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. Lucky18

    Why does it make long term fix harder? It's a step in the right direction...You would think it would make it easier!!!

    June 16, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. KM

    This is obviously an attempt by the current administration to muddy the waters on future reform. The measure does nothing to address the illegals who haven't arrived yet. When the dust settles from this matter, it will be obvious that this was nothing more than an election year stunt.

    June 16, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  3. Bren

    Obama pulled the rug from under the Republicans due to giving millions of illegals amnesty? Just wait until you see the polls in the next few weeks!!! No matter how much the liberal media tries to sway opinion/votes regarding illegals–the majority, including the majority of Independents–do NOT want illegals given any form of amnesty!! And, just wait until the millions of unemployed and the middle class–are made aware that Obama has now given the millions of illegals the opportunity to take US jobs!! There are now even going to be millions of Democrats–even union members–who are going to turn against Obama regarding this issue alone!! This move by Obama is going to destroy him–and any other Democrat who supports his decision/actions regarding the amnesty for illegals!! It is now going to be Republicans, Independents, and moderate/sane (blue dog/Reagan Democrats) voting against Obama, versus the liberals!!

    June 16, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  4. Jill-IN

    Mitt flipping again. What about comments only a few weeks ago that they can self-deport. And, this GOP filled Congress has done nothing to pass a law in the past 2 years related to immigration. that's where they stand.

    June 16, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  5. 2020

    Romney has no leg to stand on. from SELF DEPORTATION to LONG TERM FIX FOR THE DREAM. he never has his own conviction, never have any intellectual capacity to make a judgement call. from sad to sick. what a loser.

    June 16, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  6. Christina

    "Long term immigration fix needed" -Romney.
    Duh! Thanks for the news flash! We couldn't have figured that out on our own. What the President proposed was only an executive order because our wonderful Congress has been unwilling since their election into public office to do ANYTHING at all about any major issues while Obama is in office, including illegal immigration. So tell us again what the PRESIDENT is doing wrong while the useless $&@@! elected to Congress sit on their hands until the next election. . Honestly Mitt, you AND the GOP really think the people of this country are stupid. Pot shots from the peanut gallery instead of real reform in the official law-making body. Both you and the Congress and GOP either do Something for real besides flap your gums or sit down and shut up. We are sick of it.

    June 16, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. helenecha

    Why should we have immigration law fixed? It's all for Constitution, Security and Economy anyway, uh? Well, I believe that a longer term solution to the problem needs many Presidents' efforts. What about you?

    June 16, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  8. jake

    f you want the truth, go look at what is going on quietly in Congress and under your nose and what they are trying to do like thieves in the night. There is a Republican bill in Congress that would grant special Visas to people abroad to come here and work for American companies. Under this "program", they must agree to work here at a much lower pay rate and benefits (none) than would regular American workers in the same positions.

    The end result is obvious...currently employed Americans would be gradually displaced and replaced by these foreign workers. Also obvious is that this is intented to benefit companies and corporations, not the American workers. This bill will obviously not go anywhere under this President, but if Romney becomes President it will be on his desk to sign ASAP. This is the Republican's idea of "job creation". Problem with this is that it doesn't create jobs for Americans, it creates jobs for foreigners at cheap labor costs. So instead of shipping jobs overseas, the new twist is to ship the workers here from overseas. End result is the same, unemployed Americans.

    June 16, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  9. beau

    Dear Hispanics,
    If any of you are considering handing your vote to the GOP, please visit the Fox Entertainment News comment section under any article that mentions race or immigration. Read the comments (or read the comments from conservatives visiting this website), and ask yourself if you want to be on the same side as these "people."Those comments were so disgusting that Fox decided to shut down comments on their articles. You can't comment on articles anymore there. A left wing Mexican Mormon and an Indian Hindu (no, not Native American, the other kind).
    Now that's what I call a right wing Christian conservative dream ticket.
    LMAO
    This has to be a funny movie, this cannot be real.

    June 16, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  10. beau

    So the Republicans are going to settle on an east coast, elite, millionaire from an aristocratic family? What is his experience that will make him a successful Conservative President?
    1. He fires people, lays off employees, and outsources jobs while pocketing the pension funds of those same employees.
    2. He is comfortable in an upper class setting. After all, America IS the upper class, isn't it? The little people, like you and I, are not really very important. People of Romney's class and background see us as livestock that can understand English.
    3. He does not care if Americans suffer. He has made lots of them suffer so far in his life. He's made of tough stuff. No weepy compassion will ever cloud his judgment.
    4. He knows how to destroy corporations and sell off their assets. He could use those skills to destroy the federal government, a stated goal of Conservatism
    5. After the Romney Administration is over in 2016 or 2018, Conservatives will say, "Hey, you can't blame us for the disastrous Romney Administration. He wasn't a TRUE Conservative. What we need is a TRUE Conservative like Ron Paul or Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum … or maybe Senator Palin."

    June 16, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  11. helenecha

    Why should we have immigration law fixed? It's all for Constitution, Security and Economy anyway, uh? Well, I’m pretty sure that a longer term solution to the problem needs many Presidents' efforts. What about you?

    June 16, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Well,
    Unfortuntantly there is only one "Long" term solution. All ilegals leave! When they tried to get a Bill thru Congress when Bush was still President ther was so many Foul Dispicable rejections sent to our elected officials the Bill was defeated. The American paople will not accept any Bill that even looks like Amnsety. The people won't even accept a Guest Worker Program.

    June 16, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  13. mary jones

    Hey lets see his birth certicate no jobs what About American born young people no jobs for older citzen would they help. our young in this country

    June 16, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  14. Jen

    We have needed a longer term solution for decades – how would this possibly hurt a longer term solution? If anything it should force them to come up with one.

    I am hearing here in AZ, that his was actually done by HLS and the administration because the Supreme Court 1070 ruling is comming out in a week or two and they need to have a way to protect some kids and give them temp documents  until Congress comes up with a solution.  Can you imagine some high school kid who just graduated ending up in holding scared out of their lives never even having been to their country of origin, this will simply give them the temporary ID until they fix immigration in some permanent fashion and so immigration can focus more on those who did come here on their own free will or who have committed crimes – these kids have to have an education, have kept their noses clean, and or be in the military

    June 16, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  15. Jen

    We have needed a long term solution for decades – how will this interfere with that? If anything it will light the fire to iron out a longer-term solution.

    June 16, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  16. Jen

    I am hearing here in AZ, that his was actually done by HLS and the administration because the Supreme Court 1070 ruling is comming out in a week or two and they need to have a way to protect some kids and give them temp documents  until Congress comes up with a solution.  Can you imagine some high school kid who just graduated ending up in holding scared out of their lives never even having been to their country of origin, this will simply give them the temporary ID until they fix immigration in some permanent fashion and so immigration can focus more on those who did come here on their own free will or who have committed crimes – these kids have to have an education, have kept their noses clean, and or be in the military

    June 16, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  17. Jen

    We have needed a longer term solution for decades. So how will this interfere with that?

    I am hearing here in AZ, that his was actually done by HLS and the administration because the Supreme Court 1070 ruling is comming out in a week or two and they need to have a way to protect some kids and give them temp documents  until Congress comes up with a solution.  Can you imagine some high school kid who just graduated ending up in holding scared out of their lives never even having been to their country of origin, this will simply give them the temporary ID until they fix immigration in some permanent fashion and so immigration can focus more on those who did come here on their own free will or who have committed crimes – these kids have to have an education, have kept their noses clean, and or be in the military

    June 16, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
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