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. David

    I'm not fan of Gingrich but I agree him on immigration.

    November 25, 2011 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. Ale

    Ralf...Your "facts" are anything but facts. Only the fantasies nd irrational lies you have been fed for decades. The most obvious of which is that illegals do not pay taxes. They do just like everyone else but only to the extent that they make enough. Most do not , which is what they have in common with 49% of Americans and legal residents. Your problem is with poverty and in some extreme cases, with tax evasion, not with immigration. You do not even realize it.

    November 25, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  3. Thomas

    The story of the Crab and the Sea Urchin !

    November 25, 2011 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  4. bilk7

    No one should be surprised that Mitt Romney is on both sides of this issue too. Does the the 24% that keep supporting him know where he stands on anything?

    November 25, 2011 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. Ale

    1) There is NO line for them to wait on. That is why they are illegal in the first place. 2) Those waiting in their countries do so because there is something for them to wait. There is a legal avenue available to them; a .001 % minority.
    3) Illegal immigration is nothing new. At least 50 years old. Throughout them we have had, for the country as a whole and for individual states. periods of bonanza, prosperity, surpluses and very low unemployment and we also have had times like the present ones. Remember the 90's? Unemployment was 2% in some areas, illegal immigration was way higher than now, yet your organization's posturing was EXACTLY the same as it is now. There is no cause and effect relationship between economic times and illegal immigration. None whatsoever.
    4) Illegal aliens are not eligible for welfare whatsoever. Never have been, yet your ilk insist with those preposterous lies and propaganda
    5) We don't need Amnesty but to further enforce a system that HAS BEEN enforced for 50 years and been proven dysfunctional is called INSANITY. We need to repeal the present system down, out and away and build a new one from scratch. One that works. E-verify may very well be an efficient part of it.
    6) The border has never been safer than now, never mind what Tea party bullies say and we have never deported so many people as we do now under Obama's administration, not to mention the ones who self deport.

    November 25, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  6. Marcus

    Why does people still think that the 'facts' they use to base their claims for or against any idea/situation can't be checked by independent sources?
    Because if they recognized that they'll have to admit that they know they are lying...

    November 25, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. hrs4

    This just shows how quick Newt is to lie to take the focus off of him. Mitt and Ann (Mitt's first and only wife) Romney are a class act!

    November 25, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. Harvey Johnson

    Vote Republican and end SSN, Medicare, Medicad and Veterans benefits and put to death the middle class. We only need the poor to be servants to the rich and all you rich wantabee republicans. I hope the next republican president gets the same co-operation from the democrats as President Obama has from the republican congress. Vote no on all legislation brought forth by the republicans, fillibuster everything and I don't care if you read the bill or not just vote no. Democrats need to become the party of not just no but hell no to the republicans.

    November 25, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. Wanda V. Greene

    @ Republican

    "Gingrich clipped Romneys quote mid-sentance, taking it completely out of context".
    Are you serious? You're annoyed that Romney's comment was taken out of context? In case you haven't noticed, that's Romney's game. He just went down that road with the ad against President Obama. He has established the rules of engagement and what he showed us is that he is sleazy; and not with just the American people. What makes you think he won't disply this same sleaziness with other leaders of the world?

    Oh, and by the way. If you think President Obama is going to let this liar slide, you're dreaming. Romney doesn't have enough money to pay for what the President is going to do to him. However, there will be one difference. It won't be by slight of hand and b.s. It will be cold, hard, truth.

    November 25, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. Doug

    Many of these illegal immigrants work their tails off and deserve citizenship, I say we grant them it and take it way from a Democrat welfare taker.

    I will be voting Republican no matter who gets the nomination, I don't wish harm or death on my fellow Americans because of their poltical views, I don't support a president who calls his political opposition the enemy and a vice president who calls them terrorists, such a hate is exclusive of Democrats, no where found on the right. Biden and Obama are far more extreme and hateful than even a Rush Limbaugh, that says all that needs to be said.

    November 25, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. Nash

    I am waiting for Romney to flop once Gingrich's position polls well. This has always been a general election position for Republicans. Anyone remember the Bush position and how he got Hispanics to vote for him? Anyway Romney is tying himself into knots because he cannot pivot to this position in the general election, if he makes it.

    November 25, 2011 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  12. Thomas

    The GOP likes starting wars , displacing families , and providing citizenship to those we invade !

    I'm a Reagan Refugee ! NO NEW TAXES on Hand Guns !

    November 25, 2011 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  13. Milton K. Wiah

    Except you do not listen to the debate and the interview Mitt Romney gave years back. He vividly said those should be given citizenship. Now he is against it. John King played the clips and I saw them twice. Mind you I am not an America.
    I am Dutch-Liberian

    November 25, 2011 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  14. bob

    So...if we committed a crime years ago, we get a free pass on it? What crimes does this include? If I stole a bunch of stuff a long time ago and still had it today, got caught with it, would I still get to keep it?

    We already have a path to citizenship. They just don't want to work towards it. They want it given to them.

    November 25, 2011 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. Nash

    @anyone who thinks illegal immigrants receive benefits from State and Federal governments = LIARS. Go try to get on foodstamps and see how lax that system is. To get this things you need IDs, proof of residence, ssn and employment record and proof of income and tax records. To get a state ID, try renewing your license. You need a birth certificate and a social security number. This is a cumbersome process for even people born in the United States, so tell me how an illegal can obtain a legitimate birth certificate to get an Identificard card to get those benefits? These are lies to keep people misinformed and scared. Please think through this before parroting people who cannot back up their facts. If you don't believe me go to Alabama and get a job since the farmers there have to pick their own crop. Alabama should have the lowest unemployment rates right now, but I highly doubt if they do.

    November 25, 2011 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  16. Doug

    Newt or Romney would never want to place their poltical opposition in camps much like the Nazis did in the 1930s, therefore they are far more moderate and tolerant than Obama or Biden.

    Face the facts, most Democrats would have no problem with their conservative neighbors being rounded up and thrown into ovens, decent people who have good in their hearts would never support such a party.

    November 25, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  17. Bob Ramos


    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 |

    There are so many lies in this statement that it is hard to begin. I will correct only two:

    1. Illegals do not enter the USA welfare system. Why not? Because this would lead to a risk of being detected that they simply cannot afford.
    2. Many illegals do pay federal payroll taxes. The authority for this are the Social Security Administration and the IRS. The last time I did research on this, they had paid over $300 billion in taxes which these two agencies trace back to illegals.

    What you and other sick puppies like you will never do is to actually meet and talk to these folks. If you ever did, you will find that most of them are fine hard working people who are trying to better their way of life for their families.
    For those who say, fine why do not they come here legally? The plain truth is that they tried. They appy and wait years for their applications to be processed. ICE has warehouses of these applications waiting to be looked at.

    November 25, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  18. John

    Newt Gingrich wouldn't be doing It If there wasn't something In It for Him. Look at Fannie may and Fannie mac look all much he got pay there. He had a 250,000 charge account at Jewelry Store. He was force to resign from Congress on 84 Ethics charges and he Cheated on two wife and one was dying of cancer at the time. This man should not be President , The Republican much be sunking to the bottom of the barrel If this Crook the best they have.

    November 25, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  19. Winner

    I really don't get all the losers who constantly feel threatened by illegals. When I see some guy working for crap money mowing a lawn or picking fruit or laying bricks, I don't feel like saying "oh no! get them outta here!" lol. I guess me must be the only big swinging d^^^ around here who couldn't give a rats ass about an illegal. Real men make money no matter what. You guys feel threatened by some poor ass farm worker? Really sad and pathetic.

    November 25, 2011 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  20. normajean @ verizon ,com

    With all the talk we have had over the years from this less than admirable Newt Gingrich.. it is not surprising that he has hit on the one issue that can bring him votes he otherwise would not get.., obviously he is working hard for the Hispanic vote!!! Frankly,,, I think they are smart enough to see through his plan. He hasn't had anything to say or do for them up to now....why the sudden interest? VOTES OF COURSE!!! They aren't going to buy this !!!!

    November 25, 2011 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  21. roro

    @Republican. You mentioned how dishonest it was that Gingrich took Mitt's quote out of context. How do you then react to the fact that Mitt ran an ad with a quote from Obama, which actually was Obama quoting McCain? Can you say hypocrite?

    November 25, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  22. Anonmyous

    I somehow don't thnk you were going to vote for a Democrat anyways. Living here in Arizona, I would like to remindd you that is was someone from the Republican party that put crosshairs over a congress womans district in my state and then tried to play the victim when that congress woman was shot. Both parties you hateful rhetoric so if you're not going to vote for a party in America because they use hateful rhetoric, then I guess you're pretty much done voting in this country.
    I'm definitely not a Rebublican or Democrat but living in a border state immigration is a big issue every year and, I think the Republican should stay away from this topic. Anyone that lives in a border state can tell you EXACTLY which adminstrations gave illegals amnesty, that would be Ronald Reagan and Gorge W. Bush. With all the blaming Obama for everything wrong in the world that's just facts that the republican party is going to have to deal with. All tough talk but when it comes down to it the Republican party seems to be okay with all the illegals in the system because they keep granting them amnesty.

    November 25, 2011 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  23. pokey5735

    Ralf is exactly right.
    And how do you fix it? You enforce our immigration laws, secure the border, implement and enforce E-verify, get rid of the anchor baby clause. They will self deport if our laws are taken serious.
    Romney is right. It is a magnet when you do not enforce the law. It breeds contempt for our laws which is why we have such an ugly problem now.

    November 25, 2011 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  24. Terry Gloege

    Easy to remain firm when you've really not stated your position. So those who have been here 25 years or more can stay but what about the other 20 million or so? What will we do with those living here 25 years that did not go to church? What church did that have to attend? What do we do with the remainder? What do we do with the anchor babies? What, What, What???????

    November 25, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  25. guspiliafas

    Newt Gingrich, who entered the presidential campaign last spring, talked in apocalyptic terms about threats to American culture. Newt wrote about "a secular-socialist machine" led by the Democratic Party that "represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did." Is Newt just shooting at the hip or what? His outrageous comments reflect an unbalance thought process. If elected president, Newt would dissolve all unions and ability to have collective bargaining. He would prefer a two wage system, one for the rich and one for the poor, (my way or the highway). His adulteress behavior, his Freddie Mac bankruptcy blunder, and so many other (foot in mouth) gaffes make him too impulsive to be president.

    November 25, 2011 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
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