“Mitt Romney would honor deportation exemptions issued to young illegal immigrants under President Obama’s executive action but would not grant new ones”

By Callum Borchers, Globe Correspondent

Mitt Romney would not revoke temporary deportation exemptions granted to young illegal immigrants under an executive action by President Obama, but he also would not issue new protective documents if elected.

“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 Denver Post in an interview published Tuesday, a day ahead of the first presidential debate of the general election, which will be held in that city and cover domestic policy, possibly including immigration.

Technically, the undocumented immigrants Romney described have not received visas; their illegal status has not changed, but they have been granted temporary reprieves from deportation.

Responding to a Globe request to clarify Romney’s statement to the Denver Post, Romney’s campaign said he would honor deportation exemptions issued by the Obama administration before his inauguration but would not grant new ones after taking office.

That means the number of people who would benefit from Romney’s non-reversal could be minute. In the first month since Obama’s order took effect, only 29 deportation exemptions have been issued, according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services .