Does Newt Gingrich have a heart?

Does Newt Gingrich have a heart?
Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich showed in the Republican debate Tuesday night that he has a heart.

He supports allowing "millions" of undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States.

But his compassionate conservatism may spike his recent surge in the polls. He recognized this may not be a popular point of view.

"I don't see how the -- the party that says it's the party of the family is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter century. And I'm 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 said in the debate televised on CNN.

We saw that after Rick Perry explained his support of the DREAM Act in Texas he dropped in the polls and was attacked by fellow Republicans. But Perry's slide also can be explained but his overall poor debate performance.

Gingrich said that undocumented immigrants who have been here 25 years, have ties to the community and go to church should be allowed to stay.

"I do not believe that the people of the United States are going to take people who have been here a quarter century, who have children and grandchildren, who are members of the community, who may have done something 25 years ago, separate them from their families, and expel them," Gingrich said.

These are sort of arbitrary guidelines but his main point is that people who have been here a long time with roots in the community should be allowed to stay.

But he also said something a bit confusing that he supports "legalization without citizenship."

So would he allow undocumented immigrants legal status and the ability to work but never allow them to become U.S. citizens?

It's not clear if what Gingrich is calling for is a type of permanent guest worker program or not. Under immigration law, a person who has a green card for five years can then apply to become a U.S. citizen.

After the debate Gingrich, told a CNN reporter that millions will stay and millions, who have no ties to the United States and have been here a short time, will have to go home.

Remember that Gingrich supported the 1986 amnesty under President Ronald Reagan. And President George W. Bush also supported a legalization program but he failed to get anything passed as president.

Gingrich also said he supports part of the federal DREAM Act to create a pathway to legalization for undocumented immigrants who came here as children and complete two years of college or military service.

"I don't see any reason to punish somebody who came here at three years of age, but who wants to serve the United States of America," Gingrich said.

Gingrich did a better job than Perry of explaining his moderate views on immigration.

As expected Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney said they are against amnesty. Romney called it a "magnet" that encourages more undocumented immigrants.

Romney said he favors skilled immigrants who come here legally. But this ignores the fact that under existing immigration policy it is impossible for many immigrants to gain legal status.

The debate is a reminder that all Republicans are not inherently anti-immigrant.

Still, Gingrich said after the debate that he supports securing the border and English as the official language of the United States.

This is hypocritical considering that Gingrich has a Spanish-language Twitter account and Web site called Newt Presidente. He also is reportedly learning Spanish.

Gingrich understands that anybody who runs for president needs to get as  many Latino voters as possible. So he's showing that he is a moderate on immigration.

I don't think that will win him Latino voters who aren't likely to trust his message. And it could cost him some Republican voters too.

Also listen to my radio interview on Vocalo on immigration and the Republican debate.

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  • Once again we see a Latino purposefully garbling the truth to turn Republicans into racists and haters. Republicans are NOT "anti-immigrant." They are ANTI-LAW BREAKING! Republicans do not want to stop all immigration. They want immigrants to come here LEGALLY! We know you hate all Republicans, but could you at least just own up to that without hiding behind lies about them?

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    "Anti-Law Breaking" is a disingenuous argument from the right. Why? It never takes into consideration the American employers who hire undocumented immigrants. Illegal immigration is a supply and demand issue. You can't conveniently ignore the demand portion and not talk about the "lawbreakers" on the employer side of the equation.

    Illegal employment could be fixed overnight with a national ID card and Federal database linked to one's Social Security number. Neither side wants this. The next best thing is E-verify, which is also fought by businesses. We could increase the number of Green Cards and sponsorships, but businesses don't want to take on that responsibility either.

    It's not really fair that the GOP prevents immigration reform by protecting the employers of undocumented workers with one hand while vilifying the "non-native" worker with the other. It smacks of Nationalism, which is the precursor of Fascism.

    A rational, adult discussion of immigration reform has to include some form of amnesty to solve this perceived (read; ginned up by the GOP) crisis. Real, decent, hard-working people whose only crime was being born on the wrong side of a border are at the heart of this issue.

    America welcomes immigrants. It's time we developed a fair, humane, immigration policy that reflects the real USA we all live in, not some 1950's, 1890's, or 1850's fantasy land.

  • If supporting amnesty for unknown millions means that Gingrich has a heart, then doesn't it also mean that he doesn't care for the millions of US citizens and legal residents that would be negatively affected by irresponsible policies such as amnesty. He may have a heart but he sure as hell doesn't have a brain!

  • By the way Brent, there have been a total of 7, yes, seven amnesty and legalization programs that have taken effect since 1986 and today we have more illegal aliens than any other time in our history. Amnesty and legalization programs have never worked and never will. Or are you saying that the 8th amnesty will be the charm?

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