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Given his family's journey, Romney has no right to shut out refugees

Ruben Navarrette Jr. on

SAN DIEGO -- Zip it, Mitt. As the junior senator from Utah -- the area previously known as "Northern Mexico" -- you may feel that the debate over immigrants and refugees needs your perspective.

It does not. It's not that you -- Mitt Romney -- don't have anything to offer. In the past, you've been a moderate on the prickly question of what to do with people who show up uninvited at the back door.

During the 2012 presidential campaign, when nativists -- which were once a radical wing of the GOP, but now seemingly make up the whole bird -- tried to get you, as the Republican nominee, to take a hardline stance on immigration, you refused. The furthest you were willing to go was to suggest that illegal immigrants "self-deport." In fact, during that campaign, I was in the room when you -- while

speaking to Hispanic Republicans in Miami -- endorsed the idea of letting the undocumented stay in the United States as long as the border was secured.

In 2014, you told Univision that Congress needed to pass legislation that would make "more transparent" the process by which illegal immigrants could obtain legal residency. You were attacked by right-wing radio hosts who accused you of supporting "amnesty" and pushing for an "open border."

Welcome to my world, Senator, where what you actually say comes in a distant second to what people hear or what they want to believe.

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That was then. Now, you've joined the rest of the Republican sheeple in backing President Trump's ill-conceived crusade to shut out immigrants and refugees from countries that he deems inferior.

During a recent appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," just two days after Trump traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border and declared "the country is full," you backed his play and said that Central Americans seeking asylum are "overwhelming our system." Weighing in on Trump's crackdown, you declared that it was a "winning issue for Americans to say we have to have the sovereignty of our nation." You also credited him with tapping into "something which the people feel very deeply."

Look, Senator, if you want to cozy up to a man who publicly humiliated you by dangling the job of secretary of state -- before offering the post to another poor fellow and humiliating him instead, that's between you and your therapist.

You're certainly entitled to your opinion. And the rest of us are obliged to ignore it. Of all people, you're in no position to talk about how the United States should pull up the drawbridge and keep out foreigners. On that topic, you've been compromised by your own lineage.

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