Romney: Obama has made it harder to get permanent immigration solution

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney makes a statement on immigration after a campaign stop in Milford, N.H., Friday, June 15, 2012.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci
CBS News) MILFORD, N.H. - Mitt Romney said FRIDAY that President Obama's new policy of letting some 800,000 undocumented young people obtain work permits to stay in the United States will make it harder to reach agreement on a permanent legislative solution to the immigration dilemma.

"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 after an ice cream social on the first day of a five-day, six-state bus tour. "I think the action the president took today makes it more difficult to reach that long-term solution because an executive order is of course just a short term matter. It can be reversed by subsequent presidents." He was asked if he would overturn the order if he's elected, but he did not answer the question.

Romney's sentiments echoed those expressed Friday by a number of Republicans, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has proposed a law similar to what Obama put in place by executive order; Arizona Sen. John McCain, who once led a drive for comprehensive bipartisan reform dealing with all undocumented immigrants, and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who told CBS and National Journal at an appearance in North Carolina, "I wish the president would work with us in Congress."

Romney said that "I happen to agree with Marco Rubio" that we need a long-term solution that provides "certain and clarity to the people who come into this country through no fault of their own by virtue of the action of their parents." However, he has not embraced Rubio's particular solution, which is similar to what Obama is doing via executive order.

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In a taped television interview with WMUR in Manchester, Romney said it is unfortunate that immigration came up now and that Obama should have dealt with it years ago, according to a tweet from an assignment editor at the station.

Romney doesn't oppose executive orders in general. He has said he would issue one on his first day in office giving all 50 states waivers from the Affordable Care Act, should the Supreme Court uphold it.

Rebecca Kaplan contributed to this report.

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