Mitt Romney adviser Ed Gillespie said President Obama’s decision not to deport certain illegal immigrants would be reviewed and could be repealed by Romney if he becomes president.
Gillespie’s comments are consistent with the message Romney’s campaign has had since Obama decided to not deport illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
The move put Romney in a difficult spot. Hispanic voters are expected to be key in this year’s election, and the presumptive GOP nominee can’t afford to turn they away.
Yet Romney also needs to drive his base to the polls, making it difficult at best to embrace Obama’s proposal.
So far, he has taken a middle-ground approach that criticizes Obama on process, but not substance.
Gillespie on Sunday accused Obama of making the deportation decision for political reasons.
“Right now the Oval office is an extension of the campaign office in Chicago,” he said on CNN’s State of the Union.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who has pressed the White House to push harder on immigration reform over the last three years, said Gillespie’s comments point to why Hispanic voters should vote for Obama.
He also noted that Romney took a tougher line on deportation and immigration issues during the GOP primary, when the former Massachusetts governor was battling for conservative votes.
“The Latino community isn’t going to suffer amnesia and forget all of the things he said in the primary. He was very specific,” Gutierrez said on CNN.
Former Bush administration Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez shot back that the Obama administration did little for Hispanics until the election neared. The former Bush cabinet official is a veteran of his administration’s efforts to move an immigration bill through Congress.
“They have been playing with the Latino community,” he said of the present administration.
Rep. Gutierrez replied that that Senate Republicans had held back the Dream Act, which would provide a path to legal residence for illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children, as long as they serve in the military or attend school.