Sandstrom, a state representative is running in Utah’s newly-created 4th congressional district, made the remarks during an interview with ThinkProgress on Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC.
Despite endorsing Romney for president last July, Sandstrom had few kind words to offer the Massachusetts Republican on the subject of immigration. “I think we’re sticking our heads in the sand if we think that 12 million people are going to leave this country. They’re not,” insisted the Utah GOPer. He went on to say that if Republicans “keep ignoring the Hispanic population,” they will “relegate [them]selves to a minority party.”
SANDSTROM: Once we’ve done those two things, I think we can look at the people already here. I want to look at the people already here because I think we’re sticking our heads in the sand if we think that 12 million people are going to leave this country. They’re not.
KEYES: You think “self-deportation” is not really practical?
SANDSTROM: No, I don’t think self-deportation is practical. [...]
KEYES: Someone like Mitt Romney who is advocating this policy of self-deportation, has members like Kris Kobach on his campaign team. Do you think that’s going to send the wrong message nationally for Republicans?
SANDSTROM: I think the idea of self-deportation can happen in the extent that if you can’t qualify, if you’ve been a criminal element, we want you to leave and self-deport or go, but not for all 12 million. I think that’s where I differ slightly from Romney is that I think that’s not going to happen. I think that we need to look at a way to help the people that have not been criminals in this country or the people that were brought here at a young age to remain, because if we don’t do that, I think that’s one thing as a Republican Party, even as a conservative, we are going to relegate ourselves to a minority party if we keep ignoring the Hispanic population in this country and the Hispanic vote.
In his current position as state representative, Sandstrom has gained notoriety for championing a Utah immigration bill that many have compared to Arizona’s infamous SB 1070 legislation. Though the bill was defeated in the Utah House last week, 37-36, Sandstrom is still pushing to revive the measure.
Sandstrom is certainly no moderate on immigration, yet even he knows that Romney’s policy of “self-deportation” is laughable. Still, at least one Romney endorser is sticking by the presidential candidate’s immigration idea: Kansas Secretary of State and SB 1070 author Kris Kobach.