June 15th, 2012
04:21 PM ET
9 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. ertdfg

    "There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply, through executive order, ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President." – President Obama, May 2011

    June 15, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. A Disgusted Former Republican

    Here goes Romney again; shooting from the lip!

    June 15, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. imp

    Long term fix???? Romney DIDN'T WANT a long term fix!!!! He said he would veto the long-term fix called the DREAM ACT!!!!! Can someone please tell me – Is this a flip-flop or an Etch-a-sketch? Romney does them both so often, I'm losing track!

    June 15, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  4. AL in West Palm Beach

    Mitt is against something Obama do?

    Really, you don't say.

    June 15, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    One Republican said he install an electric fence, Romney said they would self-deport and he would build a border fence and Rubio agreed with them because he said nothing. Hispanics know that these Republicans plans for them is to do all of the above and so did President Obama. You don't have to look any further than Arizona who has Gov. Brewer and Sheriff Joe Arpaio ready and willing to do all of the above.

    June 15, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. !ST SGT

    You Obama supporters are nuts. Somehow you missed the boat in comprehension and brain power. You have no clue as to what Obama is doing and has plans to do to ruin this country. HOWEVER YOU WILL SOON. IF ELECTED FOR ANOTHER TERM HE WILL SUCCEED IN BECOMING A DICTATOR OF AMERICA. NO MATTER WHAT HE TELLS YOU HE IS NOT PRO AFRICAN AMERICAN OR FOR THE ILLEGALS. IT IS A GIVEN HE HATES THE WHITE RACE.

    June 15, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. vic , nashville ,tn

    Long term solution stop by republicans in 2006 against the will of republican president G.W.Bush

    June 15, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. cali girl

    Romney has no clue how to handle any minority. He wants to be a job creator. The only job he wants to create is his own.

    June 15, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. chedar888

    Stop opposing MR. Romney. You are out of touch with the american people. Go dream yourself.

    June 15, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. curious

    TO ERTDFG: This congress is unlike any previous political body America has ever seen. I watched President Obama try to reach across the aisle to compromise with the republicans, almost to his detriment. Republicans are un-american.

    June 15, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, NOT a third term of BUSH's years of FAILURE

    Good job Mr President, since the GOP congress has decided to block the AMERICAN JOB act and DREAM act.

    Mr Rmoney can continue his self-deportation after November when he becomes the governor of Arizona.

    June 15, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. Confused

    I am very confused.

    On one hand I have a "slightly more" relateable president who has not done much to the economy other than throw lots and lots of $ at it with the hope that something will click, thereby getting us much much deeper into debt.

    On the other hand I have a completely non-relatable multi-multi millionaire that has elevators for his cars, who claims to have better experience with creating jobs (not sure how it relates to the millions of folks on the main street, especially since all of his job creation and elimination has been regarding his own company).

    Other than this, I see no significant difference between the two candidates. They appear very similar on social issues (Mitt says anything to get elected now, but will change colors to what he truly is, later). I am not sure how significantly POSITIVELY different the country's directions will be in 2 years from now with either one. I sure do hope so it happens.

    I am disenchanted with our current president's efforts, but I am not sure how the alternative will help either.


    June 15, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  13. Anthony Stark

    Mitt is criticizing something Obama did? I. Am. Shocked.

    June 15, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  14. SabrinaGrad

    All of the comment bloggers on here* most repeat users* are most likely to vote for POTUS Obama in 2012....to sum it up, because I have a paper to finish.....1#Obama's presidential record, 2#intelligence, proven capability @ protecting and ensuring the safety of this country, economic reforms including tax cuts, Obama Affordable Care Act saves Medicare $200 billion, L.L. Act-equal pay for women, counter-terrorist efforts* death of Bin Laden + al qaeda's 2nd in command, job creation* brought the unemployment rate down to 8.2%, ENDED Iraq war * Afghan war ending in 2013-2014, Obama Student loan Forgiveness Act* Students who become teachers, police officers and other public servants could see their loans forgiven after 10 years....the list goes on as to why we should all rally around the POTUS one last time to give him more chances to help the American people....thank you

    June 15, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  15. tonyl

    Romney again, back to the old stand of all over the place on all the issues facing this nation. "Etch e sketch". He is on all sides of all the issue. He has no core beliefs. A perfect flip flopper. He as flatly stated during the primary that he was against the dream act and was completely against all Hispanics. Now he wants to have permanent fix to this problem after the primary is over. Well done Cayman King.

    June 15, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  16. Will The Real Mitt Romney Please Stand Up?

    Well, as usual, Mitt Romney has taken every side of the immigration issue that exists. This man could debate himself on just about every issue, running back and forth from one podium to the other, while the rest of us just watched and lauged at him in complete amazement that his hypocrisy knows no bounds. This guy could literally lose a debate to himself. Imagine what President Obama will do to this clown.

    June 15, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  17. Cindy

    Romney is a liar. Rubio was about to release the same policy but Obama beat him to it. Just sour grapes.

    June 15, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  18. Mona

    Romney shouldn't even bother saying anything about this, let it blow up in Obama's face. The pro amnesty groups will be mad at him along with the anti amnesty groups.

    June 15, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  19. Potion4

    Can someone explain how they get public education, how you can serve in the military? Its through tax payers money, we pay taxes for public education and its a lot of money and they're paying nothing.

    June 15, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  20. WachetAuf

    Romney is a genius at playing politics:

    1. He says it is an important issue and must be dealt with. So why, Mr. Romney, are you ducking the issue by not takign a stand, one way or another? Is sitting on the fence a defensible position for a man who would like to make us believe that you are a man of principle? You must surely be aware of our long history of immigrants who have made this Country great? Aren't you, also, a son of an immigrant? Aren't you also a "believer" of Christian values? Doesn't the Bible teach tolerance?

    2. He says: it 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." So why, Mr. Romney, do you believe that temporary solutions do not provide some relief to these maligned people? Must we wait for a Republican Congress to take action? The Republicans have played politics with this issue too long, haven't they? And, aren't you, due to your failure to take a principled stand on the issue, the one who is creating the uncertainty which you deplore?

    3. He says: "...an executive order is, of course, a short term matter and can be reversed by subsequent presidents." Mr. Romney, you are planning to be elected, aren't you? So are you now telling us that it is your plan to reverse the policy when you are elected? If you want the votes of the Hispanic community why don't you drop the pretense, stand up to you brother Republicans and take the lead in support of what President Obama has done today?

    June 15, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  21. jake

    Go play with your money sticking it in every nook and cranny and orifice of your body like you did in that picture with your Bain friends. All while making thousands of Americans unemployed by bankrupting and closing companies, and while taking all the money out.

    You have nothing to offer real America. Again, go play with your money, this President has more leadership in his pinky than you have in your whole body. The worst Governor in Mass history is someone the Mass people know well about. You failed as Governor and NO, you won't take this country down that same road. This guy has nothing positive ever to say.

    June 15, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  22. Bill

    What is Romneys' solution? Self deportation. Ok, bub.

    June 15, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |

    Another non. Answer ,no details and by the way ,santorium is waiting to get picked up by your clown party bus ,what should I tell him?????

    June 15, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  24. tonyl

    Actually Romney's father was a Mexican. He was born in Mexico. He hates Mexicans because he does not want to be identified as a Mexican.

    June 15, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  25. Nuihc

    Obama 2012 – because he has now fit the definition of a facist dictator, along with being a socialist.

    June 15, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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