This apparently caused a bit of a kerfuffle
(Washington Times) Fighting to curry favor with Florida’s large pool of Hispanic voters, Newt Gingrich on Wednesday called for a guest-worker program for most illegal immigrants, but his campaign could not say whether those people would be on a path to citizenship – the key question in the immigration debate.
Under close questioning by Univision’s political host, Jorge Ramos, Mr. Gingrich said he would grant quick citizenship rights to illegal immigrants who join the military or to those who have been in the U.S. between 20 and 25 years. He said the rest of the estimated 11 million should be given access to a guest-worker program.
“With most of them? I would urge them to get a guest-worker permit,” he said, calling for a substantial rewrite of immigration laws that would cancel existing penalties and instead let illegal immigrants stay.
But his campaign said it was unclear whether at the end of that guest-worker period the immigrants would be allowed to stay and gain citizenship, essentially jumping the legal immigration line, or whether they would be required to return home.
On one hand, Gingrich is correct in that he previously said that it is unrealistic to deport every illegal, nor stop them fully from coming, and, yes, we could show some compassion to those who came to this country and attempted to be a part of America and do things like joining the military. It’s not like people didn’t just come to America in the past, without any sort of immigration programs and such. If someone is putting their life on the line to join the military to protect America, perhaps some accommodations could be made.
On the other hand, why pander to Hispanics who can’t vote because they are here illegally? Why pander to Hispanics who are here legally, but still can’t vote because they aren’t citizens? And a good chunk of Hispanics who are legal citizens tend to get a little ticked off when politicians want to give illegals who did it wrong a pathway to citizenship when they themselves followed the onerous and burdensome rules.
Do we want guest workers? Yes, we do. But it is a bad idea to suddenly give people who came to this country illegally guest worker visas after doing the illegal thing with no penalties. Let them leave the country and apply for a worker program that should be expanded. What Gingrich is doing is telling people who are thinking of coming to America illegally to just come on in, no problem, we’ll take care of you. He might want to rethink this line of thought.