Mitt Romney would not deport young illegal immigrants who received temporary work permits under President Obama’s June executive action, the Republican candidate told the Denver Post in an interview published late Monday.
“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. I’m not going to take something that they’ve purchased,” Romney said.
Mitt Romney had been silent on whether he would keep in place the president’s policy, which halts deportations of young illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children by their parents and instead gives them temporary work permits. It is still unclear whether Romney would continue the program. “Before those visas have expired we will have the full immigration reform plan that I’ve proposed,” Romney said Monday.
Mitt Romney repeated his commitment to an immigration reform bill to the Denver Post, but remained vague on what such legislation would entail.
Romney’s stance on immigration seems largely unchanged from a speech he made before the National Association of Latino Elected Officials in June, when he said in response to whether he will let Obama’s executive action stand, “The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the president’s temporary measure.”
Throughout the primary and into the general election, Romney has taken a hard line on immigration. In December 2011, he said he would veto the DREAM Act if it came to his desk as president. He later softened that position, saying he would stave off deportation for young illegal immigrants who serve in the military. Romney repeated just last month his commitment to an “employment verification system.”
Romney recently reiterated his commitment to solving the problem but without specifying how. “I’m not going to be rounding people up and deporting them from the country,” Romney said at a Univision forum. “I will put in an immigration reform plan that solves this issue.”
Colorado, where the first presidential will take place Wednesday, has a significant Latino population.
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.