Photo: Romney Claims He Won't Deport Undocumented Youth With Work Permits
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney promised not to deport undocumented youths who have benefited from the Obama administration’s Deferred Action program, and said he will enact immigration reform before their two-year reprieve expires.
“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,” Romney said in an interview with The Denver Post.
On August 15 the White House launched a temporary reprieve that allows undocumented young people who came here as minors with their families and have lived in the country uninterruptedly since June 15, 2007, to be protected from deportation for two years and obtain a temporary work permit.
“I’m not going to take something that they’ve purchased,” Romney said of the Deferred Action recipients, alluding to the application fee.
“Before those visas have expired we will have the full immigration reform plan that I’ve proposed,” the former Massachusetts governor said.
During the GOP primaries, Romney defended the voluntary return of the undocumented to their countries of origin, a concept known as “self-deportation.”
“I actually will propose a piece of legislation which will reform our immigration system to improve legal immigration so people don’t have to hire lawyers to figure out how to get here legally,” the candidate said in the interview.
President Barack Obama “promised in his first year, his highest priority, that he would reform immigration and he didn’t,” Romney said.
“And I will,” he told the Post, the largest newspaper in Colorado, a swing state where Hispanics are expected to play a key role in the Nov. 6 election.
The Democratic campaign questioned Tuesday the Romney proposal, recalling that the Republican once “promised to veto” the DREAM Act, the long-stalled bill to legalize the status of undocumented youths.
At less than 36 hours before the first debate between the two presidential candidates, to be held at the University of Denver, Romney predicted that the face-off will provide “the opportunity to describe our pathway forward for America” and in his case, the chance to correct Democratic “distortions” of his views.
“I look forward to the debate so people will understand what I actually believe,” the Republican said.