Mitt Romney on Immigration

Last Updated : Sep 14, 2012

Summary

Governor Romney has a mixed record on immigration. As Governor, he opposed and vetoed the DREAM Act, and he has been supportive of allowing police to enforce immigration law. He has also been critical of immigration plans where illegal aliens are given a preference in future immigration status and stated his opposition to amnesty.

However, when repeatedly asked if he would require illegal aliens to leave the country, Governor Romney refused to give an answer. In the past, he refered negatively to the idea that illegal aliens would be requied to leave the country and has called plans that would require illegal aliens to pay a fine and wait 6 years to receive citizenship "reasonable". He defines his immigration plan as securing the border, implementing an employer ID system, and not providing a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens beyond the normal immigration routes. His plan does not further address what to do with illegal aliens already living in the US.

Record As Governor

In 2004, Governor Romney vetoed state legislation to enact a Massachusetts DREAM Act to allow illegal aliens to attend Massachusetts schools at in-state tuition rates. This veto halted enacted of the legislation.

In 2005, Governor Romney discussed a number of immigration related items in an interview and stated that amnesty was allowing all those already present to become US citizens instantly. He stated that the plans proposed in Congress required people to register and wait for six years, not take benefits in the form of Medicaid, food stamps, and then pay a fee. He asserted that this was not amnesty and that these were reasonable plans.

2008 Presidential Election

In a 2007 interview, Governor Romney was asked about previous statements supporting a "pathway to citizenship" for illegal aliens. He clarified those statemetns by asserting that those people should go to the back of the line, that those people who are here illegally should not get any benefit by being here, and that those who have committed crimes should be taken out of the country, and those who are on welfare, require government assistance, should leave the country. When asked, Governor Romney did not agree with forcing illegal aliens to return to their home country, but did state that they should have no benefit from being here in terms of future immigration status.

In a Presidential debate in South Carolina, Governor Romney asserted that Senator McCain's plan was amnesty and that he was going to tell illegal aliens to go home and then apply for citizenship. However, in an interview with the Lakeland Ledger, he stated that those forcing illegal aliens to return home was a negotiable item. He stated that those residing in the country illegally would be allowed to apply for permanent status, but should receieve no special treatment.

At another debate, Governor Romney was again critical of Senator Romney's Z-visa plan. He stated that under this plan, almost all illegal aliens would be able to remain in the country. He stated that this was not fair to the millions of people seeking to come here illegally.

In November of 2007, Governor Romney appeared on the Glenn Beck program and discussed immigration. When asked, he stated that he would indeed allow the border fence to be built as described under law. He stated that the best way to stop the illegal immigration was to turn off the magnets of sanctuary cities, states, and employers. He stated that what we need is a method of allowing the employer to determine immigration status.

That same month, Governor Romney appeared on Meet the Press and was questioned about his support for plans that allowed almost all illegal aliens to remain within the US. In that interview, he stated that he did not endorse those plans, but merely called them reasonable. He stated that illegal aliens should be able to stay sign up for permanent residency or citizenship, but they should not be given a special pathway or special guarantee that all of them get to say here for the rest of their lives merely by virtue of having come here illegally.

Towards the end of the 2008 election, Governor Romney made several campaign ads noting his opposition to sanctuary cities and his support for border enforcement.

2012 Presidential Election

In a debate at the Reagan library, Governor Romney stated that If we want to secure the border, we have to make sure we have a fence, technologically, determining where people are, enough agents to oversee it, and turn off that magnet. We can't talk about amnesty, we cannot give amnesty to those who have come here illegally.

At the TEA Party debate, Governor Romney stated that he supported the border fence, oppose in state tuition for illegal aliens, and opposed driver's licenses as that created a patina of legality.He also stated that he sought the ability of his state police to enforce immigration laws.

Later in the contest, at the CNN debate, Governor Romney stated that the US must turn off the magnets of amnesty, in-state tuition for illegal aliens, and employers that knowingly hire people that have come here illegally. When specifically asked if his plan would allow illegal aliens to remain in the US indefinitely, Governor Romney would not answer and stated that he was still drawing those lines in his plan.

Governor Romney's 2012 plan for immigration mirrors a number of the points addressed throughout the 2008 and 2012 elections. In addition to increasing the number of visa's for highly educated immigrants, Governor Romney's plan calls for employer verification systems to end the practice of illegal hiring, turning off the magnets of benefits, and reforming the temporary visa system to allow for employers to find temporary work legally. This reform is not specified. As part of his border security plan, Governor Romney pledged to build the border fence, increase the number of guards at the border, and fix the visa system to better ensure that people cannot overstay their visa.

 

Veto of State DREAM Act

In 2004 Governor Perry vetoed a Massachusetts bill that would have granted in-state tuition to illegal aliens living in the US. Governor Perry's spokesman said the following about the veto.

 

Boston Globe Interview

On November 30, 2005 Governor Romney was interviewed by the Boston Globe and expressed his support for legislation to grant illegal immigrants amnesty after they pay a fine.

  

ABC News Interview

In February of 2007, Governor Romney was interviewed by ABC News George Stephanopoulis. When asked about immigration, Governor Romney noted that he indeed favored a path to citizenship.

 

South Carolina Debate

In May of 2007, Governor Romney participated in the South Carolina Debate. When asked about immigration, Governor Romney stated that his plan would require illegal immigrants to return home, after they start the process to become citizens.

 

Lakeland Ledger Interview

On May 25, 2007 Governor Romney was interviewed by the Lakeland Ledger and asked about the status of the roughly 12 million illegal aliens residing in the US under a Romney administration. He replied that he felt that those already illegally present should not receive special treatment in obtaining permanent resident status, but should also not be prohibited from obtaining citizenship or permanent residence status.

 

CNN New Hampshire Debate

On June 5, 2007 Governor Romney participated in the CNN Presidential debate in New Hampshire. When asked about the McCain immigration bill, he stated that he opposed it because it allowed those in the US illegally to remain within the US.

 

Town Hall

In September of 2007, Governor Romney spoke at a town hall about immigration. He stated that he opposed amnesty, that he supported an employer verification system, and that he supported an ID system for all aliens to determine whether or not they are able to work in the US.

 

New Hampshire Debate

In September of 2007 Governor Romney participated in a presidential debate in New Hampshire. He stated that he opposed sanctuary city policies and that the federal government should move to reduce funding to cities that enact such policies.

 

Glenn Beck Appearance

In November of 2007, Governor Romney appeared on the Glenn Beck program and discussed immigration. When asked, he stated that he would indeed allow the border fence to be built as described under law. He stated that the best way to stop the illegal immigration was to turn off the magnets of sanctuary cities, states, and employers. He stated that what we need is a method of allowing the employer to determine immigration status.

 

Meet the Press Appearance

In November of 2007, Governor Romney appeared on MSNBC's Meet the Press and was asked about immigration and his previous statements that he would support pathways to citizenship compared with his current statements that he opposes amnesty.

 

South Carolina Debate

On January 12, 2008 Governor Romney participated in the 2008 Presidential debate. When asked about immigration, Governor Romney stated that he did not believe that people here illegally should receive preferential treatment towards gaining citizenship.

 

California Debate

On January 30, 2008 Governor Romney participated in the Presidential debate in California. He describe during that debate his policy on having immigrants return home.

 

2008 Campaign Ads

When Governor Romney ran for President in 2008, he ran ads stating that he opposed drivers licenses for illegal aliens, would cut funds for sanctuary cities, and enforce border security.

 

Iowa Debate

In August of 2011, Governor Romney participated in the Republican debate in Ames, Iowa. He was asked about immigration for skilled laborers and comments made in 2008.

 

Reagan Debate

In September of 2011, Governor Romney participated in the Republican debate at the Reagan debate. He talks about turning off the magnet that attracts people here.

 

TEA Party Debate

In September of 2011, Governor Romney participated in the TEA party Presidential debate. He was asked about his views on immigration and spoke about ending sanctuary city policies and enforcing the law.

 

Western Debate

In October of 2011, Governor Romney participated in the Western Debate in Las Vegas. He states his opposition to amnesty and to the DREAM Act, He also responds to questions about illegal aliens working on his lawn several years ago.

 

CNN National Security Debate

On November 22, 2011 Governor Romney participated in the national security debate on CNN. He calls for ending the magnets in immigration such as the allowing illegal aliens to stay in the US and the DREAM Act.

 

Huckabee Forum

In December of 2011, Governor Romney participated in a forum hosted by Mike Huckabee. He states in that forum that he opposes the DREAM Act, licenses of illegal aliens, and the ability of the state to help with immigration if the federal government refuses to do so.

 

Reaction to Immigration Ruling

In June of 2012, Governor Romney reacted to a court ruling calling the Arizona Immigration law SB 1070 illegal by stating that states needed more room to address the issue.

 

2012 Campaign Website Statements

 

References

[1] Website: ABC News Article: Mitt Romney: The Complete Interview Author: NA Accessed on: 06/10/2011

[2] Website: MSNBC Article: ‘Meet the Press’ transcript for Dec. 16, 2007 Author: NA Accessed on: 06/18/2011

User Comments