Former House Speaker and current Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is fighting back against rumors his immigration plan is to legalize 11 million aliens.
"This is explicitly false," Gingrich told Fox News on Thursday.
However, Gingrich did say he supported a path to legalization for illegal immigrants who meet certain criteria.
"I am for deporting all recent unattached illegals," he explained. "I am for a local citizen panel to consider certification of those who have been here 25 years and have family and community and have been law abiding and tax paying," he said.
Gingrich's explanation comes after his comments made on immigration during a CNN 2012 Republican presidential debate on national security where he referenced the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation's plan.
The foundation supports the creation of 'smart cards' that would allow workers that pass certifications to work in the U.S. legally. Gingrich says he supports this concept.
"They could get what the Krieble Foundation developed as a 'red card' and be legal, but with no path to citizenship and no right to vote. I do believe if you've been here recently and have no ties to the U.S., we should deport you. I do believe we should control the border. I do believe we should have very severe penalties for employers, but I would urge all of you to look at the Krieble Foundation Plan," he said.
Gingrich says he is willing to take the heat that may come with these beliefs to stand up for the rights of families.
"Let's be humane in enforcing the law without giving them citizenship but by finding a way to create legality so that they are not separated from their families," he said.