Romney Sings Different Tune on Immigration

He softens stance in speech to group of Latino leaders

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 22, 2012 4:09 AM CDT | Updated Jun 22, 2012 4:19 AM CDT

(Newser) – In what his critics will no doubt call an "Etch a Sketch" moment, Mitt Romney now sounds a lot more relaxed about immigration than he did during the Republican primaries. When he spoke to a gathering of Latino voters in Florida yesterday, his talk of "self-deportation" was gone, replaced by promises to find bipartisan ways of changing immigration policy, the New York Times reports. "Immigration reform is not just a moral imperative. It’s also an economic necessity," he said in his most extensive remarks on the subject since President Obama's decision last week to help an estimated 800,000 young people avoid deportation.

Romney promised to help immigrants reunite their families and to "staple a green card" to the diplomas of immigrants who earn advanced degrees at US universities. He reiterated his support for allowing illegal immigrants who serve in the military to gain citizenship—but also promised to complete a high-tech fence along the Mexican border. He remained vague on whether he would allow Obama's policy to stand, saying he would put in place a solution to "replace and supersede it." At the end of the speech, half the audience stood up to applaud. Obama will make a speech to the same group of Latino leaders today.

Mitt Romney, speaks at the NALEO (National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials) conference in Orlando yesterday.
Mitt Romney, speaks at the NALEO (National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials) conference in Orlando yesterday.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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