Republican nominee Mitt Romney didn’t offer much more in the way of specifics this week when it comes to how he would tackle immigration reform.Speaking to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the most significant aspect of Romney’s remarks reaffirmed his intention to provide a path to citizenship for those who have served in the military.
“Instead of playing immigration politics with these children, I will pursue permanent immigration reform, and I will start by ensuring that those who serve in our military have the opportunity to become legal permanent residents of the country they fought to defend. Those who have risked their lives in defence of America have earned the right to make their life in America,” Romney said.
This represents the fundamental difference between how Romney and President Obama would immediately tackle immigration reform.
Romney wants to provide an opportunity for citizenship for those who have served in the military. Obama wants to go further — his dream immigration bill (the DREAM Act) would enable a route to citizenship for servicemembers as well as young people who were brought to the United States as children.
Here are the other differences between the candidates with respect to immigration:
- In June, Obama unveiled what was basically a mini-DREAM Act by granting work permits to some young illegal immigrants with high-school or GED degrees and good legal standing. Romney opposes the administration’s shift in policy. He does, however, say that he wants to speed up the verification process for temporary and seasonal work visas.
- On “securing the border” between Mexico and the United States, Romney wants to add a high-tech fence to the equation. In January 2011, Obama stopped the high-tech border fence that Congress ordered built in 2006. Only 53 miles had been completed.
- One of the most controversial policies that has already been enacted is the Arizona immigration law, most of which was struck down by the Supreme Court earlier this year. The Obama administration challenged the law all the way to the Supreme Court. Romney, meanwhile, has called the law a “model” for the nation, but has backed away from supporting it during the general election.
- Both candidates oppose so-called “blanket” amnesty. Romney says it would “act as a magnet” for illegal immigrants while Obama has said, like a blanket deportation, that amnesty for the estimated 11 million people is “not possible.”
- Both candidates want to make it easier for families to stay together during the immigration process. Obama proposed a new rule in March so immediate family members of U.S. citizens could apply for citizenship within the U.S. According to his campaign website, Romney said he would “speed the processing of applications by eliminating the red tape that is keeping immediate families apart.”
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