(CNN) – Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, wouldn’t say Sunday whether he’d repeal President Barack Obama’s decision to stop deporting certain young illegal immigrants.
In an interview, Romney would say only that his administration would seek longer-term solutions to the problem of illegal immigration, and that Obama’s new directive, announced Friday, was 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.”
Pressed whether that meant he would reverse Obama’s decision, Romney said only that the directive would be rendered void by new, longer-term rules.
“It would be overtaken by events if you will, by virtue of my putting in place a long-term solution, with legislation which creates law that relates to these individuals such that they know what their setting is going to be, not just for the term of a president but on a permanent basis,” Romney said.
The GOP candidate added that he would assess whether or not to repeal Obama’s rule while new his new law was moving through the legislative process.
“My anticipation is I’d come into office and say we need to get this done, on a long-term basis, not this kind of stop-gap measure,” Romney said.
The rule change, which came during a Rose Garden announcement Friday, 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 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.
Asked by host Bob Schieffer if he made the change “for politics,” Romney said, “That's certainly a big part of the equation.”
Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe said the immigration rule change was “not a political move.”