Mitt Romney has been attacking GOP presidential rival Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, for supporting education aid for children of illegal immigrants, saying it's time to stop giving them "extraordinary government benefits." But Romney's own record on immigration came back to haunt him this week, when the Los Angeles Times pointed out that the health reform law Romney signed in 2006 as governor of Massachusetts included a Health Safety Net guaranteeing subsidized medical care for illegal immigrants and others with no insurance. Is this a major setback for Romney's campaign?
This exposes the hypocrisy of Romney's immigration demagoguery: "This story pretty much neutralizes Romney's attack on Perry's college tuition subsidies for illegal immigrants," says Alana Goodman at Commentary. He'll look totally "hypocritical" now unless he shuts up. Fortunately for Romney, conservatives already hate "RomneyCare" so thoroughly (because of its insurance mandate) that they might overlook this additional flaw.
"RomneyCare funded health care for illegal immigrants"
Give Romney a break on this one: Perry's the one trying to make something out of nothing, says Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post. As Romney's campaign points out, federal law requires emergency medical care for everyone, including illegal immigrants. And "there are obvious reasons not to dissuade illegal immigrants from seeking medical treatment" — for example, "they may well have a communicable disease that poses a public health hazard."
"Illegal immigrants spat continues"
But Romney's defense makes him look silly: Romney claims he thought the program would only benefit people who were here legally, says Kevin Drum at Mother Jones. He also blames his successor for broadening the availability of medical care for illegal immigrants. But the truth is, this policy keeps these patients out of emergency rooms, which saves the state money. Plus it proves that "in 2006 Romney still had a small core of human decency left in his soul" — he just doesn't have the guts to admit it to today's GOP voters.
"Mitt Romney hearts illegal immigrants"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why the Sony hack changes everything
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Alien conspiracy theorists think the government is on the verge of spilling big secrets
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- You should be furious about Hollywood's gutless retreat on The Interview
Subscribe to the Week