Romney campaign cuts press call short after immigration questions

Mitt Romney's campaign cut a press call short Wednesday after reporters started asking questions about immigration.

The conference call was set up to focus on the economy and knock President Obama's comment that the private sector was "doing fine." 

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But reporters wanted to ask about immigration. 

Romney aides repeatedly urged reporters to restrict their questions to economic topics.

“Gov. Romney is speaking at NALEO tomorrow, and will have a few more things there to say about immigration," said Romney policy director Lanhee Chen, referring to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials annual conference in Orlando, Fla. 

Romney will address the attendees tomorrow, while President Obama is scheduled to speak Friday.

Asked again about immigration, Chen contended that "the one thing we ought to focus on with immigration" was "how the economy has failed the Latino community." 

After reporters did not oblige, the Romney campaign cut off the call.

"We don’t have any more questions on today’s topic," a Romney aide said.

The call underscored Romney's struggles with immigration, which have intensified after Obama's decision last week to halt deportations of some immigrants who came to the United States as children. With Hispanics a fast-growing voter bloc, Romney is looking to walk a tightrope between his conservative base and an important constituency in November.

Last week, Romney said the president's move would complicate long-term immigration reform efforts.

"I believe the status of young people who come here through no fault of their own is an important matter to be considered and should be solved on a long-term basis, so they know what their future would be in this country. I think the action that the president took today makes it more difficult to reach that long-term solution because an executive order is, of course, just a short-term matter – it can be reversed by subsequent presidents," Romney said.