Mitt Romney has vigorously criticized both Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich for their immigration positions. But it turns out that back in 2006, Romney’s views on immigration tracked closely to Gingrich’s current views, although Romney went a step further by suggesting that some illegal immigrants be able to become citizens. (Gingrich is only advocating that they be given legal status, not citizenship.) Bloomberg reports:
In 2006, Romney said regarding undocumented immigrants in this country: “We’re not going to go through a process of tracking them all down and moving them out.”
He suggested that some could stay and pursue legal status while others are deported. “We should have those individuals who are here illegally begin a process either of returning to their homes — particularly those that are unable to be here without government support or those who are involved in crime –or beginning a process of registering for a citizenship, applying for citizenship and then carrying out the process necessary to get there,” Romney said.
So why the change in views? According to Bloomberg, because he wanted to be on the side of the immigration issue that appealed to Iowans:
While Romney and his campaign say there has been no change in his position on immigration, some strategists close to him say Romney did switch stances in 2007, after traveling to Iowaand hearing the depth of anti-immigration sentiment there. The chief of Romney’s 2008 Iowa campaign, Doug Gross, called the shift a direct result of Romney grasping the “political implications” of his immigration stance.