ABC News’ Elicia Dover and Matthew Jaffe report:
MIAMI – Newt Gingrich today mocked rival Mitt Romney’s notion that a “self-deportation” policy with undocumented immigrants could work in this country and blewing off the idea with a dismissive laugh.
“How close are you to breaking up laughing out loud?” Gingrich said to Univision correspondent Jorge Ramos, who moderated a forum this morning. “I think you have to live in a world of Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island accounts and automatic – you know, $20 million a year of no work – to have a fantasy this far from reality.”
“For Romney to believe that somebody’s grandmother is going to be so cut off that she is going to self deport. I mean, this is an Obama-level fantasy,” Gingrich added. “He certainly shows no concern for the humanity of people who are already here.”
Asked by Ramos about the DREAM Act, the Democrats’ proposal to provide a path to citizenship for some undocumented children of immigrants who attend college or serve in the military, Gingrich reiterated his support for the military component, but not the scholastic one.
According to a new poll released this morning by ABC News and Univision, Gingrich, fresh off his resounding victory in last week’s South Carolina primary, trails Romney by a wide margin among Latino Republicans in Florida: 49 percent to 23 percent.
The advantage that Romney enjoys stems in large part from the support that the former Massachusetts governor receives from the sizable Cuban-American population here after he was bolstered by some key endorsements from Cuban-American lawmakers in Congress such as Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
The former House Speaker is also way behind President Obama among Latinos nationwide in a hypothetical general election match-up with 70 percent of the Hispanic vote going to the president, compared to only 22 percent for Gingrich.
“You would lose the general election with these numbers,” Ramos told him.
Gingrich claimed that his position on issues like job creation, Cuba and Latin American policies were more in line with Hispanic aspirations than Obama’s positions.
“I have a hunch that by this fall we may do better than any Republican except maybe Reagan,” replied Gingrich.
“My goal would be to break the majority,” he said.
Romney will participate in the Univision forum later this afternoon. At one point Ramos asked Gingrich if he would consider Romney as a running mate if he were to win the GOP nomination.
“I think the idea to Mitt of being the vice president on my ticket would be the sort of thing that would drive him back to being a recluse and hiding from public life for a while,” Gingrich quipped in response, to laughter from the audience here.
Matthew Jaffe is covering the 2012 campaign for ABC News and Univision.