the arms of another.

sartana on June 21, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Romney’s said bluntly and on many occasions that he supports illegal aliens going home to their own countries and that he doesn’t support amnestizing them, and, that he expects all people to get in line and immigrate legally. No one gets to jump ahead in line, especially illegally.

IF he changes from that certainty of perspective to any other even approaching amnesty after election (or, worse for the Right, before because he’d lose the election if he does), then it’ll go worse for Romney AND THE GOP ENTIRELY if that change occurs.

The GOP was ruined for years as to reputation and credibility by that “Compassionate Conservative” Bush-Rove-Huckabee-etc. mess. I know, I’m a Republican and I couldn’t communicate strongly enough about Bush, who I voted for, as to how strongly I was insulted, offended, irritated and obnoxed by that assertion about Americans being “xenophobes/xenophobic…”

I think it’s reasonable to generalize that the U.S. voters DON’T support amnesty and that politicians who push it, as Bush attempted, even when they’re reasonably well supported politicians will fall from popularity quickly if and as they pursue amnesty for illegal aliens.

I also agree that the whole enforcement issue has to be heavy as to interior enforcement with respect to national security. Border security is of course very important but the real effects occur in interior enforcement.

Lourdes on June 21, 2012 at 5:49 PM

And you alleged “conservatives” who claim you’d prefer Gingrich to Romney: Gingrich is pro-amnesty.

Lourdes on June 21, 2012 at 5:50 PM

There’s no going back on that promise, or he’ll have hell to pay come 2016, we’re talking a Tea Party led primary challenge, that would probably succeed.

anotherJoe on June 21, 2012 at 1:29 PM

It’s Conservatives who are being lied to by the Romney people. People say Romney is unprincipled, but I think that’s not true. He has principles- they are deeply felt, Liberal Statist prinicples. He sounds ridiculous when speaking before Conservative audiences because he hates them to his bones. Remember- he’s the son of George Romney, the anti-Goldwater/Reagan. The elder Romney pulled a Mike Castle and walked out of the 1964 GOP Convention and refused to endorse Goldwater. Now Mitt, with his Mormon penchant for vengeful blood oaths, sees himself as avenging his father and driving the stake through the heart of Conservatism.

In Romneye’s GOP, Democrats and Independents ride shotgun. The Fox True Believers ride up top on the rack.

sartana on June 21, 2012 at 5:54 PM

Romney’s biggest donor is Julian Robertson who gave well over a $1 million to Romney’s super-PAC, Restore our Future. Robertson has spent more than $40 million pushing for a cap&tax system in the US. Other major Romney donors include Trammel Crow and Rob Sisson, who leads Republicans for Environmental Protection. Other AGW supporters on Romney’s campaign staff include James Connaughton, a cap-and-trader who headed up Bush’s Council of Environmental Quality, and Jeff Holmstead, a Bush EPA official with extreme global warming views.

Buckshot Bill on June 21, 2012 at 1:40 PM

Since when is 1 million Romney’s biggest donation?

Not to mention Adelson, But there are at least 20 people who gave that amount to Romney as well, which you should know since you read everything on opensecrets, Oh wait

Also this same donor gave the same amount for Bush, i don’t think you were outraged at that time

OrthodoxJew on June 21, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Romney’s said bluntly and on many occasions that he supports illegal aliens going home to their own countries and that he doesn’t support amnestizing them…

He was lying. You know how to spot when Romneye’s lying? When he’s making promises to Conservatives.

IF he changes from that certainty of perspective to any other even approaching amnesty after election (or, worse for the Right, before because he’d lose the election if he does), then it’ll go worse for Romney AND THE GOP ENTIRELY if that change occurs.

McCain did the same thing in ’08. He took a strong anti-Amnesty stance during the Primary, and immediately began promising Amnesty to these racist “Latino” groups after he got the nomination.

Read Romneye’s speech to NALEO. He’s just announced formally his support for Amnesty. The White House preempted his ridiculous sham-dance Republican Dream Act, so he’s gone straight to openly promising Amnesty.

sartana on June 21, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Read Romneye’s speech to NALEO. He’s just announced formally his support for Amnesty.

sartana on June 21, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Now that’s a bald-faced lie, it’s hyperbole aimed at misleading others.

Romney’s said he’d pursue a legislative solution to the “problem” or issue of existing illegal aliens in the U.S. who arrived in the U.S. (allegedly, so the phrase goes) “through no fault of their own.”

It doesn’t mean he’s “for amnesty” and neither do the rest of his statements. He can encourage legislation in Congress but it’ll be Congress who acts or doesn’t and they’ll be the group that determines what they act on and why.

Contrary to Obama, Romney is saying he’s going to behave per the options available to a President through the Consititution.

I don’t see or read anywhere that Romney’s saying he’s going to implement amnesty. If you find some “secret code” in his words that the rest of us don’t, then please explain.

Otherwise, what I hear him saying (this speech) is what I can read in black-and-white, unequivocal words and statements. I disagree about encouraging that “family unity” part but then I don’t expect to agree with any President on all points.

Lourdes on June 21, 2012 at 6:40 PM

sartana on June 21, 2012 at 6:04 PM

You Liberals who claim to be conservatives ought to stick with the Ron Paul and Palin websites.

Lourdes on June 21, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Fools and Trolls!

Romney can save the country…SCOTUS!!!!

If we lose the court even impeachment won’t work.

Nana on June 21, 2012 at 7:11 PM

Oh and Lourdes, well said.

Santana, shut up!

Nana on June 21, 2012 at 7:13 PM

This is awful….give out green cards if you get an advanced degree?
He’s just like McCain on Amnesty.
He sure didn’t wait too long to show his true liberal colors.
Us conservatives have no choice for President….again.
I need a drink…non alcoholic, of course.

Belle on June 21, 2012 at 7:14 PM

people here who claim to be “conservatives” who prefer Gingrich to Romney while Gingrich is to the Left of Romney in all degrees.

Conservatives? Not hardly.

Lourdes on June 21, 2012 at 5:19 PM

What universe do you live in.

Gingrich hatched Contract with America the most conservative document since Regan if not longer. He got into law Welfare Reform and four years of balanced budgets.

To say nothing about getting the Republicans in power for the first time in forty long years.

Meanwhile Mitt did Gay Marriage, Abortion for free and on and on. One liberal program after another.

There is no Republican to the left of Romney and few Democrats if you go by the only thing that speaks loudly ACTIONS.

Quit with the Mitt koolaid assortment of lies.

Steveangell on June 21, 2012 at 8:05 PM

Lourdes, if you don’t want to accept the need to decifer “secret code” then you should stay away from immigration issues. Because that is the lingua franca of the Amnesty debate- at least on the Right.

Romney said he would pursue “legislative action” on immigration issues. Hate to break it to you babe, but that’s code for Amnesty. There does not need to be any legislation advanced to deal with any issues regarding illegals in this country- just a commitment to enforce existing law. If anyone is proposing new legislation, or the oft-mentioned “comprehensive” approach, what they’re telling you is they want some form of Amnesty as part of some grand deal involving increased border enforcement. They’re just too cowardly or conniving to state openly their intentions.

Tell yourself whatever lies you need to make yourself feel better about violating your Conservative conscience in voting for an obvious statist like Romneye, but please leave the rest of us out of it.

sartana on June 21, 2012 at 8:08 PM


You make me laugh. You are a fake concern troll and nobody really gives a shit what you think or who you vote for.

You’ll still benefit when President Romney appoints members to the SCOTUS. if you are fine with that jackass Marxist filling slots with the likes of Kagan, then you are either a raging socialist or an idiot.

Nana on June 21, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Probably both

Nana on June 21, 2012 at 8:29 PM

You’re right. It doesn’t, but I’m not saying anything that isn’t factual. Also, nowhere in my statement did I single out the GOP. You seem to be either paranoid or suffering from white guilt. I don’t have that problem.

Get help, hippie.

madmonkphotog on June 21, 2012 at 2:41 PM


Your comment to which I replied was not factual. It was a statement of opinion, presumably yours. That sadsack passive-voice you write in gives no indication if you even understand what “factual” means.

“Paranoid?” That’s funny. One might say that I’m singularly-focused on winning. Whereas you are sharply-focused on generalizations.

At least you didn’t point out my spelling error to make points. (I probably would have.) White Guilt makes a great band name. I have a flute for you.

Capitalist Hog on June 21, 2012 at 8:42 PM

You guys are supporting and getting giddy over a clown, AKA: white Obama.

air_up_there on June 21, 2012 at 8:54 PM

Nana- you’re a real sweetie. Give us a kiss?

Go ahead and tell me exactly what you believe Romney is proposing as a long-term solution over what Obama just announced. What new legislation would we enact to address the problem of having around 20 million illegals currently violating our sovereignty that our current unenforced Federal laws could not address?

What do you believe Romney is hinting at that needs to be done over and above simply enforcing perfectly reasonable laws that are currently on the books?

sartana on June 21, 2012 at 9:55 PM

And I’ll remind you Nana, that Romney has not attacked Obama’s Dream Act on it’s substance- he merely disagreed with the manner he’s implementing it and now objecting to it as being just a temporary solution. And he dickered when asked several times point blank about whether he would reverse Obama’s new decree once sworn is as President.

So Romney does not oppose the essentials of the Dream Act. The Dream Act is Amnesty. So Romney supports Amnesty.

Chew on that.

sartana on June 21, 2012 at 10:01 PM

Sartana, who’s left to vote for? Liberal Obama or Romney? No choice, in my opinion. It’s McCain all over again.

Belle on June 21, 2012 at 11:49 PM

The blacks are the racists now? Lololol. Good luck convincing level headed folks into believing that.

Uppereastside on June 21, 2012 at 4:31 PM

…I thought suckingonme said goodbye last night?

KOOLAID2 on June 22, 2012 at 12:34 AM

Gallup’s latest poll shows that confidence in public schools is at an all-time low.

Many of the Hispanic residents here in California would very much like to send their children to church schools. Often, they will work two or three jobs in order to do so without any government help. School choice is an issue that resonates very strongly with them. There are several very good Catholic schools here and many families would rather their children attend those than the public schools.

crosspatch on June 22, 2012 at 1:24 AM

One little speech quirk that Romney has is that after a pause he often “ticks” his tongue in a sort of a “tsk” sort of sound. Annoying when I listen to his speeches and distracting even when the content is great.

crosspatch on June 22, 2012 at 1:27 AM

Belle, our only recourse is to write in Gary Johnson’s neighbor’s dog.

sartana on June 22, 2012 at 2:00 AM

One little speech quirk that Romney has is that after a pause he often “ticks” his tongue in a sort of a “tsk” sort of sound. Annoying when I listen to his speeches and distracting even when the content is great.

crosspatch on June 22, 2012 at 1:27 AM

I have noticed that, too, but am not particularly bothered or distracted by it. I think the sound is one of those self-reassuring things that some people do to tell themselves, “Ok, I’ve got this under control. Going to do this carefully, one thing at a time.” Mitt does the sound most often when he is being particularly careful or slowly going through something point by point. It’s almost like the sound is a “checkmark” in his mind, confirming to himself that he has successfully completed that point. In a similar way, I tend to say “OK” a lot when trying to speak carefully about something and when trying to get every point across I want to. I’ll even put my hands out, almost involuntary, as if to say slow down and proceed with caution.

bluegill on June 22, 2012 at 8:14 AM

Ah, Sartana, how did it come to this?
I had a dream.
Scott Walker vs Barack Obama
Walker: one of the few politicians that when he promises to do something, he does it.
But it’ll get worse.
Watch Romney choose another rino like himself for VP (eg. Rice)
Or just as bad a bore like Pawlenty or Portman.
If he cared a smidgeon for us conservatives, he’d choose Jim DeMint or Paul Ryan.
But he doesn’t & believes he can win without our support.

Belle on June 22, 2012 at 10:35 AM

I understand the advanced degree position. However, the colleges are run by liberals.

I think there will be a lot of underserved Doctorates in the future.

And you can get them on the internet.

As with every single other aspect of our immigration problem everything is a slippery slope!

However, it is well established that bringing educated folks into the country is a time tested immigration position.

Without it we would not have had Einstein or most of the scientists in the Manhattan Project. (Not fact, general impression of mine… I could be wrong.)

Perhaps Romney’s position could be modified to include Science Doctorates but not liberal arts doctorates… How many Phd. in Theater or basket weaving do we really need?

petunia on June 22, 2012 at 1:11 PM