If Newt Gingrich’s goal was to confuse everyone on his immigration policy, well, he’s succeeded. It’s been four days since the last debate and he still is having to clarify his remarks.
Gingrich this morning said the following:
“I am not for amnesty for anyone. I am not for a path to citizenship for anybody who got here illegally,” Gingrich told the crowd of roughly 750 people, many of whom were forced to stand in the hallway. “But I am for a path to legality for those people whose ties are so deeply into America that it would truly be tragic to try and rip their family apart.”
What does “a path to legality” mean then? Does it seem like he wants to have both sides of this issue? He says he’s not for amnesty, yet wants to play to the Latino base by telling them he won’t rip apart their families who have been here 25 years. But what about families who have been here 19 years, or 14 or 9?
Here’s Gingrich solution:
Gingrich wants to model his immigration plan for illegals already in the country on the WWII model of the Selective Service System program, which allowed local communities to decide who would be drafted for war. He noted that the program “really tried to take general policy and give it a human face.”
“I think the vast majority [of illegal immigrants] will go home and should go home and then should reapply. I do not think anybody should be eligible for citizenship,” the former speaker said to loud applause in Southwest Florida with his wife, Callista, sitting in the front row of the audience. “I am suggesting a certification of legality with no right to vote and no right to become an American citizen unless they go home and apply through the regular procedures back home and get in line behind everybody else who has obeyed the law and stayed back there.”
So a local community will make the determination if they stay or go. Yeah, that will work. This is the problem with Gingrich, he has so many ideas of what he wants to do with a particular issue, he confuses everyone.
So, let me get this straight…He wants “a path of legality” for those families who have been here an undetermined amount of time, but they can’t vote, and “have no right to become an American citizen” unless they go home and get in line. But it begs the question of why would these people want to go home and get in line when they already have what they want: a way to stay in the country with fear of being deported?
Gingrich is giving illegals another “magnet” –a path to second tier citizenship. Now the question is how many years does one have to be in the country to earn this status? This will only cause more problems long term and will not incentivize illegals to go home and to get in line.
UPDATE: Mark Krikorian of National Review’s The Corner agrees with my assessment and goes further–“It’s dishonest”
UPDATE: Saw this at the Washington Examiner: “Gingrich Supported Bush’s Path to Amnesty”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich signed a letter in 2004 praising President Bush’s plan for comprehensive immigration reform — which gave illegal immigrants a path to citizenship — according to Rep.Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who released the Gingrich letter today.
- Gingrich defends immigration policies (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- Gingrich Clarifies Immigration Policy: No Amnesty (newser.com)