Romney’s address to NALEO yesterday did not give any indication that he’s shaking the Etch-a-Sketch on his immigration views. The lead of the WaPo story I think has it right:
Mitt Romney, who courted conservative Republican primary voters with hard-line opposition to illegal immigration, took a first step Thursday toward trying to soften his image among skeptical Hispanic voters — pledging to speak in a “civil and resolute manner” and that he would loosen some restrictions on the flow of legal foreign workers.
But the presumed GOP presidential nominee showed in his appearance before a major Hispanic group that he is not prepared to back down from many of the positions that have put him at odds with some immigrants, advocacy groups and members of his party.
And it got the right response from lefties:
Democrats and liberal immigration advocates were quick to denounce Romney’s speech as a sign that he plans to hew closely to the wishes of the conservative Republican base when it comes to immigration.
And also got the right response from the intended audience:
Some, such as Trini Lopez, the mayor of Socorro, Tex., expressed cautious optimism.
Lopez said that among the “enticing offers” to the Latino community Romney laid out on Thursday was his proposal to reform the work visa system. Even so, Lopez said, before he decides whom to vote for, he needs to hear personally from Obama, who will address the group on Friday.
(And that’s from a 2008 Obama voter.)
None of this means Romney’s a restrictionist, as much as I’d like him to be — it’s just that he’s not backtracking on what he said during the primaries. As his immigration platform makes clear, he wants to increase “skilled” immigration and guestworkers, neither of which is a good idea. But he needs Congress to do that, and I’m willing to take my chances — on enforcement, he says the right things, especially universal E-Verify and an exit-tracking system for foreign visitors.