Instead, as president, Mitt Romney will pursue bold reforms to our immigration system based on an approach of modernizing and simplifying our legal immigration system, putting in place far, enforceable and common-sense border security measures, and pursuing a permanent solution for children who were brought into the country illegally, through no fault of their own.
Four years ago, candidate Barack Obama promised the Hispanic community that he would make immigration reform one of his chief goals for his first term. In fact, he told us that he would get it done in his first year of office. He broke that promise.
Now he faces a tough election, and in an effort to win our votes, he proposed something he himself referred to as a “stop-gap measure.” His deferred action policy has been in place for months, and yet only 4% of eligible applicants have applied. The policy was so ill-conceived and rushed, most eligible applicants don’t even know where to begin.
It was such a transparent ploy, but one with real consequences. At the time President Obama was worrying about his reelection, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was working with Democrats and Republicans on a bipartisan plan that could have given us a permanent solution to this problem. The president cost us that. He traded cheap political points for real progress.
Mitt Romney will demonstrate real leadership, not petty gamesmanship. Mitt Romney will across the aisle to accomplish real reforms, just as he did as a Republican Governor in a heavily Democratic state.
Mitt Romney will also level with Hispanics on his plan for immigration reform. That plan involves permanent solutions and a path to permanent legal status that doesn’t add yet more uncertainty to our system. The Romney proposal for immigration reform includes legal permanent residency for those who honorably serve in our military; they have earned it. It means reallocating green cards to family of citizens and legal permanent residents so that we can bring families together across borders. It means raising caps on high-skill visas and stapling a green card to the diploma of every foreign student who obtains an advanced degree in math, science, or engineering at a U.S. university. Mitt Romney’s going to fix our broken legal immigration system that keeps people from coming here legally. These are real reforms. They aren’t short-term solutions. They aren’t politically motivated stunts. They are examples of the reform Barack Obama promised us four years ago and failed to deliver. In fact, he did not even try.
Our immigration system is a classic failure of Washington that forces millions of people to live in the shadows. President Obama disappointed us all when he broke his promise to bring those immigrants into the light through real immigration reform. Mitt Romney has shown before that he is a man of his word, and he’s fixed messes like this both as a businessman and a governor. He can do it again, but first he needs our support.
Marin served as the 41st Treasure of the United States in the George W. Bush Administration.