Vivana Hurtado: Mitt Romney's Immigration Position, ‘the 47%,’ and the Great Rewind

Before Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney addressed immigration to amigos at the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce conference, he brought it up at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, which I covered.

This emotional hot-button issue was reduced to a line of "we are a nation of immigrants."

Then there was his charla in the Spring with another friendly group, the conservative leaning, pro-business non-profit Latino Coalition, where he didn't mention immigration but, as I write in, ¿It's the economía, estúpido? referred to young illegal immigrants when he stated: “No matter what circumstances they were born into, every child has a dream about where they can go or what they can become.”

I'm going to draw a direct arc between these two statements.

Romney's warm fuzzies abound until you "rewind" back to the Republican primary debates where the former Massachusetts governor attempted to "out conservative" his competitors, proposing, for example, self-deportation of an estimated 12 million people as a viable federal immigration policy (which was codified in the non-binding but soul-revealing Republican platform).

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Romney also hailed the Kris Kobach-inspired, if not outright authored, anti-illegal immigration laws such as Arizona's as templates for federal law.

And although during this news cycle, the GOP presidential nominee claims to not know his "informal advisor," by "rewinding" through my own archives I discovered not just praise for the immigration positions of the Kansas Secretary of State, but Romney campaigned with Kobach before the South Carolina primary.
Dime con quien andas y te diré quién eres, Mami drilled into our heads as kids.

Indeed, you can learn a lot about a person by the company he keeps.

This trip down memory lane isn’t an attempt to dismiss or sabotage Romney's smart suggestions to improve our immigration laws by strengthening the employee immigration status verification program, allowing guest workers, and stapling green cards to the diplomas of graduating immigrants.

What unravels Mitt Romney are his own words, most recently that he would write off 47 percent of the electorate as Obama-voting freeloaders.

Whereas his campaign has accused the president of fostering an "us vs. them" political cleave, his remarks at a $50,000 a plate Boca Raton fundraiser published on the liberal Mother Jones website put him at the head of the class warfare charge.

Romney's statements confirm average Americans' suspicions that he is out of touch with the reality of those who are struggling.

Any Costco-shirt-wearing-convention revelations on CNN -- meant to make him, if not more like us, just compassionate and empathetic of others' lot in life -- went up in smoke.

No opposition research, no political super PAC-funded media ads, could have done more damage.

For Latinos, this damage has been in the works for months as my “rewind” proves because immigration is the elefante in the room that despite ranking behind the economy, deeply matters to Hispanic voters.

The pay off?

The president leads Romney by a 2 to 1 margin, according to the latest Fox News Latino survey.

Among Latinas, it's a mind-blowing 6 to 1 lead, according to the most recent ImpreMedia/Latino Decisions survey.

Can Romney recover from the "47 percent" remarks -- heck, months of a poorly run campaign?


Although voters, especially Latinos, have the memory of an elephant.

Viviana Hurtado is the founder and blogger-in-chief at The Wise Latina Club and the host of Hispanic Business Today: American Success Stories, nationally syndicated on NBC.

She is a regular columnist for Fox News Latino. You can follow her on twitter at: @vivianahurtado

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