In his speech yesterday, Mitt Romney declined to detail precisely what he would do about Obama’s new policy halting deportation of DREAM-eligible youth. Romney said he would “replace and supercede” Obama’s policy with his own long term solution.
But as many reporters noted, Romney did not specify whether he would repeal Obama's order. He didn’t say what would happen to Obama’s order while he came up with his replacement solution, or what would happen to it if Romney and Congress fail to agree on such a solution. Nor did he say what he wants that solution to look like.
But now, via Judd Legum, it appears that a Romney adviser on Latin America has now gone further. Asked by the Daily Telegraph about the policy, Ray Walser, a co-chair of Romney’s Latin American advisory group and Heritage Foundation scholar, said:
“My anticipation is that he would probably rescind this directive were he to be elected in November.”
Dems have pounced on this, arguing that it shows Romney would, in fact, repeal Obama’s order — something Romney has not been willing to say.
But wait, the plot thickens.
I got in contact with Walser, and he clarified to me that he was not speaking for the campaign. But in a statement, he nonetheless said that he was correct to say Romney would rescind Obama’s policy, and cited Romney’s own speech as proof:
What I was quoted as saying was not incorrect....I said “rescind.” Governor Romney said “replace and supersede.”
To be clear, I don’t think Walser was speaking for the campaign. And in a sense, Walser is right to suggest the two things could mean the same thing. One meaning of “rescind” is to “repeal”; the other is to “invalidate by a later action.”
The point is that this underscores yet again the lack of clarity here, and provides an occasion to ask for that clarity. Despite the frantic spin from Romney’s supporters, reporters have correctly pointed out that we simply don’t know from what Romney has said what he would do about Obama’s policy. Would Romney rescind it right away? Or would he leave it in place until he came up with a replacement? And if Romney and Congress failed to come up with that replacement — which is very possible, given recent history — would Romney leave it in place indefinitely?
These are fair questions to be asking. The answers could impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
UPDATE: Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul responds:
“Ray Walser does not advise nor speak for the campaign on immigration policy. Gov. Romney has been clear he will put in place a long-term solution that will supersede President Obama’s stop-gap measure.”