TRANSCRIPT: ABC News/Facebook/WMUR Republicans Debate

THOMPSON: I'm serious. Rudy went to court and sued to overturn what we'd passed in legislation. We weren't trying to throw children out on the street either. I think if you...

GIULIANI: Those are the three narrow categories that I was objecting to. They all had to do with humane conditions. It was a policy that was...

THOMPSON: We were (inaudible) inhumane conditions.


GIBSON: Governor Huckabee is sitting here with a quiet smile, just thinking, "OK, let them fight; I'm going to stay out of this."

So I want to bring you in quickly, and then Congressman Paul, then we will move on.

HUCKABEE: As Abraham Lincoln said, "If it weren't for the honor of it, I'd just as soon pass," when he was run out of town on a rail. But let me join in on this.


The fact is, Americans are upset about this issue because they feel like we've violated the rule of law. Every one of us I think agree that you have to secure the border and until that's done, nothing makes sense.

That ought to be done. It ought to be done with American workers, with American products, and it ought to be done immediately. Eighteen months ought to be the outside length of time.

If the Empire State Building can be built in 14 months, if some of the great works of this country can be built in a record period of time, I'm convinced we can secure our borders.

And I agree with Senator Thompson, it's an issue of national security, more than it is anything else. But it's a matter of sealing the borders of our nation in a responsible way.

HUCKABEE: I think we ought to have a period of time in which people then return to their home country and get in the back of the line.

Now, the reason I've come to that conclusion is for a variety of focus, but here's part of it: When people live in the United States, they ought to have their head up. They ought to not live in fear. Every time they see a police car, they shouldn't run and hide. Nobody ought to live like that in this country.

And the only way we're going to fix that is that people do it right. And in order to do it right, they're going to have to go back and get in the back of the line.

It's not an inhumane way; I think it's the only way that makes sense.

And I want to make final point that I think ought to happen: When we say, "Well, we can't round these people up and take them home," we don't have to, Charlie.

You give them the option: If you don't do it the right way and then we catch you, you would be subject to deportation. But if you do it the right way, then you're going to be able to live with your head up and live free in this country, properly. And it won't be that we have this huge problem and the resentment that goes with it.

HUCKABEE: And the final reason that's important -- I know you want me to finish, and I'm doing it.

The reason that we've got to do that is that when people say we can't get a -- we don't have to, for this simple principle: The government didn't escort them over the border in the first place, so the government doesn't have to take them back. They got here on their own. And people can go back and start the process legally, for their benefit and for everyone else's benefit.

GIBSON: Congressman Paul?

PAUL: I think there is two points I'd like to make.

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