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GOP2012: Republican debate, January 19th, 2012
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Fact Check

Romney’s Radical Move to the Right on Immigration

January 16, 2012 at 10:44 PM

On immigration, “Say Anything” Mitt Romney has the most extreme position in the Republican field. Tonight, he again confirmed that position and said he would veto the DREAM Act -  which he once described as a "handout" - "if provisions in that act to say that people who are here illegally, if they go to school here long enough, get a degree here that they can become permanent residents. I think that's a mistake.” With plans like this, it’s clear that Romney is continuing his race to the right and taking his place as one of the most extreme presidential candidates in recent American history on immigration.

Romney Is Furthest To The Right Of The Republican Field On Immigration. “But Perry’s first major stumble in the primary race occurred when Romney attacked him from the right on the question of immigration: A generic ‘ideology score’ can’t capture the fact that, for millions of voters (especially Hispanics) who see immigration as a make-or-break issue, it is Romney, not Perry, who is furthest to the right.” [Bloomberg, 11/14/11]

New York Times Editorial: Romney Has “Lurched Toward The Extremist Right” On Immigration. “Mitt Romney, who used to try to sound like a moderate on immigration, has dropped the pretense. On Wednesday, he proudly accepted the endorsement of the anti-immigrant activist Kris Kobach, architect of the nation’s most radical immigration crackdowns, including the unconstitutional show-your-papers laws in Arizona and Alabama. Mr. Romney has flipped and flopped all over on immigration, but in allying himself with Mr. Kobach he has lurched toward the extremist right. ‘Kris has been a true leader on securing our borders and stopping the flow of illegal immigration into this country,’ Mr. Romney said.”  [Editorial, New York Times, 1/11/12]
In His Endorsement Of Romney, Kansas Secretary Of State Kris Kobach Said “We Need A President Who Will Finally Put A Stop To A Problem That Has Plagued Our Country For A Generation,” Illegal Immigration And Claimed Undocumented Workers Are “Taking Jobs” From Citizens And “Public Benefits At Taxpayer Expense.” Kobach: “We need a president who will finally put a stop to a problem that has plagued our country for a generation: millions of illegal aliens coming into the country and taking jobs from United States citizens and legal aliens, while consuming hundreds of billions of dollars in public benefits at taxpayer expense.” [Romney For President, 1/11/12]

  • KS Secretary Of State Kris Kobach: Romney Is The Only Republican Presidential Candidate Who Has “Taken A Strong Across-The-Board Position On Immigration.” “‘Mitt Romney stands apart from the others. He’s the only one who’s taken a strong across-the-board position on immigration,’ Kobach told The Hill in an interview.” [The Hill, 1/13/12]
  • KS Secretary Of State Kris Kobach: “All Of The Other Candidates Stand To The Left Of Romney On Immigration.” “‘All of the other candidates stand to the left of Romney on immigration,’ Kobach said. ‘This is an issue that people with weak backbones sometimes have trouble taking a position on, and Mitt Romney has shown some real backbone on this issue.’” [The Hill, 1/13/12]

When Asked If He Would Veto The DREAM Act, Romney Said, “The Answer Is Yes.” “‘The question is if I were elected and Congress were to pass the Dream Act, would I veto it and the answer is yes,’ Romney said.” [Reuters, 12/31/11; Le Mars, IA Meet & Greet, 12/31/11]
Romney: Illegal Immigrants “Might Have A Transition Time To Allow Them To Set Their Affairs In Order And Then Go Back Home And Get In Line With Everyone Else. They Start At The Back Of The Line.”  “That’s the principle. And those that have come here illegally, they might have a transition time to allow them to set their affairs in order and then go back home and get in line with everybody else. And if they get in line and they apply to become a citizen or a green card they’ll be treated like everybody else. They start at the back of the line not at the front of the line. I just think we’re not going to go around the country rounding people up. That’s just too big of a task. There are what, eleven, twelve, fifteen million, who knows the total number. But what we are going to do is we’re going to give people a chance to transition- to be able to go home, to get in line, and then to ultimately if they would like to get a green card and enter this country legally. That in my view is the course that we’re going to have to take.” [Romney Town Hall, Cedar Rapids IA, 12/9/11]
Romney Said It Was “Amnesty” And A “Magnet” To Allow Undocumented Immigrants Who Have Been In The United States For Years, Have Abided The Law, Put Down Roots, Belong To A Church, Etc, To Stay In The United States. GINGRICH:  “I do suggest if you go back to your district, and you find people who have been here 25 years and have two generations of family and have been paying taxes and are in a local church, as somebody who believes strongly in family, you’ll have a hard time explaining why that particular subset is being broken up and forced to leave, given the fact that they’ve been law-abiding citizens for 25 years.” …BLITZER: Let’s broaden it out. Governor Romney, where do you stand? Are you with the speaker, that some of those illegal immigrants — I think — he didn’t say all — some of them, if they have roots, they belong to a church, for example, should be allowed to stay in this country?” Romney: “Look, amnesty is a magnet.”  …BLITZER: “Just to precise, and I’ll give Speaker Gingrich a chance to respond. Are you saying that what he’s proposing, giving amnesty in effect, or allowing some of these illegal immigrants to stay, is a magnet that would entice others to come to this country illegally?” ROMNEY: There’s no question. But to say that we’re going to say to the people who have come here illegally that now you’re all going to get to stay or some large number are going to get to stay and become permanent residents of the United States, that will only encourage more people to do the same thing.” [CNN/Heritage/AEI Debate, 11/22/11]

  • Romney Said Of Gingrich: “He's indicated That For People Who Have Been Here A Certain Length Of Time We Should Let Them Stay In The Country With A Form Of Amnesty. I Think That Is A Mistake.” [American News Room, Fox, 12/7/11]
  • Romney: “We Just Make A Mistake As A Republican Party Trying To Describe Which People Who Have Come Here Illegally Should Be Given Amnesty To Be Able To Jump Ahead Of The Line Of The People Who Have Been Waiting In Line.” “I know that there is going to be great interest in finding out how far we can apply amnesty. And I think that we just make a mistake as a Republican Party trying to describe which people who have come here illegally should be given amnesty to be able to jump ahead of the line of the people   who have been waiting in line. My view is that those people who have waited in line patiently to come to this country legally should be ahead of the line. And those who have come here illegally should not be given a special deal or a special accelerated right to become a permanent resident or citizen.” [Romney Press Q&A At Nationwide Insurance Meet & Greet, 11/23/11]
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