The Latino vote is crucial in the 2012 Presidential -Campaign, so hard stances on immigration could present a problem for Romney now that he’s tapped Paul Ryan to be his Vice President.
Although Paul Ryan doesn’t take as hard a stance on immigration as many Conservatives do -- he has a C-grade with anti-immigration group NumbersUSA – he has made some votes as a seven-term Congressman that is likely to make some Latino voters unhappy.
Most notably Ryan voted against the DREAM Act in 2010, saying, “I understand the points that DREAM Act supporters have raised,” adding, “it would be a serious mistake to pursue piecemeal reforms like the DREAM Act without first putting in place fundamental components of immigration reform,” according to the Christian Science Monitor.
Though the DREAM Act may seem like nothing more than a band-aid for a broken immigration system, it is popular with Latino voters. When President Obama announced deferred action for young immigrants in June his favorability ratings with Latinos increased dramatically and gives many young people the chance to become legally recognized without fear of deportation.
With the assistance of an immigration attorney, these young people are now able to apply for work or study visas. A visa would them give them the opportunity to apply for naturalization in the future.
In addition to voting against the DREAM Act, Ryan also voted for the Sensenbrenner Bill in 2005 which would have turned undocumented workers and those, who helped them, including priests and pastors, into felons.
Ryan also supported the Minutemen Project in which private citizens would patrol the borders and help stop the flow of illegal immigrants. President George W. Bush and the ACLU were both critical of the program. President Bush described the Minutemen Project as “vigilante” border patrol.
Ryan is also a supporter of building a fence along the entirety of the southerner border of the United States in an effort to stem the flow of illegal immigrants.
Ryan is not as tough on immigration as his running mate Mitt Romney, who once said illegal immigrants should “self-deport,” but his previous votes on immigration along with his approval of austerity could become a liability for the campaign.