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


The Phony Driver’s-License Issue
As a candidate, Romney also opposed drivers’ licenses for illegal aliens. As Romney boasted in the 2007 Republican presidential debate in St. Petersburg, Florida, “Let me tell you what I did as governor; I said no to driver licenses for illegals.”

The clear implication is that as governor, Romney faced relevant legislation, and rejected it. But that didn’t happen. Romney never “said no” to any such legislation; a search of all legislation during that time shows no such bill ever reached his desk.

Moreover, we really don’t know what Romney would have done if he had been presented with such a bill. His campaign wants voters to believe that he would have vetoed it, but why should voters believe that? If he supported amnesty, refused to punish sanctuary cities, and initiated a phony order to empower the state police, why should anyone think Romney would have vetoed such a bill? Indeed, the Boston Globe reported that Romney was “undecided” on this issue a week before the legislature voted on it.

Illegal-alien students and the Romney record
Romney did veto a bill allowing illegal aliens to attend colleges at the in-state tuition rate. However, his main argument was not that these people were illegal, but rather that Massachusetts couldn’t afford the bill’s $15 million price tag. In other words, so long as illegal aliens paid the same rate as out-of-state students, Romney didn’t appear terribly concerned.

Indeed, Romney repeatedly attacked Governor Perry for supporting a similar bill in Texas. In the September GOP debate in Florida, Romney argued: “That kind of magnet draws people into this country . . . we have to turn off the magnet.”

However, as the Boston Globe reported in June 2004, Romney very reluctantly vetoed another similar bill: “I hate the idea of in any way making it more difficult for kids, even those who are illegal aliens, to afford college in our state.”

During a 2008 debate with Rudy Giuliani in St. Petersburg, Florida, Romney argued that federal law required states to educate illegal aliens:

If you’re here illegally, you should not be here. We’re not going to give you benefits, other than those required by the law, like health care and education, and that’s the course we’re going to have to pursue.

But that’s not entirely correct. While the Plyler v. Doe Supreme Court decision indeed requires states to provide K–12 education to illegal aliens, states are not required to admit illegal aliens to their higher-education institutions. If Governor Romney was serious about saving Massachusetts money by denying illegal aliens lower tuition, then why didn’t he try to ban illegal aliens from enrolling in state colleges altogether? There is no record that he ever did so.

Romneycare CARING FOR Illegal Aliens
While federal law requires that states provide emergency health care for illegal aliens, Romneycare created a program called the Health Safety Net Fund, which provides medical treatment for illegals, whether it be urgent or routine. The Romney campaign has claimed that the regulations allowing this practice arose long after Romney left office. But the original legislation creating the Health Safety Net Fund states otherwise. Moreover, as the Los Angeles Times reported in October 2011, Romney’s health officials apparently knew this:

But Massachusetts officials involved in crafting the health-care law said there was broad understanding when Romney signed it that at least some people who would benefit would be in the country illegally.

In Romney’s speeches, one of his most common stock phrases is, “we have to turn off the magnet of extraordinary government benefits.” But Romney’s own landmark legislative achievement, Romneycare, provided millions of dollars in taxpayer-subsidized benefits for illegal aliens.


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