(MILWAUKEE, Wis.) — Mitt Romney Monday flatly accused President Obama of reneging on his campaign promise to enact sweeping immigration reform, despite enjoying a Democrat-controlled Congress for his first two years in office.
“This has always been a priority for the president he chooses to do nothing about,” Romney said. “Let the immigrant community not forget that while he uses this as a political weapon, he has not taken responsibility for fixing the problems we have.”
The GOP front-runner’s comments came at a town hall meeting at the Moore Oil Company in Milwaukee after an audience member, noting that his girlfriend would have to return to Spain soon when her visa runs out, asked about immigration reform.
“My own view is our immigration policies are upside down,” he continued. “We make it very hard for people who have skills that we need — education and English-speaking and workplace skills — make it very hard for those people to come here and to stay here. On the other hand, those that don’t have any of those things are oftentimes able to come either across the border or overstay their visas and remain in this country indefinitely. So we’ve got it backwards.”
As to the audience member’s predicament, Romney stated his opinion that if someone has a masters degree or a Ph.D. from an institution of higher learning in this country, then the government should “staple a green card to their diploma.”
“Welcome them here to the United States of America. We want those people in our country,” he noted. “At the same time we want to make sure that we stop illegal immigration so we can protect legal immigration. Legal immigration is something we conservatives like. We love people coming here legally, particularly that speak English, that can work in jobs here, that can create new industries, that are innovative. The immigrant population that comes here doesn’t come here for a check. They come here for opportunity. These are our voters. So I want to work on an immigration policy that secures the border and that also simplifies the legal immigration process so that we bring in people here that can help build our economy and build our future.
“That is something that I will not just talk about in this campaign. This will be a priority of mine if I become president to make sure we finally reform our immigration laws step by step, secure the border, improve our legal immigration system, so we can keep people here and welcome people here who will make America a stronger nation,” he said.
Romney has faced stinging criticism from the Obama campaign for the past few months as the president’s surrogates have repeatedly dubbed him “the most extreme candidate” on issues affecting Latinos. Despite the criticism, Romney has enjoyed success in primaries with a strong Latino presence, winning in Florida, Arizona, Nevada and Puerto Rico.
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