(DENVER) -- Mitt Romney says he will not take away the two-year visas given to children of illegal immigrants under an executive order by President Obama earlier this year, despite having called the measure a politically-motivated “stop gap” at the time.
“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,” Romney said in an interview with the Denver Post.
“I’m not going to take something that they’ve purchased,” Romney told the paper. “Before those visas have expired we will have the full immigration reform plan that I’ve proposed.”
This appears to be a further softening of the Republican nominee’s immigration stance, which has gone from promoting an idea of “self-deportation” to one that is less aggressive. Last month at a Univision “Meet the Candidates” forum in Miami, Romney said that he wasn’t going to “round up people around the country and deport them.”
But even then, Romney criticized Obama’s executive order announced in June, which stopped the deportation of as many as 800,000 young people who had lived a crime-free life in the U.S. for five straight years and instead allowed them to apply for these two-year visas that could be renewed.
Speaking at the Univision forum last month, Romney derided Obama’s executive order, saying, “With a few months before an election he puts in place something that is temporary, which does not solve this issue. I will solve it in a permanent basis consistent with those principles.”
A campaign official on Tuesday said Romney’s remarks to the Post were consistent with his messaging, saying Romney has always said he would replace the president’s executive order with his own permanent reforms and that his remarks to the Denver Post are in line with that.
Romney will not reverse the visas, but before they are expired his own, more permanent reforms will be in place, the official said.
In response to Romney's remarks, Obama for America released the following statement from Director of Hispanic Press Gabriela Domenzain:
“Romney’s latest immigration pivot raises more questions than it answers. He still has not said whether he would continue the Administration’s policy that provides a temporary reprieve from deportation for young people who were brought here through no fault of their own. Would he side with his extreme anti-immigration advisors and repeal this measure? What would he do with those who qualify for deferred action but haven’t received it? Would he deport those who have received a deferment when the program expires after two years? We know he called the DREAM Act a ‘handout’ and that he promised to veto it -- nothing he has said since contradicts this and we should continue to take him at his word.”
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