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Romney on Immigration

Romney on Immigration

Mitt Romney's first entrance into U.S. politics began with a run for the senate in Massachusetts in 1994. He was then a very successful businessman who had left his job as CEO for Bain and Co., a Boston-based consulting firm, to get into the political world. Even though he lost the senate election to incumbent Senator Ted Kennedy, Romney came close to defeating him, demonstrating his ability to lead and stand firm, which he must have learned from his father George Romney who himself was a three-term governor of Michigan.

Romney campaigned as a moderate Republican in his early days. When he became the governor of Massachusetts in 2002, he took on a more conservative stance on all issues, including immigration. As governor, he rejected legislation in the state that could have provided undocumented students with in-state tuition at schools and universities. His decision to not approve it showed his lack of support for such legislation, which was similar to the DREAM Act. Romney has never approved of the DREAM Act on a federal level.

Three years after failing to receive the Republican nomination for President in 2008, Romney announced his second run at the White House. In August 2012, he accepted the nomination at the Republican National Convention.

Romney's Stance on Immigration

During his speech at the RNC, Romney said that America is a nation of immigrants, that everyone in the country is a descendant of people who wanted a better life and who woke up at night knowing America could be the answer. Immigration was largely neglected at the RNC. Immediately following his nomination, very little was said about immigration as well. His views on immigration can be understood through the following statements made while campaigning.

Sept 2011

At a GOP debate in California, Romney speaks of turning off immigration magnets. He says:

"...sanctuary cities, giving tuition breaks to the kids of illegal aliens, employers that knowingly hire people who are here illegally. Those things... have to be stopped."

December 2011

While speaking to Iowa voters, Romney says he would veto the DREAM Act if it ever passes in Congress.

January 2012

While campaigning in South Carolina, Romney asks people to support Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach in his forceful efforts to control immigration. Kobach crafted Arizona's SB-1070.

This same month at a Republican Candidates Debate in Florida, Romney says the following:

"Well, the answer is self-deportation, which is people decide they can do better by going home because they can't find work here because they don't have legal documentation to allow them to work here. And so we're not going to round people up."

February 2012

At a GOP debate in Arizona, Romney says he thinks he sees "a model" in the way the state handles immigrant attempts for employment with an E-Verify system. He continues on to say this about how he will handle immigration in the country:

"I'll also complete the fence, I'll make sure we have enough Border Patrol agents to secure the fence, and I will make sure we have an E-Verify system and require employers to check the documents of workers," he added.

April 2012

Romney campaigns in Florida with Senator Marco Rubio, who is Cuban-American and supports a revised version of the DREAM Act for Florida. Romney says he is studying the revised version but would not make any commitment to it. He stated the need for immigration reform:

"I've spoken about the need to have a [U.S.] visa system that's right-sized for the needs of our employment community. And so how we adjust our visa program to make it fit the needs of our country is something I'll be speaking about down the road."

August 2012

Romney accepts GOP nomination.

September 2012

Romney speaks at a Spanish forum at the University of Florida hosted by the U.S.'s number one Spanish-broadcasting network, Univision. He says to the moderators he will not round 12 million people up and deport them.

October 2012

While campaigning in Colorado, Romney says that Deferred Action would be valid under his administration. He says he will not revoke the benefits recipients get:

"The people who have received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid. I'm not going to take something that they've purchased."

Note: Romney mistakenly called Deferred Action a special visa. Deferred Action is just a reprieve from deportation for a period of two years.

Romney's Immigration Plan

According to Romney's campaign website, if elected, Romney plans to grow legal immigration, especially with more highly skilled immigrants. He says he wants to secure U.S. borders and discourage illegal immigration with an employment verification system that would help employers make sure they are not hiring people who do not have legal status. He claims that this will discourage illegal immigration, and that it is one of his primary concerns. He also says he wants to provide a path to citizenship to young undocumented immigrants who serve in the military. He mentions that the undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children would become permanent residents of the U.S. if they joined the military.

Information Sources:

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