Romney camp: Immigration comments not a policy shift
June 29th, 2012
09:44 PM ET
11 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. bcrunner

    That's because he has no core values and does not stand for anything. A person who knows where he stands on issues, does not have to flip flop like he does every day.... I can't believe so many people are planning to vote for a person that cannot stand up for what he says....

    June 29, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  2. sargentpepper

    another priceless etch a sketch moment in the romney campaign

    June 29, 2012 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  3. Phil Thomas

    If your of Latin decent and you think this man is aligned with your interest, god help you. Do you think the Arizona lawsuit happens ? Latino supreme court just in office? Obama publicly supported the dream act, flipney was against it before he was for it to con your votes. Obama has done more for Latinos than African Americans, it's your vote but don't let this man get away from what he said in the primary. Teach the RNC not to play and pivot

    June 29, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  4. Harry From Pa

    More evidence of Flip-flopping, Mitt's campaign is a nightmare, it's almost like he wants people to not trust him....

    June 29, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |

    Mitt (I have nothing)McCain has done it again. Just let him talk right through November.

    June 29, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  6. otermbachmann

    Miss spoke again.

    June 29, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  7. SafeJourney

    lol; flip flop flip flop flip flop does anyone really believe anything Romney has to say

    June 29, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  8. Angel

    This guy has ZERO credibility.

    June 29, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  9. Dan

    I love how every time he says something reasonable he has to backtrack after the Tea Party whack jobs pounce. Sad, sad, sad.

    June 29, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  10. John

    Just another Flip Flop that he does so good and a lot.

    June 29, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  11. GaryOwen27

    How is it that this Yellow Stain Conservative was never "willing to stand up and defended this great nation through military service"?

    June 29, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  12. Charles

    Romney 6-29-12

    "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."

    Mitt Romney Stands Behind DREAM Act Veto Promise – January 17, 2012

    "I've indicated I would veto the DREAM Act if provisions included in that act say that people who were here illegally - if they go to school here long enough, if they get a degree here - then they can become permanent residents, I think that’s a mistake."

    June 29, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  13. A not-so-stupid former republican

    Romney doesn't know what his position is on anything. One things for sure he is for something before he is against it or he is against it before he is for it. Confusing, huh? Definately not Presidential material!

    June 29, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Who knws what romney really belives he s ridiculous

    June 29, 2012 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  15. Larry L

    Interesting that Romney puts such a premium on military service. He spent his time avoiding the draft on his "mission" living large in France. Now he's a "chicken-hawk" willing to start wars with Iran, Syria and Russia. Typical modern conservative...

    June 29, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  16. miles

    Watching the Bishop is just like playing Pac Man, you know he's going to change direcetions.

    June 29, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  17. charles

    The flipper,outsourcer,etch sketcher lier bishop don't know what he want to do. Every day he misspokes when caught lying between the teeth. Ridiculous.

    June 30, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  18. jpminnc

    So Romney temporarily pretended that he might be human and now he has to pay the price and retract it. I wonder what that says about his ability to be president. Would he try to side with humans?

    June 30, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  19. Pander Bear

    My flip flop in no way diminishes my previous flip flop.

    June 30, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  20. maxiquai

    How can you misstate your own views ? My mouth say one thing but my brain was thinking something else.

    June 30, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  21. Kanedo

    Does this guy mis-speak or does he flip flop. Too many to count. Obviously disconnected to the 99% of us.

    June 30, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  22. Reggie from LA

    Just keep patchin' him up. Mercy! Where does it stop?!! "Whatever I said yesterday is not the way I feel today...right? Somebody fix that in the media. I pay you people to take care of my [Fox pause]. Now you know firing people comes easy for me...was that...that's not what I meant to say, but won't feel the same way tomorrow. I'll say whatever you want me to say" says RMoney.

    June 30, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  23. Dick Hertz

    They better count that as a gift..He'd better not pander to hispanics. The ones that are supposed to be American should try acting like it. We don't want an anchor baby for his running mate either. He better choose Americans instead of our invaders or lose our votes. Better remember his base.

    June 30, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  24. Independent jim

    how cn anyone trust this man to lead the country ..he is truely the GOP/TP etch a sketch man ..he is perfect for Grover Norquest .who made the statement "all we need in a president is someone with 5 digits to sign the legislation we give him"

    June 30, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  25. Yanni

    I wonder how his handlers felt about this? poor Mitt he want be the POTUS but no one understand the magnitude of his ambition.

    June 30, 2012 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
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