GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a crowd in Iowa on New Years Eve that he would veto the DREAM Act if he’s in the oval office and the bill passes Congress.
The DREAM Act would provide a path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16 and who attend college or join the U.S. military for at least two years.
Yet Romney did say that he would support a plan for this same group of young people to serve in the U.S. military in exchange for a bid at U.S. residency.
“I’m delighted with the idea that people who come to this country and wish to serve in the military can be given a path to become permanent residents of this country,” he told CNN.
This is not a reversal for Romney, who has always expressed tough love for undocumented immigrants, but it’s a clear statement that Hispanic voters in Iowa will hear in the countdown before Tuesday’s GOP caucus. Illegal immigration has been a frequent topic at candidate events in Iowa, a state with a robust agricultural economy that employs many immigrants. Indeed, even though most of the GOP candidates have touted their hard-line anti-illegal immigration stances on the campaign trail, some observers wonder if they are out of touch with voter views. Many Iowa business, community, faith and law enforcement leaders support comprehensive immigration reform and are advocating for a pro-reform state compact along the lines of Utah’s.
The Democrats were quick to pounce on Romney’s statement on the DREAM Act.
“If there had been doubt in anyone’s mind—least of all, Hispanics in America, that Mitt Romney’s far-right views on immigration would make him the most extreme presidential nominee in recent memory, his statement [Saturday] that he would veto the DREAM Act if he were president is appalling,” said Juan Sepluveda, the Democratic National Committee’s Senior Advisor for Hispanic Affairs. “This piece of legislation has been supported by members of both parties.”