Self Deport

Romney’s ‘Self-Deport’ Option Could Be Part of House Immigration Plan

by David M. Drucker, Roll Call  |  published on May 1, 2013


The House immigration working group is mulling a proposal that involves “self-deportation” as part of a strategy to make a comprehensive overhaul acceptable to conservatives.

The concept was thrust into the national conversation by 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor infamously suggested during the GOP primary campaign that illegal immigrants might leave the U.S. voluntarily — or “self-deport” — over time if the government eliminated incentives for them to stay, including the ability to find work. Romney was responding to a question about how to address the problem of undocumented residents short of forcible government roundups and deportations.

The remark was ridiculed by Democrats and later credited with costing Romney the Hispanic support he needed to run competitively against President Barack Obama. But the bipartisan House immigration working group is developing a proposal designed to make self-deportation an attractive option for undocumented immigrants as they navigate what would presumably be a completely new legal framework. The plan was detailed by a Republican congressional aide familiar with the House working group’s negotiations.

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