Bloggings on Immigration Law

by Roger Algase

What Did Mitt Romney Really Say About Arizona's Immigration Law?

At the debate on Tuesday night, President Obama and Mitt Romney clashed over the question whether Romney had stated that the entire Arizona S,B. 1070 law was a model for the nation, or only the e-verify part.

This is what Romney actually said during a CNN debate in February in Arizona: 

"You know, I think you see a model in Arizona. They passed a law here that says - that says that people who come here and try to find work, that the employer is required to look them up on e-verify. This e-verify system allows employers in Arizona to know who's here legally and who's not here legally. 

And as a result of e-verify being put in place, the number of people that are here illegally has dropped by some 14 per cent, where the national average has only gone down 7 per cent. So going back to the question that was asked, the right course for America is to drop these lawsuits against Arizona and other states that are trying to do the job Barack Obama isn't doing.

And I will drop those lawsuits on day one." (Emphasis added)

Technically, based on the above quote, Romney was right in claiming that he only stated that e-verify was a model, not the entire Arizona law. But in stating that he would withdraw the "lawsuits" against Arizona [and, clearly, other states with similar immigration laws], Romney obviously endorsed the entire Arizona law, not just the e-verify part. 

This mischaracterization of the Arizona law as consisting of nothing more than e-verify allowed Romney to have it both ways. On the one hand, he could endorse the entire law, making the Republican right wing anti-immigrant base happy, but on the other, he could also argue that he only meant to hold out e-verify as a model for the entire nation.

And Barack Obama - is anyone saying that he does not hold out e-verify as a model for the entire nation, not to mention Secure Communities, which neither of them mentioned? Neither candidate scored very high marks for truth about the immigration issue on October 16.

About The Author

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

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) alone and should not be imputed to ILW.COM.