(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.
we: build the wall along the border ...
a Wall serves two purposes: Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect, but we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in, to prevent them from leaving us.
Too little, too late Romney! We already know what's in your heart. You will say anything or do anything to get elected. You have no soul.
What's desperate is Obama deferring deportation for 2 years for immigrants and supporting gay marriage at the last minute before the election which also goes against his claim of being a Christian. Christians do not support gay marriage.
Obama has deported more immigrants than any other president and now he is just putting them off for 2 more years. Obama could have helped the immigrants his first 2 years in office as well as the economy. As you can see they were not his first priority. How can you side step Obama's broken promise to the immigrants?
I think Romney will keep his word because he wants to be re-elected in 4 more years.
Romney: Rehashes things over and over again, influenced by cycles of change, is extremely organized, makes an impact – either postively or negativey, people remember this guy – influenced by femininity, is constantly fluxed by the choices he presents himself.
Do your part , turn in a criminal (illegal) today, your government has committed treason against the American people (again) by giving anything to these criminals get them out at all cost they are destroying America for it already looks and sounds like a third world country. You are bullied into paying taxes and the tax money is just given away! Go to any food store and see all the Latinos that have three or four kids paying for food with food stamps then go get in a $30,000.00 mini van or SUV ! This criminal amnesty is insane and has to be stopped at all cost!!
Yet another example of Mittwit saying ANYTHING to garner just one more vote. How desperate. How sad.
America is in deep doodoo ... once again our uninformed electorate has produced two mediocre candidates!
America, you so richly deserve the long term troubles coming your way!
So when Obama does it, it's creating a reason for more folks to come here. When Romney does it, it is a brilliant change to the immigration policy that Obama has neglected for 4 years.
Look! A wolf! Really....a wolf....hahahahaha...fooled you. Look...a wolf! Look!!! A wolf...haahahhaha...fooled you. Look...a wolf! Look a wolf!!! (CACHING....sound of a vote going to anyone but Romney).
Obama/Biden 2012 – Mittens and all of the Republican House and Senate can just go to $$$$!!!! Vote all of the Republicans out of office in 2012! We can do it , yes we can!!!!! LOL. By the way, Mittens daddy would roll over in his grave if Mittens didn't win the Latino votes!!! So start Rolling Daddy Mitt!!!!
Are these immigrants included in the 53% that you only care about?
They couldn't be in the 47%, because you say you are going to care of them. Not how or when, but just as much a promise.
Now you see me, Now you don't! Watched the shells, watch the shells, watch...
"Oh, you can keep them. I'll just revoke them, and you can hold them as love momentos...."
– Mitt Romney
Why is he calling it a visa? DACA only gives those eligible a work permit and an assurance of non-removal. No visa.
Just a political move...as soon as he is voted president he will yank them...good for him!
What Governor Romney seems to forget is that the President was REALLY BUSY in 2009 and 2010 rescuing the US economy from a second great depression; rescuing the US auto industry; enacting universal health insurance reform; ending the war in Iraq; rescuing the financial industry; taking the fight to the Taliban in Afghanistan, ensuring equal pay for equal work; doubling the fuel efficiency standards of all cars and light trucks sold in the US; and a host of other issues. Immigration reform remains the biggest item on the President's to-do list. If - and only if - the GOP is willing to compromise on the issue, then I am confident that President Obama will enact immigration reform before he leaves office in 2017.
Ugh, does this guy ever stop? One minute he's saying 'deport them all' and bashing the President for the legislation and then the next minute he's...agreeing with it? What, did he discover he would lose half his housekeeping staff?
Karen Faye.....ah yes, the top 3 stories on Fox. Another border agent killed, more reports that the administration knew about attacks in Benghazi and Obama trying to quell news of impending defense layoffs.
Your problem is that one of those things has little to do with politics.
The other two are just political, not much more. The Benghazi incident accusations ring hollow to those of us who screamed when Condi Rice admitted that Bush read that an imminent attack on US soil was confirmed. There was no hoopla, no anger from republicans. Now, you expect us to believe you give a darn about 4 people 1000's of miles away?
Only the issue with paying contractors has any merit. Untill you see that republicans are saying that he is bullying some contractors by withholding the same payoffs from some and convincing others to hold off with it. Is he bullying or paying off? No matter. This is actually one you guys could run with. But seeing as how you guys have been screaming about everything he has done for 4 years, it's more of a "crying wolf" thing at this point.
So how are we to know that this all isn't another misspeak? How do we know republicans aren't going all political as well?
Between 1840 and 1900, there were 16 filibusters. Between 2009 and 2010, there were more than 130.
Talk about a Johnny-come-lately, after opposing it all summer. Gee, the fact that the debates start tomorrow doesn't have anything to do with the timing of his latest flip-flop, does it? And I bet that goes over well with his base.
U.S. diplomats in Libya repeatedly asked the Obama administration for more security in Benghazi in the run-up to the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate but were "denied these resources," two congressional lawmakers said.
They detailed a string of attacks and other security incidents in Benghazi starting in April, and asked the State Department what measures it took to address the threat. They claimed officials have told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee of "repeated requests" for additional security.
"Based on information provided to the committee by individuals with direct knowledge of events in Libya, the attack that claimed the ambassador's life was the latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to September 11, 2012," they wrote. "In addition, multiple U.S. federal government officials have confirmed to the committee that, prior to the September 11 attack, the U.S. mission in Libya made repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi. The mission in Libya, however, was denied these resources by officials in Washington."
PC, again, why so much concern for these 4 people when we had an attack on US soil that could have been prevented? I think we should investigate to see what happened, but this witch hunt (yet another) rings hollow from the folks who didn't want an investigation into when Bush knew an attack that would kill 3000 people was coming. Or why he failed to even raise an alarm.
I really think you guys don't care. It makes for great political theater. But, not only do Americans remember 9/11, they remember what happened. And what didn't happen.
Can't trust to Mr, 2 faced Romney since he would say anything to make people to elect him and then will go back to old self once he gets into the White House.
My Fl!P FlOp meter just went off the charts!
If you ain't Morman you Ain't Spit to Mitt......Charles Bowen Solomon Stone