ILW.COM - the immigration portal Immigration Daily

< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily

Bloggings on Immigration Law and Policy

by Greg Siskind

How Romney Could Win Back Latinos

That purports to be the secret to be revealed in this fairly unhelpful analysis by Matthew Jaffe at

The essence of the story is that despite polls showing Romney trailing by 50+% amongst Hispanic voters, that they really are not so concerned about immigration and that Romney should appeal to them on economic issues and accuse the President of failing to deliver on the promise of immigration reform. Wow, that's an amazingly helpful suggestion. But, um, isn't that what the Romney campaign has been doing for quite some time already? And a lot of good it seems to be doing.

Jaffe also suggests that picking a Marco Rubio for a vice presidential candidate might help. Gee, never heard that suggestion before except for just about every news report in the last several weeks. And, unfortunately for Romney, polling shows that not only does Rubio make little difference in helping to narrow the gap with Hispanic voters, the pick wouldn't even deliver Florida.

Another dubious suggestion in the story is that somehow Latino voters will not care about immigration because of the departure of many Mexicans.

However, immigration may ultimately be less of an issue than initially expected. For the first time in decades the number of Mexican immigrants coming to this country has dropped, from nearly 7 million in 2007 to around 6.1 million today, a Pew Hispanic Center study of government data found.

So? Where's the logical connection there? Latino voters suddenly don't care about the anti-immigrant/anti-brown people rhetoric of the right? Latino voters are not just concerned about immigration because a lot of them have family members or friends affected (though they do). They care because the positions of Romney and his fellow party members are viewed by many, many Latino voters as using immigration policy as code to appeal to white voters who fear losing majority status.

Jaffe makes an even stranger argument that somehow Arizona's SB1070 is a non-factor.

In addition, the anticipated nationwide backlash against Arizona's controversial new immigration law has yet to materialize. When the Supreme Court took up the case last Wednesday, the conservative justices on the court tried to poke holes in the Obama administration's argument that Arizona could not pursue "its own policy" of immigration control because "the Constitution vests exclusive authority over immigration matters with the national government." Justice Antonin Scalia responded that "all that means is that the government can set forth the rules concerning who belongs in this country, but if, in fact, somebody who does not belong in this country is in Arizona , Arizona has no power?"

Afterward, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, the Republican who enacted the law, said, "I feel very confident as I walked out of there that we will get a favorable ruling in late June."

If you think Mitt Romney is not dreading  Supreme Court decision this June ruling in favor of Arizona, I have some swampland in Florida I'd be happy to sell to you. Hispanic voters are NOT going to be pleased if the law is upheld and they are likely to take it out against the guy who praised that law as a model for the country. Who picks Supreme Court Justices may not matter for the average voter, but it's going to be an easy message for Obama to deliver to Latinos if that case goes as many are predicting.

About The Author

Greg Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.