On Monday NBC Latino reported that New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez will deliver a keynote address at the Republican National Convention:
“‘Americans want to work,’ said Governor Martinez in a written statement following the announcement. ‘They want to build their businesses, compete and succeed in order to create more jobs – Mitt Romney knows this is the formula for our economic growth,’ she stated. The Governor added the convention will give Romney the momentum he needs, as he seeks to win the November election.”
It’s understandable that Romney’s message of free-market economics should speak to a segment of the Latino population. Latinos, it isn’t underscored enough, are not a monolith. While some Latinos (progressives) value social issues above economics, there are still others who argue that economic liberty is the cure for all sorts of ills, as is their right to do.
But it will be interesting to see where Governor Martinez falls on Romney’s immigration stance. Even though she’s been a fierce opponent of her state’s law granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, she’s also come out against Arizona-style laws and has openly criticized Romney’s so-called “self-deportation policy,” asking “What the heck does that even mean?”
A recent study showed that 90 percent of Latinos support the DREAM Act, and though immigration may not top the list of concerns for most Latino voters, it’s still a pivotal issue throughout the community. A politician in any party can’t draw a hard line on immigration policy and expect most Latinos not to notice.
So if Governor Martinez wants Latinos to vote for her party, she’ll have to convince its members to soften their stance toward the undocumented.