During the presidential debate last night, former governor and Republican candidate Mitt Romney battled with President Barack Obama on Obama’s current immigration policy and any plans Mr. Romney may have for the future.
President Obama was particularly harsh on Romney regarding Romney’s professed position on
immigration. Romney had originally taken a very hardline against immigration, criticizing President Obama’s reprieves for immigrant families. During the debate last night, Romney attempted to soften his line. Yet, Romney still promised reform of current immigration laws, if Romney is elected. In fact, Romney promised swift action against immigration: “I’ll get it done. First year,” Romney said.
Romney also supported a theory of self-deportation, which involves immigration laws so harsh that aliens will voluntarily leave rather than face the punishment. Romney stated that “self-deportation says let people make their own choice. What I was saying is, we’re not going to round up 12 million people, undocumented illegals, and take them out of the nation. Instead, let people make their own choice.” Perhaps it was an unfortunate use of the word “round up,” but Romney stood his ground.
President Obama, taking the opposite side of immigration reform, stated that he supports citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Romney admitted that he does not support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
President Obama, a supporter of the DREAM Act, which promotes a pathway to citizenship for children brought into the U.S. at a young age, pointed out that Romney would veto the DREAM Act.
Romney also supported an Arizona law that required employers to use electronic federal verification to verify all of their workers. Kris Kobach, Romney’s key immigration adviser, is actually one of the authors of Arizona’s recent tough immigration laws.
How each candidate will pan out with immigrant and former alien voters will be seen soon enough.
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