Willard "Mitt" Romney eked out a narrow win Tuesday night in his "home" state of Michigan, winning 41 per cent of the vote to Rick Santorum's 37 per cent. As of this writing, it is not clear who won the most delegates to the Republican convention.
Newt Gingrich, whose candidacy has been kept functioning on earth, rather than the moon, solely because of money from one billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, got 7 per cent of the vote, much of which would most likely otherwise have gone to Rick Santorum.
The punditocracy has been quick to hail this less than resounding win for Romney in the state where he was born and where his father had been governor as a big breakthrough, which puts the "momentum" back with Romney and may make him the "inevitable" front runner for the Republican nomination.
But when Santorum and Gingrich are taken together, Romney lost by three percentage points, 44 to 41 (not counting Ron Paul's 12 percent, which is meaningless unless Paul runs as a third party candidate). It is clear that a majority of Republicans in Michigan do not like or trust Romney as much as they do the two other far right wing candidates..
Romney's narrow win was even more precarious considering that his two main opponents both have serious sanity challenges; Santorum, regarding women's rights, religious freedom, and education, and Gingrich, on the question whether or not he is the most "transformational" person to arrive on this planet in the past 1,000 years. Santorum, especially, did very badly among women. Surprise, surprise. (Some of his support also came from sensible Democrats who wanted to stop Romney.)
However, despite Romney's less than impressive victory in Michigan, let us suppose that most of the media are right in concluding that he is now the "inevitable" front runner for the nomination. If Romney becomes the Republican candidate to run against President Obama this fall, what would this mean for immigration?
The answer is that the future of immigration as we know it in America would be in very serious danger. Romney has pledged that on Day One of his presidency he would order the Department of Justice to drop its lawsuit seeking to block the harsh anti-immigrant laws in Arizona, Alabama and other states which are setting off a wave of persecution against Latinos and other brown skinned immigrants and creating fear in minority communities. America would be divided more than ever, not only by income and wealth, but by race.
Moreover, the foundation of America's immigration system has always been based on the doctrine that immigration is a federal matter, and that there is only one immigration law for the entire country. If Romney wins, there would be at least 50 immigration laws (besides the federal one) each one more draconian and confusing than the next (not to mention possibly hundreds of local ordinances).
Haven't there been enough problems with the one law that we already have? How could any foreign citizen feel safe in being sure that he or she was in compliance with this maze of immigration laws? The result would be total chaos. Which non-US citizen in his or her right mind could feel secure in even visiting, let alone living in America? American citizens, especially those who "look" foreign or speak English with a foreign accent, would also be "severely" (to use one of Romney's favorite words) impacted.
Romney's potential to destroy the entire immigration system was underscored by his more substantial victory in Arizona, with the backing of governor Jan Brewer, who has rightly become a symbol of anti-immigrant hate. With his regained "front runner" status and unlimited billionaire campaign money, Willard "Mitt" Romney is a clear and present danger to immigration as we know it in America more than ever before.
Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years.