Romney tried to do a soft pivot by tossing an immigration bone today, saying he wouldn’t take away the temporary work permits issued by Obama for DREAMers, but he failed to give specifics about his own immigration plan. The Obama campaign hit back, reminding voters that Romney failed to say if he would continue the President’s policy or even give any specifics regarding his own immigration policy.
Director of Hispanic Press Gabriela Domenzain for Obama for America issued a statement, “Romney’s latest immigration pivot raises more questions than it answers. He still has not said whether he would continue the Administration’s policy that provides a temporary reprieve from deportation for young people who were brought here through no fault of their own. Would he side with his extreme anti-immigration advisors and repeal this measure? What would he do with those who qualify for deferred action but haven’t received it? Would he deport those who have received a deferment when the program expires after two years? We know he called the DREAM Act a ‘handout’ and that he promised to veto it — nothing he has said since contradicts this and we should continue to take him at his word.”
Romney, who has advocated for a “self-deportation” policy, told the Denver Post he would not take away temporary work permits issued under Obama’s executive order deferred action policy. He said, “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. Before those visas have expired we will have the full immigration reform plan that I’ve proposed.”
Romney hit the President for not passing immigration reform, saying he would get it done in his first year, but in reality the DREAM Act was blocked by Senate Republicans two years ago and bipartisan immigration reform has struggled each time it’s been proposed. Only Congress can pass the DREAM Act. It can’t be done from the executive office, which is why Obama issued an executive order to institute the deferred action policy.
Romney vowed to veto the DREAM Act himself during the Republican primaries, and called it a handout. His ugly anti-immigrant rhetoric during the primaries led to his bizarre plan to get 11 million undocumented immigrants to self deport. During a primary fight, Governor Perry was defending in-state tuition to children of illegal immigrants, which Romney called “unsustainable”. The next day, Romney told the Conservative Political Action Committee in Orlando, “My friend Gov. Perry said if you don’t agree with his position on giving that in-state tuition to illegals, that you don’t have a heart. I think if you’re opposed to illegal immigration, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a heart. It means that you have a heart and a brain.”
Romney is obviously trying to widen the very narrow Republican tent with an immigration bone right before the first debate, but once again he fails to provide specifics or approach the problem with any semblance of seriousness. And then there’s the problem of all of his previous rhetoric; it’s a bit disingenuous of him to think that he can literally etch-a-sketch his way out of the not-so-distant past.
Romney refuses to say whether or not he would continue the President’s policy, and if all he is giving voters is his word that he won’t take back their work permits, they might want to file that promise in the etch-a-sketch it came in.