Our guest blogger is Ann Garcia, Research Assistant for Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund
While Newt Gingrich has tried hard to brand himself as moderate on immigration issues, the more details that emerge about his plan, the more his mask of compassion for undocumented immigrants living in our country peels off at the edges.
In late November, Gingrich famously broke ranks by saying that not all 11 million undocumented immigrants living in our nation should face deportation. Gingrich’s exceptionally modest proposal would grant residency permits without a path to citizenship to undocumented immigrants who have been here for 25 years, have a U.S. citizen family member to sponsor them, can get approval from a McCarthyite “Citizen Review Board,” and can demonstrate income sufficient to pay private health insurance and a $5,000 fine.
In an interview with Bob Schieffer of CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, Gingrich disclosed that only 2 million of the 11 million undocumented immigrants would be eligible to attempt to jump through this grueling set of hoops:
SCHIEFFER: That’s the question I’m coming to. There are 11 million of these people. I mean, what are you going to do with them? You can’t build that many prisons to put them in. You can’t get that many buses to haul them back.
GINGRICH: Seven or eight or nine million would go home and get a guest worker permit and come back under the law. The last two million are people who have been here a very long time. They are really part of the community. They’re not citizens but they’re part of the community. The folks, you and I may well know some of these folks. And 25 years ago, they did something wrong but they’ve been very good neighbors. They belong to the local church. As I said one of the requirements would be they have to have an American family sponsor them to be eligible for review by the Citizen Review Board. I think it’s a responsible position that recognizes the humanity of the problem but firmly establishes the rule of law.
The truth of the matter is that very little daylight exists between the proposals of Newt Gingrich and his GOP primary opponents who propose the deportation of all 11 million. The leading GOP presidential candidates, including Gingrich, continue to kowtow to a small minority of Republican voters who believe American taxpayers should foot the $200 billion it would cost to deport 8.64 million undocumented immigrants.