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Romney backpedals on deportations

October 03, 2012|By Michael Finnegan
  • Mitt Romney during Wednesday's presidential debate at the University of Denver.
Mitt Romney during Wednesday's presidential debate at the University… (Justin Sullivan / Getty…)

Two days after Mitt Romney vowed to honor the deportation reprieves granted by the Obama administration to many young illegal immigrants, his campaign clarified that he would halt the program if he wins the presidency.

“He would honor any permits already issued through the president's stopgap deferred action measure,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in response to a question by email. “But he will not continue the president's temporary measure and intends to supersede it as soon as possible with the permanent reform of our broken immigration system that is so badly needed.”

President Obama announced in June that his administration would stop the deportation of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought to the United States as children by parents who lacked legal papers.

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For months, Romney avoided taking a position on Obama’s order.

But in an interview Monday, he told the Denver Post: “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. Before those visas have expired we will have the full immigration reform plan that I've proposed.”

Though Romney’s statement appeared to be part of his push to enhance his appeal to Latino voters, his campaign’s clarification Tuesday seemed aimed at fending off a backlash among white conservatives. Despite his comment, Romney has not yet released a detailed immigration plan, a reflection of the sensitivity of an issue whose solution has eluded Democratic and Republican presidents.

Latinos strongly favor Obama’s reelection, polls show, and white conservatives only reluctantly embraced Romney after snubbing him in Republican primaries across the country.

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