Among the most predictable outcomes of the 2012 election was Republican Mitt Romney's absolutely awful showing among Hispanic voters. The reluctant candidate (according to one of his sons anyway) pulled around 27 percent of the Hispanic vote, less even then John McCain managed in 2008 and much less than George W. Bush (who got around 40 percent to 45 percent in 2004). Given that Romney called for "self-deportation" of mostly Hispanic illegal immigrants and attacked Texas Gov. Rick Perry for giving some illegals in-state tuition at the University of Texas, his lackluster showing was hardly surprising.
But you know what? Compared to President Barack Obama, Romney was practically sweetness and light to the overwhelming number of immigrants (legal and otherwise) coming from Latin America and especially Mexico (a country that has accounted for about 55 percent of immigrants for the past decade or two). Indeed, in his first term, Obama deported immigrants at a higher rate than Bush and made it clear that even his paltry and temporary waiving of deportation for some illegals who had been brought here as children was neither "amnesty," "immunity," nor "a path to citizenship."
People who think Obama is somehow pro-immigrant can suck on this as they savor four more years: Last year, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) jacked up its efforts to punish companies hiring illegals:
Audits of employer forms increased from 250 in fiscal year 2007 to more than 3,000 in 2012. From fiscal years 2009 to 2012, the total amount of fines grew to nearly $13 million from $1 million.
The number of company managers arrested has increased to 238, according to data provided by ICE.
The investigations of companies have been one of the pillars of President Obama's immigration policy.
When Obama recently spoke about addressing immigration reform in his second term, he said any measure should contain penalties for companies that purposely hire illegal immigrants.
At the same time, it's coming out that Mitt Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has long been a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform that was supported by high-profile Dems and Reps. Ryan has recently met with Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who has his own issues with President Obama on immigration.
In 2005, Ryan was a co-sponsor of bipartisan and bi-cameral comprehensive immigration reform legislation carried in the House by Gutierrez and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). "It wasn't like it was a long line of Republicans supporting it. He's always supported immigration reform," Gutierrez said.
The measure was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.). That was the last time lawmakers crossed the aisle to work meaningfully together on immigration reform -- and that mighty effort failed.
As a matter of fact, there wasn't a lot of Democratic support for immigration reform in the mid-'00s either. That's one of the reasons it went nowhere, despite support from George W. Bush. Iimmigration was about the only thing Dubya was good on, in my opinion. He wanted more of it and defined it thus in 2001: "Immigration is not a problem to be solved, it is a sign of a confident and successful nation. Their arrival should be greeted not with suspicion and resentment, but with openness and courtesy."
Will we ever see a president again who talks that way about immigration? Here's hoping.
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