Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s statement that he would allow some longtime illegal immigrants to stay in the United States will haunt the former House speaker during the primaries, Rush Limbaugh says.
During the GOP debate Tuesday night, Gingrich said the United States should not automatically deport those living in the country illegally if they had been here for 20 or 25 years and could prove to a board that they had established roots that justified staying. He acknowledged that that could allow millions of illegals to stay.
“Just because someone is here 25 years does not mean that they have assimilated into our society,” Limbaugh said on his radio show today. “They could be rabble-rousing for La Raza out there for 24 of the 25 years.”
Limbauch questioned how Gingrich’s policy would play out.
“How exactly would this work?” he asked. “What if somebody’s been here not 25 years but 22? What is the test here to determine that they have assimilated into our distinct American culture?”
Gingrich’s surprising remarks turned the issue into a big attack target for the Republican front-runner, Limbaugh said.
“This is a bold proposal, there’s no question, but it was snuck in there,” he said. “The way he threw it out there as full-fledged policy, okay, that means we can shoot at it.”
Any policy on illegal immigration must include securing the border, he said.
“You have to build popular support to secure the border first,” he said. “That remains the sieve. That remains the ongoing problem.”
Limbaugh said Gingrich cleverly failed to use the term amnesty when revealing his policy because “he knows if you grant amnesty, amnesty is citizenship.”
“So Newt can say today, as he is saying, my program’s not amnesty,” he said. “Therefore, these people are not going to become automatic Democrat voters.”
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