Tea party darling Rep. Allen West (R-FL) is feeling bummed out because presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney does not “stand for something” by promising to deport young undocumented immigrants.
During an interview with CBS host Bob Schieffer that aired Sunday, Romney had refused to say if he would undo a policy announced last week by the Obama administration that would halt the deportations of certain young immigrants who were brought to the country illegally.
Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham on Monday asked West how he felt about Romney’s non-answer.
“I guess you’re a little bit dejected,” the Florida Republican explained. “It goes back to what my mother taught me, ‘A man must stand for something or else he’ll fall for anything.’ And I think the American people are looking for individuals that will stand up on some principle and not try to punt it away.”
“So I would have like a very, you know, a much more forceful response,” West continued. “And I think he should have stood up and said, ‘I stand for the rule of law in this republic and I don’t think the president has the power and authority. And I would rescind this.’”
Ingraham charged that the new policy would actually work to tear families apart.
“The supposed 800,000 people under the age of 30 — and you know that number is much higher — but all of their parents who are here illegally, is now the president saying those people can be deported?” she wondered. “Because the last time I checked, they’re not under the age of 30. So that means those people are deportable. OK, let’s see those busses and planes revved up to drop them off.”
“So we’re talking about millions upon millions upon millios of people who will now be public school students or be part of the health care system,” Ingraham complained. “Our infrastructure is crumbling around the United States and we know wages are already being suppressed by this pool of — apparently, unlimited pool — of low-wage income earners.”
“You’re absolutely right,” West agreed. “Are these individuals now going to be able to grandfather in — excuse the pun — their parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles?”
“You know, you talk about the Emancipation Proclamation, well then, do we sit around and the next thing you know the president will make another statement in the Rose Garden saying, we’re going to let them vote as well? You know, where does it end?”
Throughout his presidential campaign, Romney has shifted positions on immigration to appeal to different groups.
During the Republican primary battle, Romney had courted conservative voters with anti-immigration positions. He called Arizona’s tough immigration law a “model” for the country; he promised to veto the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act; and he said that undocumented immigrants should self-deport.
But now that the former Massachusetts governor has pivoted to his general election campaign, he is considering support for a version of the DREAM Act sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and insisting that he only supported the uncontroversial parts of the Arizona immigration law.
A May NBC/Wall Street Journalpoll (PDF) indicated that only 27 percent of Latino voters supported Romney, compared with 61 percent who were for Obama. A recent survey by Latino Decisions and America’s Voice found that 49 percent of Latino voters in swing states were more enthusiastic about supporting Obama because of the immigration policy announced last week, while 14 percent were less enthusiastic.
Listen to this audio from the Laura Ingraham Show, broadcast June 18, 2012.
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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