Those that are here paying taxes and not taking government benefits should begin a process towards application for citizeship….
Mitt Romney, March, 2006 (1)
I don’t think there should be a pathway to citizenship for people who are here illegally.
Mitt Romney, March 2007 (2)
One of the top issues in the 2012 presidential campaign is illegal immigration and the candidate who has most taken advantage of this issue is Mitt Romney. His campaign team has decided that this will be the main issue used to defeat Governor Rick Perry due mainly to Perry’s support for in-state tuition rates for illegal alien students.
Indeed, Romney’s numerous consultants and image makers created a myth during the 2008 GOP presidential campaign that Romney had a conservative record on this issue, and this myth making has continued through the current campaign. What’s troubling is many of America’s leading conservative pundits and mainstream reporters accepted this mythology with no questions asked. However, nearly all of Romney’s “hard-line” positions on immigration policy appear to be phony since only a few years earlier his positions were different. It is clear Romney’s positions have been either created solely for his presidential campaigns or were based upon events that simply never occurred.
Indeed, the immigration quotes Romney’s media team have released during both presidential campaigns appear as if they were written by pollsters after carefully testing the effect they would have upon the voters. They certainly do not sound even remotely like the statements Governor Romney would have made just a few years earlier.
During the ’08 campaign, Romney released, with much fanfare, an immigration reform plan that called for strengthening border enforcement, extending the border fence, implementing an enforceable employer verification system, increasing fines for employers who hired illegal workers, rejecting amnesty, deporting all criminal illegal aliens, and eliminating federal funding for “sanctuary cities.” (3)
Indeed, Governor Romney’s campaign speeches also sounded very conservative:
You’ve got to have a wall or fence or electronic surveillance. You have got to make sure we secure our border, that’s first. (4)
And he was very strong in the words he chose to oppose the amnesty legislation championed by his main primary opponent in the ’08 campaign, Senator John McCain:
’m against an amnesty and against anything that provides an incentive for people to come here illegally. (5)
But the reality is that Romney’s record as governor was very different from the image his consultants have created for the 2008 and 2012 primaries. Do we determine a man’s worldview by his actual record? Or do we base our opinions of him upon statements made during a campaign? It would be wise to choose the former and not the later.