* Appeal to be aimed at Hispanic voters, who favor Obama
* Romney looking to rebound after a tough week
By Steve Holland
LOS ANGELES, Sept 17 Republican presidential
candidate Mitt Romney will pledge to Hispanics on Monday that if
elected he will fix the troubled U.S. immigration system in an
appeal to a rising voter bloc that overwhelmingly favors
Democratic President Barack Obama.
Looking to rebound after a tough week in which he fell
behind Obama in the polls, Romney will couple his immigration
promises with a commitment to get a handle on America's problem
of rising national debt and massive budget deficits.
This is part of the Republican's drive to spend more time
talking about the specifics of his economic proposals in answer
to voter demands for more information as they choose between him
and Obama in the Nov. 6 election.
Romney's immigration remarks to the Hispanic Chamber of
Commerce will be aimed at shoring up a weakness in his
candidacy: the fact that a huge majority of Hispanics support
"Americans may disagree about how to fix our immigration
system, but I think we can all agree that it is broken," Romney
In excerpts of his speech released by his campaign, Romney
did not get into the specifics of how he would patch up a deep
divide between Democrats and Republicans on the approach to
repairing the U.S. immigration system.
The last serious attempt at an immigration overhaul, made by
Republican President George W. Bush in 2007, collapsed in
Congress as conservatives rebelled against the plan, which they
called an amnesty for the estimated 12 million illegal
immigrants already living in the United States.
After promising during his 2008 campaign to take on the
immigration issue, Obama never followed through, leading to
disappointment among various Hispanic groups.
Romney will point to Obama's inability to work on the
problem as a failure.
"Candidate Obama said that one of his highest priorities
would be to fix immigration in his first year in office. Despite
his party having majorities in both houses of Congress, the
president never even offered up a bill," Romney will say.
U.S. BORDER INTEGRITY
Romney will vow to "work with Republicans and Democrats to
permanently fix our immigration system," while stressing that
any plan must first ensure the integrity of U.S. borders - a
problem on which the Obama administration says it has already
"I believe we can all agree that what we need are fair and
enforceable immigration laws that will stem the flow of illegal
immigration, while strengthening legal immigration," Romney will
The Republican's campaign is built around pledges to improve
the U.S. economy and spur job growth and he has used the same
message in appealing to Hispanics with the view that all
Americans want a good job whatever their ethnicity.
"While national unemployment is 8.1 percent, Hispanic
unemployment is over 10 percent. Over two million more Hispanics
are living in poverty today than the day President Obama took
office," Romney will say.
His campaign is trying to recover from a week in which
Romney made a political issue of the deaths of four Americans in
Libya, prompting criticism from Democrats and some Republicans
that he had botched his reaction to a national tragedy.
Obama also has enjoyed a bounce in support from the
Democratic National Convention in late August, forcing Romney to
play catch-up in a race that appeared to be turning against him.
A Gallup poll on Sunday, however, suggested Obama's bounce
was dissipating with his lead reduced to 3 percentage points -
48 percent to 45 percent for Romney.