Fact Check: Mitt Romney's Spanish-Language Immigration Ad

Examining the claims made in the Republican candidate's Spanish-language ad

October 19, 2012, 9:50 AM

Oct. 18, 2012— -- Mitt Romney is once again making a push for the Latino vote. On Wednesday, the Republican presidential nominee released a new Spanish-language television ad that promised to solve various immigration problems, including the need for a "permanent solution" for young undocumented immigrants.

Some immigrant groups, however, are calling for the ad to stop airing, arguing that it's misleading. The main issue is Romney's claim that he worked across party lines in Massachusetts made in the context of a discussion on immigration, suggesting that he would work in a bipartisan manner on the issue when elected president.

Romney's immigration rhetoric has softened somewhat since he first started campaigning in the Republican primaries. On one hand, he's spoken of "self-deportation"—driving undocumented immigrants out of the country by removing incentives to stay. On the other hand, during the second presidential debate, hepromised to pass a reform bill during his first year in office.

The ad (watch here), titled "Solutions for Immigration" seeks to further his reach with Latino voters. It opens with a segment on President Obama's failed promise to pass immigration reform, and goes on to say that if Mitt Romney becomes president, he will work to gain bipartisan support for reform.

To get beneath the surface of the ad, here's a fact check:

"As governor, Mitt Romney worked with Democrats to achieve solutions"

This is partially true. Romney did work with Democrats in Massachusetts to pass major legislation, such as healthcare reform. But in context of this ad, which focuses on immigration, the assertion is misleading. As governor in 2004, Romney vetoed a bill that would have granted in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants and opposed giving them driver's licenses.

"Romney and the Republicans will fight for bipartisan reform to bring families together."

Romney promised to pass a reform bill, but it's unclear what such a bill would look like. Romney has proposed a number of policies that would reform the visa process to make it easier to legally immigrate to the U.S. What is unclear is how his reform bill would address the 12 million undocumented living in the U.S. beyond suggesting self-deportation measures.

For families that have members with some types of legal status (citizenship and legal permanent residents), Romney said he would speed up the process for other family members to immigrate legally to the U.S.

"To establish a program for work visas."

Romney said he would honor the work visas and temporary deportation reprieves given out under Obama's deferred action, but his campaign said that once in office, Romney would discontinue the deferred action initiative and work on a permanent fix.

The GOP presidential nominee says he will increase the amount of visas for highly skilled immigrants and will improve the temporary worker visa program to bring agricultural and other seasonal workers.

"And to achieve permanent solutions for undocumented youth."

During the primaries, Romney said he would veto the current version of the DREAM Act, which would have given undocumented youth a special path to citizenship for those that serve in the military or pursue a college degree. Romney has only made clear that undocumented immigrants that complete military service will eventually become citizens. The Romney campaign did not respond to our request to clarify if college-bound undocumented youth will also be given a path to legalization under his presidency.

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