For Romney the candidate, the Hispanic voting bloc is unfamiliar territory: Massachusetts, where he was governor, has a relatively small Hispanic population compared to other states, and he never got so far in the 2008 campaign as to directly address Hispanic interests. On the other hand, Romney does have a unique Hispanic claim: His father, George, was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, in a colony of Mormons.
Yet while most Hispanics self-identify as liberals, the massive voting bloc is far from a lock for Obama. Hispanics consistently cite the economy, not immigration, as the key issue in the country, and their values – especially when it comes to family and religion – line up more neatly with conservatives than liberals.
At an upcoming speech to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in June 21, Romney will have an opportunity to contrast his immigration views with those of Obama, who speaks to the group a day later.
According to the Boston Globe, Romney’s advisers are pushing him to consider proposing some kind of immigration reform, potentially along the lines of an idea floated by potential vice-presidential pick Marco Rubio, the Florida senator, that focuses on visas, not citizenship, as a way to bring illegal immigrants into the fold of the documented.