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Thompson Campaign Press Release - Statement by Bill Lacy on Mitt Romney's Real Record on Immigration

October 31, 2007

McLean, VA - Thompson campaign manager Bill Lacy today released the following statement regarding Mitt Romney's bogus immigration claims:

"Once again today, Mitt Romney is proving he will do anything and say anything for political gain. The fact is, Mitt Romney called the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill 'reasonable' while the vast majority of conservative Republicans called it 'unacceptable.' No matter how many millions he spends trying to cover up his previous positions, Romney's record is to the left of the GOP base on immigration, just as it is on matters of life, gay rights and fiscal responsibility."


In 2005, Romney said he would be "delighted" to provide support to illegal immigrants who wish to seek permanent legal status in the U.S.

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In 2005, Romney called the McCain-Kennedy-Bush comprehensive immigration reform bill "reasonable" and defended the Senate bill. "I think that an amnesty program is one which all of the illegal immigrants who are here are now citizens and walk in and get your citizenship. What the President has proposed and what Senator McCain and Cornyn have proposed are quite different from that...those are the things that are being considered, and I think that those are reasonable proposals." (Mitt Romney Interview, The Boston Globe, 11/30/05; Listen: )

In 2006, Romney vocally criticized fellow Republicans who stood up against the McCain-Kennedy-Bush amnesty bill and said they made "a big mistake." " of McCain's potential rivals for the GOP nomination, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, has made it known that he supports the President's immigration position, saying that Republicans who have broken rank with Bush 'made a big mistake.'" (Liz Sidoti, "McCain May Alienate Some Conservatives," The Associated Press, 9/20/06)

In 2006, Romney said that some illegal immigrants in the U.S. "should begin a process towards application for citizenship." "Gov. Mitt Romney expressed support...for an immigration program that places large numbers of illegal residents on the path toward citizenship...Romney said illegal immigrants should have a chance to obtain citizenship. '...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.'" (Evan Lehman, "Romney Supports Immigration Program, But Not Granting 'Amnesty,'" The Lowell Sun, 3/30/06)

As Governor, Romney allowed three sanctuary cities to operate in Massachusetts: Cambridge, Orleans, and Brewster. (Yvonne Abraham, "City's Sanctuary Status Mocked," Boston Globe, 7/5/06; Lisa M. Seghetti, "Enforcing Immigration Law: The Role of State and Local Law Enforcement," Congressional Research Service, RL32270, 11/14/06; Town Resolution,, accessed 10/1/07)

FRED THOMPSON'S RECORD: Consistently Voted To Secure Our Border

Supported The "Illegal Immigration Reform And Immigrant Responsibility Act Of 1996."

• Improved border control, facilitation of legal entry and interior enforcement

• Enhanced enforcement and penalties against alien smuggling and document fraud;

• Inspection, apprehension, detention, adjudication, and removal provisions for inadmissible and deportable aliens;

• Enforcement of restrictions against employment;

• Restrictions on benefits for aliens.

(H.R. 3610, Roll Call Vote #200, Bill Passed 72-27: R 50-3; D 22-24, 7/18/96, Thompson Voted Yea)

Voted For "The Immigration Control And Financial Responsibility Act Of 1996" As Part Of The Senate Judiciary Committee And On The Senate Floor.

• The legislation increased enforcement of laws against illegal immigration and eliminated incentives for legal immigrants to come to the United States and obtain welfare benefits.

• Increased authorization of funding for enforcement personnel and facilities

• Development of a system to verify eligibility to work and receive public assistance

• Strengthened existing employment-verification procedures, including (1) social security account information; (2) types of acceptable documents; (3) birth certificates; and (4) driver's licenses.

• Authorized INS wiretaps for alien smuggling investigations

(S. 1664, Roll Call Vote #107, Cloture Motion Passed 100-0, 5/2/96, Thompson Voted Yea).

Voted To End Chain Migration And The Visa Lottery In Senate Judiciary Committee, And For The Construction Of A Border Fence Near San Diego. (S. 1664, Judiciary Committee, Committee Report, 4/10/96 )

Was One Of Only 20 Senators To Vote To Repeal The Ban On The Search Of Open Fields By INS Officials. (S. 1664, Roll Call Vote #80, Amendment Rejected 20-79: R 9-44; D 11-35, 4/24/96, Thompson Voted Yea)

Voted For "The Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2001."

• Authorized 400 additional inspectors, investigators, and other staff on the INS over the next five years

• Strengthened the requirements that all commercial passenger ships and airplanes entering the United States provide a list of passengers and crew before arrival

• Provided for an entry-exit system in which visa holders are checked with a biometric identifier when he/she enters and leaves the country (H.R. 3525, Roll Call Vote #75, Agreed To 97-0, 4/18/02, Thompson Voted Yea).

Fred Thompson, Thompson Campaign Press Release - Statement by Bill Lacy on Mitt Romney's Real Record on Immigration Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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