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. KeepinItReal

    Flipping and Flopping..................

    June 30, 2012 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  2. vic , nashville ,tn

    Republicans want Romney to talk more specific but when ever he talks he gets into trouble

    June 30, 2012 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  3. enuff

    It's hard to state a solid position/policy when he didn't have any to begin with...Romney the trapeze artist.

    June 30, 2012 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  4. Anthony

    It is sad that Romney's campaign knows his long-held positions better than himself. If Romney does not know his long-held positions, he should not be running for the presidency of the United States.

    June 30, 2012 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  5. manhandler1

    He doesn't even know which flip flop he's supposed to be using. Wow!

    June 30, 2012 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  6. Mike2012

    Like i sais before this guy say anything to win that election, and this is a shame man.

    June 30, 2012 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  7. vic , nashville ,tn

    Mitts Plan “Attract the Best and Brightest”
    “The United States needs to attract and retain job creators from wherever they come. Foreign-born residents with advanced degrees start companies”

    Sorry Mitt Canada, Australia, New Zealand are doing points system from 90s. Many smart immigrants and students are choosing those countries because they are getting good and free health care.

    June 30, 2012 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  8. Tony

    Because this is Romney, we need to know more. Is this a long-held position before he started running for president, or after he started running? Romney has been running for president for a long time now. He started running in late 2005 or 2006. Many of his positions have changed.

    June 30, 2012 03:49 am at 3:49 am |
  9. Winning

    I can't name a single position this tool has had that he actually sticks with. Between this idiot and Obama, I'm just not voting this election. I can't stomach either one of them. But holy crap, at least Obama at least sounds genuine, this guy can't even pull the act off.

    June 30, 2012 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
  10. rubio is a fraud

    rubio has presented no such plan. he is a fraud, too. perfect for romney, who changes his "positions" on issues every five minutes.

    June 30, 2012 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
  11. Realist

    Misspoke? Or actually told the truth? Wait... he is a Republican. He misspoke.....

    Romney should legally change his name to Flipper.....

    June 30, 2012 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  12. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Misstated??? Even an untrained right wingnut knows that is flip flopping.

    June 30, 2012 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  13. Mark

    He really has no clue what his positions are, does he? Or rather he keeps forgetting his Republican/tea party talking points given him by his handlers. How can anyone support someone who is all over the place on almost every issue, and so short on specifics?

    June 30, 2012 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  14. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens changes his positions as often as most people change their socks. If we could harness the energy from his flip flopping, we could power all the ceiling fans in south FL.

    June 30, 2012 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  15. Ann

    So alexithymic Mitt says immigrants have to take advanced math and science degrees in college? And he wants to college loans, too? Where is Mitt's heart?

    June 30, 2012 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  16. s

    He didn't miss spoke, for once he didn't read and thought for himself. FLIP FLOP as always

    June 30, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  17. Ricardo

    Romney doesn't have enough personality to be Presisent, he's a GOP puppets, he says everything he thinks they gonna like. Step up be a man

    June 30, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  18. Michael Murphy

    No wonder they don't let this guy talk to the press, he contradicts himself. He has not allowed any reporters to ask him any questions about anything, what's up with that, is this guy think the American people are going to hire or elect some one who is afraid to let his positions be known on any thing. All he does is bad mouth Obama, but at least Obama states his opinion and sticks with it

    June 30, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  19. griffbos

    so Romney has flipped around to supporting exactly what Obama does on this issue, even while crying foul with how obama did it............

    June 30, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  20. griffbos

    wait hold the press did Mitt just filp into agreement Obama? I guess the polls numbers has given Mitt a change of heart or has it been over the last three years he has matured and his position evolved into agree with obama????? the flip flop king does it again............

    June 30, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  21. Gurgyl

    I advise this idiot not to talk of immigration, just like thief is stung by scorpion....shhhhhhh!!!!!!you don't get even 100 votes if you bring 2 of these issues!!!!shhhhhhhhhhh.....

    June 30, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  22. Puddin

    It seems this guy has SEVERE memory problems. Or, could they just be "selective" memory problems????

    June 30, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  23. scott

    So let me get this straight, if you cross the North Korean border illegally, you get 12 years hard labor. If you cross the Afghanistan border illegally, you get shot. Two Americans just got eight years for crossing the Iranian border. If you cross the U.S. border illegally, you get a job, a driver's license, food stamps, a place to live, health care, housing, child benefits, and education. No wonder we're a country in debt

    June 30, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  24. Maxx

    The man just can't keep his story straight. That's what happens when you're caught in a web of lies.

    June 30, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  25. Seattle Sue

    Seams to me that Romney does a lot of misstating,quite often.

    June 30, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
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