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Mitt Romney Has a Plan for Immigration Reform. But It’s a Secret For Now.

by Mahwish Khan on 12/09/2011 at 11:20am

Mitt RomneyMitt Romney has taken a hard-line position on immigration reform of late. But apparently, he’s got a top secret plan to deal with the issue. That information was revealed this week when Romney was interviewed by the Editorial Board of the Washington Examiner. First, Romney offered another muddled explanation of his views on immigration:

What I support is focusing on securing the border and when we secure the border and have convinced the American people that we do not have a flow of illegal aliens coming into the country, then we can address what we’re going to do with the 11 or 15 million that are here. I don’t think that there is a call for rounding people up and taking them out of the country. I don’t think that that’s the process that’s necessary to maintain our system.  I don’t want to, however, during this process, say anything that encourages another wave of illegal immigration.

Huh?

But then Romney dropped the news about his new plan:

I listened to Lindsey Graham the other day and he said, “secure the border, stop the flow of illegal aliens into the country, and then we can address the issue of what to do with the people who are here illegally today.”  I do have my own thoughts on that. I actually have a plan in mind, I haven’t unveiled it. There are other people I’d like to sit down with and review it with me. 

There are only four weeks until the Iowa caucuses. This debate affords an opportunity for Romney to explain his immigration plans and whether he supports mass deportation. Romney has repeatedly attacked Gingrich and Rick Perry for their stances on immigration issues. 

We’d really like to know more about that secret plan. No surprise — so would Newt Gingrich:

Gingrich did call on Romney to release specific proposals in two areas: Medicare and immigration. Romney recently told the editorial board of the Washington Examiner that he has a “plan in mind” on illegal immigration.

“I mean, it would be nice – he has a semi-secret plan on Medicare, he has a secret plan on immigration. It would be nice for him to reveal them before the election,” Gingrich said.

As we’ve reported this weekseveral new polls show that likely Republican caucus-goers in Iowa are less uniformly hard-line and less animated by the issue of undocumented immigration than conventional wisdom would suggest – just like Republicans throughout the nation.  See, for example, Washington Post-ABC News poll, Public Policy Polling (PPP) and polling conducted for the Partnership for a New American Economy by Iowa-based pollsters Selzer & Co.

Maybe Mitt is pivoting back to his former support for actual reform. Given the way this GOP presidential process is playing out, nothing would surprise us.

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