Gingrich Supports S.C. Immigration Law

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CHARLESTON, S.C. – Seeking to preserve his GOP frontrunner status amid charges from some Republicans that he’s too soft on immigration, Newt Gingrich expressed support on Monday for South Carolina’s controversial law aiming to stop illegal immigration in the Palmetto State.

The South Carolina law, which has prompted a Justice Department lawsuit joined by 16 nations, would require law officers who make traffic stops to call federal immigration officials if they suspect someone is in the country illegally. Opponents say the measure would encourage racial profiling.

“South Carolinians have actually passed a law that I think is a pretty reasonable law, that basically says if you pull somebody over for legitimate reasons, you can ask them whether or not they’re a citizen,” Gingrich said in a town hall at the College of Charleston. “This is the opposite of sanctuary states. Think of it as enforcement society rather than a sanctuary society.”

At last week’s Republican presidential debate, Gingrich drew fire when he voiced support for allowing long-term illegal immigrants to stay in the country, a proposal that presidential rivals Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann were quick to characterize as amnesty. He has said in response that he considers it the only “humane” option and that the charge he backs amnesty is “totally false.”

The former House speaker also laid out his immigration plan, which includes completing a border fence with Mexico by January 2014, making English the official language of government and emphasizing an understanding of U.S. history as a requirement of citizenship. He also said he would seek to loosen deportation requirements, particularly in cases involving gang members and criminals.

But in typical Gingrich fashion, he proposed a quirky innovation – having credit card companies such as American Express and Visa handle immigration visa applications. Calling the idea “quite serious,” he said it would reduce fraud.

If you have questions, concerns or issues regarding South Carolina’s new immigration law please contact Miller|Conway for a free consultation.

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