Speech given at the Heritage Foundation on September 14, 2005 (link is to streaming video and streaming or downloadable audio—mp3 of Romney’s 35 min speech followed by 20+ min of a Q&A session—Topic was actually Homeland Security, but during the Q&A session the topic of illegal immigration came up)—transcription of quotes below is my own:
“I would like to see us, as a nation, bringing in fewer illegal immigrants.”
“I do not like the idea, therefore, of Amnesty; because, I’m afraid, that when you have a regular Amnesty program, of one form or another, you will create a greater incentive for people to come into the country illegally.”
“In my state I’ve said that I will veto any legislation which calls for a drivers license for illegal immigrants.”
“I recently had a bill on my desk last year that said that we should give kids of illegal immigrants who lived in our state a tuition break for our state colleges and universities and I said “No” I vetoed that, it’s one of my few vetoes that has stood up. It’s not that those kids deserve to be discriminated against . . . they don’t. But I didn’t want to create any incentives to have people move to our country illegally. Now, why is that? I’d like to have more people come to our country legally. I love immigrant populations coming to this land. They’ve been an enormous source of our strength.”
“Now I realize that there are some states that rely on immigrant populations to carry out agricultural business. Maybe Pres. Bush’s idea of a guest-pass program may be the right answer for that kind of setting . . . but to have that turn into a permanent citizen status or to encourage illegal immigration is something that we should take care to avoid.”
Source: Steve LeBlanc, Associated Press Writer
“A bill to let children of illegal immigrants pay the same lower tuition rate at state colleges as other MA residents sparked a political sparring match between Democrats and the Romney administration. Romney chastised critics for advocating a bill he said would encourage illegal behavior. Romney said the state's focus should be on helping legal immigrants. Giving children of illegal immigrants a tuition break would act as an incentive to draw in more illegal immigrants to
, Romney said.” Massachusetts
"I don't believe in amnesty," Romney said, using a word voiced by Republicans to describe widespread forgiveness of illegal residency in the
. United States
But at the same time, Romney said illegal immigrants should have a chance to obtain citizenship.
"I don't believe in rounding up 11 million people and forcing them at gunpoint from our country," Romney said. "With these 11 million people, let's have them registered, know who they are. Those who've been arrested or convicted of crimes shouldn't be here; those that are here paying taxes and not taking government benefits should begin a process towards application for citizenship, as they would from their home country."
Regarding immigration, Romney said
borders should be made more secure to keep illegal immigrants from entering. He also said he opposed an amnesty program that would automatically grant citizenship to the approximately 11 million illegal immigrants already in this country. U.S.
"I think that route is not acceptable at this stage," he said. "We should report illegal behavior."
Instead, Romney said, illegal immigrants should be identified and required to apply for green cards, which would allow them to live and work in the
. Those whose applications are accepted could stay, the rest would be returned to their native countries. United States
Governor Mitt Romney is seeking an agreement with federal authorities that would allow
state troopers to arrest undocumented immigrants for being in the country illegally. Massachusetts
Under the agreement Romney is seeking, troopers would have greatly expanded powers: They could check an immigrant's legal status during routine patrols such as during a traffic stop and decide whether the immigrant should be held.
"It's one more thing you can do to make this a less attractive place for illegal aliens to come to work," said Romney.