Romney says politics a ‘big part’ of Obama immigration decision

Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney characterized President Obama’s recent change to immigration policy as an election year ploy in an interview to air Sunday, saying politics played a “big part” in the administration’s decision.

“I think the timing is pretty clear,” said Romney in a pre-recorded interview with CBS News’s Bob Schieffer to air on Face the Nation.

{mosads}”If he really wanted to make a solution that dealt with these kids or with illegal immigration in America, than this is something he would have taken up in his first three and a half years, not in his last few months,” added Romney.

Asked by Schieffer if the president made the policy shift for “for politics,” Romney responded: “That’s certainly a big part of the equation.”

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 either graduated from high school or served in the military to remain in the country.

While the decision does not grant citizenship to those immigrants, it does remove the threat of deportation and would allow them to work legally in the U.S. 

The policy implements portions of the DREAM Act immigration reform effort which has stalled in Congress amid GOP opposition.

Obama’s decision comes at a key moment in the presidential race, as Romney has narrowed the gap with him in several swing states.

The immigration decision could boost Obama among Hispanic voters, who hold sway in many of those key battlegrounds, including Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Florida.

On Friday, Romney initially reacted to the president’s announcement by offering support for easing deportations but said he feared the decision could make comprehensive immigration reform more difficult to achieve. 

“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 at a campaign stop.

Polls show Romney trailing Obama heavily among Hispanics. 

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll released in May found Obama leading Romney 61 percent to 27 among likely Latino voters.


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