Gingrich holds firm on immigration, hits Romney along the way
November 25th, 2011
02:10 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich holds firm on immigration, hits Romney along the way

(CNN) - Newt Gingrich responded to criticism from rival Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney over immigration by detailing his plan and attempting to show inconsistencies in the former Massachusetts governor's record with an abbreviated quote.

Gingrich, the former House speaker, sent his Twitter followers two links Wednesday, one to a page of his campaign website detailing his 10-step plan and another to a 2007 interview with Romney. The interview, conducted when Romney was governor, shows the two-time presidential candidate saying the illegal immigrants currently in the United States should "be able to stay, sign up for permanent residency or citizenship."

The link to the video was accompanied by a Tweet from Gingrich that read "Here's a trip down memory lane … So what's your position on citizenship for illegals again? (I oppose it.)"

However, the clip does not reflect his full point or the end of his sentence. A more complete video provided by the Romney campaign shows the candidate went on to say "but they should not be given a special pathway, a special guarantee that all of them get to stay here for the rest of their lives merely by virtue of having come here illegally."

The back and forth on the issue started at Tuesday night's CNN National Security Debate when Gingrich advocated for a "humane" approach to illegal immigration.

"If you've come here recently, you have no ties to this country, you ought to go home, period," Gingrich said. "If you've been here 25 years and you got three kids and two grandkids, you've been paying taxes and obeying the law, you belong to a local church, I don't think we're going to separate you from your family, uproot you forcefully and kick you out."

Fellow White House hopefuls Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Romney jumped on the comments equating them to "amnesty," which Romney said is a "magnet."

"Programs that have said that if people who come here illegally are going to get to stay illegally for the rest of their life, that's going to only encourage more people to come here illegally," Romney said. "The right course for our immigration system is to say we welcome people who want to come here legally."

Romney also said other magnets, like in-state tuition for illegal aliens and employers who knowingly higher illegal workers, should be stopped.

However, Gingrich did not back down amid the charges on or off the stage, instead saying he was "prepared to take the heat for saying let's be humane in enforcing the law without giving them citizenship, but by finding a way to create legality so that they are not separated from their families."

Gingrich's plan includes securing the border, updating the visa system and legal guest worker program, as well as creating an earned path to citizenship for the millions currently in the U.S.

- CNN's Steve Brusk and Jim Acosta contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Immigration • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. Ralf

    1) It is not true that there are 11 millions illegal immigrants in the USA, but over 30 millions.
    2) Illegal immigrants are already draining the welfare system: A single woman has 2 or 3 children receiving thousand dollars monthly in rents payments, food stamps, medical assistant, free school, WIC, tax credits. Even though she would declare as a single mother, her husband is still living with her working and wiring their money overseas, but the government has not mean to track down the father because first the social services office has not interest in locating him and they have not identification number to be located.
    3) Illegal immigrants do not pay taxes to the government.....instead they squeeze it.....Most of them work with phony social security numbers and hold a IRS tax payer identification number to recover federal and states taxes withheld along with child tax credit for children under 17 years of age...This is a tax loophole...
    In my opinion, most of those families living for 20 or 25 years in the USA with children and grandchildren have already suck the government with millions of Dollars....and stole millions of American jobs...

    November 25, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  2. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    We need to get more people working on this. There are just so many things that a INS official can do at one time. If there was a temporary group of these people to get the back log dealt with, this might actually work. We also need to stream line some of this.

    November 25, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  3. Mikey

    @ Ralf – you are seriously misinformed. I don't have time to correct all the factual errors in your post. I suggest you do some research using legitimate, credible sources.

    November 25, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  4. Sam

    Pro-business Teapublicans trash talk illegals yet hire them by the millions to avoid paying higher wages and benefits to others. Hypocrisy with a capital H!

    November 25, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. Drew

    Interesting Ralf. How do you recommend that we fix this dilema? Have any other ideas other than ranting irrational numbers? Anyone can complain that's the easy part. The hard part is allocationg Federal Money to pay for enforcement of immigration laws which yes are still on the books. The other problem is that you can not deport 11 – 30 million people and if you do you will see most of them back again. If we didn't insist on multiple wars and ridiculous tax cuts maybe these immigrants wouldn't be a problem. Blame your leaders blame yopurselves or just forget about it.

    November 25, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Gingrich HAS TO hold firm on his stance on immigration, not because he is morally adhered to it but in order to differentiate himself from his closes competition: Mittens The Flipper.

    November 25, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. gg

    republicans will always vote for cheap labour no benifits--good buy middle class

    November 25, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  8. Ray E. (Georgia)

    I could care less if some illegals have been here for decades. If they don't take the trouble to become citizens with the system in place now, deport them. I could care less if they have homes, children, etc. Remove them. There is nothing more disgusting that a bunch of illegals protesting in the public square demanding citizenship. Sorry. No breaks. Get out.

    November 25, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  9. opinion8it

    Romney response by providing the following transcripts of the interview: ""but they should not be given a special pathway, a special guarantee that all of them get to stay here for the rest of their lives merely by virtue of having come here illegally."............. isn't that what Gingrich said in the debate?

    November 25, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  10. Lepke

    I would like to hear Gingrich's immigration plan. His approach sounds promising, perhaps would solve immigration problems in the long run. Romney's solution is not viable, no matter how much we want it to work.

    November 25, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  11. taxed

    Drew – Maybe we should just mail US Passports and citizenship papers to anybody in the world who wants them.  We could also send applications (in their native language) for food stamps, subsidized housing, Medicaid, etc.  This would save all those people the trouble of having to sneak across the border or take an "anchor baby" flight into the country.

    November 25, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  12. tykl

    @Mikey – sounds convenient, but more like a bit of smoke and mirrors and hand-waving. Maybe you should find the time to go ahead and substantiate what you want to say.

    This is a difficult issue, but Romney is right. No amnesty, period. They all can apply like everybody else and then the criteria to give somebody citizenship may include things like tax paying, ties to the US, belonging to a church, etc. If they have been contributing citizens to the US for years (which many are) then the citizenship rules should be tilted to giving them citizenship. But to throw out an amnesty/squatter rule where if you show up illegally and stay long enough, you are a default citizen is not correct.

    November 25, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  13. Mike

    Gingrich would be a repeat of McCain which = Loser = Obama for 4 more. Get behind Romney who can defeat Obama and turn America in the right direction. Let's not make the same mistake we made in 2008. The Gingrich baggage will make him unelectable. Run Mitt Run 2012! Remember possible Supreme Court nominations in your decision making.

    November 25, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. Fair is Fair

    "Interesting Ralf. How do you recommend that we fix this dilema?"
    Start by shutting down the border and enforcing the existing laws on the books instead of suing the states for taking matters into their own hands because the federal government has decided it was more politically advantageous to secure future votes by turning a blind eye. You've got to stop the bleeding. Doing nothing is not an option.

    November 25, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  15. rich

    Like it or not, our world have become dependent on these worker. The price of goods and service would cause inflation to skyrocket! Unless everybody stops eating out, having their lawns taken care of and like cheap fresh food. "Get over the illegal workers!"

    November 25, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  16. T'sah From Virginia

    ►However, the clip does not reflect his full point ◄

    Wow – what goes around comes around!! Two can play the same game – Romney is a LIAR and very deceitful and so is ginGRINCH. Too bad one of them will go up against President Obama and he will put that person in its place!!

    Obama 2012

    November 25, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  17. Alex

    Mitt Romney is a flip flopper.

    November 25, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  18. Gemini Girl

    Illegals with fake SS #s are paying into the system but then can't collect at the end because the SS# is fake! Why doesn't the government update their SS computer systems to be able to detect that one person paying into the system, and then another person using the same SS# at another part of the country – well, don't you think ONE of them is a fake? How hard can it be to detect this?? Perhaps they don't really want to spend the $ to figure this out... I am sure there are dozens of ways the government can detect FRAUD in other situations...

    November 25, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  19. willard

    I hope that roomey will kick out of presdient obama 2012 cause obama have too many problems for 3 years right

    November 25, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  20. Republican

    Gingrich clipped Romneys quote mid-sentance, taking it completely out of context. That is dihonest especialy considering that the rest of the quote makes it obvious what Romneys position is on illegal immigration. Romney does not favor rounding up 20 million illegal immigrant and deporting them, hence the first part of the quote. In the second part of the quot he makes it clear that no illegal immigrant should get a special pathway to citizenship simply by coming here illegaly

    November 25, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  21. vic , nashville ,tn

    We are keep on postponing Immigration reform, Finally Newt Gingrich spoke about this thanks
    Most illegal immigrants pay their tax
    “Last year Illegal immigrants paid $11.2 Billion in tax” Daily news New York
    Some corporate giants paid less than that some are zero example GE

    Romney look like Obama doesn’t want take big issues or even talk about this we need a leader who can handle big issues

    November 25, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  22. justagit

    I get the impression Mr. Romney is basically a practical, sensible man. It must be disturbing for him to be running for president in this weird time when the most extreme right-wingers demand public allegiance to their radical politics. I cannot believe the public is still listening to Newt Gingrich, whose tactics and ideas have been so thoroughly discredited over the years since his brief tenure as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

    November 25, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  23. justagit

    Gingrich is the one who suggested amesty for eleven million illegal aliens. This guy is corrupt. I’m telling you he is a hard core Rhino who has no shame. Multiple affairs. He cheated on his wife while she was battling cancer and then divorced her. He is now on his third marriage. A man who does not honor his sacred marriage vows will not think twice to cheat on you and me. He has no honor. This crook took millions of taxpayer money from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae as a “historian”. This crook using his political inside knowledge made many, many millions of dollars in a bogus health care sham that he set up. His “Contract with America” failed. He left Congress due a scandel.

    Who in their right mind would even consider this low life for public office. It is beyond comprehension that his name is on the ballot, much less leading in the polls. America is doomed if this continues

    November 25, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  24. Thomas

    Newt Gingrich , the king of entitlement , historian of the half truth , yet he is anything but stupid. Newt knows he can only win the general election with the Mexican vote .

    When will somebody ask Romney why none of his five sons volunteered for military service ?

    November 25, 2011 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    A response to a fellow blogger from another article:
    Fair is Fair

    @ Dominican Mama –

    First of all, I don't belong to a "team". I support and vote for whom I feel is most qualified for the job. Unfcortunately, far too many people voted for a charismatic but woefully unqualifed far-left freshman senator to our nation's highest office. Since that time, the man has done NOTHING but blame his predecessor, congress
    I am proud to say that I do belong to a team and it is called Team America. You and I, have one thing in common in that I too vote for the best candidate available. Candidate and President Obama had a well-thought out plan for America unlike McCain who ran off to Washington in the middle of his campaign and then....ran right back having accomplished nothing. If you are to be "fair" you would have to admit to Obama's successes: he kept us from going into an economic depression; he saved the auto industry; healthcare reform (although not as reformative as many of us would've liked; credit card reform; captured bin Laden; obtained international cooperation in the successful operation in Lybia, and many others that you can Google and confirm. So what you say is NOT true. He was the better prepared of the two candidates, and if the GOP had not made it their ONLY goal to remove him from office at all cost this country that he was steadily rebuilding on solid rock, would've been well on it's way to a faster recovery.
    You are not living up to your moniker in denying facts and truths that you could easily confirm.

    November 25, 2011 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
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