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Platform committee toughens GOP stance against illegal immigrants

August 21, 2012|By Paul West
  • Mitt Romney, during a speech before the National Assn. of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Orlando, Fla. His campaign has distanced itself from the GOP's harsh stance on illegal immigrants.
Mitt Romney, during a speech before the National Assn. of Latino Elected… (Charles Dharapak / Associated…)

TAMPA, Fla. -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney might wish some Latino voters this fall will overlook the hard line on illegal immigration he espoused during the GOP primaries, but members of the party’s platform committee clearly remember.

At their final session Tuesday, the delegates voted to restore several anti-illegal immigration provisions from the 2008 platform. The provisions had not been included in the initial 2012 platform draft, prepared in close conjunction with the Romney campaign.

In proposing to put them back in, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said they were in line with Romney’s position.

Kobach, a leading foe of undocumented immigrants and a prominent Romney supporter at the height of the primary season, was successful in adding three provisions to the platform: a call for completion of the border fence with Mexico, opposition to in-state tuition rates for illegal aliens and the denial of federal funds for sanctuary cities.

The changes were approved with no dissent by the platform committee. The full platform document will be submitted to the Republican convention for approval next week.

“These positions are consistent with the Romney campaign. As you all will remember, one of the primary reasons that Gov. Romney rose past [Texas] Gov. [Rick] Perry, when Mr. Perry was achieving first place in the polls, was because of his opposition to in-state tuition for illegal aliens,” said Kobach.

Back in January, Romney praised Kobach, an author of Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law, as “a true leader” in stopping the flow of illegal immigration. Kobach described himself as a Romney advisor during the primaries, though the campaign said later he was merely a supporter.

In proposing the platform changes, Kobach quoted positions from the Romney campaign website calling for completion of a high-tech fence and ending “magnets” for illegal immigration, a term Romney used in primary debates to explain his opposition to granting in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.

Asked for comment, a Romney campaign advisor replied, “The platform is a RNC document, not a Romney for President document.”

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Paul.west@latimes.com

Twitter: @paulwestdc

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