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Key issues in 2012 presidential race

Where President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney stand on key issues
by Chris Casteel Published: November 4, 2012



• Announced in June that people younger than 30 who were brought to the United States illegally before they were 16 can get a deferral from deportation and apply for work permits if they were successful students or served in the military.

• Says he has enhanced border security to the point that the flow of illegal workers is lower than it has been in 40 years

• Says immigration reform would be priority in 2013

• Quote: “If we're going to go after folks who are here illegally, we should do it smartly and go after folks who are criminals, gang bangers, people who are hurting the community, not after students, not after folks who are here just because they're trying to figure out how to feed their families.” (October 2012)


• Enhance border security

• Mandatory employment verification system

• Speed up processing of applications for temporary agricultural worker and nonseasonal worker visas and allow more visas for high-skilled workers

• Quote: “The kids of those that came here illegally, those kids, I think, should have a pathway to become a permanent resident of the United States, and military service, for instance, is one way they would have that kind of pathway to become a permanent resident.” (October 2012)



• Approved surge of military forces in late 2009 of 33,000 troops, the last of which were withdrawn in September

• Has said most of remaining 68,000 U.S. forces will be withdrawn by end of 2014 and security turned over to Afghan Security Forces

• Quote: “And we're now in a position where we can transition out, because there's no reason why Americans should die when Afghans are perfectly capable of defending their own country. Now, that transition has to take place in a responsible fashion.” (October 2012)


• Goal is to complete transition of combat operations to Afghan forces by the end of 2014

• Withdrawal of U.S. forces based on assessments by military commanders

• Quote: “The surge has been successful and the training program is proceeding apace. There are now a large number of Afghan Security Forces, 350,000, that are ready to step in to provide security and we're going to be able to make that transition by the end of 2014.” (October 2012)



• Rescinded Mexico City Policy, which prohibits private groups operating in other countries from using U.S. funds to promote or perform abortion services

• Supports Roe v. Wade decision

• Quote: “I remain committed to protecting a woman's right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right.” (White House statement, January 2012)


• Would reinstate Mexico City Policy

• Opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest or to save mother's life, according to Romney campaign ad

• Quote (to Des Moines Register): “There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” (October 2012)

Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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