Newt Gingrich on Immigration

Former Republican Representative (GA-6) and Speaker of the House

Newt side-by-side against Romney, Paul & Santorum

Q: Is there any issue where Gingrich differs from all three other GOP frontrunners?

A: Yes, on immigration--Newt is the odd man out from Romney, Paul, and Santorum calling for deportation and cutting benefits. Newt says local boards should decide (they'll decide no!); and people with ties to their community can stay (almost anyone can demonstrate that!). See the details on immigration and numerous other related issues in a side-by-side comparison:

Romney/Paul/Santorum/Gingrich side-by-side on International Issues

Source: Paperback: Romney/Paul/Santorum/Gingrich side-by-side , Mar 2, 2012

By 2014, finish job of constructing a double border fence

Q: Gov. Rick Perry said this: "if you build a 30-foot wall, the 35-foot ladder business gets really good." You signed a pledge to construct a double fence. Why is Gov. Perry wrong?

GINGRICH: He's not wrong. They'd have to have two 35-foot ladders because it's a double fence. Look, the fact is I helped Duncan Hunter pass the first fence bill in San Diego when I was Speaker of the House. It turned out it worked. It worked dramatically. However, it stopped. The further we have gone with the fence, the fewer the people have broken into California. I would finish the job by January 1, 2014, I would initiate a bill that would waive all federal regulations, requirement and studies. I would ask Gov. Brewer, Gov. Martinez, Gov. Brown, and Gov. Perry to become the co-leaders in their state. We would apply as many resources as are needed to be done by Jan. 1, 2014, including moving half of the 23,000 DHS personnel from the DC area to Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. This is a doable thing.

Source: CNN's 2012 GOP Debate on eve of Arizona Primary , Feb 23, 2012

Use American Express & Visa to verify immigration laws

[On immigration]: You should control the border, which I have pledged to do by January 1, 2014. You should fix legal immigration in terms of visas so people can come and go more easily than doing it illegally. You should have a guest worker program, probably run by American Express, Visa or MasterCard so they minimize fraud, which the federal government won't do. And you should have much stronger employer penalties at that point because you can validate it.
Source: CNN 2012 GOP primary debate on the eve of Florida primary , Jan 26, 2012

Romney's "self-deportation" is an Obama-level fantasy

Q: You've suggested that self-deportation as advocated by Governor Romney is in your words, "An Obama level fantasy." Why?

GINGRICH: First of all, you should control the border, which I have pledged to do by January 1, 2014. You should also make deportation easier so when you deport people who shouldn't be here. I actually agree that self-deportation will occur if you're single. If you've only been here a short time. And there are millions of people who faced with that, would go back home, file for a guest worker program and might or might not come back. People who have been here a very long time who are married, who may well have children and grandchildren. And I would just suggest that grandmothers or grandfathers aren't likely to self-deport. I offered a proposal, a citizen panel to review whether or not somebody who had been here a very long time, who had family and who had an American family willing to sponsor them, should be allowed to get residency, but not citizenship.

Source: CNN 2012 GOP primary debate on the eve of Florida primary , Jan 26, 2012

Not speaking English traps people into not getting jobs

Q: Governor, you had an ad running saying that Speaker Gingrich called Spanish "the language of the ghetto." What do you mean by that?

ROMNEY: [to Gingrich]: Did you say that?

GINGRICH: No. What I said was, we want everybody to learn English. I didn't use the word "Spanish." We do not want anyone trapped in a situation where they cannot get a job, they cannot rise.

Q: Governor, that ad quoted you as saying that Speaker Gingrich called Spanish "the language of the ghetto"--we just double- checked.

ROMNEY: Let me ask the speaker a question. Did you say what the ad says or not?

GINGRICH: It's taken totally out of context.

ROMNEY: Oh, OK, he said it.

GINGRICH: No. I did not say it about Spanish. I said, in general, about all languages. We are better for children to learn English in general, period.

Source: CNN 2012 GOP primary debate on the eve of Florida primary , Jan 26, 2012

Santorum's immigration stances compared to Newt's

Do Santorum & Gingrich agree on Reagan-style amnesty? (No, Gingrich voted for it; Santorum considered it a trick). How do Santorum & Gingrich differ on sending illegal aliens home? (Santorum would secure the border first; Newt would allow long-time residents to stay). We cite details from Santorum's books and speeches, and Gingrich's, so you can compare them, side-by-side, on issues like these:

Rick Santorum vs. Newt Gingrich on International Issues

Source: Paperback: Santorum vs. Gingrich On The Issues , Jan 8, 2012

Review all illegal aliens & if you have no ties, go home

Q: Back in the '80s, you voted for legislation that had a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Some called it amnesty then; they still call it amnesty now. What would you do if you were President, with these millions of illegal immigrants, many of whom have been in this country for a long time?

GINGRICH: Let me start and just say I think that we ought to have an H-1 visa that goes with every graduate degree in math, science and engineering so that people stay here. I did vote for the Simpson-Mazzoli Act. I believe ultimately you have to find some system that reviews the people who are here. If you've come here recently, you have no ties to this country, you ought to go home. If you've been here 25 years and you got three kids and two grandkids, you've been paying taxes and obeying the law, you belong to a local church, I don't think we're going to separate you from your family, uproot you forcefully and kick you out.

Source: 2011 CNN National Security GOP primary debate , Nov 22, 2011

Illegal aliens born in the US should not be deported

BACHMANN [to Gingrich]: I don't agree that you would give the DREAM Act on a federal level. And I don't agree that we should make 11 million workers who are here illegally legal.

GINGRICH: First of all, in the DREAM Act, the one part that I like is the one which allows people who came here with their parents to join the US military, which they could have done if they were back home, and if they serve on it with the US military to acquire citizenship, which is something any foreigner can do. And 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. I specifically did not say we'd make the 11 million people legal. If you find people who have been here 25 years and have two generations of family and have been paying taxes and are in a local church, as somebody who believes strongly in family, you'll have a hard time explaining why that particular subset is being broken up and forced to leave.

Source: 2011 CNN National Security GOP primary debate , Nov 22, 2011

Sue the federal government for every cent spent on illegals

We have technology that allows you to track a package with FedEx with remarkable accuracy. One of my proposals is to send people a package to determine if they are here illegally. It's funny but making a point about where we are. We should be able to identify everyone who gets emergency aid and every state should sue the federal government every year for every cent spent on illegals who should not be in the United States. That is the federal government's responsibility.
Source: Head-to-head debate between Herman Cain & Newt Gingrich , Nov 5, 2011

Employers should use e-verify for all hires

Q: Should we make all businesses use E-Verify, a government database, to check whether or not new hires are illegal? Or would that turn small businessmen into immigration agents?

GINGRICH: Well, let me say, first of all, I think we would be better off to outsource E-Verify to American Express, MasterCard or Visa, because they actually know how to run a program like that without massive fraud. Second, the program should be as easy as swiping your credit card when you buy gasoline. And so I would ask of employers, what is it you would object to in helping the US in dealing with the problem involving illegal immigration?

Q: Would you support each state enforcing the immigration laws since the federal government is not?

GINGRICH: I strongly favor 100% control of the border, and I strongly favor English as the official language of government. I favor modernizing the legal visa system. We have a terribly antiquated legal system while our border is too open for people who are illegal.

Source: 2011 GOP Google debate in Orlando FL , Sep 22, 2011

Require official English plus American history

We should make English the official language of government. We should insist that first-generation immigrants who come here learn American history in order to become citizens. And then find a way to deal with folks who are already here, some of whom, frankly, have been here 25 years, are married with kids, live in our local neighborhood, go to our church. It's got to be done in a much more humane way than thinking that to automatically deport millions of people
Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

I voted for Reagan's legal guest worker program

Q: Your current perception on immigration reform is a little different on your initial positions under Reagan?

GINGRICH: I think we have to find a way to get to a country in which everybody who's here is here legally. But you referenced Pres. Reagan. In 1986, I voted for the Simpson-Mazzoli Act, which in fact did grant some amnesty in return for promises. Pres. Reagan wrote in his diary that year that he signed the act because we were going to control the border and we were going to have an employer program where it was a legal guest worker program. That's in his diary. I'm with Pres. Reagan. We ought to control the border, we ought to have a legal guest worker program. We ought to outsource it, frankly, to American Express, Visa, and MasterCard, so there's no counterfeiting, which there will be with the federal government. We should be very tough on employers once you have that legal program.

Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

Citizen Boards to decide which immigrants stay and go

Q: You're looking at the idea of having citizen boards choose which illegal immigrants can stay in the country and which would have to go. Who decides the memberships of these boards, and how would they work?

A: I think it's very important to go back and look at how the Selective Service Commission worked in World War II, because it was local, practical decision-making, and people genuinely thought it was fair and it was reasonable.

Q: What about Pres. Obama's joke about protecting the borders wit alligators and a moat?

A: That was the perfect symbol of his failure as a leader. He failed to get any immigration reform through when he controlled the Senate. He could ram through Obamacare, but he couldn't deal with immigration. I would be prepared to take as many people from Homeland Security's bureaucracy in Washington and move them to Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, as are needed, to control the border. And we should have English as the official language of government.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa , Aug 11, 2011

Use National Guard on US-Mexican border

Q: [to Cain]: If two adults came into this country illegally, and they have a child, should that child be considered a citizen of the US?

CAIN: I don't believe so. But let's look at solving the real problem, OK? #1, get serious about securing our borders. #2, enforce the laws that are already there. #3, promote a path to citizenship by cleaning up the bureaucracy.

GINGRICH: Herman Cain's essentially right, you break it down. First of all, you control the border. We can ask the National Guard to go to Iraq. We ask the National Guard to go to Afghanistan. Somehow we would have done more for American security if we had had the National Guard on the border. If you don't want to use the National Guard, take half of the current Department of Homeland Security bureaucracy in Washington, transplant it to Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. You'll have more than enough people to control the border.

Source: 2011 GOP primary debate in Manchester NH , Jun 13, 2011

Deport 55,000 illegal aliens with multiple arrest records

According to a report by the Government Accountability Office, our country has 55,322 criminal illegal aliens who have been arrested at least a total of 459,614 times, averaging about eight arrests per illegal alien. Twenty-six percent (about 15,000) have had eleven or more arrests. Imagine a government bureaucracy so incompetent it can't even remove people from the United States when they have been arrested eleven or more times.
Source: Real Change, by Newt Gingrich, p. 29 , Dec 18, 2007

Elite immigration solution incompatible with American values

There is a clear path to an effective immigration solution that is better for America and better for immigration. The challenge is to get the elites to listen to the American people.

Unfortunately, the Washington elites have agreed on a definition of success that is infuriating to the average American. The elites on the left oppose border control, oppose English as the official government language, oppose expanding legal immigration, and want to find a way to allow everyone here illegally to stay, all while prohibiting illegal immigration in the future. The country is convinced that this so-called solution is incompatible with American values and will weaken America's future.

In trying to force their left-wing solution on a country that rejects it, the elite have resorted to describing their critics as racist, xenophobic, unrealistic, and much worse. Those attacks are merely a sign of the elites' desperation.

Source: Real Change, by Newt Gingrich, p.127 , Dec 18, 2007

Lax border security lets in terrorists

The American people overwhelmingly want to see their borders controlled as a matter of national security. By more than 7 to 1 (86% to 12%), Americas believe terrorists are trying to enter the United States illegally.

Most Americans understand the irrationality of intense security at airports and lax security at the borders. This requires the terrorist to be dumb enough that he insists on flying into the United States when he could simply ride a truck or walk into the country unimpeded. The refusal to control the border has been one of the most infuriating aspects of modern government, and one of the most inexcusable.

The American people want reform that establishes English as the official language of government, reform that controls the borders, reform that doesn't reward illegality, reform that enforces penalties on employers.

Source: Real Change, by Newt Gingrich, p.132 , Dec 18, 2007

Immigrants must learn key values of American history

We must establish patriotic education for our children and patriotic immigration for new Americans. To achieve this, we will renew our commitment to education about American citizenship based on American history and an understanding of the Founding Fathers and the core values of American civilization. We will insist that both our children and immigrants learn the key values and key facts of American history as the foundation of their growth as citizens.
Source: Gingrich Communications website, www.newt.org , Dec 1, 2006

Make it harder to sneak in, but easier for guest workers

No serious nation in the age of terror can afford to have wide-open borders with millions of illegal aliens crossing at will. But along with making it much harder to sneak in, we need to make it easier for guest workers to enter the country legally and to work here as long as they obey the law. Millions of illegal immigrants are here because Americans are hiring them. They have jobs in your neighborhood and you know it. Keeping these hard-working people illegal makes them vulnerable to criminals and keeps them from playing responsible roles in our communities.

We need a guest worker program to ensure that guest workers pay taxes, get driverís licenses, buy auto insurance, abide by the law, and that filters out criminals and potential terrorists. The program should not be an automatic qualification for citizenship, though eventual citizenship should be held out as an opportunity.

Source: Gingrich Communications website, www.newt.org , Dec 1, 2006

1989: Let Tiananmen students overstay visas

Gingrich's first skirmish was over foreign policy--Bush's veto of a bill that would have allowed Chinese students to stay in the US after their visas expired. The brutal suppression of protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989 had been seen across America. Chinese students' lives were put at risk as soon as they returned home. Supported by Gingrich, Republicans joined Democrats in attempting to override the veto, and Bush administration officials began to be wary of the gadfly from Georgia.
Source: Newt!, by Dick Williams, p.124 , Jun 1, 1995

Irish and Chinese immigrants overcame bigotry; so can blacks

It is fashionable for African-Americans to argue that forced immigration in the form of slavery hardly is comparable to immigration. Gingrich instead uses the lessons of history to argue that time and change heal wounds. The problems that so anger black Americans, he insists, came to be after 1965--the year of the Voting Rights Act.

"From 1607 until 1965 you have certain long sweeps that are more and more positive. We go from slavery to segregation to integration. We go from empowering wealthy white males to eliminating the poll tax and then giving women the vote, then making sure everybody can vote. We go from almost the very beginning to acquire property. Free blacks as early as the 1740s could acquire property."

Gingrich goes on to enumerate America's past hostility toward the Irish, Southern Europeans, and the Chinese. These immigrants' ability to overcome bigotry and succeed while so many black Americans languish is the prelude to the congressman's call for dismantling the welfare system.

Source: Newt!, by Dick Williams, p. 30 , Jun 1, 1995

Other candidates on Immigration: Newt Gingrich on other issues:
Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
GOP Candidates:
Rep.Newt Gingrich(GA)
Rep.Ron Paul(TX)
Gov.Mitt Romney(MA)
Third Party Candidates:
Rep.Virgil Goode(C)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L)
Gov.Buddy Roemer(AE)
Jill Stein(G)
C.G.David Walker(AE)

GOP Withdrawals:
Rep.Michele Bachmann(MN)
Herman Cain(GA)
Gov.Chris Cristie(NJ)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(UT)
Rep.Thaddeus McCotter(MI)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Gov.Tim Pawlenty(MN)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
Donald Trump(NY)
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Page last updated: May 31, 2012