With the Florida GOP primaries slated for January 31, many top government officials believe that immigration and unemployment will be among the hottest topics in the swing state’s primaries.
Not openly supporting any particular candidate, former Florida governor Jeb Bush recently gave an interview to Bloomberg, in which he advised the candidates that their tone is one of the most important factors influencing voters’ decisions.
“In swing states, Hispanic voters are increasingly the swing voters, and if you, by your tone more than anything else, send a signal that ‘you’re not wanted on my team … you could alienate voters that could be part of the winning formula,” Bush said.
So far, many candidates’ remarks on immigration have tended to be either very vague or extremely bold. Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney believes in legal pathways to U.S. citizenship for immigrants, but has firmly stated that he would not support the Dream Act, the proposed legislation that would give undocumented residents brought to the country as children a path towards legal status. Romney, whose father was born in Mexico, could legally choose to have dual citizenship, but has declined to do so, according to the Huffington Post.
Rick Santorum, the son of Italian immigrants, has proposed immigration policies as stringent as deporting the approximately 11 million people currently illegally residing in the United States, according another article in the Post.
Newt Gingrich’s policies on immigration have been among the most controversial, and have been severely criticized by several opposing candidates in debates. Gingrich’s proposal – to allow immigrants who have been here for 25 years or more to apply to a board in their community to decide whether the individual and their family should stay or be deported – has been deemed very difficult to institute.