Le Mars, Iowa (CNN) - GOP candidate Mitt Romney pledged Saturday to veto any effort by Congress to create a path to citizenship for young adults in the United States illegally.
Romney's declaration was not out of step with previous statements he has made about the issue, but it appeared to be the first time the candidate directly said he would veto a congressionally-backed effort.
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"The question is, if I were elected and Congress were to pass the DREAM Act, would I veto it, and the answer is yes," Romney said in response to a query from the audience of roughly 200 at The Family Table in Le Mars.
The DREAM Act would offer a path to citizenship for minors in the country illegally, providing they served in the armed forces or attended college.
The initiative has not gained enough support to pass Congress despite several attempts.
Romney said Saturday he would support a path to residency - not citizenship - for those who served in the military, but would not support other DREAM Act proposals.
"I'm delighted with the idea that people who come to this country and wish to serve in the military can be given a path to become permanent residents of this country," he said. "For those who come here illegally, the idea of giving them in-state tuition credits or other special benefits I find to be contrary to the idea of a nation of law."
A campaign aide said Romney opposed the DREAM Act provisions which would grant a path to citizenship for people who complete high school and two years of post-secondary education or those which allow states to grant illegal immigrants in-state tuition.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has come under fire from conservatives for supporting Texas legislation that granted in-state tuition for the children of some illegal immigrants.
The Democratic National Committee released a statement Saturday seizing on the comments.
"Mitt Romney has shown once again that he is out of touch and far to the right of even members of his own party, and that he would not represent the best interest of middle class Americans, those still trying to reach the middle class, and Hispanics in the country," said DNC Senior Advisor for Hispanic Affairs, Juan Sepúlveda.
Both parties are courting Hispanic voters, a growing voting bloc, in the run-up to the 2012 elections.
Dream equals Democrats Reaming Everyone to Acquire Majority
Let's see how this "promise" holds up.
Still no responses?
My non-offensive comments keep disappearing – I said was that I did not think the hard nosed approach will appeal to a wider range of voters.
I do not live in America, but it seems odd that Romney the "great American Patriot" is prepared for a percentage of the US military to have a second class status.
Yes these military personel may be "illegal" but they were either born here or brought here by their parents at a young age so they may be culturally different than mainstream Americans, but they have no real ties to another country. They are prepared to serve and defend your country , pay taxes to provide serices for your communities. However Romney and other repugs will only give them second class status as residents not full citizenship. They will not be able to vote or participate in your democratic systems. Nice way to show appreciation for their service, HA HA
I veto you.
Wow, he is against a plan first proposed by Pres. G.W. Bush, and sponsored by Utah Sen O. Hatch, as a way to attract young people to join the military, and/or get a college degree. I guess there are some who really do not like anyone to find a path to improve his/herself, potentially get a good paying job, and contribute as a tax-paying American.
This guy will say and do what ever it takes to manipulate the Republican base to win the GOP nomination. And, if he makes it to the general election, he will consider himself home free to flip-flop and say or do whatever it takes to manipulate independent voters. This is Mitt Romney's campaign strategy to the White House.
Deport all illegals NOW!
Romney stinks like Mitt! Such a nice guy, NOT
It seems that if you served in the US military you have earned your citizenship.
Short-sighted and divorced from reality...pandering to the Republican's racist base. Mitt, who is going to serve in the armed forces? It certainly won't be his kids, or for that matter any of the other republican candidates kids will it?
I appreciate Romney's comments. As an MD I am serving medicare/medicaid patients in the US for the past 7 yrs and I am still on visa renewing it year by year as even legal immigration system in this country is flawed. No one talks about how can one reduce this burden on people who abide by law and come to this country legally. Everyone is interested in helping illegals though. Shame on dems>reps
I can't think of a good reason someone that is willing to die for this country cannot become a citizen. The idea that it somehow creates an "incentive" seems ridiculous.
Mitt Romney is out of touch with every thing that you can be in touch with!
Open immigration is why most of Europe is broke. They've made it to where anyone living in the European Union can move to any other European country to work. The problem is, people are coming from poorer countries to wealthier countries, taking advantage of the hand outs but not paying their taxes to support the hand outs.
It's common sense. You spend 20 years paying taxes in one country and then go to another and get welfare....you are going to break the system.
thats ok Mitt. The american people will also veto a certain Dream Act: the one you will put forth next November!
Yeah Mitt! We need to obey the laws on the books – including immigration laws. This so-called Dream Act only encourages law breaking. Some people will say anything to get the hispanic vote. Mitt says what most of us think anyway.
My God. What has this country come to? In our current depressed economy, unable to face where the blame really lies, we flail around for "someone" or "something" different from the reflection in our mirror to lash out against. Have we forgotten how and why our own ancestors arrived here a few hundreds of years ago? I remember enough history to know that my own native Georgia would never have been born were it not for the downtrodden. Does anyone think these young adults today had a say in coming to our shores? What lunacy the so-called "social conservatives" have brought to us. What shame. Some day we will look back in anguish and abject embarrassment at these times. How far have we not come. How much ground have we to regain before we can rightly pledge '"liberty and justice for all."
Mitt, you made right decision!!!
Romney is a racist. Many of these kids only know the US as their own. Just watch him during MLK day on youtube.
Ok so maybe the DREAM act is not such a terrible idea since the person in question would still have to contribute and work for it but how about financial aid reform? I never hear anyone talk about that!
It's a little bit frustrating when I go to school and work myself half to death to pay my tuition when my friends tell me how much extra cash they get just for attending college. Last semester someone actually told me they bought a flatscreen tv with their financial aid... yeah... thats educational. I thought the nation had a debt problem? Oh no lets just give millions of dollars to people free of charge instead of having them work for it so they can appreciate their education!
Sorry, I am a GOPer and I disagree. If a person is willing to serve HONORABLY in the military, they deserve a path to citizenship IMO, but not for just going to college.
The DNC chairman has shown once again that he is out of touch with reality. Romney is not extreme, by any means, but the DNC sure wishes he was
Romney is an idiot. Give these people a break; they can't help that their parents brought them here illegally. But they CAN help themselves to a better life.