Romney campaign says he misstated position on DREAMers
Romney does not support permanent status for DREAMers seeking higher education.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in an interview Friday appeared to adopt a new immigration policy, specifically that he would offer a path to legal status for undocumented minors seeking a college degree. But his campaign said that the candidate misstated his position.
“For those that are here as the children of those who came here illegally, I want to make sure they have a permanent answer to what their status will be. And I’ve indicated in my view that those who serve in the military [or] have advanced degrees would certainly qualify for that kind of permanent status,” Romney said in an interview with the conservative online outlet Newsmax.
Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement that the candidate slipped up during the interview.
“The governor was referring to his long held position that young illegal immigrants brought here as children who serve in the military should be able to obtain legal permanent residence and that we should staple a green card to the diploma of every eligible student visa holder who graduates from one of our universities with an advanced degree in math, science, or engineering,” Williams said. “He simply misspoke in this interview.”
Romney’s statement to Newsmax would have represented a different position than he has taken in the past when it comes to undocumented youth, otherwise known as DREAMers. During a speech last week to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), Romney said that only undocumented minors who serve in the military should be eligible for legal status.
“I will stand for a path to legal status for anyone who is willing to stand up and defend this great nation through military service,” Romney said. “Those who have risked their lives in defense of America have earned the right to make their life in America.”
Romney also said that he would grant green cards to those who earn advanced degrees, but only those who studied in the U.S. legally with a visa.
The former Massachusetts governor has said he would veto the DREAM Act, which would give both categories of minors a special pathway to citizenship. He did not announce a definitive position on Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) alternative legislation, which would have offered temporary legal status to undocumented youth. Rubio withheld the proposal after President Obama announced he would halt deportations of DREAM Act-eligible youth.