Romney talks economy, immigration in speech to Hispanics - FOX 13 News

Romney talks economy, immigration in speech to Hispanics

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Source: The Wall Street Journal

Mitt Romney emphasized economic renewal and long-term immigration solutions in a speech to Latino elected officials Thursday, telling the group President Barack Obama is taking their support for granted.

The Republican presidential candidate focused many of his remarks on the economy, saying Latinos have fared poorly during the Obama administration, with Hispanic unemployment standing at about 11 percent. But Romney also offered broad outlines of parts of the immigration policy he would pursue as president, pledging to reallocate green cards to allow families to stay together. He also said he would allow those with advanced degrees to remain in the US and would create a path to legal status for members of the military.

Much of what Romney suggested had been proposed previously and has some bipartisan support. His speech didn't include detailed plans for addressing the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants who are already in the US.

Romney's address at the annual conference of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., came nearly a week after Obama said he wouldn't deport many young immigrants who came to the US illegally when they were children. The president's executive order would allow many of them to stay and apply for work permits.

Obama will speak to the same conference on Friday.

"As president, I won't settle for stopgap measures," Romney said. "I will work with Republicans and Democrats to build a long-term solution. I will prioritize measures that strengthen legal immigration and make it more transparent. And I will address the problem of illegal immigration in a civil but resolute manner. We may not always agree, but when I make a promise to you, I will keep it."

During the Republican primaries, Romney took a tough stance on immigration, saying he would veto the proposed Dream Act, which would provide a path to permanent residency for illegal immigrants who came to the US as minors and graduated from US high schools. On Thursday, he backed one part of that proposal by offering support for legal status for those who serve in the military.

In 2008, Obama won the Hispanic vote by more than 2-1. Polls this year have shown the president with a similar lead, and his announcement last week was expected to help him consolidate that support. Romney has worked to strike a careful balance as he has tried to woo Latino voters without alienating some in his own party.

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