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Latino Daily News

Wednesday March 2, 2011

Gingrich Walks Tightrope Between GOP and Latinos on Immigration

Gingrich Walks Tightrope Between GOP and Latinos on Immigration

Photo: Newt Gingrich

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Newt Gingrich is expected to announce his run for the Presidency any day now, but many wonder how he will make the bid to gain GOP support and the much needed Latino vote.

Gingrich’s position on immigration reform includes what some conservatives call amnesty.

“If I was his adviser, I would just say, ‘Let’s call a truce on that one for now,’ ” said Rep. Jack Kingston, a Georgia Republican who served with Gingrich in the House. “Immigration and illegal aliens are still a very, very hot topic. And people who will be voting in the Republican primary do not want to hear about any backdoor amnesty program.”

Gingrich uses phrases like “pathway to legality” to characterize his support for a measure similar to the DREAM Act, which grants young illegal immigrants U.S. residency if they enroll in college or join the military.

“I’m just going to ask them a simple question,” Gingrich told The Hill. “They’re going to take somebody who came here at 3 years of age, who doesn’t speak Spanish and who just graduated from a high school in Texas, and they’re going to say to him, ‘We’re going to deport you.’

“That’s certainly their prerogative. I don’t think the country will go for that. I think that’s so lax in a concern for the human beings involved.”

Gingrich supporters are concerned that this immigration stance will cause problems in the early primary states. In Iowa, Republicans such as Rep. Steve King have taken a hard-line stance against immigration reform calling for   mass deportation of those in the U.S. illegally.

“I am deeply committed to securing the border,” Gingrich told The Hill. “I am deeply committed to changing the deportation rules for felons and gang members. … But I also think we have a huge challenge — what do you do with the human beings who are engaged, some of whom are married, have children? It’s a very complicated situation, and I don’t you think you can just wave a magic wand and have some kind of a simple, clean answer.”