No, Mitt Romney's Stances on Immigration Aren't New (Despite What Many May Believe)

FILE - In this Jan. 19, 2018, file photo, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney waves after speaking about the tech sector during an industry conference, in Salt Lake City. Romney plans to announce Utah Senate campaign Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Three people with direct knowledge of the plan say Romney will formally launch his campaign in a video. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

Mitt Romney followed yesterday’s Washington Post op-ed with an appearance on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper, in which he discussed his choice for the 2020 election, his history with Trump, and his op-ed.


Atlantic staff writer McKay Coppins reported the reason behind Romney’s op-ed was James Mattis’ departure, stating that originally he “hadn’t planned to take such a confrontational approach when first entering the Senate,” and Romney seemed to confirm that:

However, the segment that received the most attention was when Romney discussed his immigration stance, telling Tapper, “I think the president is very sincere when he says he wants to secure the border, and how you get there is a real question. It’s going to have to be worked out on a bipartisan basis. But clearly we have to have a more secure border, and I think that really should focus on the E-Verify system, which basically penalizes employers if they hire people that are here illegally.”

He continued, “I would vote for the border wall, I’ve made that part of my platform for many, many years. I think we should have a border wall on our southern border, and whether it’s a wall or a fence or technology and perhaps in some cases the natural landscape prevents people from coming into the country easily, we’ve got to secure our border.”


He added, “That’s necessary but insufficient. We have to do a lot more in terms of our E-Verify system, in terms of our visa tracking systems, and so forth, and we need to make it easier in some respects for people to come here legally and work here temporarily and then go home.”

Many people on both sides of the aisle who had praised Romney for his op-ed just hours earlier expressed surprise and outrage that he would vote for a wall.

I have written before that I am no fan of building a wall, so I obviously disagree with Romney. I wish he would drop his support for the wall and focus on the other aspects of his immigration policy. However, I was surprised to see so many people treating this as a new revelation or acting as though Romney had flip-flopped to support Trump’s position, when the reality is that Romney has supported this for years.

In fact, Republican lobbyist Liam Donovan tweeted a reminder that Trump criticized Romney after the 2012 election for being too harsh on immigration.


Less than a year ago, in March 2018, the Daily Herald reported that Romney stated, “I’m also more of a hawk on immigration than even the president.”

In February 2018, Romney told the Salt Lake Tribune, “But I’m pretty hard on stopping illegal immigration and that meant, for me, we need to have a border fence or wall or whatever you want to call it.”

As much as I disagree with Romney about the usefulness of a border wall (which I have argued would be ineffective, would be expensive, and would require extensive use of eminent domain), he’s been entirely consistent on it. But for some reason, every time his immigration stance comes up, people act as though he’s only now in favor of a wall because of Trump or as though this stance means he cannot be trusted to properly restrain Trump.

Romney has stated, in several op-eds now, that he will not stay silent when he disagrees with Trump. The fact that he felt the need to speak out after James Mattis resigned appears to be a sign he meant it, and his support for the wall does not mean otherwise.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarahmquinlan.


Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos