Interview with the Globe (Nov. 30, 2005):
When talking about legislation sponsored by Senator John McCain and others, he described it as something different from amnesty. “An amnesty program is ...all the illegal immigrants who are here are now citizens, and `walk up and get your citizenship,’ ” he said. “What the president has proposed, and what Senator McCain and (Senator John) Cornyn have proposed are quite different than that. ... I think that those are reasonable proposals.”
“That’s very different than amnesty, where you literally say, `OK, everybody here gets to stay,’ ” Romney said in the interview. “It’s saying you could work your way into becoming a legal resident of the country by working here without taking benefits and then applying and then paying a fine.” He also said that it was not “practical or economic for the country” to deport some 12 million immigrants living in the country illegally. “These people contribute in many cases to our economy and to our society,” he said. “In some cases, they do not. But that’s a whole group we’re going to have to determine how to deal with.”
Bloomberg News (March 29, 2006):
Romney said the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally “are not going to be rounded up and box-carred out.” He said those who are paying taxes, learning English, and not using government benefits should be allowed to “get in line” to apply for citizenship. But, he added, “We’re not going to go through a process of tracking them all down and moving them out.”
To reporters in Phoenix (March 13, 2007):
Romney said he disagreed with several aspects of the McCain-Kennedy bill, saying it sought a special course for illegal immigrants that “could result in virtual amnesty.” “My view is there should be no advantage for those that are here illegally in pursuing a course of permanent residency,” Romney said. He also indicated he opposes a guest-worker program because it would “substantially increase the number of individuals who would come through on a temporary worker basis and open a path for citizenship for them, as well.”
Meet the Press (Dec. 16, 2007):
“My view is that those 12 million who’ve come here illegally should be given the opportunity to sign up to stay here, but they should not be given any advantage in becoming a permanent resident or citizen by virtue of simply coming here illegally. And likewise, if they’ve brought a child to this country or they’ve had a child in this country, that’s, that’s wonderful that they’re growing their families, but that doesn’t mean that they all get to stay here indefinitely.” He said illegal immigrants should have a set period to either apply for permanent residency, or citizenship, or return to their home countries. “But for the great majority, they’ll be going home,” he added.
Telephone Town Hall meeting (Nov. 23, 2011):
“My view has been from the very beginning with regards to those that are here illegally, that they should not have any special privilege with regards to becoming a permanent resident of the United States or a citizen of the United States merely by having come here illegally. That they should have to get in the same line with everybody else who wants to come here legally. So I would not prevent them, ultimately, from becoming a permanent resident. But I am not going to let them, simply by virtue of being here illegally, get an advantage relative to those who have waited in line patiently. That’s my view…I just don’t think that those who have come here illegally should be given a special pathway, a special deal, that’s any different than anybody else that wants to apply to come to this country legally.”
Matt Viser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.