Santorum: Romney trying to ‘walk a line’ on immigration policy

Former GOP White House hopeful Rick Santorum has some advice for Mitt Romney as he reacts to President Obama’s new illegal immigration policy: Hammer Obama on the process, be careful on the substance.

“He’s trying to walk a line that’s not to sound like he’s hostile to Latinos . . . in very important states,” Santorum said of Romney in an interview to air Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

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“But at the same time you need to hammer the president on this now habitual abuse of power,” added Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, alleging Obama seeks to “pick and choose” which laws to enforce.

Obama’s decision to defer deportation and allow work permits for young people who came to the country illegally as children creates political challenges for Romney, who faces a big deficit among Latino voters.

On Friday, the Obama administration announced it would stop deporting many illegal immigrants who came to the country at a young age. 


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 a separate interview to air on CBS on Sunday, said election-year politics played a major role in Obama’s policy announcement.

Romney took a hard line on illegal immigration during the GOP primaries. But on Friday he appeared to signal openness to halting deportations of young people while criticizing Obama over the policy at the same time.

"I believe the status of young people who come here through no fault of their own is an important matter to be considered and should be solved on a long-term basis so they know what their future would be in this country," Romney said. 

He added, however, that Obama’s action Friday will “make it more difficult to reach that kind of long-term solution.”