Today, Florida State Rep. Darren Soto and national Democratic strategist Freddy Balsera held a press call highlighting why Mitt Romney is wrong on the issues that matter to Hispanics.
Mitt Romney continues to prove that he will say anything to get elected. Despite his claims of not being “anti-immigrant” in today’s Univision forum, Mitt Romney has adopted the most extreme immigration policies in the Republican field, said he would veto the DREAM Act, said all undocumented immigrants should self-deport and even embraced the endorsements of controversial figures like Kris Kobach, who was the architect of the most extreme, anti-immigrant state immigration laws.
But his dangerous positions are not limited to immigration. Mitt Romney is on the wrong side of every issue of importance to Hispanics. Hispanics stand to lose the most from Romney’s assertion that we should let foreclosures hit “rock bottom,” his support of the failed economic policies that led us to the brink of collapse, and his commitment to slash health care and education.
See below for remarks from Rep. Soto and Freddy Balsera, as prepared for delivery:
State Rep. Darren Soto:
“Today Mitt Romney is making one more attempt at getting it right with Florida Hispanics. And it’s no surprise he’s trying so hard; so far he has shown he just doesn’t get it.
I think we all understand how personal immigration issues can be to so many of our families. Even those of us who are documented may have a friend or a grandmother who is not. So when Romney says something like they should ‘self-deport,’ it’s personal. It hits home – and Freddy will talk about that in a moment.
But just like all other Americans, Hispanic families are paying attention to the candidates’ broader platform. And when they hear what Mitt Romney has to say on the economy, they don’t like it.
Just this week, during a roundtable on housing issues with hardworking Floridians – 44 percent of whom are underwater on their mortgages – Romney actually asked struggling Floridians telling their story on if they could simply buy their neighbor’s home and “swap.”
If that wasn’t bad enough, he actually said this week that the banks are feeling the same pain as underwater homeowners. Only someone who, like Mitt Romney, believes that corporations are people would dare be so out of touch as to equate banks to the very real suffering that Florida’s homeowners are going through. And let’s not forget what Romney said about the foreclosure process just a few months ago – that we should let it “run its course and hit the bottom,” leaving underwater homeowners out to dry.
On job creation, Romney would have us believe that he’s got a job creation record. But his so-called “real-world experience” at Bain was lining his pockets at the expense of hardworking Americans whose jobs were eliminated and shipped overseas, while companies were taken to bankruptcy and factories were shuttered. It happened right here in Florida. While at Bain, Romney invested in Dade Behring, a profitable medical-equipment company – then he ran it into the ground, and caused 850 workers in Miami to lose their jobs.
His record as governor continued that trend: He placed 47th out of 50 in job creation – that’s nothing to be proud of, and it’s not what Hispanic families are looking for.
We need to continue to expand on the progress we’ve seen under President Obama, who has presided over 22 straight months of job creation, and over 3 million jobs created.
President Obama wants us to be a country that exports more than what we import. And to that end, he signed the trade agreements with Colombia and Panama – both important for Florida and our communities.
So, with that, I wish Mitt Romney the best in trying to win over Hispanics, but I think he has gone past the point of no return.”
“As part of his attempt to shore up his support among Hispanics, Romney visited the Freedom Tower in Miami to present his foreign policy platform. He delivered his remarks from Miami’s version of Ellis Island, which is the ultimate symbol of immigrant dreams. But the Freedom Tower also belongs to Miami Dade College, the largest Hispanic Serving Institution in the country and an incubator for the DREAM Act, a proposal that Romney adamantly opposes.
Romney, in fact, promised to Veto the DREAM Act, the bipartisan plan to let young immigrants earn a path to citizenship by giving back to the only country they’ve ever known through military service or college study.
Romney even went so far as to call the DREAM Act a “handout” – but no one could rightly characterize this earned path to citizenship, a free pass. Romney’s stance is offensive to young Americans willing to sacrifice and give back to the only country they’ve ever called home.
If Romney becomes the Republican nominee, his position on immigration would be the most extreme of any presidential nominee of our time. He continues to bank to the far right and pander to the Tea Party, saying and standing for anything he thinks will get him elected.
Romney campaigned with Kris Kobach in South Carolina after proudly announcing his endorsement. Kobach, the man behind Arizona’s and Alabama’s extremist anti-immigration laws, said in his endorsement that illegal immigration “has plagued our country for a generation.”
And most recently he said the answer to our broken immigration system was for the 11 million undocumented immigrants was to “self deport.”
It is alarming that a candidate who once praised as “reasonable” Ted Kennedy and John McCain’s comprehensive immigration reform bill now advocates kicking immigrants out of America – even families who’ve lived here for a generation, raised children and grandchildren here, paid their taxes, obeyed the law, are members of their churches and communities, and even volunteer to serve in the military and in harm’s way.
Mitt Romney’s far-right positions are dangerous for nearly everyone: those struggling to stay in the middle class, those trying to make it there, and especially Hispanics working to build a life in America. I also wish him the best trying to win over Hispanics, but I think it’s clear he is locked in to his extreme positions.”