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Romney wants 'long-term' solution for illegal immigration

MILFORD, NH -- Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney believes a long-term-solution is needed to fix America’s immigration problem, especially for young illegal immigrants -- but not the changes announced by President Barack Obama Friday afternoon.

“I think the action that 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,” Romney told reporters outside his campaign bus following an ice cream social here.

Romney went on to say what the president did can be “reversed by subsequent presidents.” But when he was asked if he himself would overturn the changes -- if elected president -- Romney did not answer.

He also commended Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R) DREAM Act alternative, despite saying in April that he was still looking at Rubio’s proposal.

“I'd like to see legislation that deals with this issue, and I happen to agree with Marco Rubio as he considers this issue. He said that this is an important matter, we have to find a long-term solution. But the President's action makes reaching a long term solution more difficult,” Romney said.

"If I'm president," he concluded, "we'll do our very best to have that kind of long-term solution that provides certainty and clarity for the people who come into this country through no fault of their own by virtue of the actions of their parents."

These remarks by the former Massachusetts governor came nearly two hours after Obama announced that people younger than 30 who came to the United States before the age of 16, who pose no criminal or security threat, and who were successful students or served in the military could apply for a two-year deferral from deportation.

It also came months after Romney blasted Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the GOP presidential primary for supporting in-state college tuition for young illegal immigrants in Texas. And during the primaries, Romney said he would veto the DREAM Act.

Romney made no mention of Obama’s announcement during his campaign stop here nor when asked repeatedly by reporters on the ropeline. Only after Romney got on his campaign bus for some time while reporters gathered outside did he reemerge to give a brief statement.

*** UPDATE *** The Obama camp issued this response: “During the primaries, Gov. Romney called the DREAM Act a handout and said he would veto it. His ‘solution’ to our immigration challenges was self-deportation. Today he continues to refuse to express support for legislation that lets children who were brought to the U.S. and want to contribute by pursuing higher education or serve in the military stay in America. The president remains committed to passing the DREAM Act, which was drafted with bipartisan support, but he won’t sit back and allow these children to get deported in the face of inaction. Congressional Republicans must end their continued obstruction to allow us to achieve the ultimate goal of signing the DREAM Act into law.”