Romney camp: Immigration comments not a policy shift
June 29th, 2012
09:44 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney camp: Immigration comments not a policy shift

(CNN) - Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign said he misstated his views on immigration in an interview published Friday, when he appeared to suggest that higher education and military service were pathways to legal status in the U.S. for young illegal immigrants.

As recently as last week at a conference of Latino elected officials, Romney has named military service, but not education, as a pathway.

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"As president I will stand for a path to legal status for anyone who is willing to stand up and defend this great nation through military service," he said at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials conference last Thursday.

In the interview published Friday with the conservative publication and website Newsmax, Romney appeared to go further, either suggesting that higher education should accompany military service or be an alternative to military service for young people seeking legal status.

"For those that are here as the children of those that came here illegally, I want to make sure they have a permanent answer to what their status will be," he said. "And I've indicated in my view that those who serve in the military and have advanced degrees would certainly qualify for that kind of permanence."

Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement following publication of the interview that Romney "simply misspoke in this interview."

"The Governor was referring to his long-held position that young illegal immigrants brought here as children who serve in the military should be able to obtain legal permanent residence and that we should staple a green card to the diploma of every eligible student visa holder who graduates from one of our universities with an advanced degree in math, science, or engineering," Williams said.

At the NALEO conference - and before it on the campaign trail - Romney has said that as president he would "update our temporary worker visa program" and "staple a green card to the diploma of someone who gets an advanced degree in America."

But he has not said if those would apply to young illegal immigrants who have graduated, are enrolled, or are seeking admission to higher education.

Nor has he said if he would repeal an Obama Administration directive that would defer the deportation of some young illegal immigrants who were or are successful students, as well as those who served or are serving in the military, have no criminal record, and pose no threat.

Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida who Romney said he is vetting as a possible running mate, has supported a Republican alternative to the DREAM Act which would create a legal pathway for those who serve in the military or pursue higher education.

But Rubio, Romney, and many other Republicans are opposed to the DREAM Act, a measure supported by many Democrats which would include a pathway to citizenship.

A senior adviser to Romney's campaign said that Romney would consider all Obama Administration executive actions "subject to review and repeal."

Rather, Romney has said that he favors broader immigration reform, rather than the president's limited order.

"If I'm president I will reform immigration with an idea of making immigration more transparent, helping reunite families, assuring that we have a large and ample supply of workers that are needed in agriculture and other temporary assignments," he said in the Newsmax interview.

Also see:

Obama campaign to opponents: Move past health care fight

Fund-raising flurry after Supreme Court ruling

Romney reacts to health care ruling, renews repeal pledge

Obama: Supreme Court decision is a 'victory'

Filed under: 2012 • Immigration • Mitt Romney
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Ken

    When referring to immigration reform, Romney and the Republicans do not intend to bestow legal status on any immigrant from our southern border. They are only referring to those immigrants from India, China, or any European nation.

    June 30, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  2. judy

    again romney talks a lot but says nothing. No shift in his policy. If you believe this guy then you deserv him. Flip flop as usual. Go team Obama 2012 Forward

    June 30, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  3. Teena

    How the hel can this man continue to misstated his viewpoint- he either has one or he doesn't! So, exactly what is his view on immigration?

    June 30, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  4. Ray E. (Georgia)

    I am not sure what Romney or any one else is postering for these illegals but if they are not happy with the pecking order they find themselves in they can find the way back to their own country. For those who were brought here as children those who are trying the help them you should help them to return to their own country and prepare to go thru the process to become a U.S Citizen. It will probably take some money. The American Citizen won't give Amnstey. There is already a process in place to become a citizen. I understand there are about 8 million in line now.

    June 30, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  5. American

    Romney is against it, before he was for it, when he was against it originally, before being for it to be against...

    So confusing when Romney flip-flops so much. No wonder he "misspoke." How can he keep up when Romney promised to veto the DREAM Act?

    June 30, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  6. Joe

    There he goes agian! You never REALLY know where he stands on the issues. Either her is obscuring what he stands for, or he just says what he thinks will appeal to enough people to get him elected. He wavers too much to be trusted to run the most powerful country and the leader of the free world. He is not STEADY.

    June 30, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  7. 1twinsfan

    It must be so hard for Mitt to remember which way he's supposed to flip. "Now, what was I for yesterday? Well, today, I think the opposite." I am not for illegal immigration (hey, who is?) but this can be a win-win for the US and the young adults of getting some sort of legal residency and the US getting some sort of service in return.

    June 30, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  8. Karl Jonas

    How can you misstate your own views? That is unless you don't have any views of your own.

    June 30, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  9. Curt

    Seems to me Mitt misspeaks alot. He changes his stance on issues according to what crowd he is pandering to. God help America if he gets elected to be President.

    June 30, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  10. Mike

    Romney is the republican party's version of Jihn Kerry. When he walks all you hear is "flip-flop, flip-flop".

    June 30, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  11. Frank

    Ah, he "simply misspoke" again. Amazing. One should read his statements when he passed Romneycare in MA, about how only taxing those who would not participate was necessary to make it work (and it does, by the way)...

    June 30, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  12. Sorensen

    How can he shift if he has no policy?

    June 30, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  13. Tom

    Mitt will say absolutely anything, depending upon his audience, to get elected. Conservatives distrust him and Democrats don't like him-another election based on the lesser of two evils. Obama wins only because Romney is an even worse choice-but that's what happens when you have no convictions until you check with your advisers.

    June 30, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  14. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Does that include Romney's five(5) sons?

    June 30, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  15. Thomas

    Romney ,
    I like Mexicans when there all the same size !

    June 30, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Romney, can you explain to the American people why NONE of your SIX SONS in the MILITARY, I guest you with all your Money can buy yourself out, but putting our boys & girls in hams way is the good thing for you and your wife, you are a disgrace to us all who have our boys & girls fighting to keep us safe while you and you Wall Street cronies are ripping off the poor. Shame on you Romney you will never be President. " OUR PRESIDENT OBAMA 2012"

    June 30, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  17. lyn

    Romney, can you tell the American people why None of your SIX SONS in the military, I guest that you with all your money can buy yourselves out, but it is ok for you to send our boys & girls in hams way, Romney you and your wife is a disgrace to the American people who have their boys & girls fighting to keep us safe not knowing if we will ever see them again.All I have to say to you Romney you will never be President. " Our President Obama 2012"

    June 30, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  18. tim

    here we go again with mitt's double-talk

    June 30, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  19. Tell the truth

    dude always claim to be taken out of context.. he is never wrong, just no conviction, no integrity, no core..

    June 30, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  20. Logic N LA

    This is the law Obama just signed in. The man will say anythingto get elected and pander.
    He did not misspoke, he just lied – either now or in the past. You pick which occasion.

    June 30, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. Marla

    Yet another Romney flip-flop. This guy can never stand by anything that he says for long.
    It's no wonder that the young people who are affected by the President's decision are waiting until after the election to declare themselves. I would be afraid of Romney if I were them, too.
    I hope that every Hispanic person who is eligible to vote is listening. I'm sure that many of them grew up with cousins, friends, etc. who were brought here illegally as babies or small children. Think about them and vote!
    OBAMA and all Democrats 2012!

    June 30, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
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