Mitt Romney’s views on immigration are about to get more scrutiny than ever. He faces a severe test in balancing his tough position on illegals, taken during the Republican primaries, with his desire to appeal to Hispanics who believe Republican leaders are too harsh and punitive when dealing with undocumented workers.
The Supreme Court is expected to put the issue front and center in the next week when it announces its review of an Arizona law that clamps down on illegal immigration. Some court watchers believe the conservative majority of justices will uphold the Arizona law.
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, has been reluctant to discuss the immigration issue in detail recently as he has appeared to struggle with what to do next. His aides cut off questions at a media conference call Wednesday after the reporters started to ask about immigration.
This is in contrast to his clear denunciations of illegal immigration during the Republican presidential primaries when he was trying to appeal to a right-of-center electorate. At that time, he praised the Arizona law, which requires police officers to determine the immigration status of someone they arrest if they think that person is in the country illegally. Many Hispanics fear that this procedure would lead to racial profiling of their ethnic group.
Romney also has been thrown off balance by President Obama’s decision last Friday to make it easier for many children of illegal-immigrant parents to live in the United States legally. This decision is drawing praise from Hispanic leaders.
Romney is scheduled to address the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials near Orlando, Florida Thursday.
Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog, "Ken Walsh's Washington," on usnews.com, and is the author of "The Presidency" column in the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Facebook and Twitter.