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. notsosmart

    We can change the Earned Income Tax Credit to an Earned Income Tax Exemption. By doing so, no one will get a income tax refund greater than the money they paid into the IRS.

    November 26, 2011 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  2. NiSolihp

    After all the posturing of elder statesman, Mr.Gingrich is providing a glimpse of his true personality. I had predicted that when the time comes he will not hesitate to cannibalise the Republican party members, when it suited his needs. This is not personal, Mr.Romney – you just happened to be in the way. By the way, CNN analysts (Ms.Borger et al) should stop labelling him as an intellectual – "Conservative" Political scientists have dismissed him in the past as a shallow/pseudo-intellectual with no rigor of scholarship. It is demeaning to do so – to the true intellectuals. Mr.Ron Paul and Mr.Jon Huntsman are the only ones on the stage who have some claim to that.

    November 26, 2011 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  3. mark

    Everytime I start to think that Americans are not stupid enough to elect the likes of Newt Gingrich, I am reminded that they reelected George W. Bush in 2004.

    November 26, 2011 03:59 am at 3:59 am |

    The wingnut/teabagger trainwreck implosion continues full speed ahead.

    November 26, 2011 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  5. taylor

    Lowlife lobbying money grubber!

    November 26, 2011 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  6. The Greedy Old Pigs are also ignorant

    "So...if we committed a crime years ago, we get a free pass on it?"

    Are you really this dense? Yes, we have a little thing called the Statute of LImitations. If a person is not prosecuted within a certain period of time they cannot be charged later (except for the rare cases where crimes like murder have no SOL). This is basic Civics 101 so it's pretty sad we have voters running around as ignorant as you appear to be.

    November 26, 2011 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  7. The Greedy Old Pigs have diseased brains

    "Ralf is exactly right."

    No, Ralf is very, very wrong, as you may have noticed from the many facts that were posted later rebutting Ralf's many lies and half-truths. It's pretty remarkable that a substantial part of the population is willing to swallow lies hook, line and sinker despite the easily obtained evidence demonstrating the error of their ways. It's almost like you and Ralf are so caught up in defending your positions you are unable or incapable if recognizing when your beliefs have been proven wrong.

    November 26, 2011 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  8. Obama is a closet Muslim

    What T-shaw and Domincan mama fail to point out is Obama, failed polices on immigration . States are forced to make their own policies on this , as the Obama Adminstration is to busy of providing weapons to the drug cartels. This shows just who Obama is in bed with, No doubt he is getting massive contributions from the Cartels. Meanwhile his failed health care polices sit in limbo. the debt keeps going up. Unemployment is still at a record high. The housing market is dead, our credit rating has gone down. Obama has provided no leadership to this country, Bush was bad to but compared to Obama, Bush looks like an leader. Obama has failed us and this country, come 2012 he will be gone, him and his liberal/socialist buddies will be kicked to the curb.

    Romey 2012 and beyond.

    November 26, 2011 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  9. Independent Voters

    These republican candidates are worst one's in history.
    Obama will beat them by landslide and the middle class will vote all the republican out of congress.

    November 26, 2011 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  10. 21k

    king newtie-boy making up rules as he goes. i guess he'll decide if the church they've gone to is the right flavor. xtians only!

    November 26, 2011 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  11. idb

    Amazing that they dare to put this subject under immigration. Illegal aliens are not immigrants. They are criminals leeching of society and nothing else. That said, it is useless to try and deport them all. That won't work for the same reason that swatting flies in your back yard does not eliminate the problem of flies. What you need to do is to take away that what attracts them. In the case of the US it is jobs, schooling and health care. Deprive them of this and the problem is solved.

    November 26, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  12. Donkey Party

    Doug –

    You are not only one of the biggest liars on the Ticker, you are also one of the biggest idiots, cowards, racists, and hate-mongers as well. It's sub-humans like you that are a drain on society, and you and your radical fundamentalist right-wing domestic terrorist ilk are solely to blame for most of the country's woes.

    November 26, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  13. idb

    Winner. The real problem is that the US has a high unemployment and a massive debt. Illegal aliens cost the nation at least 113 Billion per year and occupy at least 7 Million jobs. That needs to be fixed. As for you statement about the type of jobs that they have, you are dead wrong. Surely there are some agricultural workers, but most work in construction, production and fast food.

    November 26, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  14. awsomedeal

    Obama / Biden 2012 Clinton / Clinton 2016 that will have this country back in really good shape bet on it !!!!!

    November 26, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  15. Odin999

    The Federal Government has the resources to enforce the law. We can deport all illegal aliens in the United States. The fact is that our Federal Government is unwilling to enforce the current laws. It will take a vote of the American people to vote in the right people to start enforcing the law. Deporting illegal aliens will provide jobs, create small class sizes and save billions of taxpayer dollars.

    November 26, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  16. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    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.

    Ah Doug... Projecting again?!? Sad... You should get some professional help.

    November 26, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  17. Marc L from NY

    If an unwelcomed guest comes to your house, do you cook them their favorite meal? My point is, the highest fence in the world is not going to deter illegals from entering. However, if we stop making things a little easier for them here, maybe they wouldn't be as comfortable. Not that they have it great here, and not that I feel sorry for them either. Maybe if the DMV didn't have tests in spanish, or if we didn't have to press two for spanish. These are the things that make our country more inviting to them.

    November 26, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  18. Donkey Party

    You right-wing clowns just keep on ignoring facts, like illegal immigration being at record lows, while deportations are at record highs. Frightening how insanely ignorant you GOO-baggers are.

    November 26, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  19. Donkey Party

    Save America, deport all right-wingers to Iran, where they can enjoy the benefits of limited government in the mold of a theocracy.

    November 26, 2011 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  20. Seattle Sue

    Both Gingrich and Romney seem to have selective memory. They just remember what makes them look best.

    November 26, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  21. mike

    what do you mean Romney is actually are naive enough to actually believe that guy he changes his mind every time he speaks in front of a different audience..he is typical sleazy politician as slick as motor oil and as pathetic

    November 26, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  22. mike

    Bob Ramos
    bravo there is such junk posted here from people who just spout stupidity without any facts to back them up..these are the same numbskulls who go out and vote for those who hear want they want to hear and forget about the facts. Unfortunately they are unable to think and reason for themselves they are as pathetic as those that want their vote

    November 26, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  23. morpunkt

    If the right wing Teavangelicals lower their standards and vote for the serial adulterer, Newt, Obama will win again.
    I am amazed that they are so hell-bent against a guy who, even though he's not a Protestant Christian, is nevertheless, a very clean, upstanding Mormon with a near flawless record of integrity of personal life. However, this still isn't enough for those narrow-minded "Christians". What hypocrites.

    November 26, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  24. willard

    Old people are lived in keynea. Who old people are know that presdient obama was born in keynea. But I am agreed with his grandmother said his was born in keynea then presdient obama make trying give confusion to her about his birth in keynea so I am belived that she is right saying her word that presdient obama was born in keynea.I ask why not her bring talk with congress so how his uncle live in conn??????????????????

    November 26, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  25. ronvan

    Well at least he had the guts to say it and that he would stand by it. Personally, I have to agree with him. We are not going to solve this problem, just to many people involved. Plus, I really think that all of us would go insane if you got rid of all illegals and then found out we were either short of food products, or prices went through the roof! Don't forget that there were some farmers who got rid of all their illegals and hired " legal, Americans". THEY didn't last a week!!

    November 26, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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