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ICYMI: Romney Clarifies Immigration Comments, Vows to End Relief for Vast Majority of Eligible DREAMers

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In Boston Globe Follow-up Interview, Romney Camp Clarifies DREAMer Position & Continues to Fly Immigration Hardliner Flag  

A number of media outlets yesterday highlighted Mitt Romney’s comments to the Denver Post regarding his plans for applicants to the DREAMer deferred action program.  Many observers interpreted the Romney comments to be evidence that the candidate was softening his hardline immigration stance in an attempt to appeal to Latino voters.

However, in follow-up comments that have yet to receive significant notice, the Romney campaign clarified important policy details about Romney’s DREAMer plans – and it is not good news.  In an interview with the Boston Globe, the Romney campaign made it clear that a President Romney would actually shut down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as soon as he was inauguratedThis means that only the DREAMers who received deportation exemptions before January 20, 2013 would receive protection under a President Romney, with the vast majority of eligible applicants shut out, leaving them vulnerable to deportation under a Romney Administration.

At present, approximately 200 DREAMers have actually received their work permits.  It is our best guess that by the time of Inauguration Day rolls around some 100,000 DREAMers will have received their work permits.  With 1.4 million young people eligible, that means that Romney is now promising to protect but a fraction of the people who would benefit the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The clarifying comments provided to the Globe continue Romney’s curious political strategy of appealing to the small sliver of anti-immigrant voters instead of the vast majority of Americans, Latino and non-Latino, who support practical and humane reforms like the DREAMer deferred action program.  For example, a CNN/ORC poll on immigration policy released yesterday found that with respect to President Obama’s policy of protecting young people eligible for the DREAM Act, a whopping 64% of registered voters said the new policy was “about right,” while 15% said it does not go far enough.  Only 18% said the DACA program goes too far.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “The Romney campaign’s decision to side with the 18% of the American people who are hardliners wasn’t sound politics in the primary, and isn’t sound politics now.  Just when it looked as if Romney was reaching out to Latino voters by promising to protect young people who benefit under President Obama’s initiative, now his campaign is promising to rip away the hopes and futures of more than a million young people who are American in all but paperwork.  Well, at least he finally came clean, and the choice is clearer than ever.  A vote for Romney is a vote against the DREAMers.”

  • Romney Interview with Denver Post: The key part of the interview: “The people who received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid.”
  • Romney Campaign Interview with Boston Globe: The key part of the interview, as described by Boston Globe correspondent Callum Borchers: “Responding to a Globe request to clarify Romney’s statement to the Denver Post, Romney’s campaign said he would honor deportation exemptions issued by the Obama administration before his inauguration but would not grant new ones after taking office.”

America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.