In remarks he delivered in Florida before Latino political leaders, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney once again declined to answer if he would overturn President Obama's executive action to no longer deport qualified young illegal immigrants.
Instead, Romney explained that he would work to craft a long-term solution dealing with illegal immigration.
"Some people have asked if I will let stand the president's executive action," Romney said at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials' conference. "The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the president's temporary measure."
Left unsaid, of course, is what Romney -- if elected president -- would do before signing long-term legislation into law, or if the legislation couldn't be passed. Remember: Due to congressional opposition, both George W. Bush and Barack Obama have been unable to pass comprehensive legislation dealing with illegal immigration.
Today wasn't the first time Romney has declined to say if he would overturn Obama's policy to no longer deport young illegal immigrants who have graduated from high school, who are serving in the military, and who have a clean criminal record.
Mitt Romney criticized the action after the president announced it last Friday. The reason: because it is temporary.
“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.”
He added that Obama's executive action can be “reversed by subsequent presidents.”
But that begged the question: Would a President Romney reverse it?
It was exactly the question CBS' Bob Schieffer asked him last weekend.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Sure, but would you repeal this?
MITT ROMNEY: Well, it would be overtaken by events, if you will, by virtue of my putting in place a long-term solution with-- with legislation which creates law that relates to these individuals, such that they know what their-- their stat-- setting is going to be
BOB SCHIEFFER: I-- I won't keep on about this but just to-- to make sure I understand, would you leave this in place while you worked out a long-term solution or would you just repeal it?
MITT ROMNEY: We'll-- we'll look at that-- we'll look at that setting as we-- as we reach that. But my anticipation is, I'd come into office and say we need to get this done on a long-term basis, not this kind of a stopgap measure. What-- what the president did, he-- he should have worked on this years ago. If he felt seriously about this, he should have taken action when he had a Democrat House and Senate, but he didn't. He saves these sort of things until four and a half months before the general election.
The Obama campaign issued this response to Romney's speech: “Today, Mitt Romney told the largest national gathering of Hispanic elected officials: ‘When I make a promise to you - I will keep it.’ But in front of an audience of Republican primary voters, he called the DREAM Act a ‘handout’ and promised to veto it. Now, after seven days of refusing to say whether or not he’d repeal the Obama administration’s immigration action that prevents young people who were brought here through no fault of their own as children from being deported, we should take him at his word that he will veto the DREAM Act as president.”