President Obama’s campaign on Sunday pounced on Mitt Romney after he declined to say whether he would repeal the administration’s decision to not deport certain young people brought into the country illegally, saying the GOP hopeful had shown a “lack of political courage and leadership.”
Asked about whether he would repeal the new policy on CBS’s “Face the Nation”, Romney vowed to seek long-term immigration reform, but avoided a clear stance on Obama’s new deportation policies.
Asked if he would leave Obama’s policy in place while he worked out a long-term policy, Romney replied, “we will look at that setting as we reach that.”
His comments illustrate the political challenges the GOP contender faces on the issue at a time when he trails Obama among Latino voters, who hold sway in many key battleground states.
Obama’s reelection campaign quickly bashed Romney on Sunday, noting in a statement that he had failed to say whether he would leave intact a policy to “ensure that children who are here through no fault of their own aren't deported in the face of Congressional inaction.”
“In addition to showing a complete lack of political courage and leadership, his comments are a reminder that during the primaries he also showed significant weakness by playing to the fringe right wing of the Republican party to get their votes,” Obama’s campaign said Sunday.
On Friday, the Obama administration announced it would stop deporting many illegal immigrants who were brought into the country as children.
The policy, which could affect as many as 800,000 immigrants, would allow those under the age of 30 who have lived in the U.S. for five years, have no criminal history and are in school, graduated from high school or served in the military to remain in the country.
Romney, in the same interview on CBS, said election-year politics played a major role in Obama’s policy announcement.
He also again signaled openness in the interview to halting deportations of some young illegals.
“I would make sure that by coming into office I would work with Congress to create a long-term solution for the children of those that have come here illegally,” he said, while also touting his other immigration policy goals including improved border security and employment verification systems.