Romney to hit Obama on immigration, jobs in speech to Latino group

Mitt Romney will seek to bolster his support among Latino voters Monday with an address to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles, hitting President Obama on the economy and vowing to reform the nation’s “broken” immigration system.

“No one is exempt from the pain of this economy, but the Hispanic community has been particularly hard hit,” Romney will say, according to excerpts from his address. “While national unemployment is 8.1 percent, Hispanic unemployment is over 10 percent. Over 2 million more Hispanics are living in poverty today than the day President Obama took office.”

Romney will tout his economic plan, repeating pledges to “create 12 million jobs by the end of my first term” and vowing to balance the nation’s budget.

“As business-men and -women, and as Hispanics, you understand the threat President Obama's spending poses for our future,” says Romney. “Many Hispanics have sacrificed greatly to help build our country and our economy, and to leave for their children a brighter future.  Today, those sacrifices are being squandered by a president who cannot stop spending.”

Romney’s speech also addresses a key issue for the fast growing demographic: immigration. 

“Americans may disagree about how to fix our immigration system, but I think we can all agree that it is broken,” Romney plans to say. “For years, Republicans and Democrats seem to have been more interested in playing politics with immigration than with actually fixing it.”

Romney also blasts Obama for failing to push for comprehensive immigration reform. 

“Candidate Obama said that one of his highest priorities would be to fix immigration in his first year in office. Despite his party having majorities in both house of Congress, the president never even offered up a bill,” he'll say. “Like so many issues confronting our nation, when it comes to immigration, politics has been put ahead of people for too long.”

Romney says if elected, he would prioritize securing the borders, claiming that the country can “never achieve a legal immigration system that is fair and efficient if we do not first get control of our borders.”

“I believe we can all agree that what we need are fair and enforceable immigration laws that will stem the flow of illegal immigration, while strengthening legal immigration,” says Romney.

Both Obama and Romney’s campaign have targeted Hispanic voters, who could help tip many key battleground states this election. Democrats tapped San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro to deliver the keynote at their convention in Charlotte, N.C., the first Hispanic to do so. Republicans meanwhile heard from Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) a Tea Party favorite who introduced Romney at the party’s convention in Tampa, Fla. 

But polls show Obama with a sizable lead among the demographic, aided by his popular decision to halt the deportation of some young illegal immigrants. 

An NBC News-Wall Street Journal-Telemundo poll released in August showed Obama with 63 percent support among likely Hispanic voters to Romney’s 28 percent.

Romney’s campaign, though, has set a target of 38 percent of the Hispanic vote to beat Obama, a figure well above the 31 percent Sen. John McCain won as the GOP nominee in 2008. In 2004, President George W. Bush won 40 percent of Hispanics in his reelection bid.

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