As predicted, following his bold statement on immigration and really the first candidate to speak seriously on the issue during the GOP CNN debate on Tuesday night last, former Speaker Newt Gingrich has come under fire in recent days from both sides of the aisle.
Some social conservatives have even gone as far as calling him a RINO (Republican in name only) however, the former Speaker’s is the first candidate on stage that specifically addresses the illegal alien population living in the US. His bold plan is drawing criticism.
Living in Europe where immigration has long been an issue with the expansion of the European Union, the former speaker is absolutely correct in taking the issue on in a substantive and progressive way, The Republican’s for far too long have been viewed as the anti-Hispanic party and perhaps the rise of such stars like Marco Rubio within the GOP is finally bringing about a serious need to engage objectively and constructively with the Hispanic community. Gingrich’s assessment of the current illegal status of many in America is correct and factually accurate. It is fundamentally impossible, economically risky and ethically wrong to pursue the deportation of all 11.2 million undocumented immigrants in America as a policy going into a national election and beyond.
Gingrich said that ultimately, the United States will have to find a system where, after securing the border with Mexico and launching a guest worker program to fill jobs that Americans won’t take, “you need something like a World War II Selective Service Board that, frankly, reviews the people who are here.”
“If you’ve been here 25 years and you got three kids and two grandkids, you’ve been paying taxes and obeying the law, you belong to a local church, I don’t think we’re going to separate you from your family, uproot you forcefully and kick you out,” Gingrich said.
Gingrich has been attacked for saying his proposal is an amnesty, in fact it isn’t what he proposing at all, he is advancing a debate on how to finally tackle the issue, one which would not result in citizenship for people who have lived in this American for long periods, but offering them a way to obtain legal status in the country. Gingrich’s plan includes securing the border, updating the visa system and legal guest worker program, as well as creating an earned path to citizenship for the millions currently in the U.S.
This move by Gingrich has been badly needed and is brave considering he just hit the front runner status over the last week. You cannot have one of the major party’s involved in national politics ignoring a large section of America society, and adopting a totalitarian approach on the immigration issue.
I think Speaker Gingrich’s willingness to open up the debate within his party and a national stage was long overdue and very badly needed. The Republican’s for the sake of the future of their own party need to engage and involve one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in America. Making the bold statement that he did and being prepared to demonstrate he is willing to make tough choices at a personal cost, doesn’t hinder Gingrich, it elevates his standing as a potential president in waiting.
The President of the United States cannot represent 260 million American’s; he or she needs to be able to be the president for all 310 million American’s. The American-Hispanic population is now hovering around the 50 million mark. Gingrich should stand his ground and be firm on the issue, it may cost him in the short term however, GOP supporters need to recognise that Gingrich’s ability to lead and bring people from both sides together may not only lead him to the White House in 2012, it may also represent the very future survival of the party with current population growth and trends.
Gingrich’s bold departure is contrary to the long held and common viewpoint held within his own party and among the other candidates. American’s should not confuse border security with the immigration issue, they are both serious and contentious issues however, an honest and open debate needs to be undertaken with both.
Gingrich has been courageous and I advocate his stance on both issues. He is acutely aware that the biggest security risk to the United States is the integrity of the southern border. Gingrich is committed to doing everything within his power if elected, to secure this.
Once the border is properly secured, then he can bring both party’s into the fold and have a meaningful discussion on how to advance his proposals for immigration. Both party’s owe it to the Hispanic community to undertake such a commitment and if they ignore it or are unwilling to enter into any such debate, they do so at their own party’s peril.
American’s should recognise that Gingrich in his long political career does indeed have his flaws however; he can never be accused on one particular flaw, a lack of leadership. Gingrich’s step into the unknown demonstrates the type of president he could be, a real strong leader prepared and willing to put the good of the national interest ahead of his own and party’s interests.
American’s need to be prepared for new departures to get this once mighty nation back to a position of strength and respect after all, Gingrich perhaps recognises what many others may choose to forget, America after all was founded by immigrants and made the great nation it became by immigrants.
I commend former Speaker Gingrich for his bravery and above all, his willingness and preparedness to lead and restore the powerful and much admired American exceptionalism.
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