Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney criticized the president for spending too much and for failing to pass comprehensive immigration reform during a speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles on Monday.
"As businessmen and women, and as Hispanics, you understand the threat President Obama's spending poses for our future," he said. "Many Hispanics have sacrificed greatly to help build our country and our economy, and to leave for their children a brighter future. Today, those sacrifices are being squandered by a President who cannot stop spending."
Citing Hispanic Republican lawmakers such as Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, Romney said he's "convinced that the republican party is the rightful home of Hispanic Americans."
He criticized Obama for overseeing an economy with high unemployment rates.
"No one is exempt from the pain of this economy, but the Hispanic community has been particularly hard hit," he said. "While national unemployment is 8.1 percent, Hispanic unemployment is over 10 percent. Over two million more Hispanics are living in poverty today than the day President Obama took office."
Romney also called for comprehensive immigration reform without providing many specifics. He has not specified whether he would keep the recently enacted deferred action program in place.
He did indicate he would like immigrants who earn advanced degrees in the United States to stay in the country, saying that he would "staple a green card to their diploma."
Romney added that any work permits granted should fit the job openings in the United States.
"We will never achieve a legal immigration system that is fair and efficient if we don't first get control of our borders," he said. "I believe we can all agree that what we need are fair and enforceable immigration laws that will stem the flow of illegal immigration, while strengthening legal immigration."
Romney said he would pursue permanent immigration reform, and added that he supports allowing military personnel to remain in the United States.
"America is a nation of immigrants," he said, "and immigration is essential to our economic growth and prosperity," he said.