Mitt Romney's new radio ad presses his case that he will aggressively enforce immigration laws. The spot, which began airing today in New Hampshire and Iowa, also continues Romney's assault on GOP national front-runner Rudy Giuliani for his immigration policies while New York's mayor. Along the way, it also praises Romney as an "exceptional" governor.
"As governor, Mitt Romney didn't wait on Washington. He acted to make our immigration laws work," the announcer says in the ad. "Mitt Romney is the exceptional Governor who took a stand so State Police could enforce federal immigration laws."
The ad, however, leaves many details unsaid.
It doesn't acknowledge that Romney didn't sign the agreement to allow specially trained State Police troopers to arrest suspected illegal immigrants until last December, during his last weeks in office. He first announced in June 2006 he was seeking the agreement, which took several months to negotiate with federal officials.
The ad also doesn't say that Deval Patrick rescinded the agreement just days after succeeding Romney as governor in January. Patrick replaced the pact with a state initiative under which prison officials review the immigration status of inmates and consider them for deportation.
The ad doesn't name Giuliani, but it does name New York, as well as Newark, N.J., and San Francisco, as cities that didn't enforce immigration laws. "Sanctuary cities become magnets that encourage illegal immigration and undermine secure borders," the announcer says.
But the spot doesn't mention that a city just across the Charles River from Romney's old Beacon Hill corner office, Cambridge, was one of the earliest to designate itself a sanctuary city, in 1985. Cambridge renewed its status in July 2006, calling for a moratorium on immigration raids until comprehensive reform.
Illegal immigration is a red-meat issue for many conservatives in the Republican Party, who helped stop President Bush's reform plan by saying it provided amnesty for lawbreakers.