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After President Obama Acted Boldly, Mitt Romney Ducks Questions On DREAM Policy

by Mahwish Khan on 06/17/2012 at 5:09pm

On the June 17th broadcast of “Face the Nation” on CBS News, Mitt Romney was asked three times whether as President he would accept or rescind President Obama’s executive action to protect hundreds of thousands of DREAMers.  Romney dodged the question three times (see transcript below).

The following is a statement by Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

On Friday President Obama showed what leadership looks like.  He took bold executive action, protected hundreds of thousands of talented young people who are Americans in all but paperwork and risked political capital in doing so.  He did the right thing.

Today, the leader of the Republican Party, Mitt Romney, showed what political cowardice looks like.  He refused to address the simple question of what he would do as President when the two year reprieve for Dreamers is up for renewal.  He refused to say whether he would protect them or try to deport them.  He refused to take on his nativist base or to spend political capital to reach out to Latino voters.  He did the political thing.

Going forward, the choice has been clarified.  Voters who care about immigration can support a leader who stepped up and did the right thing.  Or they can support a candidate who has vowed to veto the traditionally bipartisan DREAM Act, supports “self-deportation” for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., calls Arizona anti-immigrant laws a ‘model’ for the nation – and refuses to answer the simple question of what he would do as President when the new policy comes up for renewal.

Check out new Latino Decisions/America’s Voice polling, which demonstrates that Latino Voters in Battleground States are enthusiastic about Obama’s DREAM Announcement:

A new poll released June 17, 2012 by Latino Decisions and America’s Voice finds that Latino registered voters are very enthusiastic about President Obama’s recent announcement and action on immigration policy that will halt deportations and provide temporary work permits to some young undocumented immigrants. This new finding stands in clear contrast to the low levels of enthusiasm among Latino voters towards the previous deportation policies under the Obama administration. The joint survey between Latino Decisions and America’s Voice polled Latino registered voters in five key battleground states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Virginia, and is part of a larger survey on Latino battleground states to be released later in June.

Here’s the transcript from “Face the Nation”:

Bob Schieffer: Governor, thanks so much for joining us.

Gov. Mitt Romney: Thanks Bob.

Schieffer: We really appreciate it. I think we ought to just get right to the news.

Romney: Alright.

Schieffer: The President said Friday that the government will no longer seek to deport 800,000 of these young illegal immigrants who were brought into this country by their parents. I think you said that this is just a short-term solution to a long-term problem. But would you repeal this order if you became President?

Romney: Well, let’s step back and look at the issue. I mean first of all, we have to secure the border, we need to have an employment verification system, to make sure that those that are working here in this country are here legally. And then, with regards to these kids who were brought in by their parents through no fault of their own, there needs to be a long-term solution so they know what their status is. This is something Congress has been working on, and I thought we were about to see some proposals brought forward by Senator Marco Rubio and by Democrat Senators, but the President jumped in and said I’m going to take this action, he called it a stop-gap measure. I don’t know why he feels stop-gap measures are the right way to go.

Schieffer: But what would you do about it?

Romney: Well, as you know, he was President for the last three and a half years and did nothing on immigration. Two years he had a Democrat House and Senate, did nothing of a permanent or long-term basis. What I would do, is I’d make sure that by coming into office I would work with Congress to put in place a long-term solution for the children of those that have come here illegally and…

Schieffer: Would you…

Romney: I’ve said, for instance, that for those who serve in the military I would give permanent residence to…

Schieffer: Sure. But would you repeal this?

Romney: Well, it would be overtaken by events if you will, by virtue of my putting in place a long-term solution, with legislation which creates law that relates to these individuals such that they know what their setting is going to be, not just for the term of a President but on a permanent basis.

Schieffer: I won’t keep on about this but just to make sure I understand, would you leave this in place while you worked out a long term solution or would you just repeal it?

Romney: We’ll look at that setting as we reach that, but my anticipation is I’d come into office and say we need to get this done, on a long-term basis, not this kind of stop-gap measure. What the President did, he should have worked on this years ago, if he felt seriously about this he should have taken action when he had a Democrat House and Senate, but he didn’t. He saves these sort of things until four and a half months before the general election.

Schieffer: Well why do you think he did that?

Romney: I think the timing is pretty clear, if he really wanted to make a solution that dealt with these kids or with illegal immigration in America, than this is something he would have taken up in his first 3 and a half years, not in his last few months.

Schieffer: So he did it for politics.

Romney: Well, that’s certainly a big part of the equation.

Last January, Romney didn’t duck the question of whether he would veto the DREAM Act. He said yes immediately:

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