December 7th, 2007
04:48 PM ET
14 years ago

Romney: Not my fault illegal immigrants worked on home

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Mitt Romney defended his anti-illegal immigration credentials Friday, telling CNN there was no gap between his tough enforcement rhetoric on the stump and recent reports that he continued to employ workers at his Massachusetts home who could not legally work in this country months after news accounts first revealed their status.

“I certainly have never proposed that homeowners have a responsibility when they hire a contractor to then go out and inquire of the company’s employees whether they happen to be legal or not,” the Republican presidential candidate told CNN’s Dana Bash after an Iowa campaign stop. “As a homeowner… that’s not something that’s available under the current system in this country.”

He added that that kind of verification was the responsibility of the companies themselves, and of the federal government.

When the former Massachusetts governor was asked if, as a presidential candidate, he should have made a special effort to ensure workers at his home were eligible to work in this country – gone the “extra mile” – he reacted angrily.

“And what’s the extra mile? … and you tell me how to do that in this country,” he said. “Let’s say I go to a restaurant, should I make sure that waiters there are all legal? How would I do that?”

Romney also told reporters that his Thursday speech on faith was not designed to address concerns among many evangelicals, who will form a major voting bloc in next month’s Iowa caucuses. “The speech was not about politics I don’t know how the politics work,” he said. “[I] don’t know what the implications are from a political standpoint” - although his own campaign sent out a release Friday noting the political impact of that speech.

- CNN’s Dana Bash contributed to this report

Filed under: Mitt Romney
soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Steve, Lyons, CO

    Oops. There goes Angry Boy, down in flames.

    It's over, hotshot. Take your money and beat it.

    December 7, 2007 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. Mac Reynolds, Los Angeles, CA

    This is just plain ridiculous. I saw the report on this, and was really disappointed in CNN. This is such a non-issue, and it is no wonder that Romney is tired of talking about it (and I saw the broadcast, he sure didn't look "angry" to me). He is absolutely right: this is akin to the Clinton/Obama "did you or didn't you want to be president when you were in kindergarten" NON-fiasco. Also, you failed to mention that when he found out they employed illegals he told them they were to stop the practice or lose his employment. They said they did, and then he found out they didn't. So he fired them. Wow. Big deal.

    December 7, 2007 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  3. Fred, SLC, Utah

    Romney is lying with hypocracy! What does he mean he 'doesn't know how politics work' when he is a politician and is in politics and he is running for president?! We have seen enough of these 'righteous wings' to see what it has got the US into domestically and internationally. American needs its dignaty back and its definately not with him!

    December 7, 2007 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  4. Danny, CA

    Dana Bash has nothing to report and she wants to show that she is a good reporter by bashing republicans. Dana, we do not want to listen to your stories. They are not important.

    December 7, 2007 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  5. Steve in SC

    Give the man a break! No one that I know of inspects the ID of their paper boy (or girl) and lawn care worker. We trust the companies we hire to do that and it is their responsibility to do that, not the person paying for the service!

    December 7, 2007 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  6. Nathan Stoops Bourbonnais, IL 60914

    Hello, I'm a Republican and proud of it. When will all the canidates in both parties, finally find out that WE ARE AT WAR. We cannot and should not forget this is real! The next attack I'm sure will be catitroficate than when it happens. We have to secure our borders and do whatever is nessisary.

    December 7, 2007 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. zak,boston,ma

    I was reading this and I can help it to see how many times Romney has changed his position.

    December 7, 2007 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. Dustin

    Dana Bash and Cafferty both looked like fools today on TV, Why do you expect candidates to turn into vigilanties against illegals. What you thought was anger was the truth.

    December 7, 2007 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  9. jesse Queens NY

    And down goes Mitt Romney – out of the race.
    Big difference dining in a resturant and hiring a contractor.
    In the very least, a homeowner should add to the contractor agreement that ALL workers prove they are legally in this country and as a special zinger add that if it is found that the workers are illegal, all the work done on the property will be at no cost to the homeowner.
    THEN, you watch all the homeowners and possibly the contractor will be checking credentials.

    December 7, 2007 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  10. Jillian, Indianapolis, IN

    I don't blame him for being "riled." It's preposterous to think anyone who doesn't support illegal immigration should check the status of every ethnic person who works for them.

    December 7, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  11. Daniel, NY

    With two new polls showing Huckabee now first in a national primary survey and also first in South Carolina, Romney should definitely be careful for things could get away from him very fast. The best news for him is that Fred Thompson will do some of the dirty job for him, as this very negative mailer that Thompson sent out yesterday blasting Huckabee shows.

    December 7, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. Walt, Belton, TX

    That should about do it. Say goodnight, Mitt!

    December 7, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. Curt, San Diego, Ca

    I agree with Mr. Romney, It’s not up to the individual to go and check the status of every person we do business with in our life. I do not have the time or the resources to carry out this task. The companies are the ones that should be accountable. If they are following the rules they will find the status of that person.

    December 7, 2007 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  14. Deacon , Harrison, Ark

    It's VERY plain that he see no problem nor has any idea on how to fix it. I had work done on my Mother's house and told each sub contractor" NO Illegals " on my job site. Amazing, over 60% of the contractors turn and walked away, never to seen again. At least I did something about the problem and still got the jobs completed.

    December 7, 2007 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  15. Dan (Baltimore, MD)

    Romney still doesn't get it. It's not about checking each illegal personally. It's that his rhetoric on this is so harsh that he implies that people should do whatever it takes to get rid of every last one of them. I hope he enjoys the lawn at his sanctuary mansion (or better his hypocrisy mansion).

    December 7, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  16. Gundi Jones , Salt Lake City, Utah

    This Mornings Paper, The Salt Lake Tribunes Headlines statet : Romney praised for his Speech , but....
    It seems that every one is literally racing to find the buts and the Holes, no Matter how old or shallow, it needs to be re-examend ,to find fault and diminish the Impact of Governor Romneys Speech. PATHETIC! how many of us knowingly or not, helped someone illegal? Perhaps by puchising Goods, temp. hired help, or just graciously lending a Hand to someone in Need?
    Ups, sorry, it seems that gracious People are on the endangerd Species List.
    Let alone a Politician with Honor and Principles that will stand by his Convictions, and all of that without Name calling, black-balling or draggiung his Opponent thru the Mire.
    Strange, all the Qualities that I would like to see in a President, are the ones that are detrimental.
    I must say, It is absolutly not fair, for someone to be handsome ( great Teeth ) rich and decent, but then , Life is not fair.
    why is it such a Threat to represent this Country and it's Citizen ( us ) with moral Values and Responsipility to all People and rational, intelligent enough to keep Reason in diffecult Situations and Decisions?
    Oh, I forgot, Mitt Romney prays!
    Another Determent, after all he could just ask any other political Advisor and recieve the same Insperation.
    Strange, no one else comes to Mind.
    I am sending this not becuaseof my religious Affiliation, but on personal Evidence that Prayer works.
    Being born and raised in Europe, my Families religious History is Protestant and Catholic and most all of them relied on Prayer to help them thru some very diffecult Times.
    In closing, a Quote from" Mormon " President Gordon B. Hinkly : if you don't stand for something, you fall for every thing "
    With all the fallen political Examples: THANK YOU, GOVERNOR ROMNEY FOR STILL STANDING !

    December 7, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  17. Bruce, Annandale VA

    I do not see how he can be blammed for the work done by an outside vendor. Maybe next time I go to a fast food place, I will ask everyone for their papers.

    December 7, 2007 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  18. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Spin, Mitt, spinnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!

    December 7, 2007 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  19. Travis Cummings

    I'm just guessing that Rudy Guiliani has never eaten at McDonalds, never had his shirt dry-cleaned, never consumed any product that has been produced by a company that employs illegal aliens. Guiliani is very hypocritical here when talking about Romney's landscaping company. Have some perspective! But all Romney haters get a good laugh. That is whats important.

    December 7, 2007 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  20. Jim Hodges

    It does not take a rocket scientist to see that the issue of undocumented workers is a hot button issue especially after it has come up in a heated debate.
    Wouldn't somebody have the where-with-all to be squeaky clean. Naive at the very best. Is it a stretch to know who is in your yard?
    No way you bring up religion without knowing the political implications. A speech that is not political? Wow!

    December 7, 2007 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  21. Anne E., SLC

    Mr. Willard "Mitt" Romney oozes
    and slides his way around so many topics that he should be called
    "Slick Willie 2.0."

    December 7, 2007 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  22. Gregory, Arlington, VA

    It's not that Romney is against immigrants for crying out loud, he's against illegals, like millions of Americans. I work in the healthcare industry (hospital administration) and it is unbelievable how much illegals cost American tax payers. That is only one example ... don't get started on the gangs of illegals or what illegals do in our educational system in Virginia and D.C.

    Also, it's actually not that easy to find out exactly who working on your lawn is or isn't illegal, and some employers will lie about it. Besides, Romney likely had his personal assistant do the hiring for a lawn care company, not him. Let's be real people.

    December 7, 2007 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  23. Mike Sawyer, Troy NY.

    Mitt is right again. Let me ask that next time I pull into a McDonald's, if there are any illegals cooking my burger.

    December 7, 2007 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  24. Brenda Van Maarion, Grande Prairie, Alberta

    I saw the News flash on Romney, one of the republican presidential candidates. You were giving a review of his speech on faith. Unfortunately you, CNN, did not do your homework relating to the beliefs of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. Should you wish truly wish to represent the truth and to know what we believe in then I refer you to our Articles of Faith, I also refer you to the Doctrine & Covenants Section 89, for the Words of Wisdom, both can be found within the Book of Mormon scriptures on the website. As with all people on this planet, "Mormons" are no more perfect then anyone else, only Christ was perfect. We each strive to maintain standards and provide service to others – not one of the principles of our Church asks us to do anything other then uplift, serve and love others. We are admonished to live as forthrightly, honest and loving as we are capable of; yes some of us don't live up to our potential – that can be said of everyone, regardless of creed or color,but most of us try. May each and everyone of us on this planet strive to be Christ like to be loving and kind, to adhere to the small still voice inside of us urging us to do good and be loving. May you all have a very Merry Christmas – from Canada with Love

    December 7, 2007 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  25. Marc, Boston, MA

    Lies, lies lies...This man will say and do anything to get elected. Wake up people, make yourself aware. A wolf in sheeps clothing!

    December 7, 2007 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
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