This time Mitt Romney is misrepresenting Jeb Bush’s record, and his own, as he continues to struggle both the substance and appearance of his pandering flip-flop on immigration.

So these days, Mitt Romney is claiming that he has a strong record because he cut a deal but never implemented an agreement to allow state police to enforce federal immigration laws. He is making completely incorrect comparisons to efforts done by the (re-elected and popular) Jeb Bush in Florida:

“I deputized, as did Governor Bush here, my state police to be able to enforce immigration laws.

Except that that’s not really what Bush did. From a June 2002 AP article which is quoted in full after the jump, what Bush did was train counter-terrorism officers on federal immigration law and allow them to enforce that law as part of counter-terrorism:

"It’s targeted only to terrorist investigations — not checking green cards and work camps," FDLE Commissioner Tim Moore said Thursday.

In fact, Bush explicitly didn’t want the Florida police to do more general immigration checking:

"I would have a lot of trepidation if … every police officer was going to be a sworn INS officer and our duties end up with local law enforcement becoming the immigration cops of the country," Bush said.

So Romney seems to be confusing Jeb Bush’s actual attempts to use immigration laws to protect us against terrorists with Romney’s media preening about illegals.

Romney’s claim about "deputizing … state police" is, strictly speaking, also false. The agreement that Romney had with the feds required 4.5 weeks of training. When Romney announced it in December, Deval Patrick had already said he would end the program.  Indeed, Patrick did end the program, about 4.5 weeks later. In other words, not a single state police official was ever authorized to carry out the arrest of illegals on federal immigration violations. The state police never could have caught those illegal Guatemalans on his lawn. Here’s what actually happened:

Then Governor Mitt Romney signed the 15-page agreement with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Dec. 13 that would have allowed specially deputized state troopers to arrest suspected illegal immigrants and charge them with violating US immigration laws.

During his campaign, Patrick called the plan a ?gimmick? and told reporters on Dec. 21 that he would quash the agreement shortly after taking office. About 30 troopers had been scheduled to take a five-week training course early next year.

So Romney’s great immigration accomplishment is that he signed an agreement to allow a training class that never happened.

Full article after the jump


South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Copyright 2002 Sun-Sentinel

June 7, 2002


Section: LOCAL

TASK FORCE WILL GET POWER TO ENFORCE IMMIGRATION LAWS
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The Associated Press

The state and federal governments are about to sign an agreement that will give 35 members of Florida’s Domestic Security Task Force the power to enforce immigration laws during terrorism investigations.

The agreement will solve, at least for a year, frustrations the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has expressed about not being able to detain a suspected terrorist for violating immigration laws.

"It’s targeted only to terrorist investigations — not checking green cards and work camps," FDLE Commissioner Tim Moore said Thursday.

The one-year pilot program should be launched in about a week. The department already has met with Hispanic, Haitian and Arabic community leaders to ensure them the officers will not randomly target anyone who is in the country illegally. But some are concerned the power could be abused by FDLE and the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

"We certainly are concerned about racial profiling and officers abusing their power," said Cheryl Little, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center in Miami. "Post 9-11, there’s a sense among the immigrant community that INS and local police have carte blanche to do whatever they want."

Gov. Jeb Bush said he is comfortable with the program because it is limited to just a few officers already assigned to domestic security.

"I would have a lot of trepidation if … every police officer was going to be a sworn INS officer and our duties end up with local law enforcement becoming the immigration cops of the country," Bush said.

The department printed 5,500 pamphlets in English, Spanish, French, Creole and Arabic explaining the program.

The 35 officers include seven FDLE agents and 28 officers assigned to the task force by local departments, Moore said. The officers will have six weeks of INS training and will be supervised by INS agents.

Taleb Salhab, of the Arab American Community Center in Orlando, praised the state’s effort to let the community know about its plans.

"We have had a positive relationship, and they have come to us at every junction and solicited our opinion and feedback and we’ve given it to them," Salhab said. "Our main concern is that if there are going to be immigration laws enforced, that they are enforced across all communities — not just against Arab-Americans."

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The Right’s Field » Romney Update · May 31, 2007 at 1:49 PM

[…] Romney stated last year that he supported the Bush agenda on immigration, as well as the McCain-Kennedy legislation that would put the 11 million undocumented workers on a long path to citizenship. Conservative anti-immgration groups are now blasting yet another Romney flip-flop. (Read more of Mitt’s “Mitt-representations” on immigration here.) […]

eyeon08.com » Romney breaks word, throws stones from glass houses · August 9, 2007 at 6:49 PM

[…] Of course Romney’s campaign invokes his phony record on immigration: […]

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