Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich touched on a local issue when speaking at a packed town hall meeting in Charleston, South Carolina Monday night. The GOP hopeful had harsh words for President Obama for allowing the U.S. Department of Justice to sue the state of South Carolina over its immigration law.
“Clearly the Obama administration has been comfortable allowing foreign governments to enter a lawsuit against an American state. So here’s a simple way to think of it: President Obama sided with Mexico, I would side with South Carolina,” Gingrich said.
South Carolina’s law imposes proof of U.S. citizenship for a person caught committing a crime or pulled over in a car by law enforcement. The DOJ says the state’s law will distract law enforcement from other duties as well as result in the harassment and detention of “foreign visitors and legal immigrants, as well as U.S. citizens, who cannot readily prove their lawful status.” The DOJ is allowing foreign countries to join in on the law suit against the state.
Gingrich said tonight that President Obama should not allow the law suit to proceed, nor should he allow other countries to join.
“No American president has the right to side with foreigners against the people and laws of the states of the U.S.,” Gingrich said. “We can have internal family fights and that’s fine, but we should have a very clear rule that the people of the U.S. do not want a president who’s confused about whose right they’re defending.”
Gingrich’s comments were well received by the crowd, which erupted with applause and cheers over his stance. Gingrich also took the time to revisit his stance on immigration and once again restated his position on securing the border, but allowing established families to remain in the U.S. legally. Those allowed to stay would be selected in the same style as a WWII selective service board, which would take individual cases within the community. Gingrich has not presented how or if exactly this could be accomplished.
Gingrich’s moderate position on allowing long-established illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. was discussed last week by his Republican opponents Tuesday’s CNN debate, where Gingrich later had to clarify he was not for amnesty of 11 million illegal immigrants.
Candidate Michele Bachmann released several mass e-mails last week saying Gingrich was in fact for amnesty.
Gingrich said he was not for amnesty but does not “believe you’ll ever pass a bill to hunt down every single person who’s been here for a quarter century.”
Gingrich will continue to campaign in South Carolina tomorrow where he attends another town hall.