Mitt Romney says President Obama’s immigration order was politically motivated but does not say he would repeal it
Mitt Romney said Sunday that President Obama’s executive order on immigration was politically motivated but stopped short of saying whether he would repeal it, if elected.
“We’ll look at that setting as we reach that,” Romney said in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” “but 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. What the president did -- he should have worked on this years ago. If he felt seriously about this, he should have taken action when he had a Democrat House and Senate. But he didn’t. He saves these things for four-and-a-half months before the general election.”
Obama ordered the Department of Homeland Security Friday to cease the deportation of illegal immigrants who entered the US before age 16, have lived here for at least five years and are enrolled in high school, hold high school diplomas or are military veterans in good standing. These immigrants also must be younger than 30 and have clean criminal records.
The parameters contained in Obama’s executive order are similar to the eligibility requirements in the DREAM Act, which would put many young illegal immigrants on a pathway to citizenship.
The president’s order does not go that far, but Republicans have nevertheless accused him of over-extending his authority by telling Homeland Security to selectively enforce immigration laws. Raise Your Voice Click to contact candidates or elected officials about this issue.
On ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, White House senior adviser David Plouffe defended Obama against such charges. “Our attorneys, the Homeland Security attorneys, are absolutely confident this is within our authority, to use some discretion,” Plouffe said.
“We’ve tried as hard as we can to pass both the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform,” Plouffe added. “Congress has refused. Now this is not a permanent solution. This simply gives the Homeland Security and our law enforcement officials the opportunity to enforce the law with some discretion and allows these young people who came here -- many times early in their life -- who want to serve in our military and work in our businesses and study in our colleges, the ability to apply for a two-year period for work authorization.”
Romney disputed the Obama administration’s claim that it has given immigration reform its best effort.
“He was president for the last three-and-a-half years, did nothing on immigration,” Romney said. “Two years he had a Democrat House and Senate, did nothing on a permanent or long-term basis. What I would do is 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 who have come here illegally.”
Pressed by interviewer Bob Schieffer to state whether he would leave Obama’s order in place while working on a long-term solution, Romney repeatedly deflected.Callum Borchers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.