Mitt Romney declared for the first time that he will not revoke the temporary visas issued under an executive order by President Obama that allow young illegal immigrants, known as "dreamers," to temporarily stay in this country should he win the election in November.
"The people who have received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid. I'm not going to take something that they've purchased," Romney told The Denver Post. After the president issued the order in June, Romney said he did not support it and there was speculation over the future of the program should Obama fail to be re-elected. Romney never specifically said whether or not he would repeal the order.
“I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the president’s temporary measure,” Romney said as a way to answer whether or not he would repeal Obama's order during a speech at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) in June.
Romney continued to state in the interview with the Post that he will issue new immigration reform in place should he be elected.
"Before those visas have expired we will have the full immigration reform plan that I've proposed," he told the paper.
Specifics on what Romney-instituted immigration reform would look like remain murky. Romney said during his NALEO that he would offer a path to citizenship for those who serve in the U.S. military and offer green cards to those who earn advanced degrees here. Yet he took a tougher tone during the GOP primary when he praised Arizona's strict immigration law and discussed "self-deportation" as an option.
Romney consistently polls well-behind Obama with Latino voters. The most recent weekly tracking poll from Latino Decisions showed the president leading Romney 73-21%.