Mitt Romney appeared on CBS' " Face The Nation" on Sunday, telling Bob Schieffer that President Obama's decision to halt the deportation of as many as 800,000 young illegal immigrants was politically-driven, but refused to say he would repeal the order if elected president.
"First of all, we have to secure the border," Romney said, reiterating remarks he made on the campaign trail on Friday. "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 Senator 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."
When pressed, the presumptive presidential nominee side-stepped the issue of a repeal:
Schieffer: Would you repeal this?
Romney: Well, it would be overtaken by events if you will, by virtue of my putting in place a long-term solution, with legislation which creates law that relates to these individuals such that they know what their setting is going to be, not just for the term of a President but on a permanent basis.
Schieffer: I won't keep on about this but just to make sure I understand, would you leave this in place while you worked out a long term solution or would you just repeal it?
Romney: We'll look at that setting as we reach that, but my anticipation is I'd come into office and say we need to get this done, on a long-term basis, not this kind of stop-gap measure. What the President did, he should have worked on this years ago, if he felt seriously about this he should have taken action when he had a Democrat House and Senate, but he didn't. He saves these sort of things until four and a half months before the general election.
Schieffer: Well why do you think he did that?
Romney: I think the timing is pretty clear, if he 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 3 and a half years, not in his last few months.
Schieffer: So he did it for politics.
Romney: Well, that's certainly a big part of the equation.
Romney reasserted the stance he made during the Republican primary that he would reject a deal that would increase taxes by 1 dollar for every 10 dollars in spending cuts. "Government is big and getting larger and there are those who think, 'Well, the answer is just to take a little more from the American people," Romney said.
He also said the U.S. government should focus on stabilizing the American economy without getting too deeply involved in Europe's economic woes.
"We're not going to send checks to Europe," Romeny said. "We're not going to bail out the European banks. We're going to be poised here to support our economy."