TRANSCRIPT: ABC News/Facebook/WMUR Republicans Debate

THOMPSON: Didn't you say Republicans were making a terrible mistake if they were separating themselves with President Bush on the illegal immigration issue?

ROMNEY: No, that was quoted in A.P. It happened to be wrong.

Let me -- let me -- let me...

(LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN: You're always misquoted.

ROMNEY: It was -- that does happen from time to time. But let me -- it does actually.

MCCAIN: When you change issues -- positions on issues from time to time, you will get misquoted.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMNEY: Senator, is there a way to have this about issues and not about personal attacks? I hope so, because I think we have some differences in issues.

MCCAIN: I do, too. I do, too.

ROMNEY: And let me tell you, the issue that's at stake here is, do the people who come here illegally, the 12 million -- are they allowed to stay in this country the rest of their life?

And the final bill you put forward in the United States Senate was...

MCCAIN: The answer is...

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: Can I complete?

MCCAIN: The answer is, we were still negotiating, we were debating, we were saying that some people have to go back to the country that they came from before they came here...

ROMNEY: I'm sorry, there was a Z visa. The Z visa was given to everybody...

(CROSSTALK)

MCCAIN: ... that some people have to go back.

First, as Rudy said, we have to round up the 2 million who have committed crimes and deport them immediately.

ROMNEY: Let's not divert.

MCCAIN: And that is not amnesty for anyone.

GIBSON: Well, I don't want to divert. Let me come back to your plan.

(CROSSTALK)

GIBSON: Is it practical to take 12 million people and send them out of the country? Is it practical?

ROMNEY: The answer is no. The answer is no.

So, here's how my plan works.

One, it says to those 12 million people, they do not have the right, as they would under the final Senate plan, to receive a Z visa, which was renewable indefinitely. That meant these people could stay in the country forever. That was what the plan did, and that's why talk radio and the American people went nuts.

MCCAIN: (inaudible) that's not the plan.

ROMNEY: Senator, you look up your Z visa, it is renewable indefinitely. Every legal -- every illegal alien got to stay in the country forever, other than those that committed crimes.

GIBSON: Go ahead.

GIULIANI: Charlie, if Ronald Reagan were here, who we all invoke, who would grab the microphone, say, "It's my microphone, I paid for it."

GIULIANI: And Ronald Reagan did amnesty. He actually did amnesty. I think he'd be in one of Mitt's negative commercials.

(LAUGHTER)

And he is the hero of our party.

None of us, none of us has a perfect record on immigration because this is a very complicated problem. The thing that we have to do is we have to decide who has the best plan among all of us for fixing illegal immigration.

You got to stop it at the border. You got to stop it cold at the border. And then you have to have a rational system.

It is not amnesty. If you charge -- I did this more in my life than I did politics, meaning law enforcement -- if you charge fines, if you have impositions of conditions, it is not amnesty.

Ronald Reagan gave amnesty, saying they have to pay a fine, have to get on the back of the line, have a whole bunch of conditions...

(CROSSTALK)

ROMNEY: I thought you said that wasn't amnesty.

GIULIANI: That is not amnesty. That is not amnesty.

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