The “talking heads” discussion tonight about Mitt Romney’s speech to members of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials is worth listening to, despite some issues mentioned below the fold.[ALSO: Romney’s speech is covered in a campaign press release that I’ve added at the end of this post.]

Like John Avalon, Reihan Salam [photo right] is a frequent commentator on Erin Burnett’s Outfront. Salam makes a superb surrogate for Mitt Romney.

Nobody on Burnett’s panel mentioned one BIGGIE I noticed while Fox News aired Mitt Romney’s speech live today: As Romney finished speaking, the cameras swung to the audience. And, I’ll be damned, that largely Latino audience was giving Romney a standing ovation. How ’bout that?

Mitt Romney spoke in front of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Florida today, … but despite pressure to offer his own immigration policy in the wake of Obama’s annoucement earlier this week, he offered few specifics in his broad attack on President Obama’s policies.

Erin Burnett is joined by John Avlon, Reihan Salam, and Vicki Soto, a fellow at the University of Texas who is at the conference in Florida, to discuss the effectiveness of this speech and Romney’s continued outreach to minority voters….

See more at the CNN Outfront blog.

Okay. I have a couple beefs with that discussion. It drives me nuts when panelists interrupt and speak over another panelist who I’m trying to hear. I’m beginning to get irritated by John Avalon’s habit of speaking over others, especially Salam.

I also wonder about Avalon’s real political agenda. He’s supposedly a moderate whose beliefs fall somewhere between Republicans and Democrats. He’s supposed to be “Mr. No Label.” But he is coming across more and more as an Obama-ite.

A friend with conservative views told me that she’d looked into the No Labels group, but decided against getting involved because she found that the group was formed by nearly all Democrats. It’s sort of the reverse of the Tea Party movement whose members claim that they attract a lot of Democrats, but I’ve seen little proof of that.

Well, it’s nigh impossible to create any group that is all about politics but tries to be agnostic on both sides of the spectrum.

BACK TO ROMNEY’s SPEECH: What I heard was excellent. Here’s some of the campaign’s press release:

Mitt Romney’s Strategy For Bipartisan & Long-Term Immigration Reform

Today in Orlando, Florida, Mitt Romney delivered a speech on the state of the economy to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and presented his strategy for immigration reform.

A National Immigration Strategy

As president, Mitt Romney will implement a national immigration strategy to address our nation’s broken immigration system.  He will reach across the aisle and work with Congress to forge lasting solutions.

Grow Our Economy By Growing Legal Immigration

The United States is currently excluding too many workers who will start businesses, create jobs, foster innovation, and help grow our economy.

Attract More Highly Skilled Immigrants:

  • High-skill immigrants start companies, create jobs, and drive innovation at an especially high rate. The United States is also projected to face a shortage of 230,000 science and technology workers by 2018.  At the same time, we have set the caps on high-skill visas so low that, for some countries, an entire year’s quota has been filled in an hour.  Mitt Romney will ask Congress to raise the caps on visas for highly skilled immigrants.
  • Many country caps—or limits on immigrants from specific countries—are so low, that America is losing some of the best and brightest to our international competitors.  Mitt Romney will work with Congress to raise the country caps.
  • America should keep the best and the brightest here in the United States.  Every foreign student who obtains an advanced degree in math, science, or engineering at a U.S. university should be granted permanent residency.

Make The Temporary Worker Visa System Functional:

Too often, harvest or tourist season passes before temporary worker visas are approved.  In 2006 and 2007, nearly half (43%) of all applications for temporary agricultural workers were not processed on time.

  • As president, Mitt Romney will make the system for bringing in temporary agricultural workers and other seasonal workers functional for both employers and immigrants.  We should get rid of unnecessary requirements that delay issuance of a visa, and we should speed the processing of applications.
  • Mitt Romney will work with Congress, states, and employers to properly set the cap on non-agricultural temporary worker visas.  Many tourist-oriented businesses in the United States rely on these workers and would have to cut back or cease operations if there are not enough visas.

Secure Our Borders & Discourage Illegal Immigration

According to the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, Border Patrol lacks control of over half of our southwest border. And some estimates indicate that over 40% of illegal immigrants in America entered the country legally, but then overstayed their visas.

  • Mitt Romney will complete a high-tech fence to enhance border security.
  • Mitt Romney will ensure that we have the officers on the ground we need to gain control of the border.
  • A Romney Administration will work to develop an efficient, effective system of exit verification to ensure people do not overstay their visas.
  • Mitt Romney will develop an effective, mandatory employment verification system that will enable employers to be sure that those they hire are eligible to work. This will discourage illegal immigrants from coming to America to seek jobs. 
  • Mitt Romney will foster a legal immigration system that works. This will offer an alternative to those who would otherwise enter illegally.  For instance, reforming our current temporary worker program will offer employers who need such staff a legal option to find employees.

Cut Red Tape That Is Keeping Immediate Families Apart

Currently, legal immigrants in America often have to wait years to be with husbands, wives, and minor children.  As president, Mitt Romney will ensure that husbands, wives, and their minor children are brought together on a timely basis.

  • Mitt Romney will speed the processing of applications by eliminating the red tape that is keeping immediate families apart.
  • Mitt Romney will work with Congress to give legal permanent residents the same priority as citizens when applying to bring husbands, wives, and minor children to the United States.
  • Mitt Romney will reallocate green cards to family of citizens and legal permanent residents.

Military Service

Mitt Romney believes that young illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children should have the chance to become permanent residents, and eventually citizens, by serving honorably in the United States military.

Recognize That Ending Illegal Immigration Is A Humanitarian Issue

Studies show that up to 95% of illegal immigrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border are brought here by “coyotes.”  Unfortunately, these coyotes often abuse the people who hire them.  Securing our borders and discouraging illegal immigration will dry up demand for coyotes and dry up the coyote market.


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  • Popsmoke

    Well both Obama and Romney are saying and doing the same things. Yes the immigrations issue is a humanitarian one and that is for all nationalities. We do need a very well defined and thought out process…. We also need to stop the scare tactics and what I will call Weaverhoods…. Get that Matt Weaver?

  • getfitnow
  • getfitnow

    Rasmussen daily tracking poll on Obama has him 5 points behind Romney 48% to 43% and at -22 in the tracking poll itself.

  • foxyladi14

    Ate obamas lunch yum

  • FormerLiberal9

    The key to this issue is under your “Secure Our Borders & Discourage Illegal Immigration”. If we can plug the border then we can deal with those Illegal Aliens already here as we see fit. If we pass a reform and leave the border unprotected we are only kicking the can down the road for another President to deal with as what happened with Reagan’s Amnesty program.

    Politically I find it interesting that Obama continues to try and shore up his support in what should be his base and Romney is reaching out to Hispanics. Is Romney’s base so secure that he can reach out to latinos and risk fallout from those supporters who are vehemently against immigration reform?

  • Hokma

    The Latino voter issue may trump specific swing states which is why Romney would be well served selecting Rubio to be his VP.

    Rubio has a responsible approach to the illegal immigration issue and is also one of the most articulate voices in the conservative movement.

    By MSNBC promoting the candidacy of Portnoy and Pawlenty over Rubio tells you just how concerned the Obama camp is about Rubio on the ticket. Without Rubio they can continue with the idea that Romney is most comfortable with while men. I do not think it was an accident that one of the stations created a story that Rubio was not being vetted in the hope that he would not.

  • Popsmoke

    By the way here is good PR for Romney….

    Man I can’t wait for the real dirt to start flying. Who wants to bet come September the dirt flying around will leave a hole in this planet at least 30 miles deep?

    • stodghie

      popsmoke you can’t wait for the lies and attcks on romeny. showing your true colors there mr troll.

      • Popsmoke

        You make dirt look intelligent….

        • stodghie

          look in a mirror pop when you say that.

  • Popsmoke

    Here is a hoot!

    Here is my election bet… This will be closer than the 2000 election….

    • scottymac54

      I withdrew my support for Dr. Paul after Rand threw his support behind Romney (still think he’s good people, though).

      • Popsmoke

        He never had a chance… Rand? The man is looking out for his six….

    • Hokma

      1. Huffington Post still in business? It seems the article is highly speculative and intended to try and create a problem that will not be there. Romney is not an idiot and neither is Ron Paul. You will see Paul with a major prime time position at the convention and will give full support to Romney and the VP pick who could be Rubio.

      2. It is way too early to make a serious bet on this election.Wait till at least the end of September before committing. In October 1992 I bet a GOP lobbyist that Clinton would beat Bush but not a straight up bet. I listed the states that Clinton would win. I lost by one state when Florida went to Bush in the 11th hour.

      At this time in 1992 no one thought Clinton had a chance.

      Personally I do not think Obama has a chance in hell and this will likely be either a sizeable win for Romney or a landslide.

      • Popsmoke

        Hokma…. You know as well as I do anything can go at the convention… Just ask Ford…..

        Here is the election deal? I lose you get a present from… I win I get the same from an eatery on your turf?

        Squeaker just like 2000…. But Obama pulls it off…. (Note to the talking turkey’s on this site) I will not vote for either of these two. I will write in Ron Paul as a protest vote…..

        • Hokma

          That’s it! That’s the best you can do?:)

          The bet I had in ’92 was Smith & Wollensky – not a pizza joint!

          But I would seriously wait till late September before committing to any bet and then I would make it interesting.

          • Popsmoke

            Portillos is far from being just a pizza joint. Its a Chicago Institution….

            Yes it early but I am very confident in the results….

        • FLDemFem

          If you write in Ron Paul, you are helping Obama by not giving his real opponent some help. You might as well vote for Obama as put on a protest vote for Ron Paul.

    • stodghie

      i call bs on what you say mr troll

      • Popsmoke

        Take head…place head on table nose down. Left head quickly and snap head back to talk. Repeat until unconscious.

        • stodghie

          pop, stuff it!

  • elizabethrc

    More and more people are saying that Romney will lose if he doesn’t put forth concrete ideas and solutions. This is a good first step.

    • scottymac54

      You may be right, but he has to realize that his base will have a limited amount of patience for “RINO moments” and will have to avoid the appearance of being another “McShame”.
      He still has the time and the goodwill to walk back any aspects of anything he proposes. We’ll have to see how well his campaign staffers have their ears to the ground.

    • foxyladi14

      If Mitt puts forth any plans at this time BO would steal them .

      • getfitnow

        You’re exactly right, and Romney has yet to be “officially” nominated.

  • Flop_Flipper

    Romney is taking a pragmatic approach to illegal immigration and I find it refreshing. It enables debate and it’s about time we talked. Where we already agree, laws should be passed and enacted. Where we don’t, we communicate our differences. Respectfully.

    Neither side of the extreme will get what it wants.

    • BronwynsHarbor

      Well said, FF. I’m a lot more optimistic that a President Romney would get a realistic immigration program made into law and implemented.

      Obama’s had over three years to do it — heck, he even had a Democratic Congress — and he NEVER got off his fanny to do anything about it.

      One problem Obama has: He has almost no experience as an executive who knows how to establish and maintain communications — Republican Congressional leaders have said they’ve been to the White House maybe once in over three years. I have a hunch that President Romney would work hard to establish good communications with ALL sides, essential for getting anything done.

      I also hope that Latinos realize that if Obama’s reelected, he still won’t get off the dime and put in the work to improve immigration problems.

      • getfitnow

        I agree, but BORDER SECURITY is first and foremost, imo.

      • Hokma

        I think Romney handled this issue exactly right. There is only one President at a time and Romney has not yet been elected and what he would do once elected is not required at this time other than taking a more pragmatic and responsible approach than Obama has taken.

    • Popsmoke

      “Where we don’t, we communicate our differences. Respectfully.”

      Not with this Congress… Slade Gordon is right on target….


    down in the open thread I posted 3 links about the drone attacks.
    1 red cross worker killed in drone attack

    2 other countries getting angry about drone attacks

    3 UN official obama has committed war crimes with drone attacks

    this could get really ugly

    • scottymac54

      This time, I agree with you…

    • Popsmoke

      Interesting… Is Obama becoming another Chaney? But no matter no one will be prosecuted for war crimes.

      • scottymac54

        Y’know, when this drone business started in, his flat affect at any mention of it all was odd to me, but I just chalked it up to yet another Barky situation where he had no clue of the ramifications and human suffering his choices were causing, or it was out of his hands.
        But too many times have passed. I now believe he DIGS this. He’s into the idea of himself as some sort of military strategist, and wants to go down in history for it.
        Either way, we wind up with PNAC on steroids…

      • FLDemFem

        Cheney was safe because he rarely leaves the country, therefore any arrest warrant would have to be served in the US. Interestingly enough, one of Obama’s first EOs was to permit Interpol to come into the country and arrest and detain anyone they have a warrant for, without going through any US court or law enforcement. Interpol, with a warrant, can come in, arrest, take into custody and leave the country with an American citizen. No argument, no fuss, no muss. So, if the International Criminal Court decided to issue a warrant for Obama, Interpol could just come and get him. Obama said they could.

        • Popsmoke

          First.. No one is going to arrest any president or vice president off-shore and outside US jurisdiction for any crap pulled in office. That would start a war.

          Two… The EO 12425… You have that one all twisted.

          First Interpol has no police force to arrest anyone. All they do is pass along warrants from country to country. Its still up to that country to execute that warrant. In the US there are only five folk in the US office.

          Third as far as it immunities are concerned. Interpol’s office is at the United Nations and not considered US soil and Interpol deals with documents that are law enforcement sensitive and so it has been granted immunity from FOIA. The same immunity applies to the International Red Cross….

          So no other country is going to arrest anyone outside our constitution and legal system on US soil.

          Oh yeah one last thingy… This was started during the Bush Administration and is just as carry over…..

  • scottymac54

    I’m not, either.
    And I’ve never been a big fan of the tea party, BUT….
    I had been thinking about they were pretty much the ones to hold the party’s feet to the fire on illegal immigration, and had hoped that Romney would use Obama’s “sudden” announcement to acknowledge the tea party people’s committment to this issue.
    With one felswoop, Romney validated everything the tea partiers had feared about him winning the nomination.
    They (and we) have no way of knowing that Romney’s not going to capitulate on Fast and Furious, on Obamacare, etc.
    The tea partiers are boxed into a corner now, because it will become impossible for them to boycott the election and not vote for Obama, and the GOP knew this, all along.
    That’s the pitfall of the “ABO” vote. You lose a certain amount of influence over the political party you’ve supported all along.

    • BronwynsHarbor

      Uh, isn’t the Tea Party supposed to be different than just being lobbyists to the Republican party?

      Your assessment of Romney is very premature … you have to get him in office first. Besides, I hope to god that Tea Party members have awakened to the realization that it is impossible for them to get exactly what they want, when they want it, and that the Tea Partiers have to work with others who don’t share their precise views — otherwise, that’s a prescription for failure to improve anything in our nation.

      • Popsmoke

        “Your assessment of Romney is very premature …”

        I have to agree with Scotty here. Romney’s history provides a very clear picture of the man in office as governor. Nothing has changed but his handlers….

        • stodghie

          again i call baloney on your comment. at least you are now showing your true colors.

          • Popsmoke

            True colors? I am sorry but you are just not getting it are you? Or are you this stupid?

            • stodghie

              poor ole pop, somecalls you out and that makes them stupid. sigh your mindless insults are yours. i suggest you look in a mirror when you make such statements.

      • scottymac54

        Perhaps (I have no horse in this race)…
        Nonetheless, Romney was sold to the American people as someone who could defeat Obama and quickly address the two glaring failures that “most” people considered important, creating jobs and jumpstarting the economy.
        So he responds to Barky’s curiously timed immigration announcement, a plan that will never go through, with a parallel “amnesty” that is guaranteed to ruffle the feathers of his base, advocating “stapling” a green card to every graduate who is illegally here.
        Forgetting for a moment what that says to citizens struggling to make their way through school without any such incentives, how exactly does this plan help the families of American citizens, who also would like to get jobs, build lives, invest in homes, and start their families?
        “Besides, I hope to god that Tea Party members have awakened to the realization that it is impossible for them to get exactly what they want, when they want it, and that the Tea Partiers have to work with others who don’t share their precise views — otherwise, that’s a prescription for failure to improve anything in our nation….”
        Again, I’m not a Tea Party person. But I hardly see how the pro-business wing of the Republican Party, whose main concern is cheap labor, has left border security advocates much of a choice, knowing they have no choice but to go along with whatever Romney decides, to defeat Obama.

  • Justine00

    I’m not too thrilled with what I’m hearing from Romney about illegal immigration…

    • BronwynsHarbor

      As he’s said, Romney realizes he has to be president of ALL the people … he can’t propose a policy that’s going to please each and every one of us.

      Over my adult life, I have voted for countless candidates who didn’t please me with everything they said. That’s because no such candidate has or ever will exist. Not one of them can give me only what I want, ignoring millions of others.

      E.g., more than many Americans, I am into protecting endangered species and preserving pristine national parks. I have a HUGE problem with logging and Caterpillar-type companies, some of which would love to log in national parks. I vehemently oppose that. I also despise Sarah Palin’s practice of hunting down and, imo, murdering wolves in Alaska. And I am strictly opposed to “factory farms” that treat pigs, cows, chickens, etc. cruelly and put them in horrific confinement .

      But do I get that I can’t find a candidate who’ll share my precise views on those issues? Yeah. One very sad thing: Obama promised the conservation and animal welfare groups that he’d go to bat for them if he won in 2008. So those groups endorsed him. Now they see that he was “blowing smoke.” He could care less about their issues.

    • Popsmoke

      Ok here is my answer to the immigration problem in Mexico. Let annex Mexico as a US possession and send in the Marines to clean it up. Then fix it economically and release it back to a stable government. Hows that? The cost? Hell a mere 1 trillion… How is that for an alternate plan?

      I am not a fan of either Romney nor Obama. But I agree with both of them on issues of immigrations.

      • Hokma

        I’m on board but only if we can “liberate” all the good tequila.

        • Popsmoke

          Tequila? Well now that plus Azteca de Oro Solera Reservada Brandy… and its a go!