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Mayor Villaraigosa accuses Romney of immigration 'amnesia'

June 24, 2012|By Morgan Little
  • Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who spoke bluntly about Mitt Romney's immigration policies during an appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation."
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who spoke bluntly about Mitt Romney's… (Arkasha Stevenson / Los…)

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa accused Mitt Romney of having “amnesia” on immigration reform, taking the Republican presidential candidate to task for saying that President Obama’s recent changes to federal immigration policies had done “nothing.”

Contending that congressional deadlock over the contentious issue left Obama with no choice, Villaraigosa praised the president’s announcement that deportation of young undocumented immigrants would be put on hold for two years.

“The fact is the president has done what we should do, and that is addressed the fact that these kids have been living here for most of their lives,” he said during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Villaraigosa, who is a co-chairman of Obama’s reelection campaign, said that Romney needs to “come clean” on what his immigration policies would be if elected.

“But you gave him last week multiple opportunities to say whether or not he would veto this,” he told host Bob Schieffer, who interviewed Romney last week. “He wouldn't answer it…. Everybody who has watched him over the last week knows this: He hasn't changed his core policy. He supports the self-deportation of eleven million people.”

Romney, during his appearance on “Meet the Nation,” was asked three times whether he would repeal Obama’s directive and only went as far as to say he would consider the possibility.

“We'll look at that setting as we reach that, but my anticipation is I'd come into office and say we need to get this done, on a long-term basis, not this kind of stop-gap measure,” he said.

Romney, whose support among Latino voters has fallen far behind Obama’s, had aimed his speech Thursday at a conference of the National Assn. of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials toward winning more Latino support, but he offered little detail as to what policies he would actually pursue.

Villaraigosa offered the former Massachusetts governor some advice on courting the Latino vote.

“If he [Romney] wants to take this out of the debate in the campaign, he ought to call on Speaker [John] Boehner, the Republicans in the House and the Senate, to work with President Obama and the Democrats to pass not only the Dream Act, but comprehensive immigration reform,” he recommended.

morgan.c.little@latimes.com

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