Monday, May 14, 2012

Susana Martinez: What the heck does "self-deport" mean?

In an interview with The Daily Beast, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R), a vice-presidential possibility, scoffs at Mitt Romney's suggestion that illegal immigrants "self-deport."

‘Self-deport?’ What the heck does that mean?” Martinez snaps.

“I have no doubt Hispanics have been alienated during this campaign. But now there’s an opportunity for Gov. Romney to have a sincere conversation about what we can do and why.”

That's a pretty sharp shot from someone who's considered a rising star in the GOP and one of its key weapons in Republican outreach to Hispanics.

Romney explained the concept of "self-deportation" earlier this year when he was asked how he'd address illegal immigrants who come to the U.S. for work.

“The answer is self-deportation, which is people decide they can do better by going home because they can’t find work here because they don't have legal documentation to allow them to work here.

.... If people can't get work here, they're going to self-deport to a place where they can get work."

As for Martinez, she has a few ideas on how the GOP can reframe its discussion with Hispanics.

First, Republicans should remind Latinos that Obama pledged to pass comprehensive immigration reform by the end of his initial year in office, but “didn’t even have the courage to try.”

Next, the GOP should outflank the president--on the left--by proposing its own comprehensive plan. “I absolutely advocate for comprehensive immigration reform.... Republicans want to be tough and say, ‘Illegals, you’re gone.’ But the answer is a lot more complex than that.”