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Where is Mitt Romney on Amnesty?

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is opening political fire in the direction of Barack Obama over Obama’s recent decision to use executive order to grant amnesty to some 800,000 individuals in the nation illegally. Romney rightfully suggests that Obama is using the move as a political ploy, considering that Obama could have made such a move the day he was sworn in. Instead, as Romney points out, Obama has waited until the 2012 election heated up to initiate the order.

There is no question the Obama move does nothing to solve our nation’s immigration problems. The order does nothing to secure our border and does nothing to address the millions who came here illegally, and remain here illegally. All the move does is signal millions of illegal immigrants that he can and will use executive order to initiate amnesty. Which is exactly what Obama wants to do, in my view.

Romney’s response includes the launch of his own long term immigration plan. And while a good portion of Romney’s plan looks attractive, especially the border security part, there is a glaringly obvious omission in the plan. See if you can spot it.

MITT ROMNEY’S STRATEGY FOR BIPARTISAN & LONG-TERM IMMIGRATION REFORM

A National Immigration Strategy

As president, Mitt Romney will implement a national immigration strategy to address our nation’s broken immigration system. He will reach across the aisle and work with Congress to forge lasting solutions.

Grow Our Economy By Growing Legal Immigration

The United States is currently excluding too many workers who will start businesses, create jobs, foster innovation, and help grow our economy.

Attract More Highly Skilled Immigrants:

· High-skill immigrants start companies, create jobs, and drive innovation at an especially high rate. The United States is also 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.

· America should keep the best and the brightest here in the United States. Every foreign student who obtains an advanced degree in math, science, or engineering at a U.S. university should be granted permanent residency.

Make The Temporary Worker Visa System Functional:

Too often, harvest or tourist season passes before temporary worker visas are approved. In 2006 and 2007, nearly half (43%) of all applications for temporary agricultural workers were not processed on time.

· 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.

Secure Our Borders & Discourage Illegal Immigration

According to the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, Border Patrol lacks control of over half of our southwest border. And some estimates indicate that over 40% of illegal immigrants in America entered the country legally, but then overstayed their visas.

· Mitt Romney will complete a high-tech fence to enhance border security.

· Mitt 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.

· 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.

Cut Red Tape That Is Keeping Immediate Families Apart

Currently, legal immigrants in America often have to wait years to be with husbands, wives, and minor children. As president, Mitt Romney will ensure that husbands, wives, and their minor children are brought together on a timely basis.

· 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.

Military Service

Mitt Romney believes that young illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children should have the chance to become permanent residents, and eventually citizens, by serving honorably in the United States military.

Recognize That Ending Illegal Immigration Is A Humanitarian Issue

Studies show that up to 95% of illegal immigrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border are brought here by “coyotes.” Unfortunately, these coyotes often abuse the people who hire them. Securing our borders and discouraging illegal immigration will dry up demand for coyotes and dry up the coyote market.

You didn’t spot it, did you? That’s because it’s not there. No mention whatsoever on what to do with the millions of people here illegally. If this was a short term plan then maybe, MAYBE there could be a somewhat logical explanation. But this is a long term plan and we have to assume it’s the plan Romney would follow if/when elected.

Romney leaves out any mention of the existing millions of illegal immigrants here because he probably has no idea what to do about the problem and doesn’t want to choose sides. We either go through some sort of re-entry process, we pass blanket amnesty, or we do nothing. It appears that Romney’s plan uses the “do nothing” option.

Which is unfortunate.

-Eric Odom

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