More than 400,000 illegal immigrants were deported in the fiscal year 2011, a record for the United States. There have been more deportations under President Obama's three years in office than under the entire eight years of George W. Bush. Nevertheless, Democrats say they still deserve the votes of Latinos and other immigrants who want to see reform in U.S. immigration policies. Roll Call reports Democratic leaders like Dick Durbin and Harry Reid acknowledging that the immigration system sucks, even though, apparently, President Obama's done more than any other president to reform the system. You didn't notice? Neither did immigrants. From Roll Call:
"I think that there are a large number of voters, both immigrant and Latino voters, that when they first think of the president, they don't think of additional Pell Grants, or expansion of health care, or revamping of Wall Street, or a fairer tax [system]. They think of someone they knew, either personally or related to them, or a neighbor or friend, who has been deported. And that is what first and foremost comes to mind," Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said last week.
Frank Sharry, executive director of left-leaning immigration advocacy group America's Voice, said the failure to properly implement the policy has wreaked havoc on the Latino community and — along with a weak economy and the unmet expectation of immigration reform — could discourage them to turn out to vote for Democrats.
Might supporters of immigration reform move to Mitt Romney? Actress Rosario Dawson thinks so. From the Daily Caller:
Actress and activist Rosario Dawson told The Daily Caller that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney can "use" his heritage to make immigration issues "very personal" in the general election.
Addressing the Latino vote, Dawson predicted that Romney will "draw a lot of people in," but said he faces some challenges because "the Republican Party has really sort of pushed away the Latino vote" in the past.
TheDC asked Dawson, the co-founder of Voto Latino, if Romney could garner support from the Latino community, given that his father was born in Mexico.
"Having his heritage be something that's going to be really exciting for a lot of people to talk about and be really important for him to be speaking about what that's meant to him as an immigrant — part of an immigrant family and story, that's going to be really important and obviously Obama, who's done a lot of deportations in his administration, that's another thing that's going to be something that people are really going to have to pay attention to," Dawson [said]
Not that Republicans haven't done their best to alienate Latino voters. From over-the-top state laws to whipped up hysteria over "anchor babies," Republicans have made themselves even less appealing than our record-breaking deportations president.
What about Gary Johnson? As the former governor of a border state, he knows immigration issues. Even Texas Governor Rick Perry admitted a border wall is stupid and denying children of illegal immigration access to higher education is heartless, though he quickly apologized for his sober comments as they didn't play well at all with the Republican base he was trying to woo.
Gary Johnson, too, opposes a border wall. He also supports making it easier to immigrate into the country legally and legalizing marijuana, which would help break the control Mexican drug cartels have in the border region. Running as the Libertarian nominee and not a Republican candidate lets Johnson focus on this issue, and gives immigrant voters who have seen their families and communities ripped apart by Obama's deportations the opportunity to reject Democrat fear-mongering over Republican xenophobia and just vote for Johnson instead.