(CNN) – Young undocumented immigrants offered a two year deferral from deportation under President Barack Obama will be allowed to remain in the country if Mitt Romney is elected president, the GOP nominee said in an interview published Tuesday.
Previously, Romney had not specified how he would handle the estimated 1.7 million people who could qualify for the new rules, which went into effect in August.
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"The people who have received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid," Romney said in the interview. "I'm not going to take something that they've purchased. Before those visas have expired, we will have the full immigration-reform plan that I've proposed."
The president's decision allows 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.
When the decision to allow the immigration rule changes was announced in June, Romney did not immediately say whether he would repeal the measure or allow qualifying young immigrants to stay in the country.
In an interview with CBS on June 17, Romney would say only that his administration would seek longer-term solutions to the problem of illegal immigration, and that Obama's new directive was a temporary fix.
"He was president for the last three-and-a-half years and did nothing on immigration," Romney said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "Two years he had a Democrat House and Senate, did nothing of a permanent or long-term basis. What I would do, is I'd make sure that by coming into office I would work with Congress to put in place a long-term solution for the children of those that have come here illegally."
Romney said the timing of the shift, coming less than five months ahead of November's general election, pointed to political motives on the part of the president.
"I think the timing is pretty clear, if he really wanted to make a solution that dealt with these kids or with illegal immigration in America, then this is something he would have taken up in his first three-and-a-half years, not in his last few months," Romney said.
As recently as last month, Romney was maintaining his stance on a permanent immigration solution, without saying clearly how he'd proceed with the new rules change.
"I will lead a program that gets us to a permanent solution as opposed to what was done by this president, which was with a few months before an election he puts in place something that is temporary, which does not solve the issue," Romney said in a Univision forum in September.
In the Denver Post interview published Tuesday, Romney continued his criticism of Obama's handling of immigration, saying he had broken his promise to enact immigration reform in his first term.
"I actually will propose a piece of legislation which will reform our immigration system to improve legal immigration so people don't have to hire lawyers to figure out how to get here legally," Romney said. "The president promised in his first year – his highest priority – that he would reform immigration, and he didn't. And I will."
Gabriela Domenzain, director of Hispanic Press for Obama's re-election campaign, wrote in a statement Romney's position "raises more questions than it answers."
"He still has not said whether he would continue the Administration’s policy that provides a temporary reprieve from deportation for young people who were brought here through no fault of their own. Would he side with his extreme anti-immigration advisors and repeal this measure?"
Both Romney and Obama are campaigning heavily for Latino voters, though polls consistently show the president with a large lead over Romney among the key voting demographic.
Romney has struggled in the past to frame his immigration positions in ways that appeal both to Hispanic voters and the base of the Republican Party. He took a hard line stance on the issue during the Republican primary, but in Tuesday's interview and in his forum with Univision, the candidate has adopted a softer tone.
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.
Later, Romney gave a more detailed version of his stance, telling supporters at a fund-raiser in Florida Republicans needed to offer their own version of the DREAM Act.
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.
CNN's Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.
Once again. No details. I'd be even happy if he gave vague details, or anywhere close.
Romney's position on everything:
Romney: "I disagree with Obama. I, instead, propose to do the correct thing to fix the problem."
Journalist: "So how would you fix it?"
Romney: "I would propose something to make it better."
Journalist: "Such as?"
Romney: "I wouldn't do what Obama is doing. I will fix it."
I used to be on the fence. Not happy with Obama, but I really am seeing that either Romney has no ideas, or he's purposely hiding them from us. Maybe he is a secret lib, but doesn't want his GOP base to know it before election day. I just don't know.
I'll take my chances with another 4 years of Obama instead of betting on someone who won't tell us what he is for.
still just desperately trying to get that latino vote, huh Mitt?....
there is a very easy way to fix this (well on paper it is) just send the army into Mexico and arrest all the drug cartels and then maybe Mexicans will want to stay in their own country because the Mexican government is incapable of dealing with the problem themselves. plus we wont have to spend billions on the boarder patrol or just make Mexico part of the U.S. and get it over with.
Most of you are now posting like the bloggers on the Huffington Post. You have finally seen the truth about Romney.
Is there ONE policy Romney hasn't flip-flopped on?
I really don't understand the American electorate. This Romney joke is sooooo fake and you can hear it in his voice, see it in his face, he just has no morals or vision for the country. He just has a 'dream to be president' probably because, hmm, well he was BORN into politics and wealth!? So if you all just care about this one rich guys dream since he was 10 to be president for his sake, then yes vote for this sad experiment! I just don't get how anyone can take hm seriously! Seriously!
Excuse me, where is the flip flop on this?
From the beginning Romney said he supported a method for those young illegal immigrants, who were brought into this country at no fault of their own, to avoid deportation.
What he disagreed with from the beginning, is the manner in which President Obama is doing it. He had the opportunity to tackle this problem during his first two years, but he waited until right before an election. He also circumvented congress by implementing this by way of executive order. Now some would argue that he doesn't even have the authority as President to create a new type of Visa without going through congress first. Now this will go through the courts and it may get struck down, but not until long after the election.
So now that Obama created a mess, Mitt Romney is just trying to be fair about it so that if he gets elected this mess can be straightened out. But go ahead and call him a flip flopper if you feel good about it, but on this issue there has been no flip flop.
Was he in brown face when he said this too? What a fraud! I know the media tells us this race is tied because they have advertisers to answer to but this race has been over for a while now!!!
So now, he is on board with allowing the Latinos and Hispanics under the waiver the President issued to stay. Sounds like perfect timing, right before the election. Don't believe the hype! He is not serious, or he is, maybe, who knows! It's Romney!!!
Yet he slams Obama for the same thing? Pot, meet kettle. Ahh, gotta love the smell of GOP desperation in the morning!
yeah that land belongs to the dinosaures they owned it first
Which way is the wind blowing today? Just look at Romney the perfectly lubricated weathervain to figure it out.
Mitt Romney is nothing if not utterly consistent. Look at any position he's ever taken a concrete stance on, give it a few months, and then see him express the exact opposite opinion.
What did John Kerry say at the convention, "before Romney debates the President on the issues facing this nation, he should finish the debate with himself first!"
is there something with homosapian that says land is a belonging or joint property value that includes spot of air , sea water and star view??
Not one word on MSNBC, CBS or CNN about the border agent shot and killed in Arizona, the flood of proof coming forward that the White House KNEW before the Benghazi killings, but they "brag"up the PA judge who decided that photo I.D. was unlawful - How do these people buy beer, cigarettes, cash checks, or get medical treatment???? The first thing they ask for is PHOTO I.D. Once again, the media is in the tank for Obama - but people need to ask, what's in it for them??????? They want to see this country racked and ruined??? WHY???
Why should anyone believe this? Is there anything that Romney has been consistent about?
I'd be ok with amnesty provided in exchange we: build the wall along the border, make English the national language, make employers do e-verify when hiring, deport those illegals with felony records. think that'd be a fair start.
I think people should take note of what Mitt has not said. He continues to say he want's to put in a long term, permanent solution. I would like someone to ask him what he envisions that solution to be? He says the illegal immigrants paid for the two year visa, so does that mean they will not have that opportunity 2 years from now? He hasn't answered that and I would suspect it means he will not renew the visa's after the expiration. He is very elusive and the question has to be specific.
BUT, as soon as the election is over (if I beat Obama) ALL you furriners are HISTORY.
After sticking not one, but both feet into his mouth over and over, and more recently resorting to insulting half the country with his 47% comments, Romney finally realizes he needs those votes to win.
Considering he was at a $50,000 a plate dinner, I imagine he was feeling the class divide in this country pretty strongly. But Romney's genuine ineptitude to represent us ALL, REGARDLESS OF WHO PAYS TO SEE HIM is tantamount to being as unfit for the Presidency as he can be.
I am amazed at the sheer low IQ of those continuing to either defend or vote for Romney.
Wait . . . before he was completely against this. Now, he is for it (right before the election). What will he be tomorrow/next week/next month/when his Republican extremists tell him what to do??? Good grief!! How/why would anyone vote for this guy – you have absolutely NO IDEA ON HIS STANCE ON ANYTHING!
It is amazing how the federal government commits TREASON against WE THE PEOPLE these CRIMINAL Latinos need to be deported at all cost they are destroying the American dream not helping it or even trying to live it they refuse to learn English they want to turn OUR country into their country. And if you look at their home country you can see what that looks like, a crap hole !! If WE THE PEOPLE do not start helping get the CRIMINALS out the U.S. it will look and sound just like a third world crap hole (wait it all ready does) Do your part, turn in an illegal today it is your duty and your obligation !!
Well im not voting for more obama failures for sure!
So Romney is just as willing to sell our country as he is to buy it. As long as it a good harvest, I guess it doesn't really matter right Mitt?