Immigration stakeholders on both the right and left say they have yet to see “Moderate Mitt” appear on this particular issue. In fact, Romney’s immigration policies are regarded as some of the most conservative of the last half-dozen presidential cycles.
“If you’re someone who favors robust enforcement of U.S. immigration laws, Romney is the best presidential candidate that you’ve had in decades,” Steve Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies told Yahoo News. (The center is a conservative think tank that advocates for reduced legal immigration and an end to illegal immigration.) “I would say that he has generally not etch-a-sketched [on the issue],” Camarota added.
We’re doing a series of walk-up pieces to Saturday’s debate in Iowa. Today Liz Goodwin looks at a post-immigration raid Iowa town:
Immigration is one of the most contentious issues facing the Republican presidential candidates as they prepare for Saturday’s debate in Des Moines, sponsored by Yahoo! and ABC News. Earlier this year, Rick Perry’s candidacy suffered because of his support for allowing illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at public universities in Texas. Last month, Newt Gingrich struck a moderate tone on the subject, saying, “I don’t see how the party that says it’s the party of the family is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter century.” Other candidates say Perry and Gingrich support policies that amount to amnesty for people who have broken the law. Yahoo News visited Postville to examine what immigration looks like in the Republican presidential campaign’s first battleground state, one that is 90 percent white but that has outposts like Postville that are changing the state’s ethnic makeup and driving its population growth. Though still less than 4 percent of the population, Iowa’s foreign-born population increased by 159 percent between 1990 and 2008, while the native-born population increased by only 5.7 percent.