Mitt Romney, who used to try to sound like a moderate on immigration, has dropped the pretense. On Wednesday, he proudly accepted the endorsementof the anti-immigrant activist Kris Kobach, architect of the nation’s most radical immigration crackdowns, including the unconstitutional show-your-papers laws in Arizona and Alabama.
Mr. Romney has flipped and flopped all over on immigration, but in allying himself with Mr. Kobach he has lurched toward the extremist right. “Kris has been a true leader on securing our borders and stopping the flow of illegal immigration into this country,” Mr. Romney said.
Mr. Kobach, the secretary of state of Kansas, drafted that state’s photo-ID law supposedly to stem fraudulent voting but with the real purpose of suppressing Democratic votes. He is nationally known for drafting statutes, many passed by states and local governments, that usurp federal control of immigration enforcement and aim to make life intolerable for immigrants. He is with the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group that wants to reduce legal immigration.
His new ally has shifted around between moderation (Mr. Romney once spoke favorably of Senator Edward Kennedy’s bill to legalize millions of the undocumented), double talk and evasion (he supported a 2,000-mile border fence but also seemed to be for some path to citizenship), and hypocrisy (illegal immigrants used to tend his lawn).
In this campaign, Mr. Romney has shed all good sense. He recently said he would even veto the Dream Act, which could give legal status to blameless young immigrants who go to college or serve in the military.
On the day of the Kobach endorsement, the Romney campaign released a TV ad in Florida. Mr. Romney, who has opposed bilingual education in favor of English, “the language of America,” shows he is willing, as always, to say what it takes to scrape up votes. “Muchas gracias,” he tells voters at the end of the ad, which is in Spanish.