Mitt Romney today unveiled the endorsement of former Sen. Mel Martinez, who will serve as chair of the campaign’s National Advisory Council, according to a release. Interestingly, Martinez, the first Cuban American elected to the United States Senate, was a primary sponsor of 2006’s failed comprehensive immigration bid that faced withering criticism from conservatives.
After a decade of shifting positions on immigration, Romney has settled — in this contest, at least — to the political right, fiercely challenging Texas Governor Rick Perry over the question of in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants.
His campaign released late last month an ad in which it asked “who supports Governor Perry’s decision to give in-state tuition to illegal immigrants,” tracking a laundry list of Democrats. But with today’s endorsement news, it seems they might add one more name: Team Romney.
Along with Senators Dick Durbin, Harry Reid, Patrick Leahy, Joe Lieberman and Russ Feingold, Martinez cosponsored the DREAM Act of 2009, which closely tracks the Texas measure that has become of late Romney’s primary target.
Interestingly, Romney is also endorsed by Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake. Flake co-authored the STRIVE Act, a controversial “comprehensive” immigration reform plan that many conservatives objected to.
One can debate whether or not Perry’s Texas policy was prudent. But regardless of where one comes down on that, the notion that Mitt Romney is a clear alternative to Perry on the immigration issue seems increasingly laughable.
(Accepting an award from La Raza, Martinez extols the virtues of in-state tuition for undocumented youth):