At a campaign event in Naples, Fla. yesterday, Newt Gingrich stressed that he was opposed to granting citizenship to current illegal immigrants, even if he favored giving some a way to achieve legal status in the United States.
“I am not for amnesty for anyone,” Gingrich said, according to NBC News. “I am not for a path to citizenship for anybody who got here illegally. 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.”
He said that the “vast majority” of illegal immigrants would need to return to their country of origin and then apply to return to the United States. If any illegal immigrants wanted to become citizens, they would need to return to their home country, and “apply through the regular procedures back home and get in line behind everybody else who has obeyed the law and stayed back there.”
Gingrich also took a shot at his rivals who had used his remarks in Tuesday’s debate to say he was for amnesty. “It speaks badly of any candidate who would deliberately repeat something which they know is not true,” Gingrich said.
One of the policy ideas Gingrich mentioned in the debate was the red card program, which would require all illegal immigrants to leave the United States. Once in another country, they could apply to work here; if an employer had an available job and wanted to hire the person, he would receive a red card which would give him legal status in the United States for the duration of his time working here. More details here.