Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Sunday suggested that a vote for Democrats on Election Day is a vote for “amnesty” for illegal immigrants.
In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” the former Massachusetts governor said that “This is really the last chance for America to pass judgment on the Obama administration and on its policies. And the president himself said he’s not on the ballot, but his policies are.”
“It’s a policy also of basic amnesty for those people who come to the country illegally. I think that’s what we know where the president is going to head as soon as the election is over,” Romney said.
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Indeed: White House sources have reported that the president will take additional executive action on immigration reform before the end of the year—and some indication that he is waiting for the midterms to do so—but there’s little indication he aims to completely pardon the 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the country as the governor suggests.
The remark does, however, signal that the GOP believes they can mobilize the base with this kind of rhetoric. Conservatives who oppose immigration often use the word “amnesty” it to describe any reform that would offer a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country, even though those paths are years long and include paying back taxes and fines.
“The Republican Party is saying, look, we’re going to take a different direction,” Romney continued, saying that a Republican-controlled Senate would “secure the border” and “jump-start the economy.”
“You’re going to see a bill actually reach the desk of the president if we finally have someone besides Harry Reid sitting in the Senate,” Romney said.
Despite their plans to try and be more inclusive of minorities, many Republicans have moved to the right on immigration – even beyond Romney’s much criticized “self-deportation” policy – during the midterm year.