On Immigration, Obama and Romney Agree On Virtually Nothing

Obama, Romney to talk immigration in Univision forum this week.

ByABC News
September 19, 2012, 3:00 PM

September 19, 2012 -- intro: After months of courting Hispanic voters on the campaign trail, at their party conventions and on the television airwaves, Mitt Romney and President Obama are heading to the epicenter of U.S. Latino news this week in what will undoubtedly be a direct appeal to this pivotal voting bloc.

Starting with Romney Wednesday night, Univision News will broadcast a "Meet the Candidates" forum focusing on issues that are especially important to Hispanics. Obama will follow on Thursday.

Romney has significant ground to make up with Latinos, who support Obama by a 35 point margin according to an August NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll.

The GOP nominee's campaign said it is aiming to win 38 percent of the Hispanic vote in November, more than the 31 percent Sen. John McCain won in 2008 but short of the 40 percent that picked George W. Bush in 2004. Romney currently has the support of only 23 percent of Latinos.

Here's a look at where both candidates stand when it comes to immigration.

quicklist: 1title: Deportationtext: Romney: "The answer is self-deportation"

Obama: "It makes no sense to expel talented young people, who, for all intents and purposes, are Americans"

Mitt Romney riled Latino voters in January when he said at a GOP primary debate that "self-deportation" is the best way to deal with the millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in the country.

"The answer is self-deportation, which is people decide they can do better by going home because they can't find work here because they don't have legal documentation to allow them to work here," Romney said.

Romney supports an E-Verify system that requires employers to check the legal status of prospective employees before hiring them.

President Obama announced in June that rather than sending young undocumented immigrants out of the country, he would grant them two-year work permits, granted they meet certain requirements.

The Obama administration will no longer deport undocumented immigrants who came to the country before they were 16 and are currently younger than 30, have been in the country for five consecutive years, are either in school or have a high school diploma, a GED or have served in the military.

"This is not amnesty. This is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It's not a permanent fix. This is a temporary, stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people," Obama said after announcing the new policy.

While young immigrants are no longer being deported under the Obama administration, the president increased deportations of criminals by 89 percent since 2008, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Obama explained the increase - 217,000 criminals were deported in 2011 compared to 114,000 in 2008 – saying at a campaign event in El Paso, Texas, last May "we are focusing our limited resources on violent offenders and people convicted of crimes; not families, not folks who are just looking to scrape together an income."

Deportations of non-criminals have decreased 29 percent since 2008 to 180,000 in 2011.