Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is rebutting critics and reinforcing his advocacy of a “humane” immigration policy in the GOP candidates debate last week.
The former House speaker defended his views and offered a seven-plank immigration policy during a town hall event in Charleston, S.C., Monday, The Hill and Politico report.
Although some rivals have said Gingrich is advocating an amnesty plan with a pathway to citizenship, Gingrich denies that and counters that some law-abiding illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay in the country to avoid ripping up families. And he thinks most Americans agree.
"I don't believe we'll ever pass a bill which requires us to hunt down every single person," Gingrich said.
“Take someone who’s been here for 25 years. They’ve been obeying the law for 25 years, they’ve been paying taxes for 25 years, they’re married. They have three kids, two grandkids, and belong to a church. Do you really think the American people are going to send a policeman to take that person away from their family? I don’t.”
As for the seven steps, Gingrich wants to see them executed in this order.
- Border fence. Gingrich wants a fence to be built along our entire border with Mexico by 2014. As president, he would suspend regulations, such as environmental impact studies, to get the fence erected on time.
- English first. Gingrich would make English the country’s official language.
- History lesson. Children seeking citizenship would have to learn our nation’s history.
- Visa reform. Gingrich would implement a new visa system. Now tourists and those seeking to do business in this country spend too much time and money on an overly complex process to garner a visa.
- Power of deportation. Gingrich said he would make it easier to deport criminals. For example, members of the El Salvadoran gang “MS-13” should be booted from the country immediately.
- Guest worker program. Gingrich would adjust this program, which allows foreigners to work temporarily in the United States. A private company, such as a credit card firm, should run the program rather than the federal government.
- Let them stay. Some illegal immigrants who have been here for decades would be allowed to remain in the United States. This would affect a “relatively small number” of people, Gingrich said. He blasted claims that his program constitutes amnesty. Those illegals allowed to stay here wouldn’t be offered citizenship.
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