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Distilling Mitt Romney’s Position On Immigration

Former Gov. Mitt Romney underwent  a tough and fair interview with Fox News Channel’s Bret Baier.

Romney seemed particularly, well,  Romneyesque on immigration.

The confusion stems from the fact  that, between 2005 and 2007,  Romney gave every indication of supporting  something like President  Bush’s reform proposal: a system whereby illegal  immigrants “come out  of the shadows” and to the “back of the line” of the citizenship   application process.

In 2006, the Associated  Press was apparently unclear enough on Romney’s position to write this:

Meantime, one of  McCain’s potential rivals for the GOP  nomination, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt  Romney, 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.”

The same year, Romney said, “I  don’t believe in rounding up 11 million people and forcing them at gunpoint  from our country.”

He called elements of the Senate bill sponsored by John McCain and Ted Kennedy  “reasonable proposals.”

As seems undeniable, Romney took a  hard line on illegals when he  decided to run for president. That much we know.  But I’m still trying  to suss out how, precisely, he threads the needle. In the  interview  with Fox’s Baier, Romney insisted that illegal immigrants who come   forward must park themselves in the “back of the line,” behind those  who’ve  come here legally.

But this was a central feature of  both the Bush  plan and McCain-Kennedy plan,  which was praised by business types as well as conservative activists like  Linda Chavez, Grover Norquist and Jack Kemp.

The Weekly Standards Fred  Barnes wrote of the Bush plan:

Earned citizenship would  permit the 12 million  immigrants living illegally in the Unites States to apply  for  citizenship. They would be required to work for six years, commit no   crimes, pay back taxes, and learn English. Then and only then could they get  in line to become citizens [emphasis mine], a process that takes five  years.

As far as I can tell, Romney found  the thinnest of the reeds on which to lean his newfound opposition  to the  McCain-Kennedy bill: that  it would allow immigrants to collect  Social Security benefits they’d amassed  while working here illegally.

Does Romney really expect anybody to  swallow that?

By: Scott Galupo, U. S. News and World Report, November 30, 2011

December 1, 2011 - Posted by | Conservatives, Social Security | , , , ,

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