Romney’s DREAM Problem?

by Mark Krikorian

Politico has a piece suggesting that Marco Rubio’s search for a Republican version of the DREAM Act amnesty (for certain illegals who came here as children) creates a problem for Romney. Maybe, but two points: Mickey Kaus points to yesterday’s Quinnipiac poll that shows Romney is favored over Obama on immigration 43 percent to 39 percent; as Mickey asks, “What good is Hispandering if it wins Romney New Mexico but costs him Ohio?” (And that assumes it would even win him New Mexico.)

Second, a quote in the Politico piece from an Obama campaign spokesman suggests they still don’t understand the politics of the DREAM Act:

But Lis Smith, a spokeswoman for the Obama campaign, said Romney is shifting his positions from the hard-line stances he took to win over conservative voters in the primary, when he backed the tough Arizona immigration law, “associated himself with the most extreme anti-immigrant activists in the country” and initially pledged to veto the DREAM Act.

(Ms. Smith misspoke: Romney backed “the tough Arizona immigration law” passed in 2007, that requires universal use of E-Verify; on SB 1070, he just said the feds have no business suing the state, which, of course, they don’t.) The claim here is that Romney’s pledge to veto the DREAM Act somehow puts him beyond the pale, in league with “the most extreme anti-immigrant activists in the country.” As I point out in my piece on the homepage today, the open-borders folks keep seeing the DREAM Act as something like the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act — something so obvious and so uncontroversial that people on all sides of the issue support it, with only the fringiest kooks opposed, thus flushing them out and undermining them politically. Except that the public doesn’t seem to see it that way — however sympathetic people find the intended beneficiaries of the DREAM Act, it’s been voted down more than once, without any discernible political effect.

Instead, Romney should make his own “Born-Alive”–style case for the Secure Communities program (which checks the fingerprints of booked criminal suspects against immigration databases at the same time as the FBI’s database). SC is still not implemented in large parts of the country and there’s a real danger that the Obama people will gut it. Whatever you think our larger immigration policy should be, the idea that we’re still not checking all arrestees for immigration status is incredible; in other words, this really is something so obvious that only the radical fringe would oppose it. Unfortunately, said radical fringe is actually running our immigration policy.

Romney should go on the offensive and demand SC be turned on for every jurisdiction, today (there are no technical or legal obstacles to doing so): “Mr. President, we may disagree about immigration policy, and that’s what politics is for. But this should be beyond politics — you and your supporters can’t possibly believe that criminal suspects should be shielded from the Department of Homeland Security by not checking their fingerprints. Or do you?”

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