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3 Questions For Mitt Romney On Immigration

Romney's refusal to go into specifics has gotten increasingly conspicuous as immigration moves center-stage in the election. Here, three specific policy questions for the candidate.

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In Monday's ruling, the Supreme Court upheld the "show me your papers" provision of Arizona's controversial, which requires police officers to check the legal status of anyone they suspect of being an undocumented immigrant. Evan after issuing a statement, Romney's position on the provision remains entirely unclear.

In the written statement, Romney criticized Obama for failing to "provide leadership on immigration," and said broadly, "I believe that each state has the duty — and the right — to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law." His aides then told reporters the candidate would have no further comment on the ruling.

Does Romney believe law enforcement can or should be required by a state to check the legal status of any individual they deem "suspicious" of undocumented status?

Ten days after Obama issued an executive order to stop deporting illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children or have served in the military, Romney has managed to completely evade a core question: Will he reverse the policy if elected president?

In a speech to Hispanic leaders last week, Romney used some rhetorical gymnastics to make it seem like he was going to answer that question:

"Some people have asked if I will let stand the president's executive action," he said. "The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the president's temporary measure."

Left unanswered is whether he would reverse Obama's policy while in the process of pursuing the "long-term solution," and whether he would let the policy stand if Congressional action failed.

The murkiness of Romney's position on the Arizona immigration law isn't contained to the "show me your papers" provision — he has yet to weigh in on five provisions that were struck down today by the Supreme Court.

Among them: allowing police to detain immigrants indefinitely while they check their residency status, criminalizing the act of applying for a job for undocumented immigrants, and making it illegal for day workers to block traffic while waiting to be picked up for a job.

Romney has pushed back against Democrats' false claims that he once called Arizona's immigration crackdown "a model for the nation," insisting that he was referring only to the state's use of E-Verify. But Romney, who has cited the author of the legislation as an immigration adviser, has remained mum on whether he supports the rest of the law.

McKay Coppins is a senior writer for the BuzzFeed News politics team, and the author of The Wilderness, about the battle over the future of the Republican Party.

Contact McKay Coppins at

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