Republican Presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt… (Joe Raedel / Getty Images )
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney faulted President Obama on Sunday for by-passing Congress to shield about 800,000 young illegal immigrants from being deported, but he stopped short of saying he opposed the move.
During the Republican primaries, Romney said he favored “self-deportation” for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants who are living and working in this country.
But interviewed on CBS’s Face the Nation, the presumptive GOP said he could support legislation that could allow some of those immigrants to stay here.
“With regards to these kids who were brought in by their parents through no fault of their own, there needs to be a long-term solution so they know what their status is," Romney said. "This is something Congress has been working on, and I thought we were about to see some proposals brought forward by Sen. Marco Rubio and by Democrat senators, but the president jumped in and said I'm going to take this action - he called it a stop-gap measure."
Obama announced a temporary, two-year reprieve for young immigrants who came to this country before they were 16, who have lived here for at least five years and who have clean records. The reprieve, which is renewable, would afford qualified immigrants legal protection but would not establish a path to citizenship for them.
Romney refused to say whether he would repeal the order if he were elected President.
He said, however, that Obama’s decision was driven by politics. The president “should have worked on this years ago if he felt seriously about this,” he said. “He saves these sorts of things until four-and-half months before the general election.”
The White House and Democrats say Obama was forced to take action on his own because Senate Republicans blocked a move to pass the Dream Act, which would have permitted young immigrants to stay here and to seek citizenship.