"The people who have received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid. I'm not going to take something that they've purchased," Romney told the newspaper. "Before those visas have expired we will have the full immigration reform plan that I've proposed."
“Romney’s latest immigration pivot raises more questions than it answers. He still has not said whether he would continue the administration’s policy that provides a temporary reprieve from deportation for young people who were brought here through no fault of their own," said Gabriela Domenzain, director of Hispanic press for the Obama campaign.
Romney has made a number of statements during the campaign that have been panned by advocates of an immigration overhaul. During a GOP primary debate in January, Romney said he favored "self-deportation." Under that theory, illegal immigrants unable to get jobs would leave the country voluntarily.
News of Romney's position on the work permits came after a slew of Democratic Senators touted a new report from the liberal Center for American Progress highlighting economic benefits of legislation known as the DREAM Act that would give a path to citizenship to many of the same people eligible for visas under the deferred action policy.
Romney has said on the campaign trail that he would veto the DREAM Act as written. The bill has been a priotity of Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) for more than a decade, but he has been unable to find the 60 votes needed to overcome procedural obstacles in the Senate.
According to the Romney campaign, he would support a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants through military service, while Durbin's DREAM Act would provide options for military service and education.
Separately, a tracking poll of Latino voters released Monday found a continued large gap between Obama and Romney within that population. Obama had the backing of 71 percent of those surveyed nationally in the impreMedia-Latino Decisions tracking poll, compared with 33 percent for Romney.