Despite receiving criticism for his harsh rhetoric towards immigrants during the campaign cycle, GOP presidential front runner Mitt Romney wished on Monday morning that he could be Hispanic.
Appearing on Fox and Friends, the former Massachusetts governor was asked by co-host Steve Doocy if he was gaining more support in the Latino community for mentioning his father was born in Mexico.
“I wish I could claim that I’m Hispanic,” Romney said. “That would help me with the Latino community here in Florida and around the country. But my dad was born of American parents living in Mexico.”
Romney’s wish may endear him to some, but his current positions on immigration issues have been criticized by Hispanic activists on both sides of the spectrum. His request for immigrants to “self-deport” raised eyebrows last week.
Romney also has repeatedly voiced his opposition to the DREAM Act. The bill would give undocumented immigrants a path to legal residency and citizenship by meeting certain guidelines, including showing proof they entered the country before age 16 or graduated from a U.S. high school.
Romney, however, is ahead of rival Newt Gingrich by a margin of 49 to 23 percent in a recent polla of likely Hispanic voters in Florida.
Romney’s family fled the United States to Mexico in order for his father, George, to practice polygamy. About 40 of his family members still live in Mexico.
WATCH: Video from Fox News, which was broadcast on January 30, 2012.