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Presidential candidates vary on immigration stances

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Presidential candidates vary on immigration stances
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The controversial issue of illegal immigration finally made an appearance in the second presidential debate. Our Washington, D.C. bureau reporter Erin Billups takes a look at both candidates’ plans.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "What do you plan on doing with immigrants?" said Lorraine Osario.

The question garnered the most tweets of the night.

Mitt Romney repeatedly emphasized the President's failure to fulfill his campaign promise of introducing immigration reform in his first term.

Romney said, "My view is that this President should have honored his promise to do as he said."

President Obama blamed the lack of progress on obstructionist Republicans. He then touted his deferred action policy change, a pathway to citizenship for undocumented students and leveled an attack on Romney for his more conservative primary campaign rhetoric.

"He said I will veto the DREAM Act that would allow these young people to have access," Obama said.

But when it comes to laying out how each would create comprehensive immigration reform and get it through Congress, details were scarce.

"What's the policy framework, what does legalization mean? What does border security mean? Etcetera. But also how will, whether it's Romney or Obama, bring republicans and democrats together?" asked Ali Noorani, National Immigration Forum Executive Director.

While many Latinos have eased up on criticism of Obama since he announced his deferred action plan, some more conservative immigration advocates say the President had his chance and blew it.

"Obama hasn't built those relationships with republicans, relationships that he needs to push immigration forward," said Alfonso Aguilar, Latino Partnership for Conservatives.

What we do know, both Obama and Romney are essentially on the same page when it comes to border security and deporting undocumented criminals. Where the differences become more glaring are in Romney's plan for self-deportation.

Noorani said, "He would design policies, as far as we can tell, to make life so difficult for the undocumented that they would have to make a decision whether or not it was even practical or even humane for them to stay here."

But those on the right call Obama's immigration plan too broad.

Aguilar said, "Since we don't have a mechanism for those foreign workers to enter legally and there is a demand, they still come in and they come in illegally."

Leaving the choice unclear.

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