Feb. 11, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Immigration Debate Absent in Pleas to Latino Voters

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Puerto Rico delegate Carlos Mendez cheers for Gov. Luis Fortuño of Puerto Rico on Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention.

Though former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told a group of reporters earlier in the day that he supports the DREAM Act, which would provide permanent residence for undocumented students, he did not mention it once in the address he delivered tonight on the topic of education.

"But having a solution to the fact that we have all these young people, many of whom are making great contributions and don't have connections to their parents' home country, yeah of course I'm for it," Bush said in the session with reporters, before noting, "Then again, I'm not running for anything and can speak my mind."

Rubio, who has introduced his own version of the DREAM Act, did not speak about immigration issues in his widely anticipated and well-received speech that introduced the rising Republican star to a massive national audience. The freshman Senator is the son of Cuban immigrants and used his personal narrative, not policy positions, to appeal to potential Hispanic voters.

In lieu of a formal policy debate on immigration, Romney and the Republicans are banking on economic issues and hoping that voters, regardless of demographic, will want a change of course that leads to more jobs and growth.

Top Romney adviser Ed Gillespie told Univision News earlier in the day that while the nominee supports family reunification policies, the topic of immigration is not the most important of the election, saying there were larger problems Romney needed to address in the biggest speech of his political career.

"Look, there are some elections when, for example, national security is a big issue. When I was chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2004, that election was about national security," Gillespie said. "There have been times when immigration is the biggest issue. But the issue that most voters want to hear about is economy and jobs. That doesn't mean that [immigration] is not important. Gov. Romney has addressed it and will continue to do so."

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