Mitt Romney was Ahead of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer with “Papers Please” Legislation

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012


(By Fay Paxton, cross-posted at The Pragmatic Pundit)

The Obama administration’s announcement that it will stop deporting some young undocumented immigrants has placed immigration at the forefront of the presidential campaign and candidate Romney in a bit of a stew.  Pundits suggest Romney must moderate his position on immigration, but what exactly is his position?

As Governor of Massachusetts, in 2006, Romney signed an agreement with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency that would have permitted State Troopers to arrest and seek deportation of suspected illegal immigrants they encountered during the course of their normal duties.

A group of 30 special-trained troopers were to be deputized to enforce immigration matters; to make arrests on immigration charges, question and detain suspected illegal immigrants, charge them with a violation of immigration law and place them in removal proceedings.  Soon after signing the executive order, Romney left the governorship to run for President.  In his television ad he said, “As President, I’ll oppose amnesty, cut funding for sanctuary cities and secure our borders.”

The newly elected governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, rescinded the agreement within his first week in office.

Romney, who had the harshest immigration policy of the Republican presidential candidates, has received endorsements from Arizona’s SB 1070’s authors and main supporters,  Russell Pearce, Kris Kobach and Jan Brewer. Two days before the Supreme Court was set to hear opening arguments about the controversial law, Romney held several fundraisers and a rally in Arizona, where he embraced and praised birther-extermist and anti-immigration enforcer, Sheriff Joe Arpaio.


From Huffington Post:

Joe Arpaio’s Office Arrests 6-Year-Old Suspected Undocumented Immigrant

Romney’s immigration adviser, Kris Kobach told CNN,  “He [Romney] stated very publicly that Arizona’s law should be a model for how the federal government enforces its immigration laws. And he’s correct there too.”

Romney’s “self-deportation” policy shares the same basic approach as Arizona’s SB-1070.