August 21, 2012
by James Hohmann
TAMPA, Fla.— Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach persuaded the Republican platform committee Tuesday to toughen its language on immigration.
“We recognize that if you really want to create a job tomorrow, you can remove an illegal alien today,” he told the 100-plus representatives to the committee. “That is the way to open up jobs very quickly for U.S. citizen workers and lawfully admitted alien workers.”
The committee agreed to restore 2008 platform planks that didn’t appear in a draft prepared by Republican National Committee staff, who worked in close consultation with Mitt Romney’s campaign.
The platform committee overwhelmingly voted to add language proposed by Kobach calling for the completion of a border fence, the end of in-state tuition for illegal immigrants and an end to sanctuary cities. It also voted to support national E-Verify, an Internet database run by the federal government that makes it harder for undocumented workers to get jobs.
Trying to make inroads with Latino votes, Romney has toned down the hardline rhetoric he used in the primaries. The GOP convention is also being held in the key state of Florida, which is home to a large population of Hispanic voters that Republicans realize are key to the party’s electoral chances and future.
Kobach, who wrote Arizona's and Alabama’s controversial immigration laws, reminded the group of Republicans in a ballroom at the Marriott hotel here of Romney’s stated positions on the hot-button issue
“These positions are consistent with the Romney campaign,” he said. “As you all will remember one of the primary reasons that Gov. Romney rose past Gov. [Rick] Perry when Mr. Perry was achieving first place in the polls was because of his opposition to in-state tuition for illegal aliens.”
Kobach quoted a passage from Romney’s website that says the soon-to-be GOP nominee will build a high-tech fence and eliminate the magnets for illegal immigration.