Get Updates
GOP2012: Republican debate, October 11th, 2011
The Reality
Fact Check

Romney’s Radical Move to the Right on Immigration

December 11, 2011 at


On immigration, Mitt Romney’s position is the most far-right of the Republican field. Tonight, he once again highlighted his extreme plan and said, “My own view is, those 11 million should register the fact they're here in the country. They should give some transition period of time, allow them settle their affairs and then return home and get in line at the back of the line with everybody else that wants to come here.” 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 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]

  • Romney Takes A Hard Line On Immigration His Supporters Worry He Will Damage Himself With The Fastest-Growing Population Of Voters: Hispanics. “With Romney’s recent move to wield the immigration issue as a club against Rick Perry — painting him as ‘soft’ on a topic that resonates with the Republican primary electorate — the former Massachusetts governor is taking advantage of a rare opportunity to outflank Perry on the right among conservatives. After the Texas governor wounded himself with his remarks in the last debate, Romney seized on the issue of illegal immigration, trying to paint Perry as an open-border softy who is giving out freebies to people who enter the country illegally. But the tactic is not without risk, and some strategists — and even some Romney supporters — are beginning to worry that he could damage himself as a general election candidate with the fastest-growing population of voters who are up for grabs: Hispanics.” [Politico, 10/4/11]


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]


The Debate
The Republican Primary

Option 1:

Watch Bloomberg News on cable starting at 8 p.m. ET

Option 2:

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

Who We Are Our Party Our History Our Leaders In Your State
What We Stand For Civil Rights Economy & Job Creation Education Energy Independence Environment Fair Elections Health Care Immigration Reform National Security Open Government Science & Technology Retirement Security Voting Rights
People African Americans Americans with Disabilities American Jewish Community Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders Democrats Abroad Ethnic Americans Faith Hispanics LGBT Community Native Americans Rural Americans Seniors & Retirees Small Business Community Union Members & Families Veterans & Military Families Women Young People & Students
Elections Voting Rights Institute National Lawyers Council Voting Information
News Blog Press Updates Video Weekly Address open.dems
Contact About the Issues About Technical Issues About Jobs About Internships
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.