May 20, 2013

Romney Bashes Perry On Immigration Issues, Hides Liberal Immigration Record

After reviewing Romney’s immigration record, it is clear, as with so many other issues, that he  never had a consistent position on this issue.  His positions have been created for whatever the circumstance he finds himself in. Currently, the public is angered by an out-of-control border and  the billions of tax dollars being spent on illegal aliens, so those are now the positions Romney now holds.  Minus a consistent worldview, there is no way of knowing if Romney, if elected president, will hold the same views or allow himself to be pressured into changing his views.  

Romney Supported Amnesty as Governor

During the ’08 campaign Romney spoke out against amnesty and his campaign material specifically singled out the McCain amnesty legislation:

 Governor Romney strongly opposes the McCain-Kennedy approach to immigration reform or other amnesty     measures offering benefits to those in the country illegally. (6)

 Romney himself attacked the McCain amnesty bill:

 I strongly opposed today’s bill going through the Senate.  It is the wrong approach.  Any legislation that allows illegal immigrants to stay in the country indefinitely, as the new “Z-Visa” does, is a form of amnesty… today’s Senate agreement falls short of the actions needed to both solve our country’s illegal immigration problem and also strengthen our legal immigration system. (7)

 And he specifically opposed any kind of “pathway to citizenship” for illegal aliens:

            I don’t think there should be a pathway to citizenship for people who are here illegally. (8)

However, this was not always Romney’s views on amnesty.  As the Boston Globe reported, Romney argued in 2005 that the McCain-Kennedy immigration reform bill was NOT an amnesty bill and actually called the bill “reasonable:”

 Indeed, Romney’s past comments on illegal immigration suggest his views have hardened as he has  ramped up his campaign for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.  In a November 2005 interview with the Globe, Romney described immigration provisions by McCain and others as ‘quite different’ from amnesty, because they required illegal immigrants to register with the government, work for years, pay taxes, not take public benefits, and pay a fine before applying for citizenship.  ‘That’s very different than amnesty, where you literally say, “OK, everybody here gets to stay,”’  Romney said in the interview.  ‘It’s saying you could work your way into becoming a legal resident  of the country by working here without taking benefits and then applying and then paying a fine.’ (9)

 Thankfully, an audio of the interview made available by the Boston Globe reveals Romney defending the McCain amnesty proposal even more aggressively than the quotes above seemed to indicate:

 I think an amnesty program is what – which is all the illegal immigrants who are here are now citizens, and walk up and get your citizenship.  What the president has proposed, and what Senator McCain and Cornyn have proposed, are quite different than that.  They require people signing up for a –  well, registering and receiving a, if you will, a number – a registration number. Then working here for six years and paying taxes – not taking benefits.  …And then at the end of that period, registering to  become a citizen….And I think that that’s –that those are reasonable proposals. (10)

 In the same interview, Romney pooh-poohed the notion that illegal aliens could be deported:

 Romney also said in the interview that is was not ‘practical or economic for the country’ to  deport the estimated 12 million immigrants living in the US illegally. (11)

 And contrary to his campaign attacks on a “pathway to citizenship,” Romney specifically supported such an approach just one year earlier:

Those who’ve been arrested or convicted of crimes shouldn’t be here; those that are here paying taxes and not taking government benefits should begin a process towards application for citizenship, as they would from their home country. (12)

 But Romney didn’t stop there.  In 2006, Romney even attacked those who didn’t support the Bush/McCain amnesty legislation:

Meantime, one of McCain’s potential rivals for the GOP Nomination, Massachusetts Gov. MittRomney, has made it known that he supports the president’s immigration position, saying that  Republicans who have broken rank with Bush ‘made a big mistake.’ (13)

 But that’s not the end of Romney’s flip-flops on this issue.  In 2005 -2006, he supported some form of amnesty or, as they say, a “path to citizenship.”  Then, during the 2007-2008 presidential campaign, he swerved to the right and said he doesn’t “think there should be a pathway to citizenship for people who are here illegally.”  But by 2009, Romney moved back to the center on this issue:

 Romney believes that one way to attract more minorities to the GOP is to pass immigration reform     before the next election, saying the issue becomes demagogued by both parties on the campaign trail.     ‘We have a natural affinity with Hispanic-American voters, Asian-American voters,’ he said. (14)

Perhaps his pollsters at the time thought it would be easier to win the 2012 presidential race if he moved toward the center on this issue.  After reading this statement, William Gheen, President of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, said this:

 After watching Romney attack McCain in the primary over his sponsorship for the McCain Kennedy amnesty, Romney’s new support of the same legislation makes him a lying sack of political s—-that  nobody should ever trust again in our book. (15)

 But does Romney oppose amnesty now? No one seems to know.

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