Get Updates
GOP2012: Republican debate, January 8th, 2012
The Reality
Back
Fact Check

On Immigration, “Say Anything” Mitt Romney Tried to Reinvent his Position on the DREAM Act

January 23, 2012 at 11:22 p.m. ET

On immigration, “Say Anything” Mitt Romney tried to reinvent his position on the DREAM Act, now claiming he'd support it if it was based on military service. But just two weeks ago, Romney said he would veto the DREAM Act, which he once described as a "handout." Tonight he said he agreed with Newt Gingrich, but previously he said Gingrich’s position was “amnesty,” which he vehemently opposed. With plans like this, it’s clear Romney is continuing his race to the right and becoming one of the most extreme presidential candidates in recent American history on immigration. 

9/21/11: ROMNEY SAID HE OPPOSED THE DREAM ACT FOR STUDENTS

Romney Said He Would “Absolutely Not” Sign The Dream Act For Undocumented Students. Newsmax: “As president, would you ever sign the Dream Act, or some variation thereof?” Romney: “If by that you mean giving individuals who come here illegally tuition breaks to our institutions of higher learning, absolutely not. People in this country should recognize that citizens of this country are the ones to get breaks to go to college, not those who come into the country illegally.” [Interview, Newsmax, 9/21/11]

9/21/11: ROMNEY ATTACKED THE PRESIDENT’S SUPPORT FOR OFFERING A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP TO UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS IN THE MILITARY IN A CAMPAIGN AD

Romney Used Clips Of The President’s El Paso Speech - Offering Those Who Serve In The Military Or Pursue Higher Education An Expedited Path To Citizenship - In An Attack Ad. “The ad claims that Perry and O’Malley ‘agree’ because both have signed into law bills that offer illegal immigrants in-state tuition for higher education. But the Obama clips, which come from a speech he gave on immigration reform in El Paso, Texas, in May, don’t address in-state tuition. Those remarks are in reference to the federal DREAM Act, which wouldn’t provide in-state tuition to children of illegal immigrants; rather, it would offer those who serve in the military or pursue higher education an expedited path to citizenship. Obama may agree with Perry on in-state tuition, as the ad states, but the proof for that claim–Obama’s statements in El Paso–don’t back it up.” [San Antonio Chronicle, 9/27/11; Video]

11/22/11: ROMNEY SAID GINGRICH’S POSITION, ALLOWING A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP FOR MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY WAS “AMNESTY,” WHICH HE SAID WASN’T “THE RIGHT COURSE”

Romney Disagreed With Gingrich Saying 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, Served In The Military, Etc, To Stay In The United States.  Gingrich: “Well, I mean, two things, first of all, in the DREAM Act, the one part that I like is the one which allows people who came here with their parents to join the U.S. military, which they could have done if they were back home, and if they serve on it with the U.S. military to acquire citizenship, which is something any foreigner can do.  And I don't see any reason to punish somebody who came here at three years of age, but who wants to serve the United States of America. I specifically did not say we'd make the 11 million people legal. 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: “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. What when we have had in the past, programs that have said that if people who come here illegally are going to get to stay illegally for the rest of their life, that's going to only encourage more people to come here illegally. The right course for our immigration system is to say we welcome people who want to come here legally… And we have to finally have immigration laws that protect our border, secure the border, turn off the magnets, and make sure we have people come to this country legally to build our economy.” [CNN/Heritage/AEI Debate, 11/22/11]

12/31/11: ROMNEY SAID HE WOULD VETO THE DREAM ACT

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]

12/31/11: ROMNEY SAID HE SUPPORTED GIVING UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY A PATH TO PERMANENT RESIDENCY

Romney Supported Giving Undocumented Immigrants Who Are Members Of The Military A Path To Becoming Permanent Residents. “Romney, who has said before that he opposed the Dream Act, said tonight that he does not oppose at least one of the provisions in the Dream Act that would allow servicemen and woman to gain permanent residency. ‘I am delighted with the idea that people who come to this country and wish to serve in the military can be given a path to become permanent residents in this country,’ he explained. ‘Those who serve in our military and fulfill those requirements I respect and acknowledge that path.’” [ABC News, 12/31/11]

12/31/11: ROMNEY SAID HE OPPOSED THE DREAM ACT FOR UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS

Romney Opposed Dream Act Provisions That Provide A Pathway To Residency Through Education. “An aide said Romney opposes other portions of the Dream Act that provide a pathway to residency through education.” [Boston Globe, 12/31/11]

1/4/12: ROMNEY REFERRED TO THE DREAM ACT AS “A HANDOUT” TO WHICH HE WAS OPPOSED

When Asked About His Opposition To The DREAM Act, Romney Said That If “Hispanic-American” Voters Want “A President Who Is Going To Talk To Them About A Handout Or More Benefits For Free, They Got That Guy.” Romney: “You know, the Hispanic-American voters I speak with are overwhelmingly concerned with opportunity. They want good jobs in America and rising incomes. If they want a president who is going to talk to them about a handout or more benefits for free, they got that guy.” [Starting Point, CNN, 1/4/12]

1/16/12: ROMNEY SAID THAT HE OPPOSED “A SPECIAL ROUTE” TO CITIZENSHIP FOR UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS AND THAT HE OPPOSE PROVISIONS OF THE DREAM ACT TARGETED AT STUDENTS

Romney Suggested The DREAM Act Was “Favoritism” And “A Special Route” For Undocumented Immigrants To Become Permanent Residents Or Citizens. Romney: “Now with regards to immigration policy, I absolutely believe that those who come here illegally should not be given favoritism or a special route to becoming permanent residents or citizens that's not given to those people who have stayed in line legally. I just think we have to follow the law, I think that's the right course. … I have indicated I would veto the DREAM Act if provisions included 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. I think we have to follow the law and insist those who come here illegally, ultimately return home, apply, and get in line with everyone else.” [Fox News/Wall Street Journal SC Debate, 1/16/12]

The Debate
The Republican Primary

Option 1:

Watch on MSNBC starting at 9 a.m. ET

Option 2:

Click here to watch FoxNews' livestream
(you may need to disable your pop-up blocker)

Paid for by the Democratic National Committee -- 430 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC, 20003.
This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.