IT’S OFFICIAL MITT ROMNEY GETS THE GOP NOMINATION

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

photo source: Getty Images

This is it. Today, Willard Mitt Romney goes where no semi-Mexican Mormon has  gone before. Romney is officially  the Republican nominee for president. Forget presumptive. Forget putative. Forget probable. When Texas  doled out its 155 delegates, that pushed Romney over the 1,144 he needs to  clinch the title, and transform himself from front-runner to official  nominee.

(L.- r.) Jae C. Hong/AP, Carolyn Kaster/AP

The battle between Romney and President  Obama began weeks ago, after it was clear there were no real contenders left to  challenge the former Massachusetts governor. Mitt Romney’s victory in the Texas primary on Tuesday gives him enough delegates to capture the Republican presidential nomination, but he remains some distance from recovering from the damage caused by months of tussling with rivals in his own party.

As Texans cast their ballots, Romney was campaigning in two swing states — Nevada and Colorado — that attest to the consequences of the nomination battle. Both states are home to large populations of Latinos. But Romney’s conservative positioning on immigration during the primaries has helped to spike his unpopularity among Latinos. He attacked rival Rick Perry, for instance, for granting in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.
Romney can afford to lose the Latino vote, but not by the lopsided proportions seen in recent polls. A national survey released last week by NBC, the Wall Street Journal and Telemundo found Obama leading Romney among Latino voters 61% to 27%. Romney has been working to address the issue. Speaking to a Latino audience last week in Washington, he called the failure of schools that educate minority students “the civil rights issue of our time.” Polls have long found education to be a top priority for Latino voters.

Romney’s rightward tilt during the primaries also created problems for him with women. A poll released last week by ABC and the Washington Post showed 51% of female voters support Obama and 44% back Romney. Obama’s reelection campaign has sought to depress Romney’s standing among women by highlighting conservative stands that the former Massachusetts governor took during the primaries, such as his pledge to end public funding of Planned Parenthood and his support for a measure that would let any employer deny birth control coverage to employees based on moral objections.

Steven Senne/AP

After weeks of sparring between Romney and Obama, it’s easy to forget how much pressure Romney faced from his party’s conservative wing during the primaries.

For weeks at a time, Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum each ran ahead of Romney in national polls of Republicans, thanks largely to conservative resistance to Romney, who was perceived as more moderate.
Ultimately, only Santorum, who had a stronger claim than Romney on ideological purity, posed a serious threat, winning 11 contests in states spread across the nation’s heartland. Santorum dropped out of the race last month after losing the Wisconsin primary.
 In the end, it took Romney nearly five months to clinch the nomination with his win in Texas. He needed 58 of the 152 Texas delegates at stake Tuesday to reach the 1,144 needed to clinch the nomination, according to the Associated Press. With no opponents actively campaigning, Romney easily hit the mark.

Photographer: Evan Vucci/AP

“I am honored that Americans across the country have given their support to my candidacy and I am humbled to have won enough delegates to become the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee,” Romney said in a statement Tuesday evening. “Our party has come together with the goal of putting the failures of the last three-and-a-half years behind us.”
Over the next several weeks, Romney will pick up more delegates in the six remaining primaries, including California’s on June 5.

Read More: Chicago Tribune

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WHEN DID POLITICIANS BEGIN TO CAMPAIGN TO HISPANIC VOTERS?

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

One of the earliest Spanish-language political ads dates back to 1960, when a young Jackie Kennedy spoke into the camera in Spanish, urging voters to elect her husband, then-Senator John F. Kennedy.
Voten ustedes por el partido Demócrata el día 8 de noviembre,” she said, adding “Que viva Kennedy.” Her husband’s “Viva Kennedy” clubs were some of the first efforts to energize Latino voters in a presidential race.

These days, courting that voting bloc is a must for anyone running for president, or any office in the Southwest. But syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette, Jr., says too many political operatives are still clueless about this country’s diverse Latino population.

“They feel now obligated to learn about it,” Navarrette said. “But we really are sort of this foreign entity to them, and they are just like walking on the moon trying to figure it out.”

So to get their bearings, campaigns and candidates have historically reached for a few familiar props to help them connect with these voters. The most obvious prop? Mexican food. Though Navarrette says he is sick of campaign events that come with a side of salsa.

“There are a lot of different ways you can relate to me, things we may have in common,” Navarrette said. “You don’t necessarily have to break it down to — ‘you know, you like tacos, I like tacos, let’s have a conversation about tacos’.”

In fact, that brand of superficial campaigning is known as “taco politics.” That is according to Stephen Nuño, a professor of politics and international affairs at Northern Arizona University.

But taco politics can backfire.

“One of the most famous moments was when Gerald Ford ate tamales,” Nuño said. Ford was in front of a Texas crowd in 1976, during the Republican primary. But he didn’t know the tamale’s corn husk wrapping isn’t edible. “So he took a bite out of the tamale with the husk still on it,” Nuño said. “And of course that doesn’t look good, it doesn’t taste good, and it only shows just how distant President Ford was to the Hispanic culture.”

Nearly a half-century later, the current Republican presidential contenders have their share of gaffes under their belts.
Mitt Romney used Fidel Castro’s slogan in a speech to a Cuban American crowd in Miami. Rick Santorum told Puerto Ricans they should speak English if they want to be a state. And there was the time Newt Gingrich seemed to call Spanish the language of the ghetto. “The words I chose to express myself weren’t the best ones,” Gingrich said afterward in a video message delivered in Spanish with a heavy American accent. He explained that he meant to say that English is necessary for progress and success in this country.

”]While criticizing Spanish speakers may be a sure way to lose Latino votes, it’s not clear how effective reaching out to voters in Spanish really is. Stanford University political scientist Gary Segura estimates that around 70 percent of the Hispanic electorate uses English as their main language.

“Even if you advertise in Spanish, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are reaching the preponderance of voters,” Segura said.

Plus, producing ads in Spanish can be risky if campaigns don’t get the wording just right. Because of regional language differences, certain Spanish words can sound innocent to one audience, but obscene to another. Take this ad from Shelley Berkley, a Nevada Democratic congresswoman running for the U.S. Senate. The ad, in Spanish, attacked her Republican opponent, Sen. Dean Heller, on his immigration record.

Her ad said Heller opposed immigration reform and would even deport grandparents and separate children from their mothers—or “hijos de sus madres.” It is subtle, but that phrase unintentionally sounds the same as the Spanish equivalent of ‘S.O.B.’s.’

In a way, most of these examples could be chalked up as cosmetic missteps. But Ruben Navarrette says there is a fundamental problem with how presidential campaigns are reaching out to Latinos.

“The number one reason campaigns are struggling is they need to shut up and listen,” Navarrette said. His advice circles back to the Kennedy family, the pioneers of Latino voter outreach. “Famously in 1968, Bobby Kennedy went before the Mexican-American community and he asked two questions, ‘What do you want, and how can I help?’” Navarrette said. “Think about that for a second. Nobody does that anymore.”

This LA Times photo captures a moment of
friendship between Bobby Kennedy and Chavez
during Chavez's 25-day fast in 1960.

READ MORE: FRONTERA DESK

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WHY HASN’T GEORGE W. BUSH ENDORSED ROMNEY: WATCH MSNBC NEWS CLIP WITH ALICIA MENENDEZ OF NBC LATINO

Romney’s endorsements: Where’s Bush ’43?

AP PHOTOS

MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts speaks with power political panel: Alicia Menendez of NBC Latino, New York Daily News Columnist S.E. Cupp, and USA Today politics reporter Jackie Kucinich.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

>>> one person who has been noticeably absent from the romney endorsement circuit, former president bush . a question about g.w. made for an awkward exchange with romney and the parents of the 43rd president.

>> endorsement?

>> no, no.

>> i love that picture of the two presidents, father, son. quite a legacy.

>> we want to bring in our political power panel this morning, political commentate, alista menendez and jackie kucinich. great to have you here. former president g.w. bush after after thought yesterday, also m.i.a. at half a dozen fund-raisers romney ‘s had throughout texas this week. what do you make of the fact that he’s virtually invisible now? is the silence deafening?

>> i think that the bushes are very aware of the fact that their brand at this point is still a bit complicated, that for george w. bush to come forward isn’t necessarily the boon to mitt romney that he wishes it were. the bigger endorsement is the jeb bushendorsement, big regional strength in florida even if doesn’t weigh huge in the primary it’s great in the general.

>> one endorsement the democrats are jumping all over is paul ryan . take a look. a new ad attacking romney and ryan ‘s support for one another. when old mitt claps his hands for the paul ryan plan that’s amaury*

>> when the plan came out i applauded it when paul ryan gives props to old mitt romney ‘s chops that’s amore*

>> entitlement speech was very good.

>> do you think that radio ad is going to be lightning for what’s taking place this love fest between the two, other than that a song in our head for the rest of the day.

>> no. these endorsements don’t mean anything and they especially don’t mean much when they’re delivered both rubio and ryan have given them. those are both great candidates and conservative favorites. but their endorsements were more process driven than about mitt romney . their endorsements were we need to come together, we don’t want to fight on the floor of the convention, not ringing endorsements for mitt romney . i think both of those guys kind of wanted to just get them out of the way.

>> all right. jackie , despite romney ‘s lead in wisconsin there’s a new nbc/marist poll showing him trailing president obama by double digits . the president has 52% support versus romney ‘s 35 and trailing the president in several other battleground polls. do you expect numbers to tighten up as romney begins to wrap up the nomination?

>> i think as we see the campaign go on, they might tighten up a bit. but romney is suffering from is not being able to really gin up a lot of enthusiasm with some of the under pent voters and that’s — he hasn’t been able to pay a lot of attention to them because of the conservative nature of the this race. it will tighten up a about they have find a way to generate enthusiasm to voters on the fence.

>> as we talk about rick santorum , if he does poorly in wisconsin and numbers are fading in pennsylvania what does it mean for his campaign?

>> interesting aspect of that poll that we saw of the nbc/marist poll santorum fares better against obama than romney does. there’s still support out there. he doesn’t have much reason to get out of the race before pennsylvania. so i would imagine he’ll probably stick around.

>> doesn’t rick santorum support president obama more than he supports romney ?

>> santorum?

>> yeah. isn’t he the one that said if i’m not the one, don’t vote for romney , vote forpresident obama .

>> he was trying to say mitt romney and obama have more in common than people think.

>> let’s talk about newt gingrich . sheldon adelson , the billionaire benny factor single-handedly penning checks to the campaign met with romney ‘s backers according to “the washington post .” ed ale donson and his family spent $16 million, that’s a drop in the bucket, a heavy night on the town for that family. jackie , what more does newt gingrich need to do to get the message that this isn’t going his way and he needs to hang it up?

>> i don’t think anyone can make newt get out other than newt. he’s going to stick around. at this point he’s not making a big impact in polls anymore. the frank lynn marginal poll had him at single digits. he can stick around as long as he wants to. he wants to be part of the conversation and whether or not anyone’s paying attention.

>> as we speak of wealthy donors the word that the company at the center of the pink slime controversy involving ammonia-tainted beef by-products headed by a majorromney donor, es this easy pickings for democrats to make a pink slime ad?

>> sure. democrats are focused on the ryan contrast piece. i think that will play much bigger and better with voters than this temporary question of pink slime connecting it to medicare, medicaid, big tax cuts for billionaires and millionaires. that’s what’s going to resonate with voters, not this meat thing.

>> i think alicia’s right. i don’t think the pick slink distraction will have too many legs.

>> ladies, thanks so much. appreciate it.

HOW DID TEXAS REDISTRICTING AFFECT ROMNEY’S CAMPAIGN?

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

Texas should be playing a role in Republican politics this year as big as, well, Texas.

The fast-growing state – the most populous by far in the Republican column – has four new seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, a big U.S. Senate race and more than a 10th of the delegates who will choose the party’s presidential nominee.

But a racially tinged dispute over redrawing its congressional districts has delayed the Texas primary by almost three months, complicated the U.S. Senate and House contests and altered the race for the White House.

A San Antonio court pushed Texas’ primary back to May 29 from March 6 after complaints that a new electoral map drawn by Republicans violated the federal Voting Rights Act by diluting the voting power of blacks and Latinos.

Three of Texas’ four new U.S. House seats were created in areas dominated by whites, even though Hispanics and blacks accounted for 90 percent of Texas’ population growth since 2000.

The battle sets white Republicans, who have firmly established political control in Texas within the past decade, against rising and strongly Democratic Hispanic and black populations, whose leaders argue that they are being unfairly denied an equal voice in state politics.

The stakes are high both for 2012, when the White House and control of the U.S. Congress are up for grabs, and longer term, when a rapidly growing Hispanic population is expected eventually to disadvantage Republicans and benefit Democrats.

“Republicans can work that racial solidarity thing for a while, but in the end, they’ve got to do better than 35 percent of the Hispanic vote or their election prospects are not great,” said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

States with a history of minority voting rights violations must obtain pre-clearance from either the U.S. Department of Justice or the federal court in Washington, D.C., before they can use new maps. The new voter map in Florida, another fast-growing southern state, has also been subject to legal wrangling this year.

ALREADY A MINORITY

Non-Hispanic whites already account for a minority of Texas’ residents, with 45 percent of the population. The state is 38 percent Latino and 12 percent black, numbers expected to continue to rise.

President Barack Obama lost Texas by 11-percentage points in 2008. He got only 26 percent of the white vote, but was backed by 63 percent of Hispanics and 98 percent of blacks, fueling talk that it will not be long before Republican red Texas turns purple, if not Democratic blue.

“We sort of feel like we have the wind at our backs,” said Anthony Gutierrez, deputy executive director of the Texas Democratic Party.

Democrats have won Texas in only three of the last 15 presidential elections. The party has not won a statewide election since 1994, and Republicans cemented their control of the state with huge victories in the 2010 midterms.

But even Republicans acknowledge that changing demographics mean the party must appeal to Hispanics to hold onto power beyond the next few years. Latinos in Texas generally vote Democratic by a 2-to-1 margin, which won’t be helped by a redistricting fight seen as a battle to maintain white control.

“It is obviously a high-risk strategy in a state that is increasingly Hispanic,” said Michael Li, a Dallas-based election law lawyer who runs the blog “Texas Redistricting.” Li is not involved in the redistricting fight.

SUPER TUESDAY NOT SUPER FOR ROMNEY

The redistricting mess has already affected the 2012 presidential race, notably the hopes of Mitt Romney, who may have done well in the Texas primary if it had taken place on Super Tuesday – March 6 – as originally scheduled.

Texas would have been the biggest prize up for grabs on Super Tuesday, when 10 other states held primaries and caucuses.

Romney, with far more money and a bigger campaign organization than rivals Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, was best placed to compete in so many states at once. Texas alone has 20 media markets, meaning statewide advertising can cost millions.

Winning or putting in a good showing in Texas would have boosted Romney. The state’s 155 delegates, awarded proportionally, are a huge chunk of the 1,144 needed to become the nominee.

A strong performance on Super Tuesday also would have given Romney a badly needed breakthrough in the heart of southern Republican conservatism, weakening Santorum and perhaps cutting short what has become a protracted nomination fight.

Instead, Romney has been a weak front-runner and Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator best known for strong religious conservatism, has been winning over the party’s right wing.

“It (a March 6 Texas primary) would have changed a lot of things. It would have changed the entire complexion of Super Tuesday,” said Matt Mackowiak, an Austin-based Republican strategist, especially with Santorum and Gingrich both vying for the support of the most conservative Texans.

“I suspect if the field was split and if Santorum and Gingrich hadn’t had $5 million or $3 million to spend, then Romney probably would have won Texas on March 6,” he said.

With Texas now one of the last states to vote, the nominee could be chosen by May 29. Even if it isn’t, Santorum is now considered more likely to take Texas, thanks to improving fund-raising and his solidified position as the conservative alternative to Romney.

“Romney starts with a significant disadvantage in terms of public opinion,” said Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, although he added that Romney’s big campaign war chest means that he could spend heavily in Texas to target clusters of mainstream conservatives in major media markets.

A Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research poll last week showed Santorum eight percentage points ahead of Romney among likely Republican primary voters in Texas. Santorum was at 35 percent to 27 percent for Romney.

Gingrich was at 20 percent and Ron Paul, a Texas congressman lagging in most polls, was at 8 percent.

The redistricting mess is affecting races down the ticket as well, with many voters not sure where they are registered and many candidates unsure of where they should run or raise money while the court fight has continued.

“I can look around the state and see the confusion in the eyes of the average voter,” said Chris Elam, communications director for the state Republican party. Some 100 Republicans alone have applied to run for the 36 House seats, he said.

The interim map is expected to stand, but there is a chance it could be changed again by the Washington court.

The May 29 date is after schools close for the summer, leading to worries that turnout will be low, which often leads to unpredictable results.

The race to replace retiring Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has been most affected by the upheaval. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has been favored to replace Hutchison, because of his statewide name recognition and fundraising prowess.

But the long delay has given opponents, especially Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz, time to raise money and their profiles. Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and Craig James, a one-time television sports analyst, are also in the race.

If no one wins a majority on May 29, state law mandates a runoff vote on July 31, the heart of the hot Texas summer when an even smaller turnout would be expected.

On Monday, the Republican Party of Texas received a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice thatconfirmed federal pre-clearance of the temporary and emergency changes to the RPT rules that were adopted on February 29 at the emergency meeting of the State Republican Executive Committee.

As was reported in previous redistricting updates, during the February redistricting trial, the three-judge federal panel in San Antonio indicated to Chairman Munisteri that the RPT needed to obtain USDOJ pre-clearance on the party’s convention process. The DOJ attorney at the trial testified that his office would expedite the review of the changes and could reduce the approval time from a couple of months to a couple of weeks. The rules changes made by the SREC were submitted to the USDOJ on March 5, 2012 and this week the RPT received a letter verifying that the pre-clearance had indeed been expedited and approved.

Thus, the final legal obstacle has been overcome in the 2012 Republican Party of Texas convention process. The county and district conventions are moving forward on the dates of April 14 or April 21 (will vary by county), and the State Convention will be held on June 7-9 in Fort Worth. For a full list of RPT Rules governing the 2012 Election Cycle, you can visit www.TexasGOP.org and view the updated document.

READ MORE: REUTERS

 

HOW HAS ROMNEY’S POSITION CHANGED TOWARD THE LATINO ISSUES: FROM DREAM ACT TO IMMIGRATION

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce And Univision Hold "Meet The Candidates" Event January 24, 2012 - Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America

Mitt Romney won a landslide victory over Rick Santorum in Puerto Rico last weekend and Santorum is not taking his 75-point defeat lightly.

Santorum, who spent two full days campaigning in the Caribbean island, congratulated Romney on his victory in a press release late Sunday night, but in the same breath accused the former governor of pandering to Puerto Rico’s Latino voters by switching his position on making English the official language of every U.S. state.

“Their decision to put political expedience and political deception ahead of previously held policy positions further erodes their candidate’s credibility and trust,” Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley said of the Romney campaign in the statement. “We all know Mitt Romney will do and say anything to get votes, and this is just another example of that.”

But just how much of a conservative two-step did Romney dance while courting Puerto Ricans? Here’s a look at some of the positions Romney softened, and those he stood by while attempting to woo Latino voters.

English as the Official Language

After Santorum was skewered for saying Puerto Rico would have to make English their official language in order to become a state, Romney toned down his own position on the issue while campaigning in Puerto Rico last week.

“I don’t have preconditions that I would impose,” Romney said shortly after touching down on the Island Friday. “English has been an official language of Puerto Rico for 100 years and I think selecting the words of your governor, Spanish is the language of Puerto Rico’s heritage, English is the language of opportunity.”

Both languages are currently considered “official” in the island territory and Romney encouraged young people to “learn both.” While he emphasized the importance of learning English, he did not say it should be the sole official language.

But that’s not what he said during debates in January.

“I believe English should be the official language of the United States,” Romney said on the debate stage.

The U.S. currently does not have an “official” language. If English was adopted as the “official” language, no government documents could be printed or written in any language besides English. Many federal documents are currently printed in both Spanish and English.

At another January debate, Romney noted that “English is the language of this nation” and touted his efforts as the governor of Massachusetts to get rid of bilingual education in favor of English emersion programs.

“People need to learn English to be successful to get great jobs,” Romney said at the NBC Debate. “We don’t want to have people to be limited in their ability to achieve the American Dream because they don’t speak English.”

A Romney spokeswoman disputed that Romney’s position had changed, arguing that even though Romney supports making English the official language of the U.S., that would have no bearing on Puerto Rico becoming a state. “These positions are not at odds,” said campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul in an email. “What the federal government does regarding the official language is separate from what states do.”

The Dream Act

Romney has been firm in his opposition to the Dream Act, which would give undocumented minors a path to legal residency if they attend college or join the military.

While campaigning in Iowa Romney explicitly said he would veto the Dream Act if elected president. As governor of Massachusetts he vetoed the state version of the bill which would have provided in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants.

“The answer is yes,” Romney said of whether he would veto the legislation at the federal level.

Romney later added that giving “special benefits” to “people who come here illegally” was “contrary to the idea of the nation of law.” Romney would, however, support giving legal status to undocumented immigrants who serve in the military.

“I am delighted with the idea that people who come to this country and wish to serve in the military can be given a path to become permanent residents in this country,” he said while campaigning in Iowa. “Those who serve in our military and fulfill those requirements I respect and acknowledge that path.”

Romney has more recently focused on this portion of the Dream Act that he does support.

“I wouldn’t sign the Dream Act as it currently exists, but I would sign the Dream Act if it were focused on military service,” Romney said during a debate in Florida, where 22 percent of the state’s population is Hispanic.

Latino Decisions poll conducted for Univision showed that 84 percent of Latinos nationwide support the Dream Act.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

While Romney softened his firm opposition to the Dream Act while talking to Latino voters, he stood firm on his condemnation of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, whose parents are from Puerto Rico.

While campaigning in Puerto Rico last week, Romney said he would support a Puerto Rican Supreme Court justice, just not one whose “philosophy is quite different than my own.”

He also dubbed Sotomayor “an activist, a liberal jurist.”

The former governor launched a campaign ad against Santorum, criticizing the former Pennsylvania senator for voting to appoint Sotomayor to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in 1998, a post that put her on the fast track to the Supreme Court, the ad claims.

Romney has never been a Sotomayor fan. During her bitter confirmation process in 2009 Romney said her nomination to the Supreme Court was “troubling.”

“There are some things she said that are troubling for those of us who believe that the job of a justice is to follow the law and the Constitution, not to create law,” Romney said in 2009, according to CNN.

Self-Deportation of Undocumented Immigrants

Romney has stood firm on his opposition to amnesty for undocumented immigrants, but his views on deporting the millions of illegal immigrants who are already in America took a new twist during this campaign cycle.

At a Florida debate in January, Romney said he supports “self-deportation,” in which conditions would become so unbearable for undocumented immigrants that they would chose to leave the country.

“The answer is self-deportation,” Romney said at an NBC debate. “People decide that they can do better by going home because they can’t find work here because they don’t have legal documentation to allow them to work here.”

Under Romney’s plan, legal immigrants would have a card proving they were eligible to work in the United States. Without a card, Romney said people would not be able to find work.

“If people don’t get work here, they’re going to self-deport to a place they can get work,” he concluded.

But during his 2008 bid for the presidency, Romney said undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay in the country for a “set period” while applying for legal residency. If that is not granted within the allotted amount of time, he said they should return home.

“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,” Romney told with NBC’s Tim Russert during the 2008 campaign.

“For the great majority, they’ll be going home,” Romney added, stopping short of saying those unapproved immigrants would be deported.

READ MORE: ABC NEWS

Matthew Jaffe, who is covering the 2012 campaign for ABC News and Univision, contributed to this report

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