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View from Mexico: The presidential debate on immigration

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Reed Saxon/AP/File

(Read caption) In this Sept. photo, Charlene Gomez leads an orientation seminar for illegal immigrants, to determine if they qualify for temporary work permits, at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), in Los Angeles.

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If Republican candidate Mitt Romney is trying to woo Latino voters with a softened stance on immigration as he heads into his first debate with President Obama tonight, many of the relatives of those voters in Mexico are not buying it.

“I prefer Obama, the other one is very aggressive,” says Elizabeth Martinez, sweeping the sidewalk outside of the chic baby clothes store where she works in Mexico City. “He wants to make it harder and harder for immigrants.”

Pressed for months to clarify his stance on immigration, Mr. Romney told The Denver Post on Monday that he, as president, would not take away the deferrals that were granted under an Obama order announced in June, giving certain young, law-abiding undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors a reprieve from deportation.

“The people who have received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid,” Romney told the newspaper, adding that he plans to have an immigration reform in place before the deferrals expire.

The Republican presidential candidate previously declined to say if he would undo the program, which could impact hundreds of thousands of young immigrants living without papers in the US.

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