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BRIDGE BRIEF: Romney On The DREAM Act

Romney Opposed DREAM Act

Romney Said He Would Veto “The DREAM Act.”  According to the Des Moines Register, “Romney said he would veto the ‘Dream Act’ if Congress passed it. The controversial proposal would open paths to legal residency for illegal immigrants who were brought into the country as children, stayed out of trouble and entered college or served in the military.” [Des Moines Register, 12/31/11]

Romney Promised To Veto The DREAM Act. According to Huffington Post, “Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney doubled down on Monday on his opposition to the DREAM Act, a bill that would aid undocumented young people and that is heavily supported by the Latino community. ‘I’ve indicated I would veto the DREAM Act if provisions included in that act say that people who were here illegally — if they go to school here long enough, if they get a degree here — then they can become permanent residents,’ he said during a GOP debate in South Carolina, in response to a question about how his immigration views would play with Latino voters. ‘I think that’s a mistake.’ Romney previously said he would veto the bill to provide legal status to some undocumented immigrants as long as they came to the U.S. as children, kept a clean criminal record and either attended college or joined the military.” [Huffington Post, 1/16/12]

Romney Adviser Kris Kobach Said He Did Not Think Romney Would Support Any Version Of The DREAM Act. According to the Washington Post, “[Kansas Secretary Of State Kris Kobach] stated flatly that he didn’t think Republicans — or Romney — should, or would, support any version of the DREAM Act that provides undocumented immigrants with any kind of path to legal status. If Romney sticks to this — and Kobach said he would — there’s very little room for him to moderate his approach to immigration. In addition to advising Romney on immigration, Kobach is a national GOP voice on the issue, suggesting the right would not permit any move of this kind. ‘I’d absolutely reject any proposal that would give a path to legal status for illegal aliens en masse,’ Kobach said. ‘That is what amnesty is. I do not expect [Romney] to propose or embrace amnesty.’” [The Plum Line, Washington Post, 04/18/12]

Romney Was Confronted By An Undocumented Student Over His Opposition To The DREAM Act. According to The Hill, Romney “faced a trying moment outside a fundraiser on Tuesday when an illegal immigrant demanded to know why he wouldn’t support the DREAM Act. […]Asked by a dark-haired girl who identified herself as an undocumented immigrant whether he would support the DREAM Act, Romney said he had already said publicly that he would veto it. ‘Why aren’t you supporting my dream?’ she asked. ‘Because if someone comes here illegally,’ he started to say, before the girl cut him off and asserted that she hadn’t come to the country illegally and informed him of her 4.0 grade point average. ‘That’s wonderful,’ Romney said as the exchange broke down into crosstalk. The former Massachusetts governor was then ushered away by aides.” [The Hill, 1/18/12]

Romney Supported Allowing Illegal Immigrants Serving In The Military To Work Toward Citizenship But Rejected Other DREAM Act Provisions. According to the Des Moines Register, “Romney said he would support allowing illegal immigrants who served in the military to work toward citizenship, but he rejects the rest of the act. He also reiterated that he disagrees with providing in-state college tuition rates to illegal immigrants. ‘If I’m the president of the United States, I want to end illegal immigration so that we can protect legal immigration.’” [Des Moines Register, 12/31/11]

Romney Hispanic Surrogates Supported The DREAM Act

Members Of Romney’s Hispanic Steering Committee Were Supporters Of The DREAM Act, Which Romney Opposed. According to the Boston Globe, “Mitt Romney’s newly unveiled Hispanic Steering Committee includes a cosponsor and at least five other supporters of the Development, Relief and Education for Minors (DREAM) Act, the proposed legislation that would pave the way to citizenship for some illegal immigrant youths, which Romney opposes. One member of the committee’s National Advisory Board is former Florida Senator Mel Martinez, who cosponsored the 2009 version of the DREAM Act. Romney’s new committee is led by three chairmen, including former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, who said in 2010 that it would be a “shame” for Congress not to pass the bill during that year’s lame-duck session. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, an advisory board member, has dubbed the DREAM Act ‘a fair policy.’ […]Romney has said he would veto the DREAM Act if it were to pass when he was president but has not explained his opposition at length.” [Boston Globe, 6/6/12]

DREAM Act Criticism of Romney

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Priorities USA Released An Ad Calling Romney “Two-Faced” For His Immigration Stance. According to the Huffington Post, “…The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and a major Democratic super PAC are attacking the Republican presidential candidate in a Spanish-language radio ad entitled ‘Las Dos Caras de Mitt Romney,’ or ‘The Two Faces of Mitt Romney.’ ‘Mitt Romney has no shame,’ the ad says in Spanish. ‘He shows one face to the Hispanic community and another completely different one to everyone else.’ The six-figure ad buy, made jointly by the service workers’ union and the super PAC, Priorities USA Action, will be released Tuesday (January 24 2012) and will air in Tampa and Orlando. ‘He said in Spanish that he believes in us, and then he said in English that he will veto the Dream Act and wants immigrants to leave the country,’ SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina said when of the ad on a call with reporters. ‘Romney and other Republicans seem to forget that Latinos speak English too and we know what they say about us.’” [SEIU, AdHuffington Post, 1/24/12]

The Ad Highlighted Romney’s Endorsement From Immigration Hardliner Kris Kobach And Criticized Romney’s Opposition To The DREAM Act. According to the Huffington Post, “In particular, the ad points to Romney’s endorsement from Kris Kobach, the current Kansas Secretary of State and immigration hardliner, who helped draw up some of the nation’s strictest immigration laws. Kobach endorsed Romney earlier this month and advised his campaign in 2008. The ad also criticizes the former Massachusetts governor for not supporting the Dream Act, which would allow undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children to stay in the country under certain conditions. […]’If you want to know his position, take a look at where he’s standing and who he’s talking to,’ Paul Begala, senior adviser for Priorities USA, said on the conference call.” [SEIU, AdHuffington Post, 1/24/12]

Hispanic Voters: Romney Missteps Included Vowing To Veto DREAM Act, Embracing Kris Kobach And Criticizing Justice Sotomayor. According to Politico, “Romney, Hispanics in both parties argue, could have projected a tough image on immigration without alienating a large majority of Latino voters. They identify three Romney missteps: vowing to veto the DREAM Act if it passes; embracing Kobach’s views so enthusiastically; and taking a swipe at Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina justice and a heroine to Hispanics, in a recent ad against Rick Santorum.” [Politico, 3/14/12]

Hispanic Romney Supporters Disagreed With Romney’s Positions On Immigration Reform. According to Politico, “And a handful of Romney’s own Hispanic supporters, who have always assumed the candidate would tack back to the center after securing the nomination, have expressed similar concerns to top Romney aides, according to a person close to the situation. In fact, few of the highest-profile Latinos who back Romney support entirely — or even mostly — his stated preferences on immigration. Romney Hispanic steering committee co-chairwoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) not only supports the DREAM Act — which would offer a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrant college students and service members — but also opposes Romney’s call for a border fence. Honorary co-chairman Mel Martinez, a former GOP senator from Florida, co-sponsored the DREAM Act and was a top proponent of a comprehensive immigration overhaul. Yet another co-chairman, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), told Yahoo News that Romney’s praise for ‘self-deportation’ in a debate was merely a ‘bad choice of words’ comparable to Obama’s infamous ‘57 states’ gaffe in 2008.” [Politico, 3/14/12]

Hispanic Activists Staged Protest On Romney’s Opposition To The DREAM Act. According to Reuters, “Campaigning in Iowa late [2011], Mitt Romney said he would veto a proposal granting U.S. citizenship to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children. While turning his back on the so-called Dream Act won him support from grassroots conservatives in the Midwest, it brought out Hispanic activists in protest against him ahead of the debate on Wednesday (Feb. 22). ‘I just want a president who is going to be good for my community, for people who have a dream and want an education,’ said Carla Uiquidi, one of a dozen or so protesters in the street opposite the Mesa Arts Center toting placards that read ‘Veto Romney Not the Dream Act.’” [Reuters, 2/22/12]

Sen. Rubio’s DREAM Act Alternative

Romney Said He Would “Study And Consider” Sen. Marco Rubio’s DREAM Act Alternative That Would Allow Young Illegal Immigrants, Who Enrolled In College Or Joined The Military, To Stay In The U.S. According to the Boston Globe, “Mitt Romney’s campaign said Wednesday that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee will ‘study and consider’ the immigration bill outlined by Florida Senator Marco Rubio but stopped short of offering an endorsement. Rubio, a rising GOP star rumored to be a possible running mate for Romney, said Tuesday that he is putting together a conservative alternative to the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. That bill, supported by Democrats and popular among Latinos, would facilitate citizenship for illegal immigrant youths who enroll in college or enlist in the military. The plan by Rubio, the son of Cuban exiles, would allow these young illegal immigrants to stay in the United States but would deny them citizenship.” [Boston Globe, 4/19/12]

Romney Immigration Adviser Kris Kobach Said If Sen. Rubio’s DREAM Act Alternative Gave Lawful Status To “Illegal Aliens” It Was Unacceptable. According to the Washington Post, “…Kobach drew a sharp line, claiming that any path to even legal status is unacceptable, and said Romney wouldn’t cross it. ‘I haven’t seen the details of Senator Rubio’s plan, but if it involves the giving of lawful status to illegal aliens en masse then it is unacceptable,’ Kobach said. He also said: ‘A path to legal status for someone who is here illegally is amnesty by definition. It gives the alien what he has stolen.’ Asked if he thought Romney might embrace such an approach, Kobach said: ‘I don’t think so…I expect him to hold firm on his opposition to amnesty.’” [Washington Post, 4/18/12]