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Mitt Romney On Immigration

Romney Flip-Flopped On Whether Undocumented Immigrants Should Be Allowed To Stay Permanently

2008: Romney Said Undocumented Immigrants Should Not Be Allowed To Stay Permanently. At a debate, Romney stated, “I disagree fundamentally that the 12 million people who come here illegally, should be allowed to stay here permanently. I think that is a form of amnesty and that it’s not appropriate.” [NH ABC Debate, 1/5/08]

2006: Romney Said “I Don’t Believe In Rounding Up 11 Million People And Forcing Them At Gunpoint From Our Country.” According to the Lowell Sun, “Romney expressed support for an immigration program that places large numbers of illegal residents on the path toward citizenship, but criticized any form of “amnesty.” Romney said, ‘I don’t believe in amnesty.’ But at the same time, Romney said illegal immigrants should have a chance to obtain citizenship. ‘I don’t believe in rounding up 11 million people and forcing them at gunpoint from our country,’ Romney said. ‘With these 11 million people, let’s have them registered, know who they are. Those who’ve been arrested or convicted of crimes shouldn’t be here; those that are here paying taxes and not taking government benefits should begin a process towards application for citizenship, as they would from their home country.’” [Lowell Sun, 3/30/06]

2006: Romney Said Undocumented Immigrants Should Not Be Rounded Up And Deported. According to the Associated Press, Romney “…said it should be harder for illegal immigrants to get into the United States but added that those who are here should not be rounded up and deported.” Romney “said U.S. borders should be made more secure to keep illegal immigrants from entering. He also said he opposed an amnesty program that would automatically grant citizenship to the illegal immigrants already in this country. ‘I think that route is not acceptable at this stage,’ he said. ‘We should report illegal behavior.’ Instead, Romney said, illegal immigrants should be identified and required to apply for green cards, which would allow them to live and work in the United States. Those whose applications are accepted could stay, the rest would be returned to their native countries.” [Associated Press, 4/11/06]


Romney Flip Flopped On Guest Worker Programs

In August, 2011 Romney Said He Favored “Right Size” Temporary Visas To “Meet The Needs Of America’s Employment Requirements.” When answering a question regarding his stance on immigration at a press availability in Claremont, New Hampshire, Romney stated, “The experience I have in meeting with Latino voters and leaders in the Latino and business community is that people welcome certainty and the rule of law. And I have thanks been a long advocate of legal immigration. And I believe we have a visa program, a series of visa programs that are designed to meet the needs of employers. We had in my state for instance; visas that allowed people to come in for summer work in the hospitality industry on Cape Cod. These visas make sense and we should have visa programs that are right size to meet the needs of our employment community. At the same time, we should have the rule of law in the way we enforce our border and the way that we insist employers that hire people who they know are here illegally should face sanctions for doing so. I like legal immigration. I like people coming here from other nations and other cultures. It helps our economy, it helps our nation. We are a nation of immigrants. But I don’t think it makes sense to say that we are not going to have secure borders and that some people who come over the border illegally or overstay their visas illegally will have an advantage relative to those who are staying in line legally. So I want our immigration system to welcome those who want to get in line and our visa programs and our employment programs should be designed in such a way that meet the needs of America’s employment requirements and at the same time show the fact that we respect and admire people who are immigrants who want to come to this country following the law.” [Romney Claremont, NH Press Availably, 8/24/11]

Romney Said Additional Visas Should Be Provided To Immigrant Laborers During Labor Shortages. According to the Associated Press, “Campaigning in northern Michigan, where many employers have struggled to fill jobs in hotels and restaurants during the summer tourist rush, Romney said more temporary workers should be allowed where there are labor shortages. ‘The answer to that is simple, which is issue more visas,’ Romney told reporters. ‘If our employment sector needs additional immigrant laborers, then issue the visas necessary to provide that work force.’” [Associated Press, 10/13/07]

But Previously, Romney Opposed Temporary Guest Worker Programs, And Attacked McCain For His Support Of A Guest Worker Program

Romney Opposed Temporary Guest Worker Program. According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, “Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney opposes a temporary guest worker program… And many of the candidates want even stiffer sanctions. All are quick to declare their opposition to amnesty, which they see as giving illegal immigrants an easier route to citizenship than those who did not cross the border illegally.” [Sarasota Herald-Tribue, 12/9/07]

In 2008, Romney Sent A Campaign Mail Piece Attacking John McCain For His Support Of A Guest Worker Program. In a Romney mail piece titled “Romney_Mitt_DefineAmerica:Layout 1, 11/16/07 posted by ABC News, the Romney campaign highlighted McCain’s support of a guest worker program in contrast with Mitt Romney’s immigration positions. [Romney_Mitt_DefineAmerica 11/16/07, viewed 829/11]

Romney Ran Ads Against McCain For Supporting An Immigration Reform That Included a Guest Worker Program And Legal Paths To Citizenship. The Phoenix Business Journal reported, “Romney is running ads in New Hampshire faulting McCain for supporting business-backed immigration reforms, including a guest worker program and legal path to citizenship. The Romney ad said McCain’s position amounts to amnesty for illegals and could allow them to get Social Security benefits.” [Phoenix Business Journal, 1/2/08]