September 3rd, 2007
05:30 PM ET
12 years ago

Romney: Amnesty 'the wrong way to go'

Mitt Romney campaigned in New Hampshire on Labor Day

ASHLAND, New Hampshire (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spent his Labor Day sharing his views on illegal immigration with prospective voters at a campaign stop in Ashland, the Granite State's geographical center.

The former Massachusetts governor drew a significant crowd in this small town nestled between mountains and nearby Squam Lakes. The crowd of mostly older voters dressed in their Sunday best peppered the presidential hopeful on national security issues and his stance on how to deal with the nation's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants.

"The wrong answer is amnesty. We tried it twice before," said Romney. "Amnesty only led to more people coming into the country 'cause they say, 'Oh gosh, look if you get in illegally, ultimately they'll let you stay.' That's the wrong message."

"Amnesty, in my opinion, is the wrong way to go, and I believe the other candidates in this race are planning on amnesty, which I think is a mistake," he continued. "Their view is that if [they] come here illegally we've got to create a special pathway so that they can stay here. My view is that in fact people who come here illegally should get in line with everybody else, and there should be no special pathway to citizenship or permanent residency for those who have come here illegally."

Romney also railed against employers and businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants, as well as so-called "sanctuary cities," where local officials flout federal immigration laws.

"We are going to end the practice of sanctuary cities in this country and stop welcoming people that are here illegally," Romney said.

–CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla

Filed under: Immigration • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Micah

    Hey Rick...

    the difference is called a "law".

    The "mormons" had no laws against immigration to Utah, "illegals" do.

    Let's use our thinking caps...

    September 4, 2007 03:49 am at 3:49 am |
  2. Lenny Aimmes-Davenport,Ia.

    Maybe, just maybe if illegals wern't doing these jobs, wages would have to increase for American citizens to do them. After all isn't American labor worth more for the quality you recieve?

    September 4, 2007 03:56 am at 3:56 am |
  3. Brain. Vienna, Austria.

    We are all Immigrants in this country including you Mr. Romney. If in doubt ask your forefathers.

    September 4, 2007 04:41 am at 4:41 am |
  4. lera, Orange, California

    I,m glad to hear Mitt Romney take a sensible stand on Illegal immigration.
    There are 100 reasons for the U.S. to inforce our immigration laws. When immigrants come in to the U.S. legally
    they are checked for desease, crimminal activity, terrorist activity,
    etc. etc. No other country in the world lets people sneak into thier country least of all Mexico. Mitt Romney has my vote.

    September 4, 2007 05:51 am at 5:51 am |
  5. Garry Barnes Porter Ranch California

    Mitt is right, seal the borders enforce the immigration laws that are on the books. Those medial jobs can be taken by the unemployed teenagers of this country. Hand out jail time for employers that employ illegal immigration. Start with a national I.D. system have some company like Mastercard issue out the I.D.s

    September 4, 2007 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  6. vince denver colorado

    Where are we going to fill those jobs once we make them leave? It's ridiculous to assert that the greatest economy in the history of mankind is dependent on a few million uneducated low skilled low paid foreign workers. We will get the workers to replace them from the millions of legal immigrants who want to become citizens. We are like the company for which everyone wants to work. That company would never allow people to walk through their front door and announce to them that they are now employees. Neither should we allow people to sneak in and announce they are now residents and demand special treatment. Rule of law is what sets us apart from many nations. Illegal aliens, who are migrants, not immigrants, need to go home and get in line like like everybody else.

    September 4, 2007 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  7. p-brain, Bucyrus, OH

    Wow! Can I break the law and get rewarded for it too?

    September 4, 2007 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  8. Bryan, Firestone, CO

    Rick from Chicago –
    Are you serious? You're playing the Mormons and Utes card? You're aware that this whole country was happily inhabited by Indians until we all immigrated here, right? You're aware that we as a nation slowly moved into every state in the Union where Indians were living and took over their way of life and put them onto reservations, right? You're right, Rick – Florida, Oklahoma, Michigan, Arizona, the Dakotas (and many more) - they didn't have any well-established Indians there when our forefathers got here. What good is bringing up Mormons and Utes?

    When did Mitt say he was anti-immigrant? Never. He's anti-illegal immigration if you care to pay attention to what you're reading. Get a clue

    September 4, 2007 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  9. robert lowe allons, tn

    yes i aree with romney on his immigration views it about time a presidential candidate talk this action for the american citizen

    September 4, 2007 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  10. xtina chicago IL

    Why are health care costs are so high? Why are insurance companies so tight with payouts and why is your insurance so costly? Could illegal immigration have something to do with high medical care costs? Here's an example of why insurancce and medical care is sky-high:

    14 people were involved in a van accident on I-55 nr. Chicago over Labor Day weekend. Two of the passengers died in the crash. The 27 yr. old driver was found to be driving without a license. All of the passengers reside in Chicago "Little Village" where, incidentally, federal agents recently uncovered a fake ID operation. All of the passengers found to be working for a "temporary agency" for day laborers. Most of the passengers are here in US illegally from Mexico. Most of passengers taken to hospital. Some are in critical condition.

    September 4, 2007 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  11. xtina chicago IL

    Rick fr. Chicago, you're wrong about Gov. Romney . He's quoted as saying:

    "Legal immigration is great. But illegal immigration, that we've got to end. And amnesty is not the way to do it." Mitt Romney

    September 4, 2007 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  12. Cable King Pittsburgh Pa

    The salient point still seems to be missed. Wanna solve the problem almost overnight? Fine the employers in a meaningful way who hire undocumented workers.
    Uh, sorry, I forgot – most companies are owned by Republican businessman

    September 4, 2007 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  13. Maurine, TN

    Many here have tried to use the argument that it would be too difficult for America to 'round-up' or 'run-off' or deport all of the illegal aliens in our country. Right now, I’d have to agree that there is absolutely no immediate magic cure for this huge problem, and that includes rewarding criminals for criminal behavior (i.e. amnesty). We did that already, granting amnesty to over 2.5 million illegal aliens. Remember the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986? In the 80's, many members of Congress advocated amnesty for long-settled illegal immigrants. President Reagan considered it reasonable to adjust the status of what was then a relatively small population (estimated at less than 1 million) of illegal aliens. In exchange for allowing aliens to stay, border security and enforcement of immigration laws would have to be greatly strengthened – in particular, through sanctions against employers who hired illegal immigrants.
    The Act included the following: illegal immigrants who could establish that they had resided in America continuously for five years would be granted temporary resident status, which could be upgraded to permanent residency after 18 months and, after another five years, to citizenship; immigrants had to pay application fees, learn to speak English, understand American civics, pass a medical exam and register for military selective service. Those with convictions for a felony or three misdemeanors were ineligible. Sound familiar? These are pretty much the same provisions included in the new Senate proposal and cited by its supporters as proof that they have eschewed amnesty in favor of earned citizenship.
    The difference is that President Reagan called this what it was: amnesty. Look up the term "amnesty" in Black's Law Dictionary, and you'll find it says, "The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act provided amnesty for undocumented aliens already in the country."
    Well: the 1986 act did not solve our illegal immigration problem. From the start, there was widespread document fraud by applicants. Unsurprisingly, the number of people applying for amnesty far exceeded projections. And there proved to be a failure of political will in enforcing new laws against employers. After a six-month slowdown that followed passage of the legislation, illegal immigration returned to normal levels and continued unabated. Ultimately, some 2.7 million people were granted amnesty, and many who were not – stayed anyway, forming the nucleus of todays unauthorized population.
    Regan’s plan was not upheld, the borders were NOT secured. All the 1986 act did was open the floodgates.
    The fair and sound policy is to give those who are here illegally the opportunity to correct their status by returning to their country of origin and getting in line with everyone else. This, along with serious enforcement and control of the illegal inflow at the border will significantly reduce over time our population of illegal immigrants in our country. "Humanely regain control of our borders and thereby preserve the value of one of the most sacred possessions of our people: American citizenship." – Ronald Regan.

    September 4, 2007 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  14. Shawnie Cannon, Grants Pass OR

    to Rick from Chicago,

    Now I get it. I couldn't figure out all the nonobjective comments. You're anti-Mormon.

    To Heather from IL. You're spreading false info. He didn't hire any illegal immigrants. The landscaping company he contracted with used them. A guy like this isn't going to be standing around at home looking out his window at yard workers. You have a tough case to prove that he personally oversaw that and condoned it.

    Mitt and other candidates are all for immigration, the right way, and so am I. Illegal immigration is costing us a fortune.

    September 4, 2007 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  15. Cable King Pittsburgh Pa


    Please put on YOUR THINKING CAP!

    How do you justify Mormons stealing lands from Utes because there was no law against it. I guess you think Ute law didn't exist!!!

    September 4, 2007 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  16. Neil, Cleveland, OH

    well he is right about this issue. I'm so sick of the people who either support amnesty or wonder aloud about what are we supposed to do with the ones here and who pays for it. you can raise my taxes a little if you promise to get them out. and to nh4ronpaul, of course the media stays away from him, he's not a neo-con or CFR member like the others.

    September 4, 2007 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  17. xtina chicago IL

    14 people were involved in a van accident over Labor Day weekend on I-55 nr. the affluent Chicago suburb of Burr Ridge. Two of the passengers died in the crash. The 27 yr. old driver was found to be driving without a license, driving without insurance, driving a vehicle she didn't own, and in the US. illegally. All of the passengers reside in Chicago's "Little Village" neighborhood where, incidentally, federal agents recently uncovered a fake ID operation. All of the passengers found to be working for a "temporary agency" for day laborers. Most of the passengers are here in US illegally from Mexico. Most of passengers taken to hospital. Some are in critical condition, receiving the best possible American hospital care, which incidentally, a lot of Americans can't afford.

    This is one example of the possible connection between high health care and insurance costs and illegal immigration.

    Does anyone think it's a good idea for any person to be in this country illegally? If so, what is the reason they shouldn't have to apply for immigration status properly?

    September 4, 2007 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  18. Cary - Lowell, IN

    Heather from IL –

    What you say about Romney's lawn service is not true.

    I have a lawn service. I can't be sure they aren't using illegal workers, even if they tell me they arent'.

    September 4, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  19. Rick, Chicago Illinois


    I'm not anti-mormon, I'm anti-hypocrisy. Again, how would Mitt feel if the Ute indians decided (today) to oust 11 million mormons from Utah? Would he defend the Ute indian rights to maintaining their land and laws or would he dismiss it?

    September 4, 2007 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    My house was broken into last night, but the criminal didn't do anything but sit at my table and ask for a job, rights to everything I have in my house, access to the same medicine cabinet that I use, since he couldn't read the same books that I do, I went out and bought books in his language, and since he was just there to help his family, I apologized for yelling at him for breaking into my house.

    Do you realize how foolish that sounds?

    Step #1 – No more anchor babies

    Step #2 – Secure our borders

    Step #3 – We do not have to "round up" all of the criminals, simply go after the businesses that supply them with jobs and once the jobs are gone, they will go home.

    Legal immigrants that are waiting to do it the right way, can then be expedited through the process and then I will open my door to them and they can legally sit at my table and I will celebrate their "doing it the right way" with them.

    Romney's website is indeed in Spanish, showing that he is reaching out to the legal Spanish folks and he applauds them.

    He DID NOT hire illegals to do his yard work, he hired a contractor who in turn hired the illegals to work for him. Now if he asked "do you employ illegals", you would be decrying him for that as well.

    I hired a contractor to side my house, and I know for a fact that he had illegals on his crew (after the work was done), does that mean I am for Illegal immigration?

    Just like Romney, I wholly support all efforts to make LEGAL immigration easier and the norm.

    September 4, 2007 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. Shawnie Cannon, Grants Pass OR

    To Cable King Pittsburgh Pa:

    Your logic seems flawed. Mormon pioneers were not under Ute law. Also, the whole United States was occupied by Indians. And all the other states were "stolen" and not settled by Indian law either. The story is the same, everywhere across America.

    You, I and Mr. Romney had nothing to do with that decision making process of settling and making states. The Ute story is more than 150 years old.

    Again, Mr. Romney favors immigration, not illegal immigration. There is a difference.

    September 4, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  22. Shawnie Cannon, Grants Pass OR


    You're holding something from 150 years ago to Romney's charge, predicting his reaction and then holding him as a hypocrite.

    Furthurmore, your singling out Mormon pioneers as if they did something different from the whole rest of the nation.

    The whole United States was settled without recognizing the Indians as possessors of it.

    So you would be OK with the Indians kicking you out of Illinois, to return your own question? And you would just go along with it because that is right?

    September 4, 2007 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  23. xtina chicago IL

    If people don't think that illegals should pay their back taxes, pay a fine for having broken federal immigration laws and be placed in queue to file proper citizenship forms,

    then how should these people proceed?

    Should they stay in the US WITHOUT paying taxes? Without receiving a Social Security card? Without obeying laws?

    If so, can I stop paying taxes, too? Can I discontinue my SSN and agree to live off personal funds when I retire? I would easily take that risk and agree to that if only to avoid being subjected to income tax increases!

    September 4, 2007 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  24. robert buss eugene oregon

    as a staunch democrat i wouldn't elect a republican as a dog catcher. but i wholeheartedly agree with you on your stance with illegals. boot their behinds back to mexico. IMPEACH BUSH

    September 5, 2007 06:08 am at 6:08 am |
1 2