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- 06-24-2012, 02:07 PM #1
GOP hardliners won’t attack Romney’s ‘amnesty’ plan on illegal immigration
GOP hardliners won’t attack Romney’s ‘amnesty’ plan on illegal immigration
By Mike Lillis - 06/23/12 01:00 PM ET
Republican hardliners in both chambers are holding their tongues over Mitt Romney’s plan to grant qualified illegal immigrants legal status and even U.S. citizenship.
Similar proposals in the past have led to charges from these conservatives that the beneficiaries would be rewarded with “amnesty” after entering the country illegally. They’ve called instead for tougher enforcement and the deportation of all illegal immigrants.
Yet 24 hours after Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, outlined a broad proposal extending permanent residency to some illegal immigrants — and creating a pathway to citizenship for others — those same Republicans have been uncharacteristically silent on the idea.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who’s long been critical of “amnesty” proposals like the DREAM Act, praised Romney’s plan this week, saying it was “right to recognize that immigration reform needs to be geared towards bolstering our economy and job creation.”
Smith blamed President Obama’s economic policies for high unemployment among Hispanics, and he blasted the administration’s recent executive action allowing some illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children to stay and work, saying it’s “amnesty” that will “further diminish job opportunities for Hispanics struggling to find a job.”
But the Texas conservative made no mention of Romney’s proposal to extend permanent residency to qualified illegal immigrant students and forge a pathway to citizenship for those who join the military. The latter provision goes even a step further than Obama’s executive directive, which does not include the possibility of citizenship.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), another DREAM Act opponent, also praised Romney’s plan without mentioning the “amnesty” provisions.
“I applaud Governor Romney’s commitment to working to improve our broken immigration system,” he said. “America has been, and remains, a welcoming country for legal immigration. But the President’s last-minute, election-year ploy can’t erase the fact that he has failed to lead.”
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), among Congress’s most vocal opponents of illegal immigrant rights, was also notably uncritical of Romney’s plan, telling The Wall Street Journal that he’s happy to see Romney advocating for tougher enforcement policies at the border. While King said he has questions about some parts of the plan, according to the Journal, he also expressed confidence that Romney is “committed to the rule of law.”
The offices of a number of other immigration hardliners —including Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), and Reps. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) and Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.) – did not respond to requests for comment on Romney’s plan.
The immigration issue has been a prominent one in this year’s presidential race, with both sides vying for a bigger slice of the ever-growing Latino vote. Romney has started at a disadvantage because he tacked far to the right amid the GOP primary, vowing to veto the DREAM Act and proposing to make life so tough for illegal immigrants that they would “self deport.”
Recognizing an opening, Obama last week overhauled his immigration policy, announcing he will forego deportations for qualified high-achievers brought to the U.S. before the age of 16 – roughly the same population targeted by the DREAM Act.
The surprise move left Romney and other GOP leaders scrambling for a strategy to counter the new policy without alienating either Latinos or their conservative base.
On Friday, Romney sought to thread that needle, releasing the contours of a plan that’s both tough on the enforcement side and more lenient to some illegal immigrants than many conservatives want to go.
Characterizing comprehensive immigration reform as a “moral imperative” and an “economic necessity,” Romney proposed to increase the number of border patrol agents, make e-verify mandatory for employers, complete the fence along the Mexican border and advance an exit-verification system designed to identify and deport legal visitors who overstay their visas — all ideas sure to win favor from conservatives.
Hoping to appeal to Latinos, Romney also offered green cards to “every foreign student who obtains an advanced degree in math, science, or engineering.” For those entering the military, his plan goes further.
“Mitt Romney believes that young illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children should have the chance to become permanent residents, and eventually citizens, by serving honorably in the United States military,” reads the Romney campaign’s fact sheet on the plan.
Roy Beck, president of Numbers USA, which advocates for tougher immigration laws, welcomed the plan, praising Romney for resisting temptations to walk back his primary promises to veto the DREAM Act, finish the border fence and mandate an e-verify system. Beck called this restraint “quite remarkable” given that Romney unveiled his plan before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEAO).
Still, foreshadowing the likely push-back from conservatives on Capitol Hill, Beck said “there are things we oppose and we will oppose” in Romney’s proposal, particularly the notion of providing green cards to recipients of advanced degrees.
“The idea that somehow or another we need more legal immigrants,” Beck said Friday in a telephone interview, “is kind of preposterous.”
GOP hardliners wonIf a man sneaks into your home he is a burglar, not an undocumented tenant you must provide for!
- 06-24-2012, 03:11 PM #2
- Join Date
- Apr 2012
This is so discouraging, disappointing, and even predictable. More of the same, could be even worse than the past! Beck's response, I'm still trying to understand tho I'd been aware of since Friday.
- 06-25-2012, 06:36 AM #3
- Join Date
- Nov 2004
- Raleigh, North Carolina, United States
- Blog Entries
I will never trust a LIBERAL and BIASED newspaper like The Hill to accurately inform me or anyone else of the real facts.
Can someone please get us this "Romney campaign’s fact sheet on the plan." so we can review what the Romney campaign is actually saying?
WClick here to learn more about William Gheen President of ALIPAC
- 06-25-2012, 08:12 AM #4
From Mitt Romney's campaign website.
America is a nation of immigrants. We are not a nation bound by ethnicity, but one bound by the pristine idea that all people are endowed by their Creator with the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is why our ancestors came to America and why so many today wait in line to come to our shores. Welcoming newcomers who share our ideals and work hard to secure a better life for themselves and their families is part of our heritage. A strong legal immigration system is an integral component of what makes America exceptional.
But today, our immigration system is broken.
A porous border allows illegal immigrants to enter the United States, violent cartel members and terrorists possibly among them. Certain states and municipalities grant benefits to illegal immigrants that act as magnets that draw illegal immigrants across the border. At the same time that unskilled workers are able to come here illegally, we do not grant enough visas to high-skill job creators and innovators seeking to come here legally. The system requires us to send away the great majority of the over 300,000 foreign students who are earning advanced degrees at U.S. universities. And it is too difficult for businesses to secure visas for foreign workers to make up for labor shortages and gaps in skills.
President Obama has failed to solve our immigration problems. Indeed, he has failed even to address them. As a candidate for president, he promised to tackle immigration in his first year in office. He broke that promise, and has since only made our problems worse.
President Obama has done nothing to improve our visa system to bring in more high-skill job creators and innovators. Our system still turns away even those foreign students whom we educate here and to whom we grant advanced degrees.
President Obama has utterly failed to secure the border. And instead of taking a strong stand on illegal immigration, he has ordered immigration officials to enforce immigration laws “selectively,” leading to the dismissal of many deportation cases. At the same time, his Department of Justice has sued to stop states from assisting the federal government in enforcing immigration laws.
Mitt Romney believes that legal immigration is a boon to America. He will strengthen our immigration system so that it benefits the U.S. economy, ensures our security, bolsters the rule of law, and carries on America’s tradition as a nation of legal immigrants.
Attract the Best and BrightestTo ensure that America continues to lead the world in innovation and economic dynamism, a Romney administration would press for an immigration policy designed to maximize America’s economic potential. The United States needs to attract and retain job creators from wherever they come. Foreign-born residents with advanced degrees start companies, create jobs, and drive innovation at an especially high rate. While lawful immigrants comprise about 8 percent of the population, immigrants start 16 percent of our top-performing, high-technology companies, hold the position of CEO or lead engineer in 25 percent of high-tech firms, and produce over 25 percent of all patent applications filed from the United States.
- Raise visa caps for highly skilled workers
- Grant permanent residency to eligible graduates with advanced degrees in math, science, and engineering
A Strong Stand Against Illegal ImmigrationMitt Romney will protect legal immigration and the 4.5 million who are waiting in line to enter the United States legally by taking a strong stand against illegal immigration. He believes that illegal immigration must end and has a proven track record of advancing that goal.
- Secure The Border
Mitt Romney will complete a high-tech fence and provide the necessary number of border patrol to finally secure our southern border.
- Turn Off The Magnets
Mitt Romney opposes all “magnets” that entice illegal immigrants to come to our country illegally and stay here. He will establish a tamper-proof employment verification system like E-Verify that will enable employers to hire only those legally permitted to work and deny jobs to those here illegally. This will turn off the jobs magnet that attracts so many unskilled workers to cross the border illegally or overstay their visas.
Mitt also opposes all other magnets. As governor, he vetoed in-state tuition benefits for illegal immigrants and opposed driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.
- Enforce The Law
Mitt Romney believes in the rule of law and will fully enforce federal immigration law. As governor, he authorized state police to assist the federal government in immigration enforcement.
- Oppose Amnesty
Mitt Romney opposes amnesty because he believes that it acts as a magnet encouraging illegal immigration. The last amnesty law passed in 1986 granted legal status to 2.7 million illegal immigrants. In the decades since, the illegal immigrant population has quadrupled. Mitt believes that an amnesty should not be permitted to happen again. Illegal immigrants who apply for legal status should not be given any advantage over those who are following the law and waiting their turn. Mitt absolutely opposes any policy that would allow illegal immigrants to “cut in line.