Mitt Romney, in Kamas, calls border situation ‘just heartbreaking’ | ParkRecord.com

Mitt Romney, in Kamas, calls border situation ‘just heartbreaking’

(Tanzi Propst/Park Record)

Republican Senate candidate Mitt Romney said on Tuesday the children of immigrants should not be removed from their parents in most instances, describing the situation along the U.S.-Mexican border as "heartbreaking."

Romney appeared at a campaign event in the city park in Kamas, drawing a modest crowd and addressing a range of issues in his comments and in response to audience questions. He touched on the topic of the immigrant children as he spoke to the crowd and elaborated in an interview.

"The compassionate approach and the, if you will, the approach that shows that we are a shining city on a hill, is to make sure that we don't separate children from parents unless that's absolutely necessary. It should not be done as a matter of course, which apparently is what's happening now. And this is just heartbreaking," Romney said in an interview.

He said there is an "immediate need" to return to an earlier policy of not separating children from their parents in most circumstances. He said that could perhaps be accomplished administratively or at the direction of Congress.

"The process to getting there is not entirely certain. There's many alternatives being considered. But let's go back to (a) point where we're not separating children from parents. And then we can put in place a long-term plan for immigration, which is so badly needed," Romney said.

Romney, the Republican White House nominee in 2012 and a former governor of Massachusetts, is competing for the GOP nod in the Senate campaign to succeed the retiring Republican Orrin Hatch. GOP voters on Tuesday will select either Romney or state legislator Mike Kennedy to lead the ticket in November. Romney has longtime ties to the Park City area as a homeowner and the former leader of the organizing committee that staged the 2002 Winter Olympics.

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Romney covered series of other topics in an interview like the economy, President Trump and foreign affairs.

He said Washington should leave decisions to the states as he spoke about economic issues. Those sorts of choices are best made locally, he said.

"The last thing I want is for the federal government to tell Park City or Heber or Kamas or any other community in our state how they have to develop their state. These decisions should made at the state level. Over the years the federal government has taken over way too much of the policy that really should be handled at the state level. So, I'm not looking to tell Park City how it should develop itself," Romney said.

In some instances, though, Romney said funding from Washington could be put toward road projects or emergency services like law enforcement and firefighting. He said he will press Utah needs as funding decisions are made.

"And I'll work very hard to make sure we get our fair share, if not more than our fair share. I want to make sure that Utah continues to punch above its weight," Romney said.

Romney said the talks with North Korea regarding that country's nuclear weapons program represent progress even in the early stages. He also said Iran's nuclear ambitions must be addressed.

"Iran is a long way from a nuclear weapon, but we need to get them to pull back from any plans to ever have a nuclear weapon," he said.

Romney also described Russia and China as "geopolitical, if you will, competitors, which don't represent a military threat, but they do represent economic challenges to us. And those are nations we have to stay well ahead of and re-establish a relationship with them."

The candidate, meanwhile, declined to assign a letter grade to the Trump administration's performance. Romney agreed with Trump decisions reducing the acreage of Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

"We want to preserve the antiquities areas, but the flat land with nothing but sagebrush should have been returned, and was returned, to federal-land status that was available for multiple use," he said.

In his comments to the crowd, Romney said he is worried about the national debt and the interest payments as he said he desires a pullback in spending and a balanced budget. He also described ideas to limit access points to schools and to post an armed person such as a law enforcement officer at schools in an effort to protect students from violence.