Gingrich on Top of GOP Polls, Takes Big Risk Articulating Illegal Immigration Policy
Published November 23, 2011 | FoxNews.com
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich threw down the gauntlet to conservative Republicans at Tuesday night’s presidential debate, challenging his rivals to upend his argument against mass deportations of illegal immigrants while also taking a huge risk with the law-and-order GOP base.
The Republican presidential hopeful, who has sprung to the top of the polling charts in the past two weeks, warned against a policy that proposes deporting illegals who have been in the country for 25 years. Gingrich said he would not “expel” those who have come to the United States illegally if it happened decades ago.
And in an appeal to family values, he said long-residing illegal aliens shouldn’t become citizens, but neither should they be torn apart from their families.
“I don’t see how the party that says it’s the party of family is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families which have been here a quarter century and I’m prepared to take the heat for saying let’s be humane in enforcing the law,” he said.
Heat is what he got.
“Our nation was founded on the rule of law, and we must ensure U.S. immigration laws are respected and enforced not only to preserve our national security, but to protect federal, state, and local budgets, and to curb the unfair strain on our country’s job markets,” she said.
Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee Chairman William Gheen predicted that Gingrich’s campaign will “implode” as a result of his support for “DREAM Act Amnesty,” just as Perry’s campaign took a dive after the border-state governor described his support for in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.
“Newt Gingrich’s campaign will now take the ‘Perry Plunge’ due to his support for DREAM Act Amnesty,” Gheen said in a written statement. “Newt Gingrich is finished!”
Gheen said any form of amnesty for illegals will “harm American workers and students” and lead to derailing future border and immigration enforcement efforts.
“We are waiting to hear one of these GOP candidates give the correct answer to the immigration question,” Gheen said. “The correct answer is a pledge to adequately enforce America’s existing border and immigration laws — period!”
Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, told Fox News that while Gingrich’s answer may have satisfied pundits and politicians inside the Beltway, the key to his success will be measured in Iowa.
“There’s a very strong anti-illegal immigration contingent among the people who show up at the Iowa caucuses,” Sabato said. “That’s where Gingrich hopes to make his breakthrough. He has to do well in Iowa in order to compete in New Hampshire, where Mitt Romney is doing very well … He came awfully close Rick Perry’s heartless comment, which as we know caused Perry enormous problems.”
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