GOP awaits Romney's stance on immigration

June 20, 2012 at 3:25 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 20 (UPI) -- Republican lawmakers say they are waiting for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to take a position on President Obama's immigration order.

Last week, Obama signed an executive order barring the deportation of some 80,000 undocumented immigrants who would have been eligible for a path to citizenship under the failed DREAM Act. Roll Call reports the decision has caused uncertainty among GOP lawmakers who are unsure how to respond.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the party should wait for Mitt Romney to take a stand.

"I think we're all going to have to wait until we hear what [former Michigan] Gov. Romney has to say on the issue … My view is he is the leader of our party from now until November and, we hope, beyond, and we're going to wait and see what he has to say about it and be happy to respond to that point," McConnell said.

Romney's campaign cut a press conference call short Wednesday after reporters repeatedly refused requests by aides to stop asking questions about immigration, The Hill reported.

The conference call was set up to focus on the economy.

Romney policy director Lanhee Chen said Romney would talk about immigration Thursday at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials annual conference in Orlando, Fla.

The Hill said Romney is looking to walk a tightrope between his conservative base and a Hispanic constituency that will play an important role in November.

While he has not yet taken an official stand, Romney last week said Obama's stance will complicate long-term immigration reform efforts.

"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," said Romney. The presumptive GOP nominee said any directive issued by Obama could be reversed by future presidents.

A number of Republican lawmakers are questioning whether Obama has the authority to issue the immigration directive.

"Please provide copies of any documentation ... that discuss any authority you have or do not have to undertake this immigration directive," the letter by 20 U.S. senators said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid slammed Romney for having yet to take a position on last week's directive. "He's campaigned for a year and a half," Reid said. "He should have some semblance, idea … [about] how he feels about that."

The DREAM Act, which stands for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, was designed to offer children of undocumented immigrants the opportunity to pursue college or the armed forces as paths to citizenship. While it is not law, Obama's directive last week is aimed at those who meet the criteria.

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