After a few rounds of questioning where the candidates discussed the 2008 housing crisis, the Iranian political situation, a couple of new moderators and a 3 AM phone call that Fidel Castro is dead, the candidates finally got to chatting about illegal immigration, and the first question– a general one asking for a solution– went to Mitt Romney. He began with a simple answer to the 12 million and counting displaced foreign nationals: “self-deportation.”
Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times asked Romney to explain something in his immigration plan– the fact that he wanted to get people out of the country to apply for entrance legally, but also did not call for deporting anyone. How would he get them out of the country?
“The answer is self-deportation,” Romney replied, “they decide they can do better by going home because they can’t find work here because they don’t have the legal documentation to get work here.” He added that he would be willing to give them a transition period.
The moderator repeated the word. “Self-deportation? Isn’t that what we have now?” Romney replied that “we have a card that says who is here legally,” and that he understands the plight of illegal immigrants, but “I don’t think it’s fair to the people who have loved ones waiting on line to get here.”
The segment via NBC below:
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