Romney ran well to the right of his rivals in the GOP primaries on immigration. At times he was unintentionally honest about his cynical xenophobia, such as during an October 2011 Republican presidential debate when Texas Gorv.Rick Perry challenged him for hiring undocumented workers to mow yards at one of his homes. “You stood here in front of the American people and did not tell the truth that you had illegals working on your property," Perry said, "and the newspaper came to you and brought it to your attention, and you still, a year later, had those individuals working for you. The idea that you can sit here and talk about any of us having an immigration issue is beyond me. I've got a strong policy, I've always been against amnesty. You, on the other hand, were for amnesty."
Romney and other Republicans trumpeted their disdain for Latinos and immigrants so loudly that even what was once a solid GOP constituency -- Cuban Americans -- almost tipped to Obama. (The president won 48 percent of the Cuban American vote. That group used to automatically reject Democrats they have seen as weak against Fidel Castro, the communist dictator of their homeland. For more, see http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324073504578107412795405272.html.)
“For some reason, culturally, they think that they're invested in hard work. And using the Cuban exile model, they're exactly right. But the Hispanic demographic, if you will, or population, has shifted. And the Cuban exile model is no longer the dominant model. The Mexican immigrant model is. And that -- they arrive with an entirely different view of America. And I'm sorry if this is offensive, but it's true . . . A full 75 percent of voting Hispanics believe that prosperity is the job of government, and so they’ll vote for the party that espouses those beliefs. It happens to be the Democrats . . . In the old days of immigration people came to this country seeking a better life for themselves. They were fleeing tyranny, fleeing oppression, fleeing economic poverty. They came here and wanted to become Americans. They wanted to become part of that great American culture. Well, now that isn’t happening. Our culture is becoming Balkanized. New arrivals aren’t assimilating, they’re setting up their own cultures, and there isn’t a distinct American culture anymore. ” (Listen to the broadcast at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/31/rush-limbaugh-attacks-mexicans-immigrants_n_2593915.html).
According to a study by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, “Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 64 percent of the population in 2010 and received 69 percent of the entitlement benefits. In contrast, Hispanics made up 16 percent of the population but received 12 percent of the benefits, less than their proportionate share -- likely because they are a younger population and also because immigrants, including many legal immigrants, are ineligible for various benefits.” Rather than leeches, as Cristina Constantini observes, “[T]he Latino community is known for being incredibly entrepreneurial, with Latinos opening twice as many businesses as the average American in the 2000s, according to U.S. Census data.” This is not a population seeking handouts, just opportunities. (See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/07/ann-coulter-attacks-latinos-conservatives-hispanic-voters_n_2253721.html and http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/News/analysis-bill-oreilly-wrong/story?id=17702328#.UMIF-JPjkm9).