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. Leroy

    Go Obama!!! He may not be perfect but he's still the best we've got! To another four years in office!

    June 15, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  2. 2020

    Romney and his friends may have money, lots of money, casino chips too. But, something Romney doesn't have nor learned, crucial ingredient for presidency: political instincts, political smartness. He has been running likes his dog, chasing his own tail.

    Mr. Obama political smartness is God given talent.

    He sets the agenda in this election. He sets the issue of the day. Romney can only wag his tail and follow.

    That is the distinctive difference between these two men. God bless the President.

    June 15, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  3. 2020

    James Carville, like we told you, the commander-in-chief is on guard. Do Not Worry about him. He is super smart more than what you give him credit for. Yesterday, he told the crowd about "HOW" – TODAY, he sealed the deal. Watch what he will do in coming weeks and months. He earned hius Nobel plrize

    June 15, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  4. tmv31

    And....there's goes another "flip" from Mittens.

    June 15, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  5. rdeleys

    If Romney said it, it's a lie.

    June 15, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  6. whitepeoplesux

    europeans come to america-looks like europe

    africanss come to america- their neighborhoods are just like africa- crime, drugs, lazy, ruin schools, AIDs LOOK UP THE STATS IF YOU ARE IN DENIAL every single black area compton watts detroit harlem haiti somalia ethiopa yeah it IS genetic

    mexicans come to america...........................

    June 15, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  7. Purush

    Classic Romney. Makes the long term fix harder. Ask him what the long term fix is. I don't know. This is how he is going to manage America.

    June 15, 2012 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  8. Poor Man's Dream

    Obama's way... tax the middle class to death to pay for the illegals to stay. I can still not figure out why there are so many people that voted for this guy?!?!? Oh I know... most of his voters are people who are getting free handouts from teh government and free bus rides to the polls while us working class folk were at work.

    June 15, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  9. SafeJourney

    Republicans will be a disenfranchised party in 20 years thanks to the teaparty. Repubs, you can not discriminate against an American group of people in the states, whether it be Latinos, Gays, Women, Blacks, students, etc and expect them to vote for you in the General election

    June 16, 2012 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  10. packerfans

    Vote for Mitt Romney who can save America!!

    Come on America Voter know better who should be on November for President for MItt Romney one way!! If Obama he will araise ten dollar gas per gallons his dream and destroy America postive!! Debts will to go up 30 trillions or more?? He against cut ,cap and Balance??? Force Rich people pay high taxes?? Washinton Dc took 40 per cent to 60 per cent death family weathly for many years and why they asked high taxes more??? Of Course Obama so stupid maths!! He love spend spend debts and dont know how to save America!! Mitt Romney can deal Rich people other ways and wisely!! Obama took three years retirement cost living freeze since and back last Jan 2012. Old people cannot afford high living cost today!! Obama threat cut off Social Security last Aug 2011 to Gop and Congress!! What kind of Presiident Obama is?? Do NOT VOTE for OMAHA!! he will mess up worst in 2013!! more more he failed his job!! America people you better watch out Vote on November right for President!! Vote for Mitt Romney or you will be sorry let for second term, for Obama!! Dem people you better off Vote for Obama!! or you want fall america and our dollar will be worthless!!

    June 16, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  11. Lando

    There is one major...mega..huge..problem here in America....the existence of the Republibans...
    We need to weed them out from Congress..to total eradication.....then PROGRESS IS GUARANTEED

    June 16, 2012 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  12. nolimits3333

    Obama just trumped Romney.

    50 million Latino voters.

    June 16, 2012 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  13. Reggie from LA

    Thank you Terry Vann. Robme REALLY IS an empty suit. If you listen to him critically and with any sense, the only thing you have to base your vote for him on is "party line". Nothing more. He's go nothing. Even the "good Christians" have folded on this one to abandon the Christian in the White House and purport how Robme shares their values. A pathetic bunch. It's like a Spongebob opposite day, Obama says yes and Robme says no. That's his campaign strategy and it's working. Ridiculous.

    June 16, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  14. Jules

    And Romney's long term fix is what? Oh that's right, he doesn't do actual policy statements that include what he would do as president. He wants it to be a surprise and you know what, the far right will be a heck of a lot more surprised than I will. The fact that he is not specific on anything means one of two things – he doesn't know what he would do or he knows the far right base will not like what he is going to do and if that information gets out they will sit on their hands come November.

    June 16, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  15. Saboth

    Yeah...maybe Republicans should have, you know...fixed social security, healthcare and immigration while they were in control of House, Senate and Executive branches for almost 2 full terms. I guess they were busy with causing the 2nd biggest financial meltdown in our country's history while embroiling us in 2 multi-trillion dollar wars then trying to blame all of that on Obama after the fact. They are like the back seat driver that criticizes every single move you make, but when you offer to let them drive, they immediately crash into a tree.

    June 16, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  16. Jules

    Bert Col – my guess is the Kardashians are probably memebers of your group.

    June 16, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  17. margie

    What about all the people that became citizens the legal way this is a slap in their face.

    June 16, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  18. T'sah from Virginia


    Romney is a genius at playing politics:
    3. He says: "...an executive order is, of course, a short term matter and can be reversed by subsequent presidents." ◄

    What a great point in addition to the rest of your blog – R-Money also claims to sign an executive order in order to REPEAL the Health Affordable Act (Obamacare) – I guess that would be a SHORT FIX also!!! R-Money also states that the "Stimulus" was a "short fix" – that's another LIE because hundreds of thousands workers' jobs were SAVED – I am one of them – And today, we STILL have our jobs!!!

    In reality, R-Money would be a LONG-FIX for the wealthy and a LONG NON-FIX for the middle class.... Period!! He's a FLIP-FLOPPING LYINGtrying to ETCH his way back to the middle in regards to Immigration

    June 16, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  19. svann

    There is absolutely nothing about this action that prevents you from passing legislation on the same issue. The only thing that prevents you from coming up with a long term solution is your own party that is unwilling to be seen agreeing with Obama on ANY issue. OTOH you also seem unable to dispute that forgiving the children their parents mistakes is a good thing.

    June 16, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  20. Soso

    Listen up Republicans! Obama did this due to deadlock in congress – where you are holding eveything hostage. Now picture this – you win the presidency but don't have a super majority in either house of congress – do you believe the Dems will support anything you propose? I doubt it – so whoever wins it will just be 4 more years of a do nothing congress. I hope there are a lot of presidential powers that will keep the country going until we can get some statemen rather than politicians in congress.

    June 16, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  21. Marry

    Why would the action that the president took today make it more difficult, Mr. Romney?
    Perhaps the GOP/TP Congress not working makes every thing difficult??? Perhaps Romney should check that out? No? Oh right, it is the party of “NO” pretending to work in Congress and "candidate" Romney is running as the head of the "NO" and "take my country back" people! Great....

    June 16, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  22. Bob

    Hog wash. Neither party, ESP the republicans, are going to do any long tem legislation to fix this specific immigration matter in my lifetime. At least a 2yr moratorium gives some of these younger people a sense of relief.

    And the bull-t about it hurting employment is also a smoke screen. The only way it will negatively impact unemployment is now these people will be " officially counted" and it will appear as if more people are unemployed. In fact, they have always been there , just under the radar.

    June 16, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  23. Vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    President Obama does something, Mitt disagrees with it. This is OLD NEWS. Please do something fresh for a change.

    June 16, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  24. FormerTeaPartyPerson

    Even though I still consider myself a Republican and I voted for Mitt in the Illinois primary, we must all give credit to Obama for a brilliant politically strategic move. I have always said that Obama is playing "Chess" while we Republicans are playing "checkers". In our zeal to do everthing to see that Obama fails, we are not thinking of the long term political picture. Don't you see, that once the enthusiam has left from his announcement, these illegals will not seek their work permits, once they realize that Obama's Executive Order is only good for two years. They will be afraid that the government will then have their information, and if Romeny wins the election; he will immediately repeal this executive order, and deport them to their home countries! Even if Romeny says that he will not send them home, they won't believe him because of his earlier statements. Thus, Obama wins in all circumstances. With this one act of political grandeur, he has assure that he will receive the vote from every immigrant in all 50 states. And with my fellow former Tea Party folks, on the various new's programs, demanding that Obama be sued or impeached; will only strengthen Obama's position. If only our Party could be so intelligent!

    June 16, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  25. Dino

    Romney wants to make it easier for employers to identify illegal immigrants so they can hold the threat of deportation over their heads to make them work for peanuts. Romney statements are cleverly non-commital in a way that makes it sound like he wants to "assist" immigrants ,which may fool some of them to vote for him, yet his statements promise nothing. "we're going to be able to get hispanic voters" and "we're going to overcome the issue of immigration" translates to "we'll fool hispanics to vote for us and make immigration policies to tougher at the same time.

    June 16, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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