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:
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.
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.