June 15th, 2012
04:21 PM ET
3 years ago

Romney: Obama immigration move makes long term fix harder

(CNN) – More than five hours after news broke of President Barack Obama's shift in immigration rules, his Republican challenger for the White House said the United States needed a longer term solution to the problem.

"I believe the status of young people who come here through no fault of their own is an important matter to be considered, and should be solved on a long term basis so they know what their future would be in this country," Romney said after a campaign stop in Milford, New Hampshire.

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The president's decision will allow people younger than 30 who came to the United States before the age of 16, pose no criminal or security threat, and were successful students or served in the military to apply for a two-year deferral from deportation.

Romney said Obama's move puts a damper on development of a longer-term plan.

"I think the action that the president took today makes it more difficult to reach that long term solution because an executive order is, of course, a short term matter and can be reversed by subsequent presidents," Romney said.

Obama's immigration policy is a directive from the Department of Homeland Security, rather than an executive order, though it could still be reversed by future presidents. Republicans have sometimes criticized Obama for issuing executive orders, saying he's ignoring the Constitutional requirements of lawmaking by bypassing Congress.

The GOP White House hopeful continued by praising Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a campaign surrogate and the topic of frequent speculation for Romney's vice presidential pick.

"I would like to seek legislation that deals with this issue and I happen agree with Marco Rubio as he looked at, considered this issue, he said that this is an important matter that we have to find a long tem solution," Romney said.

Romney, who recent polls have shown facing a sizable deficit among Latino voters, has made attempts at reaching out to the important and growing voting bloc. In April, he attended a business roundtable in Tempe, Arizona, and told participants he would look for ways to assist young people in the United States illegally.

"I'm not worried about our generation," Romney said in April. "I'm worried about the youngsters here. They're bright, they can help carry this country forward in a way previous generations have and I think they do need some assistance and some recognition for the work they are doing in school."

In December, Romney said he would veto the DREAM Act if he were president, saying instead he would support a path to residency – not citizenship – for those who served in the military, but not 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."

Later, Romney gave a more detailed version of his stance, tell supporters at a fund-raiser in Florida Republicans needed to offer their own version of the DREAM Act.

"We're going to be able to get Hispanic voters," Mr. Romney said at the private event, which was overheard by a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. "We're going to overcome the issue of immigration."

Rubio has already offered his own version of the act that would not provide citizenship, but instead give legal status for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States by their parents when they were minors.

Romney has not come out in support of Rubio's measure, saying only that the two have spoken about the proposed legislation.

"He [Rubio] and I have spoken about his thinking on his version of a different act than the DREAM Act that's been proposed in the Senate," Romney said in April at a campaign event in Pennsylvania.

He continued, "The one that's been proposed in the Senate creates a new category of citizenship for certain individuals. The Senator's proposal does not create that new category but instead provides visas for those that have come into the country that came in as young people with their families."

At a Republican presidential debate in January, Romney said he favored a system of "self-deportation," a policy that involves making economic conditions so difficult for undocumented workers that they choose to leave the country to find better opportunities.

That stance was derided both by Democrats and his Republican rivals. Then-candidate Newt Gingrich said it was unrealistic to think immigrants would leave the country voluntarily.

"You have to live in a world of Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island accounts and automatic $20 million income for no work to have some fantasy this far from reality," Gingrich said in an interview with Univision. "For Romney to believe that somebody's grandmother is going to be so cut off that she is going to self-deport, I mean this is an Obama-level fantasy."

Romney has said he supports building a border fence, saying such a move was necessary to prevent an influx of illegal immigrants.

"I believe that to protect legal immigration, we have to stop illegal immigration," Romney said in January. "And for that reason, I would in fact build a fence, and I would have enough border security agents to make sure that we are able to protect the border, and I will put in place a system that allows employers to know who's here legally and not."

Obama's campaign Press Secretary Ben LaBolt wrote off the Republican's remarks in a statement Friday.

“During the primaries, Governor Romney called the DREAM Act a handout and said he would veto it," LaBolt wrote. "His ‘solution’ to our immigration challenges was self-deportation. Today he continues to refuse to express support for legislation that lets children who were brought to the U.S. and want to contribute by pursuing higher education or serve in the military stay in America."

Bill Burton, senior strategist for the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action, echoed LaBolt.

"Mitt Romney says immigrants come to American because they 'are looking for a free deal,' he calls the DREAM Act a 'handout' while promising to veto it, and he boasts about being more extreme that John McCain, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich," Burton wrote. "Instead of proposing any ideas to reform immigration, Mitt Romney is more interested in questioning the character and motives of families who are working towards the American Dream."


Filed under: 2012 • Immigration • Mitt Romney
soundoff (192 Responses)
  1. amarjeet

    Romney status of ideas to create new Citizenship for illegal in place of what President Obama has done goes against present & last republican President who made all resident soldiers as citizens without a finger rose against from GOP. If Romney is correct, Arizona Governor could not have acted fast & enacted Immigration Law for Arizona. It is clear that Arizona Governor lacked trust in future leadership of democrat as well republican who never has seriously considered the issue. Keeping such a large of people that are like a back bone of American civil life, it is a great omission on the part of all previous Congressmen/women who exploited the immigrants vote bank which in no way is a humanitarian and lawful act. Norms of law and justice have been exploited which do not uphold democratic values, norms and spirit of free nation. It is certainly good that President Obama has taken the initiative & opened the subject being deferred by GOP Congress under one or there other pretext. GOP Congress & members have always obstructed everything positive to run the clock to next election which is highly undemocratic not worthy of Republican past history and traditions. Larger issues/bigger problems are always solved in short time solutions & monitored for correct final solution on the scale Romney is imagining of Immigration. Immigration Reforms of Legal Immigration has not been done so far & discriminations persist. Illegal Immigration is a bigger Issue involving vast population of America. Mr. Romney does not political status of a national leader nor skills & knowledge to solve national issue when his senior previous President could not do for want of Congress Support.

    June 15, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  2. larry noble

    It is so incredible that so many commentors on this blog are trying to paint a picture of Mr. Romney that is false foundationally. He has not flipfopped on his immigration policy which he articulated during the primary. He has been consistent. You may not like his consistency, but it is wholefully wrong to lie about his position to justiify your partisan agenda. This is what Mr. Obama does well as a result of his training as a community organizer: divide and distort. He is probably going to be recorded historically as the most partisan and unqulified person to ever enter the White House. It is a sad period in American history that the first black president after reconstruction has been such a dismal failure. It is more than disappointing and moreover it is substantially embarassing to say the least. He must go in November 2012 back to Chicago and to the dirty politics he is accustomed. So sad!!!!

    June 15, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  3. BobRooney

    Join over 1 million legal American citizens against these law breaking Illegals at NUMBERSUSA. google it, and register. Take Action.

    June 15, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Longterm means never ever for Romney, Rubio and Republicans, et al.

    June 15, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  5. Are You Kidding?

    No it doesn't make the long term fix harder it keeps some very bright young people in the US. Most of which were brought here as little children by there parents. The problem Mr Romney is talking about could have been taken care of W when he was in office but Republican conservatives who did what they been doing for years now sat on there asses and did nothing. Yes we need to fix the problem. But the young people that Obama is talking about are some of the best and the brightest of there generation and that is a fact. Unlike kids that were born here they studied hard because they want to give back to the great land they live in. So again like he did with the auto industry bail out Romney missed the boat....again!

    June 15, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  6. n

    Obama did the good old statute of liberty play on Romney. Romney following Obama around like a vulture waiting for the pass and SECRETARY NAPOLITANO came around from the left, take the ball and spike it as she crosses the infield. What a play. Where is Rubio . . . lost in the dust. LOL

    June 15, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  7. Nuihc

    Those still in the tank for obama no longer have any credibility

    June 15, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  8. BD70

    Romney already setting up his excuses? If he wins will he blame Obama?

    June 15, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  9. n

    Obama did the good old statue of liberty play on Romney. Romney following Obama around like a vulture waiting for the pass and SECRETARY NAPOLITANO came around from the left, take the ball and spike it as she crosses the infield. What a play. Where is Rubio . . . lost in the dust because he was off side on the wrong side of the lie. LOL

    June 15, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  10. Robens

    Most Congressmen, the WhiteHouse, and Romney and his circle are ignorant of the immigration system and how people migrate to US. Whenever we talk about immigration, we look to the US-Mexico border and say we need more fences and more men with guns, more cemeras-what is it going to be soon? more drones? I understand that two-thirds of the undocummented immigrants are latinos. What about the one-third? We cannot have a comprehessive immigration law that works if it's come from the US-Mexico border type of thinking.

    June 15, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  11. wjgiunta

    This "president" has a plan?: hope and change!?, I also have hope: I hope we have a change in November!

    June 15, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  12. Madrep

    Wow, the liberals are out in force. Obama did this and only did this for votes. He doesn't care about anyone but himself. Maybe he was just make his own laws going forward if God forbid, he gets re-elected.

    June 15, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  13. rs

    ....and the Republican "long-term fix" is what Mr. Romney? You cannot just keep saying that you don't like the President's plan as if that in itself constituted a plan. This is what happens when your party does NOTHING!

    June 15, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  14. larry noble

    Name calling only demonstrates your lack of education, intelligence and analytical skills. It is time for this country to have a stiff president who knows exactly what is necessary to bring this country back to the superpower economic status it deserves. It is persons like you that have no solutions, just negative comments that do not contribute to the discourse. I hope you are not of voting age and eligible to cast a vote in our wonderful country. Moreover, you are probably an illegal immigrant who does not deserve consideration for any of America's many benefits. How do you like that Mr/Ms. whocares!!!!!!

    June 15, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  15. amarjeet

    Hi Bob, Atleast Obama has shown the light to move forward pending further larger solution.

    June 15, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  16. rs

    ejktexas
    Sure, end ALL taxes and we have a government that resembles Somolia's. Really wanna go there? We get the government we pay for.

    June 15, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  17. Madrep

    He only gave them a 2 year stay, but sealed a bunch of votes. No wonder they, the Dems, balk at checking for citizenship before voting. If they served in the military, then how are they not citizens already? How do you get into our military if not a citizen? Not in my time, and I am a veteran.

    June 15, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  18. ShawnDH

    I think I speak for everybody with a brain when I say, "Shut up, Mittens."

    June 15, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  19. Madrep

    Divide and Blame

    June 15, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  20. Woman In California

    God Bless America WITHOUT the help of Willard Romney.

    Obama 2012

    June 15, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  21. vatoloke

    Willy Chameleon was all for something like this during the Traveling Clown Car
    Show aka the GOtP Presidential Debates just a few months back.

    June 15, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  22. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    Yeah, RMoney, we know – repeal and replace, right? How come the GOP never wants to address a problem until Obama tackles the issue?

    June 15, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  23. g

    romneys allways treated his illegals fairly -50 bucks a week and did not lock the garbage can

    June 15, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  24. matthew

    I know its election season, and i know heads will break loose for no good reason, at least credit must be given when its due. Most of these young children are already in the work place doing janitorial jobs, lawn maintenance or other down low jobs, yet most of them are better off than others because they have set goals for themselves, and have raised the bars very high, and we must applaud tthem, give the opportunity to come out and be free, and also commend the president for a bold decision. I have not heard much from the so called christian conservatives who are not following the doctrine of Jesus. If you can should about abortion all day long, why can't you shout to help these young innocent ones. i am very strong christian and I am not in favor of abortion, but its not my call. If you sin, its between you and God, Romney initially had no comment, but come later to criticize. A God fearing politician must be bold based on the fear of God to say the truth regardless of the situation. Romney, you need to man up.

    June 15, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  25. b0bc@t

    Romney's father was not an illegal immigrant in America, he was an illegal immigrant in Mexico, exiled for pluralistic marriages under the Mormon Church. His parents were in Mexico when he was born, but American citizens, giving Mitt a valid citizenship. I have lost all faith in politics, and expect the world to keep spinning no matter who holds that office. Personally, I have a preference, and that was fostered today, witnessing how the President can pass an edict that contradicts a bill that could not pass negotiation in Congress. The bill doesn't pass, well I'll say it is policy and get my way, and it might help me to keep my cushy job, despite those failed promises and lack of leadership. "It is right because i said it's right, and I didn't ask for an argument .... just step up and follow what I say .... peasant!" Don't they know that he is the Almighty Great and Powerful OB(ama) ... pay no attention to the smoke and mirrors of my administration, that is the new transparent govenment of hope and change, and resistance is futile! show that very Presidential frown again, like you did when someone broke your trance during your speech. Show them the UNITER!

    June 15, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
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