Romney in 2006 Backed Immigration Stance He Now Deems ‘Amnesty’
By Julie Hirschfeld Davis - Nov 27, 2011 11:01 PM CT
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who charged Republican presidential primary rival Newt Gingrich with proposing “amnesty” for certain illegal immigrants, took a nearly identical position in a 2006 Bloomberg interview, saying some foreigners who entered the U.S. illegally should be allowed to remain and gain legal status.
Romney, who at the time hadn’t yet declared his first presidential candidacy for 2008, told reporters and editors in Bloomberg News’s Washington bureau that the 11 million immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally “are not going to be rounded up and box-carred out.” Law-abiding people who pay taxes, learn English and don’t rely on government benefits should be allowed to “get in line” to apply for citizenship, he said.
“We need to begin a process of registering those people, some being returned, and some beginning the process of applying for citizenship and establishing legal status,” Romney said during the March 29, 2006, session.
<..> “What he needs to be careful about is, 2012 is not 2008. Immigration and social issues are not the defining issues for Republican caucus-goers,” Gross said. “To the extent that he appears to pander on immigration issues, I think it will hurt.”