Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney used the slur “illegal aliens” on Wednesday while telling a Hispanic audience that he would not “round up” undocumented immigrants if he is elected in November.
During a Univision candidate forum on Wednesday, the former governor, who has promised to veto the DREAM Act, said that he favored a “permanent solution” for children who were brought to the United States illegally, but refused to give details on how he would handle the over 1 million young undocumented immigrants who are eligible for work permits under a plan implemented by the Obama administration.
“I am not going to be going around the country and rounding them up,” Romney promised. “When I’m president, I will actually do what I promise, I will put in place an immigration reform system that resolves this issue.”
“For those who are already here and that are undocumented and were brought here by their parents and are therefore illegal aliens in this country, my view is that we should put in place a permanent solution,” he explained.
In 2010, Colorlines began their “Drop the I-Word” campaign to eradicate “illegal” from public discourse because they said the term “opens the door to racial profiling and violence and prevents truthful, respectful debate on immigration.”
Romney also renewed his call for “self-deportation,” which he first made during the Republican primary debates earlier this year.
“I believe people make their own choices as to whether they want to go home and that’s what I mean by ‘self deportation,'” Romney told the audience. “People decide if they want to go back to their country of origin and get in line legally to be able to come to this country.”
Tickets to the Univision event were only handed out to groups that tended to support Romney so their reaction to his remarks was unsurprisingly enthusiastic.
The Obama campaign, however, offered a less favorable response.
“On critical issues, he continued to refuse to answer any of the tough questions or provide any specifics on what he’d do as president,” Obama campaign spokesperson Lis Smith said, according to Talking Points Memo. “We are just two weeks away from the first presidential debate, where the American people will demand more than vague answers and empty platitudes. It’s time for Mitt Romney to come clean and get specific about his policies.”
Watch this video from Univision, broadcast Sept. 19, 2012.