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.
Who the heck cares what Hispanics like Juan Sepúlveda think. Illegal is illegal. There is no need to help people who broke the law. If these people want to blame someone, then they should blame their parents for not following the law and putting them in this position. Sins of the father visit the child. So hispanic parents, please think before you act and ruin your child's life. Children are a gift from God and you have a responsibility to take care of that child. NO Amnesty and No Dream Act. These two would be America's worst nightmare.
Romney would veto Dream Act....Thank God...
Hope he will be held accountable to that when he wins the nomination and faces general election. Sacrificing moderate stances for right-wing view-points just to win the nomination is a fail.
Its not gonna happen Mitt.
thats okay because you'll never be president.
i would veto the bill also.im tired of hearing about illegal immigrants do the jobs americans dont want.thats just a politicians lie he doesnt want to pay me enough to do the job.ill do any job if u make the money right.citizens spend their money in america instead of sending it elsewhere.this dream act is just giving amnesty to criminals.would u give me amnesty if i robbed a bank to fund al quaeda?thats essentially what they are doing.
Why bother with laws, let's pay for illegal activity with tax dollars, then the country can be overrun with immigrants that are illiterate
There should be a law that any government official supporting this type of illegal immigration activity should be jailed.
As a Hispanic who has served the military for over 20 years and have also been a member of the Republican Party for those 20 years. I must say that for the first time I feel like a not wanted member of the party. Although I still believe in the republican agenda of a strong military, small government and the right to bear arms I can‘t in good judgment vote for a party that is willing to sacrifice the rights of my family and my children’s therefore I have no choice but to resign my membership. I would hope that the republicans can see what they are doing is alienating the Hispanic community.
WHERE ARE THE MODERATE REPUBLICANS? DO THEY STILL EXIST? If these people are the best the GOP has to offer to US AMERICANS, we are screwed ...
Romney is a RACIST!!! His family came here ILLEGALLY!!!
That's another way of the GOP saying, "We've pretty much given up on the Latino vote so, yeah, the heck with 'em."
Romney and Gingrich are calling on obama for debate.
I agree with him. Until I can cross the border illegally into Mexico, Canada, and other countries without any sort of punishment...until I can get full college benefits in other nations from coming in illegally... I will never support someone else doing so. It is a matter of respect. We should take a look at our immigration regulations to make it smoother for prospective immigrants to come here legally but that does not mean you get rid of our laws just because someone did not want to abide by them. You come here? Respect our laws and our people by coming in legally.
Vetoing the "Dream Act" is great to hear. I am sick & tired of criminals ignoring the USA immigration laws, then demanding their "rights" and amnesty.
The Dream Act is actually thinly disguised Amnesty, and does nothing to discourage future illegal aliens. Indeed, by legislating a path to citizenship, the Dream Act will only encourage and increase additional illegal aliens
Who cares what Juan Sepúlveda thinks?
He'll never be president so who cares.
Well, now that he has come out against that, what does he propose? I don't see any solutions for this problem. The DREAM Act seems to be a good start.
Well, Romney is going to have trouble with the Latino vote which helps Obama and the Dems. It is contradictory when the Republicans and other opponents argue that Dream Act provision shouldn't give in state tuition to young people who are in the United States illegally for college. Yet, these young illegals attend our public schools which are funded by tax payers. It doesn't make any sense.
He will certainly sale his soul if that it takes to become the president. His ultimate quest is to prove himself that he can achieve more than his old man. So far he has done it all, the only thing he or his daddy couldn’t achieve was to be the POTUS…let’s help Romany to achieve this deam…your sympathy vote is requested
I see he's got his "every man jeans" on wonder why he doesn't have patches all over them, kinda make him look like the "unemployed person" he says he is. What a put on joke, but then when the clowns start falling out of the circus wagon we gonna see a sight.
It would seem that serving in the military is a stronger argument than attending college.
He know's he's pllaying to a unhappy crowd. Anyone who wants a chance has to wage war on the illegal alien population.
Make sure to keep them poor and uneducated, then they are easier to control and manipulate.
They are illegals! I'm pretty much a Democrat and still think they shouldn't have the same rights as legals. What's not to get about this?
Good. Point for Romney.