In the end, Newt Gingrich was the one who brought some common sense into the immigration debate in the contest for the GOP presidential nomination.
The former speaker of the House of Representatives has a long career in Washington, filled with controversy because of his viewpoints. For example, Gingrich was one of the leaders of the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton and his private life is far from the conservative ideal. Nevertheless, no one can deny his intelligence and his handling of political issues, especially in a group of presidential candidates who do not stand out for their knowledge.
We have often criticized the absurd positions on immigration held by Republican presidential candidates. Therefore, noblesse oblige, we must also bring to light reasonable proposals on this issue.
During last Tuesday’s debate, Gingrich defended the possibility that undocumented immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for a lifetime -and are part of their communities- could stay in this country. Later, he openly questioned the consistency of his party in calling itself a defender of family values while proposing to split up immigrant families.
In reality, Gingrich is not proposing an amnesty. Instead, he proposes a confusing process involving the participation of local communities and a status far from citizenship, but that at the same time protects individuals from deportation.
The mere expression of humane treatment for the undocumented is a radical idea in the Republican debate, in which irrational massive deportations seem like an article of faith. Finally having a sensible voice on this issue deserves praise.
Some analysts estimated Governor Perry’s support of the DREAM Act cost him a portion of his conservative support. We must wait and see whether this stance on immigration also costs Gingrich the support of a significant part of the Republican base, especially now when he is a frontrunner in primary polls.
In any case, Newt Gingrich’s support and his criticism of his party on the immigration issue should be recognized. Only time will tell whether this is a reality the GOP base still prefers to ignore.