"Some people have asked if I will let stand the president's executive action. The answer is that I will build my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the president's temporary measure," Romney said.
"I believe English should be the official language of the United States. I also believe that in our schools, we should teach kids in English. ... Kids in this country should learn English so they can have all the jobs and all the opportunity of people who are here.— CNN GOP primary debate, Jan. 26, 2012
"I disagree fundamentally with the idea that the 12 million people who’ve come here illegally should all be allowed to remain in the US permanently, potentially some of them applying for citizenship and becoming citizens, others just staying permanently. That is a form of amnesty, and that it’s not appropriate. We’re a nation of laws. Our liberty is based upon being a nation of laws. I would welcome those people to get in line with everybody else who wants to come here permanently. But there should be no special pathway to permanent residency or citizenship for those that have come here illegally. I welcome legal immigration. Of course we need to secure the border. We need to have an employment verification system with a card to identify who’s here legally and not legally. We need to have employer sanctions that hire people that then don’t have the legal card. But with regards to those already here, it is simply not right and unfair to say they’re going to all get to stay." - 1/5/08 at New Hampshire Republican debate
"My plan is this, which is for those that have come here illegally and are here illegally today, no amnesty. Now, how do people return home? Under the ideal setting, at least in my view, you say to those who have just come in recently, we’re going to send you back home immediately, we’re not going to let you stay here. You just go back home. For those that have been here, let’s say, five years, and have kids in school, you allow kids to complete the school year, you allow people to make their arrangements, and allow them to return back home. Those that have been here a long time, with kids that have responsibilities here and so forth, you let stay enough time to organize their affairs and go home." -1/30/08 at Reagan Library Republican debate
"There should be no special advantage to those who are here illegally," Romney said. "We need to make illegal immigration a thing of the past. I love legal immigration. I welcome legal immigration."
“As president I will stand for a path (to legalization) for anyone who is willing to defend this great nation through military service,” he said.
Those willing to serve “have earned their right to make their life in America,” Romney said.
"It's an important matter to be considered and should be solved on a long-term basis so they know what their future would be in this country," Romney told reporters after stepping off his bus in New Hampshire. Obama's executive order was problematic, he said, because "an executive order, of course, is a short-term matter. It can be reversed by subsequent presidents."
• Mitt Romney will complete a high-tech fence to enhance border security.
• Governor Romney will ensure that we have the officers on the ground we need to gain control of the border.
• A Romney Administration will work to develop an efficient, effective system of exit verification to ensure people do not overstay their visas.
• Mitt Romney will develop an effective, mandatory employment verification system that will enable employers to be sure that those they hire are eligible to work. This will discourage illegal immigrants from coming to America to seek jobs.
• Governor Romney opposes all “magnets” that entice illegal immigrants to come to our country. As governor, he vetoed in-state tuition benefits for illegal immigrants and opposed driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.
• As president, Mitt Romney will foster a legal immigration system that works. This will offer an alternative to those who would otherwise enter illegally. For instance, reforming our current temporary worker program will offer employers who need such staff a legal option to find employees.
• Mitt Romney will speed the processing of applications by eliminating the red tape that is keeping immediate families apart.
• Mitt Romney will work with Congress to give legal permanent residents the same priority as citizens when applying to bring husbands, wives, and minor children to the United States.
• Mitt Romney will reallocate green cards to family of citizens and legal permanent residents.
• The United States is projected to face a shortage of 230,000 science and technology workers by 2018. At the same time, we have set the caps on high-skill visas so low that, for some countries, an entire year’s quota has been filled in an hour. Mitt Romney will ask Congress to raise the caps on visas for highly skilled immigrants.
• Many country caps—or limits on immigrants from specific countries—are so low, that America is losing some of the best and brightest to our international competitors. Mitt Romney will work with Congress to raise the country caps.
• Every foreign student who obtains an advanced degree in math, science, or engineering at a U.S. university should be granted permanent residency.
• As president, Mitt Romney will make the system for bringing in temporary agricultural workers and other seasonal workers functional for both employers and immigrants. We should get rid of unnecessary requirements that delay issuance of a visa, and we should speed the processing of applications.
• Mitt Romney will work with Congress, states, and employers to properly set the cap on non-agricultural temporary worker visas. Many tourist-oriented businesses in the United States rely on these workers and would have to cut back or cease operations if there are not enough visas.
As a nation of immigrants, we’ve found common ground not in our heritage but in our hearts. When generations looked up and saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time, or a piece of sandy beach that was freedom, or stepped off a plane traveling from tyranny to hope, these new Americans surely had many questions and doubts about the life before them.
But one thing they knew without a doubt is that they were coming to a place where anything was possible—that in America, their children, and their grandchildren, would have a better life.