Romney calls for immigration reform before 2016

Mitt Romney said Friday that immigration reform should be in place before the 2016 election but warned “time is running out” to pass legislation.

"I do believe it's important for us, before the presidential contest in 2016, to finally have immigration reform in place," the 2012 Republican presidential nominee told reporters in Iowa, according to The Des Moines Register. "I just don't think it's healthy for the country to continue to have this issue open and unresolved, particularly with so many families that are waiting for the answers."

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Romney said he did not support a “special” path to citizenship. He said last year that, “I do believe that those who come here illegally ought to have an opportunity to get in line with everybody else.”

Passing immigration reform is widely viewed as crucial for Republicans to win support from Latino voters in the 2016 presidential election.

He came under fire during the 2012 campaign when he suggested that illegal immigrants practice “self-deportation.” He also criticized Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a rival for the nomination, for supporting in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.

Romney was in Iowa attending a rally for Senate candidate Joni Ernst. He has taken on a role supporting establishment candidates, including Thom Tillis, who fended off a Tea Party challenge in North Carolina earlier this month.

But Romney is not riding too high. 

"I didn't get elected, so I'm not sure my view is the one that will carry the day,” he said.