Immigration

Romney Would Permit Obama Waivers for Children of Illegal Immigrants

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles, Monday, Sept. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
National Journal
Oct. 2, 2012, 4:59 a.m.

If he is elec­ted, Mitt Rom­ney would al­low the chil­dren of il­leg­al im­mig­rants who re­ceive tem­por­ary work per­mits un­der an ex­ec­ut­ive or­der is­sued by Pres­id­ent Obama earli­er this year to stay in the coun­try, Rom­ney told The Den­ver Post on Monday.

“The people who have 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. I’m not go­ing to take something that they’ve pur­chased,” Rom­ney told the Post. “Be­fore those visas have ex­pired we will have the full im­mig­ra­tion re­form plan that I’ve pro­posed.”

Obama is­sued a con­tro­ver­sial ex­ec­ut­ive or­der in June that would award work per­mits to chil­dren of il­leg­al im­mig­rants who meet cer­tain re­quire­ments, such as gradu­at­ing from a U.S. high school and obey­ing the law, al­low­ing them to stay in the coun­try tem­por­ar­ily.

This shift in im­mig­ra­tion policy has been cri­ti­cized for by­passing Con­gress after law­makers did not pass the DREAM Act, which would have provided young il­leg­al im­mig­rants a path to cit­izen­ship by serving in the mil­it­ary or go­ing to col­lege.

Rom­ney also said he would work with Con­gress dur­ing the first year of his pres­id­ency to pass per­man­ent im­mig­ra­tion re­form, but didn’t of­fer de­tails. He has pre­vi­ously sup­por­ted a path to cit­izen­ship for stu­dents who serve in the mil­it­ary.   

“I ac­tu­ally will pro­pose a piece of le­gis­la­tion which will re­form our im­mig­ra­tion sys­tem to im­prove leg­al im­mig­ra­tion so people don’t have to hire law­yers to fig­ure out how to get here leg­ally,” Rom­ney told the Post. “The pres­id­ent prom­ised in his first year, his highest pri­or­ity, that he would re­form im­mig­ra­tion and he didn’t. And I will.”

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