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. olga79

    It has to be done because the congress is polarized and that's exactly the reason nothing is getting done. GOP is trying hard that nothing gets done. If it's true that this will stall long term solution. So be it. This young people can't wait for the congress. This people can't put their lives on hold just because there are haters & bigots out there. I'm so glad we have a President who does the right thing. Not like the conservativ leaders out there who are supposedly so holy & religious but shows unchristian values.

    June 15, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. Skeptic

    A damper on the longterm plan? What longterm plan? There was no plan for anything till today.

    June 15, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. Four and The Door

    In June of 2012, long term for Obama is anything greater than 5 months and he's not considering anything that fits into that category. The first question put to anything that comes onto or goes off of his desk between now and November must first answer the question, " How many votes is this worth in November?". Meanwhile we can put our other national interests on hold. That's not a guess, just an explanation for what we see him doing every day now.

    June 15, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. Myviewis

    Romney lost, Obama won. This was a move to win the Latino vote and bury Romney. No legislative process, no Congress. I think we just experienced the beginning of losing the USA. I don't think there is anything Romney can say that will put him in the White House, there are not enough of us to beat the huge number of Latinos in the USA voting for Obama. Dirty trick? Yes. Did Obama outsmart Republicans? Yes. Did Obama bury Republicans with this move? Oh Yes. Is there anything left to argue? No. Has our country changed from this day forward? Yes.

    June 15, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. Fabiola, Austin, TX

    !ST SGT What in the world are you smoking? Because he supports children who have called this country home as long and they can remember and doesn't blame them for their parents actions Obama is anti-white? Take a good look around, this world is evolving, the brain power you claim we lack is obviously not your forte either. Obama is simply doing what is right for these young people. That is much more than you can say for most Republicans that are so engulfed in crazy theories about take overs and taking liberties away for political reasons, than the people they have been chosen to represent.

    June 15, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. gary

    Yeah it's harder to make a decision of any kind isn't it Mitt. You're quick to criticize but as usual you don't have a solution of your own.

    June 15, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. 2020

    GOP are nuts, yes, they are caught with pants down. every corner turnS up different response. THAT IS TYPICAL GOP. To confirm with GOP This is typical Romney. He has no defence of his own extreme hardline position. Compassion is not in his blood. Now, hearing the President beat him with a 2 x 4, he turned to others for words. Hahaha. PANTS ON FIRE !!!

    June 15, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. 1twinsfan

    Let's see, President Obama offers two years without worry Vs the GOP plan of...well...maybe in two years the GOP will have something.

    June 15, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. GOPlies

    If it came from Obama, Romney is against it except for PEL grants and the auto bailout that Romney thinks he should get credit for. I don't think we need an etch-a-sketch president in office. Romney is not presidential material

    June 15, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. Jaxx

    Mitt Romney is a warm wonderful man that wants nothing for the best of all people in this great nation of ours. Whatever he say is right and Obama is always wrong.

    June 15, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. benji

    !ST SGT – Quit drinking the Faux News kool aid. I hope you really aren't in the military because I feel sorry for anybody you are in charge of.

    June 15, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    !ST SGT
    Wrong, we fear nuts like you who have no respect for human rights and you are having a panic attack. TAKE YOUR MEDS, the World isn't coming to an end nor is a Dictator in office or coming into office. Take your meds and take a long nap.

    June 15, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. Gloria

    Yet another experiential educational moment...we are not a nation of law. Law is not aomething one should be verly concerned with, as we see- just have your bases covered.

    June 15, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  14. uncle bob

    Romney should support this move. It probably makes his housekeep and gardening staff legal.

    He's running for office for crying out loud.

    June 15, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  15. 2012liberal

    Reagan gave amnistey to 3 million illegals n his presidency and our country didnt collapse from that! Go figure. Legalize them and they can pay taxes 2

    June 15, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. Moderate Independent

    @!STSGT: get a grip because I think you are losing it.

    June 15, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  17. Tony

    If Republicans keep on alienating the fastest growing demographic group in the country, their party will become a permanent minority party, like the California Republican Party.

    !st SGT, Obama is half-white. His mother was white and his white grandparents raised him. Most of his supporters are white (by number, not by percentage). He has no reason to hate white people. Stop project your feeling.

    June 15, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  18. AreYouForReal?!

    Obama just cancelled his own re-election with this move. He'll gain some of the Latino vote.. but he'll lose so many more that are against illegal immigration

    June 15, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  19. John Steel

    I suggest Mr. Romney keeps in mind that there are a heck of a lot more voters who are not Hispanic and who are fed up with the slow motion invasion of our nation. Quit dancing around this issue and assure us you will enforce the laws of this nation unlike the traitor who currently occupies 1600 Pennsylvania.

    June 15, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. larry noble

    Obama can now legitably be called a dictator. He is only interested in a short fix to help him (he thinks) win the upcoming election, but this too will backfire. He is so incompetent and partisan it is becoming embarassing. We do need a president who thinks about long term solutions instead of short term remedies to satisfy a partisan agenda. Obama out 2012!!!!!

    June 15, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  21. bill

    uhbama is a disaster.

    June 15, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  22. Dr. Jimmy

    I don't care who you are or your stance on immigration, it's the complete lack of regard of checks and balances by our executive branch in this one that bugs me. The president can't just simply get up and make a new AMERICAN policy cuz he's sick of waiting for congress. Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.

    June 15, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  23. kel (MARINE) from south carolina

    What Obama is doing, is nothing less than pandering for the Latino vote. It shows a president who will say and do anything to get re-elected. He believes that he is the only one who knows what's right for this country and has no respect or regard for Congress. People have to wake up and realize how selfserving this man is. God help our great country if he is re-elected. Semper Fi

    June 15, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  24. Chris

    ROMNEY 2012!!!......Obama is the WORST president in history!. He's a HUGE liar, he waste tax dollars on parties at the White House, he waste tax dollars going on vacations to "Find his Irish roots", and best of all the economy is in the worst position it has ever been in. National Debt nearly doubled under Obamas "rein of terror" on the US, Americans are still losing jobs by the thousands, illiegal immigrants are through the roof, soldiers still aren't home as he promised. Honestly, how dare Obama to sign his name on the World trade center towers, the worst president in our history to sign something so monumental, what a freakin slap in our countries face!! He's a waste of space!. Mitt Romney will put this country back on track to getting out of debt, by making us a thriving superpower on the homefront!.

    June 15, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  25. whocares

    REally, who cares about this putz.

    I've never seen such a stiff mor on in my entire life.
    He's almost as plastic as his wife

    June 15, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
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