President’s Decision on Immigration Shapes Campaign Weekend

BY Christina Bellantoni and Terence Burlij  June 18, 2012 at 8:51 AM EDT

Mitt Romney; photo by Gwen Ifill/PBS NewsHour

Mitt Romney campaigns in Ohio. Photo by Gwen Ifill/PBS NewsHour.

The Morning Line

President Obama’s move to loosen deportation rules for nearly 1 million young, undocumented immigrants has brought immigration back to the political stage, as both sides continue to battle for the hearts and minds of the growing Hispanic population.

The way he did it — administrative action that, of course, could be undone by the next president — gives Democrats something concrete to campaign on this summer.

Mitt Romney’s initial reaction, which you can see here, was to say he agrees with Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio that the president made a long-term solution to immigration reform more difficult. Romney did not answer reporters’ questions as he boarded his campaign bus about whether it was a decision he would overturn as president.

But he got another chance Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” as Bob Schieffer attempted to pin him down on what he would do as president. Would he repeal the order?

> Well, let’s step back and look at the issue. I mean first of all, we have to secure the border, we need to have an employment verification system, to make sure that those that are working here in this country are here legally. And then, with regards to these kids who were brought in by their parents through no fault of their own, there needs to be a long-term solution so they know what their status is. This is something Congress has been working on, and I thought we were about to see some proposals brought forward by Sen. Marco Rubio and by Democrat Senators, but the president jumped in and said I’m going to take this action, he called it a stop-gap measure. I don’t know why he feels stop-gap measures are the right way to go.

Romney said Mr. Obama has done “nothing” on immigration since he took office and said he would support permanent residence for illegal immigrants who have served in the military.

“Sure. But would you repeal this?” Schieffer pushed.

Romney dismissed the question, saying it “would be overtaken by events” as he would have put in place a long-term fix. He also said if the president “really wanted to make a solution that dealt with these kids or with illegal immigration in America, than this is something he would have taken up in his first three-and-a-half years, not in his last few months.”

On the Friday’s NewsHour, Jeffrey Brown got two takes — from White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Munoz and Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin.

Munoz noted that Friday’s action was only a temporary step. “It’s not a permanent solution,” Munoz said. “The president was very clear about that today. And he very strongly supports congressional action to resolve this problem in a permanent way.”

Sensenbrenner claimed the decision would negatively impact Americans looking for work. “The principle problem facing our economy today is jobs. What the president is doing is flooding the job market with illegal immigrants that he is giving temporary work permits to. Not fair,” said Sensenbrenner.

“I think the president has broken his oath to faithfully execute the laws by essentially giving a ‘get out of deportation free’ card to 800,000 people that he has selected through his secretary of homeland security,” he added.

Watch the segment here or below.

We also talked with journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who has been advocating for passage of the DREAM Act since revealing in 2011 that he, too, is undocumented. Watch our piece on him here.

If you missed the president’s speech, you can watch it here or below. And if you speak a language other than English, join us to help translate the speech.

PAUL’S ARMY

First, Romney won the Iowa caucuses. Then it was Rick Santorum. But after the weekend, it was Texas Rep. Ron Paul who ended up with the most delegates from the Hawkeye State.

Jennifer Jacobs reports for the Des Moines Register:

After a two-day tug-of-war marked by bouts of angry shouting, Iowa Republicans elected 25 delegates to send to the national convention in Florida in late August.

By far, the majority will be Paul backers – much to the disappointment of some Iowa Republicans who wanted to send a more mixed “unity” delegation to vote for all-but-certain nominee Mitt Romney.

The Los Angeles Times’ Seema Mehta notes the Iowa maneuver is “part of a quiet strategy by Paul and his backers to amass an army of supporters at the GOP gathering in August in Tampa, Fla., to push Paul’s views on liberty, states’ rights, the monetary system and foreign policy.”

2012 LINE ITEMS

  • As you can see below, Gwen Ifill (@pbsgwen) and our NewsHour team @mobilemort and @maryjobrooks met up with Romney’s bus tour in Ohio on Sunday. Tune in to Monday’s NewsHour for her report.

  • The New York Times’ Jeff Zeleny and Ashley Parker report on the Romney bus tour and how it’s served as an audition for some potential vice presidential picks.

  • The Los Angeles Times’ Maeve Reston looks at how the president and Romney make decisions.

  • On “Face the Nation,” Romney stressed his position on taxes is not what the Democrats try to say it is. “One of the absolute requirements of any tax reform that I have in mind is that people who are at the high end, whether you call them the one percent, or two percent, or half a percent, the people at the high end will still pay the same share of the tax burden they’re paying now,” Romney said. “I’m not looking for a tax cut for the very wealthiest, I’m looking to bring tax rates down for everyone and also to make sure that we stimulate growth by doing so and jobs. For me this is all about creating good jobs.” He said a second time: “I think it’s important to say look I’m not looking to reduce the burden paid by the wealthiest. I’m looking to keep the burden paid by the wealthiest as the same share that it is today.”

  • Arizona Sen. John McCain’s comment about the source of Sheldon Adelson’s money got some pick up on the campaign trail with Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod tweeting about it and CNN also taking notice. You can watch Judy Woodruff’s full interview with McCain here.

  • USA Today’s Susan Page goes behind the scenes with Sen. Rubio, who is frequently mentioned as a potential Romney running mate.

  • Labor groups will be targeting Romney’s bus tour in Pennsylvania with a story about State Stores and how it filed for bankruptcy and slashed jobs after Bain Capital got involved with it.

  • Romney waded into a long-running debate during a stop in Pennsylvania over the weekend: Wawa or Sheetz?

  • Romney’s “body guy” Garrett Jackson sent an email to campaign supporters telling them a $5 donation enters them in a contest “to join Mitt for a day on the road.”

  • A horse co-owned by Ann Romney won a spot on the U.S. Olympic dressage team.

TOP TWEETS

OUTSIDE THE LINES

  • Hispanic media outlets in Arizona are launching a public awareness campaign Monday called “Hoy Somos Arizona” (Today We Are Arizona) to provide information to the community as it awaits a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on the state’s immigration law, known as SB1070.

  • The Washington Post’s Pamela Constable looks at the consequences of the Alabama immigration law.

  • Police who watch over the Supreme Court are preparing for major decisions, The Hill reports.

  • The Hill’s Daniel Strauss look at New York Sen. Charles Schumer’s efforts to promote the production of maple syrup.

  • Masked men tried to break into Rep. Robert Brady’s home in Pennsylvania. The Democrat said his wife foiled the attempt.

ON THE TRAIL

All events are listed in Eastern Time.

  • President Obama is in Los Cabos, Mexico, where he attends meetings at the G-20 Summit.

  • Vice President Joe Biden attends a campaign event in Chicago at 2:15 p.m.

  • Mitt Romney holds campaign events in Janesville, Wis., at 10:25 a.m., Dubuque, Iowa, at 2:30 p.m. and Davenport, Iowa, at 6:10 p.m.

All future events can be found on our Political Calendar:


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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.

Follow the politics team on Twitter: @cbellantoni, @burlij, @elizsummers, @kpolantz, @indiefilmfan, @tiffanymullon, @dePeystah and @meenaganesan.