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  by  Roy Beck

The most recent polling finds that Republican voters have elevated Newt Gingrich to presidential frontrunner status.  

But it is difficult to believe that those supporting him agree with his amnesty plan or are even aware that his proposal sounds like it would give U.S. jobs and residency to around 3.5 million illegal aliens (according to a new Pew Hispanic Center study).  

Unless Gingrich supporters push him to back off, he is promising a bigger amnesty than the giant blanket amnesty of 1986 that was supposed to be the first and last one ever. Hopefully, his supporters can talk him into cutting out at least 90% of his amnesty.

We have no way to set up faxing to candidate Gingrich, but you can send an email to him at:  Click on the "Platform" option and let him know what you want him to change and how you feel about his immigration platform. 

(Watch the recording of our webcast today that focused on the details of Gingrich's official immigration platform:

GINGRICH, BUSH & OBAMA SEE ONLY THE OPTIONS OF DEPORTATION OR LEGALIZATION (Attrition Through Enforcement isn't in their vocabulary) 

Former House Speaker Gingrich agrees wtih Presidents Bush and Obama that the only major options for illegal aliens are deporting them or legalizing them (choices that nearly all mainstream media also insist on). 

His official immigration platform gives no hint of recognizing that there is a third option -- Attrition Through Enforcement -- that eliminates the jobs and benefits magnets for illegal aliens so that they will self-deport back to their home countries. Thus, Gingrich is at odds with most of the other GOP candidates and most GOP Members of Congress who favor the Attrition option.


Since boldly advocating his legalization plan in a debate last week, he has responded to critics by telling us to read his official “10 Steps to a Legal Nation” and his “7-Point Plan.” We’ve read and studied both and are more frightened than ever.  

We do agree with Gingrich and with the Pew Center that Gingrich is not suggesting a blanket amnesty like Bush and Obama. There are two key opportunities in Gingrich's proposals so far for limiting the damage:

  • Because Gingrich would never allow his amnestied illegal aliens to become U.S. citizens, they would not be able to use the Chain Migration categories to bring in endless lines of extended family members from their home countries. The 1986 amnesty was for around 3 million illegal aliens.  But since then millions more of their relatives have been brought to this country, multiplying the harm to American workers, infrastructure and taxpayers.
  • Because Gingrich has not spelled out his exact criteria for everybody he would reward with amnesty, his proposal could be as much as two-thirds as bad as Bush's or Obama's. But the current ambiguity also leaves room for Gingrich to step forward and promise criteria that would keep the amnesty to something under a million (more like some of the amnesties that he let get through Congress when he was Speaker).

At the moment, though, voters should not be misled by Gingrich's public use of examples of illegal aliens who have been in the U.S. for 25 years. Nothing on his website or the 10 Step or the 7 Points limits the Gingrich Amnesty to people who have been here 25 years or more. In fact, nothing puts any kind of time limit. To qualify for the Gingrich Amnesty right now, one need only have “deep ties” of “family, church and community.”  

Gingrich supporters need to at least persuade him to put a 25-year residency requirement in his website amnesty plan.

You can view the 10 Steps here:  (If we are lucky and you are reading this several days or weeks after I wrote this blog, you will find 10 Steps that are very different from what I report here.)

In summary the 10 Steps include:

  • 2 enforcement measures (strenthening the border & deporting criminals and gang members)
  • 2 measures to help immigrants assimilate
  • 4 measures to remove or expand numerical limits and otherwise ease the ability for more foreign workers and visitors to come to the United States
  • 2 measures that provide for legalization for illegal aliens
  • No Steps that would remove the jobs magnet for illegal aliens or push them to voluntarily go back home.
  • No Steps that suggest protections for American workers.
  • While the big legalization Step does say that "we need a path to swift but dignified repatriation for those who are transient and have no roots in America," there is nothing in this platform that indicates how this would be done.

The overall tone of the Gingrich platform is that immigration policy should help us deal with worker shortages with no acknowledgement that current immigration levels are any kind of a problem for the 22 million Americans who want a full-time job but can't find one.


The blind spot to the needs of American workers is exemplified in the fact that his website lists three guiding principles for immigration policy and none has anything to do with protecting the interests of Americans. Instead, his principles are that

(1) We shouldn't try to pass a comprehensive immigration plan but should pass one part at a time.

(2) Legalized illegal aliens should not be allowed to be U.S. citizens.

(3) A  “system has to be established” to give illegal aliens with “deep ties”  legal status. Unlike Bush and Obama, he would not allow them to become voters.  But like Bush and Obama he would allow them to keep their jobs instead of opening them up for the millions of Americans who are waiting in line for those jobs. 

Amnesty (or "legalization" as Gingrich prefers to call it) is currently a key foundation of Gingrich’s immigration plan.

The Pew Hispanic Center looked at the number of illegal aliens who have been here more than 10 years and who have the kind of family and community ties that Gingrich seems to suggest.  That's how they came up with the 3.5 million figure.  Gingrich certainly can come forward and offer much stricter criteria to show us that he is only talking about a very few  people and not millions. But his current platform could be interpreted to include nearly every illegal alien who is in a mixed-status family, which could put the number well over 6 million.

Only Gingrich supporters have a chance to get him to change his mind, or at least to restrict the legalization to no more than a few hundred thousand rather than millions.

ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA


Updated: Fri, Dec 2nd 2011 @ 10:41am EST

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