Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney acknowledged that Hispanics may not always agree with him, but he offered a vision Thursday of an America more welcoming to certain legal immigrants and their families.
But Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is expected to officially accept his party’s nomination at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in two months, focused much of his speech on immigration, offering more details than on many prior occasions.
While he started by acknowledging that Hispanics may disagree with him on some issues, “there is much more that unites us than there is that divides us,” he said.
Romney said he hopes to crack down more on illegal immigration, including pushing for a border fence and strengthening efforts to find people who enter legally but overstay visas. Romney also tempered his remarks in light of his audience.
“I’m going to address the problem of illegal immigration in a civil, and resolute, manner,” he said.
But he spent most of his time talking about making it easier for legal immigrants to come to America, and making a case for the necessity of welcoming them.
“I will prioritize efforts that strengthen legal immigration and make it more transparent and easier,” Romney said. “…Too many families are caught in a broken system. For those seeking to come to America the right way, that kind of bureaucratic nightmare has to end.”
Also, more non-citizens would be able to stay legally in the United States under Romney’s plan because he would exempt from current numerical caps on green cards the spouses and minor children of green card holders.
Romney also pledged to find a path to legal citizenship for any immigrant who serves in the U.S. military, and argued that visas ought to be automatic for science and technology students who come here to be educated—and under current rules then often go home to create jobs in other countries because they’re not allowed to stay.