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Haley Barbour chides Mitt Romney on immigration stance

While arguing that Romney was not as hard on immigrants as is claimed, former Mississippi Governor Barbour said at a Monitor breakfast that 'I would have a different policy' on immigration.

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Resurgent Republic Honorary Chairman and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) speaks at a Monitor-hosted breakfast for reporters in Washington D.C. on Friday.

Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney faces increasing pressure on the immigration issue – not only from the Obama administration’s announcement Friday that it will not deport certain younger illegal immigrants, but also from key players within his own party.

The latest criticism from within Republican ranks came Friday from Haley Barbour, the former Mississippi governor who chairs the conservative think tank Resurgent Republic and is raising money for the American Crossroads "super political-action committee." He told a Monitor-hosted breakfast for reporters, “I would just have a different policy from what he has espoused,” on immigration.

Governor Barbour, who has served as Republican Party chairman and as Ronald Reagan’s White House political director, was quick to note that “I don’t think [Romney] has been as hard over as he will be described as having been [on immigration]. But I think the Democrats and the left will try to make him sound like he is anti-immigrant, which he is not.”

But Barbour made it clear that he disagreed with the statement on immigration that Romney delivered at a Republican primary debate in January.  Romney told the Tampa audience, “The answer is self-deportation, which is [where] people decide they can do better by going home because they can’t find work here, because they don't have legal documentation to allow them to work here.” Romney added, “We’re not going to round them up.”

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