Mitt Romney’s Latino problem just got a lot worse.
President Obama’s executive order to the immigration service to cease deportations of immigrants who came here without documentation before they turned 16 has gone as far as a president can go without bringing Congress along with him. A president can’t change the legal status of the undocumented by himself, but he can issue orders to Homeland Security, which is precisely what Obama did.
This means that should Romney win the fall election, it’s entirely a matter of his discretion whether to continue, amend or revoke Obama’s order. It also means he has to take a position on the order while campaigning—and given the importance of the order, he has to take a position damn quick.
Many Republicans will pressure him to announce he’ll rescind it. The nearly all-white Republican base, certainly its Tea Party wing, will want him to rescind it. But announcing that will not only reduce Romney’s already meager Latino support, it will likely increase Latino turnout in November—against him. Even as the order itself will likely increase Latino turnout in Obama’s favor.
Good Obama administration policy, in this case, was also good Obama campaign politics. Let’s hear it for the Dream Actors! And take that, Mitt!