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What Happens to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) if Mitt Romney is Elected President?

What Happens to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) if Mitt Romney is Elected President?


Many undocumented youth are wondering about the future of Deferred Action under a Mitt Romney Administration. Would Romney cancel DACA grants and take away people’s work permits? Would he start deporting undocumented kids with pending applications?

Well let’s looks at what Mitt Romney has actually said on the issue. Consistent with his m.o., Romney at first gave encouraging hints on preserving DACA, though at the same time showing how unbelievably ignorant he is about the U.S. immigration system.

People who have received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid. I’m not going to take something that they’ve purchased . . . Before those visas have expired we will have the full immigration reform plan that I’ve proposed.

Just to set the record straight, Deferred Action does not provide a “visa” or any other kind of legal immigration status. It only grants a two-year work permit during which time DHS agrees to hold off on deportation. Also, visas are not “purchased”, unless Romney means there’s some corruption at work. It’s pretty sad that Mitt Romney’s handlers can’t coach him up on an issue that’s so important to the future of our country.

Ever since these promising statements, the media has prodded Romney to clear up whether he would follow through with Deferred Action. His walk-back should have surprised no one.

Later in the week, Romney's campaign clarified that the grandfathering would apply only to those illegal immigrants already accepted into the program.

"He would honor any permits already issued through the President's stopgap deferred action measure," Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said Thursday in an email.

"But he will not continue the President's temporary measure and intends to supersede it as soon as possible with the permanent reform of our broken immigration system that is so badly needed."

A permanent reform? Really? Let's shake that Romney etch-a-sketch one more time. I suppose we were all supposed to forget Mitt Romney’s promise that he would veto the DREAM Act, which is the very type of permanent immigration reform we so desperately need. But worse than Romney’s political cynicism is his moral bankruptcy. As pointed out by his critics,

What, in Mitt Romney’s mind, makes a young immigrant less deserving of this temporary reprieve from deportation on January 20th than he is on October third?

So there you have the makings of Romney’s deferred action policy. A promise not to take away deferred action from immigrants who already have it. But for everyone else, even those with pending DACA applications, you’re out of luck.

And if you're looking for signs from Romney of a well-conceived humanitarian immigration reform that also protects our borders? You too are out of luck.

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