Mitt Romney refused to take a stance on President Obama’s immigration directive during a speech before the National Association of Latino Elected Officials conference Thursday afternoon, roughly 7 days or 142 hours after the president first announced that he would defer the deportation of some one million undocumented young people. The former Massachusetts governor did not say if he would undo the measure and instead explained that he plans to seek an unspecified permanent solution to the immigration problem if elected president:
ROMNEY: Some people have asked if I will let stand the President’s executive action. The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the President’s temporary measure.
As President, I won’t settle for a stop-gap measure. I will work with Republicans and Democrats to find a long-term solution. I will prioritize measures that strengthen legal immigration and make it easier. And I will address the problem of illegal immigration in a civil but resolute manner. We may not always agree, but when I make a promise to you, I will keep it.
The speech comes as some Republicans and conservatives have begun to pressure Romney to abandon his campaign strategy of avoiding policy details and adopt more defined, specific positions. “I think we’re going to wait and see what Gov. Romney has to say and then our members are going to be discussing his views on this, and I think many of them will have similar views,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on Wednesday.
For now, the campaign is ignoring the advice. Romney repeatedly dodged immigration questions during an appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation this past Sunday and the campaign abruptly ended a conference call about the economy when reporters asked where the candidate stood on immigration.
A ThinkProgress whip count found that almost every congressional Republican opposes Obama’s initiative.