(CNN) - Mitt Romney, fresh from a narrow win in the Iowa caucuses, defended Wednesday his opposition to the DREAM act, which would allow a path to citizenship for minors in the country illegally.
"You know, the Hispanic-American voters I speak with are overwhelmingly concerned with opportunity," Romney said on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien."
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"They want good jobs in America and rising incomes. If they want a president who is going to talk to them about a handout or more benefits for free, they got that guy. If they, instead, want a president who understands the economy who has lived in the economy and understands what it takes to help people get jobs, again, then I'm that person," Romney continued.
Romney made his first firm statement on the DREAM act last week, affirming as president he would veto the law if it passed Congress. The proposal lays out a path to American citizenship for minors in the United States illegally who serve in the military or attend college. Currently the initiative has yet to pass Congress, despite several attempts.
On Wednesday, Romney said the priority should be enforcing immigration laws currently on the books.
"I think people, whether they're Hispanic or non-Hispanic, I think people agree that we'll enforce immigration laws in part to secure legal immigration as an important pathway to this country," Romney said. "I like legal immigration, I want more legal immigration. But illegal immigration has to be stopped to make legal immigration possible."