Mitt Romney, an opponent of the DREAM Act, said he would veto it if it came across his desk as president.
The question was posed Saturday by a voter at the Family Table Restaurant in Le Mars. It was the first time Romney had been asked directly if he would veto the act and he responded that the "answer is yes."
The DREAM Act would allow children brought to the United States illegally by their parents to earn citizenship by taking a number of steps that include completing college or serving two years in the military. It was been considered several times by Congress but has never passed.
Romney said he is open to military service -- with appropriate requirements -- as a way for people to earn permanent residency as it currently is a way for people to earn citizenship.
"I am delighted with the idea that people who come to this country and wish to serve in the military can be given a path to become permanent residents in this country. Those who serve in our military and fulfill those requirements, I respect and acknowledge that path," he said. He does not support a path to citizenship through education.
David Axelrod, President Obama's top campaign adviser, tweeted that Romney's comments Saturday were "Wrong on principle & politics." Juan Sepulveda, the Democratic National Committee's senior adviser for Hispanic Affairs, called Romney's veto threat "appalling." He said it removed any doubt that his "far-right views on immigration would make him the most extreme presidential nominee in recent memory."