Romney: A Conservative on Immigration?
His record doesn’t reflect his current campaign stances.


Romney’s Phony Deputization Program
At least four times during the last three months, Romney has boasted in various debates and on Fox News that he “even deputized state police to enforce our federal immigration laws.” His campaign literature makes the same boast:

Romney signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the federal government allowing Massachusetts State Troopers to investigate immigration status and enforce federal immigration laws. The agreement included authority to arrest illegal aliens encountered during the normal course of their duties.

Indeed, during the ’08 campaign, Romney even produced a campaign commercial called “Cops on the Case,” in which Romney authoritatively states, “As Governor, I authorized the state police to enforce immigration laws.”

This sounds tough; indeed, it sounds like what Governor Jan Brewer (R., Ariz.) tried to do before Obama sicced his Justice Department on her. But this policy never was implemented. It never happened. Even though Romney had the authority to sign such an order with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency four years earlier upon becoming governor, he waited to sign this agreement on December 13, 2006 — 18 days before his term ended.

Since the officers required a five-week course before they could enforce federal immigration law, this policy never was implemented. The order never took effect. State police never were deputized, nor did they ever detain illegal aliens. In any case, the order quickly was overturned by Romney’s successor a few weeks later.

It is difficult not to conclude that Romney signed this agreement simply at the request of his political handlers so that he could portray himself as a conservative for his upcoming campaign. After all, by the end of his gubernatorial term, Romney already was laying the groundwork for his ’08 presidential bid. Indeed, a member of Romney’s Advisory Council for Refugees and Immigrants, Westy Egmont, said in an interview in the October 4, 2011, issue of USA Today, “It came late in his administration as a political statement more than as a well-thought-out policy.”

Romney and Sanctuary Cities
“Sanctuary cities” are municipalities that defy federal law by offering safe haven for illegal aliens. Romney talked tough on this issue in both of his campaigns. Indeed, his campaign literature certainly sounds very conservative:

Cut back federal funding to cities that are “sanctuaries” for illegal immigrants and refuse to comply with federal law or aid federal law enforcement.

And Romney himself said this in August 2007 on Fox News:

And I think we ought to cut off some funding, federal funding, to cities that call themselves sanctuary cities, that welcome people into their cities who are illegal and who provide benefits to individuals . . . but we don’t want sanctuary cities, calling on people to come to this country illegally.

Moreover, the ’08 Romney campaign produced television ads that said he would “cut funding for sanctuary cities.” Romney also attacked his former rival Governor Rick Perry (R., Texas) as weak on this issue.

But what is Romney’s actual record on sanctuary cities? Let’s check

Romney might well get tough on sanctuary cities in the future, but he didn’t when he was governor. During his tenure, at least four Massachusetts cities enacted or renewed legislation declaring themselves sanctuary for illegal immigrants. . . . we asked Romney’s campaign if he had acted against these cities, but they didn’t provide us with any examples. As far as we were able to determine in our own research, Romney made no attempts to penalize, censure, or cut funding to them.

Indeed, Romney continued to give “local aid” to three cities providing sanctuary to illegal aliens — Cambridge, Orleans, and Somerville. In Romney’s 2006 budget — just a year before he called for the federal government to cut off aid to sanctuary cities — Governor Romney poured more than $88 million in state aid to these three municipalities. If Romney had proposed to cut funding to those cities, the funds probably would have been restored by the Democrat-dominated state legislature, but it is the governor’s job to propose the state budget. Romney made no effort whatsoever to propose any reductions in state aid to these three sanctuary cities.


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