Comments made by Republican presidential candidate Newt Gringrich during Tuesday's debate have been the cause of much controversy for the GOP hopeful this week.
“I do not believe that the people of the United States are going to take people who have been here a quarter century, who have children and grandchildren, who are members of the community, who may have done something 25 years ago, separate them from their families, and expel them," Gingrich said during the CNN debate, according to ABC News.
In the wake of the debate Gingrich was left to defend himself against what he described as anxious candidates. He was accused of supporting amnesty for 11 million undocumented immigrants by Republican presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann on Minnesota.
I think people who ignored you or didn’t think about it suddenly get very anxiety ridden and look for a clever way to pick a fight.
- Newt Gingrich, Republican Presidential Candidate
Gingrich rebutted Bachmann’s claim Friday. “Some of my friends decided they would articulate alternative versions of what I said, which wasn’t what I said, but that’s partially the nature of politics," he said at a town hall meeting in Naples, Florida, according to ABC.
Gingrich rectified his muddled statement declaring that he was not for amnesty, but that he supported a legalization process for immigrants that have been in the U.S. for the past 25 years and have already established generations of family in the country.
He explained his idea of local boards for immigrants, similar to draft boards in World War II. The community would decide if an immigrant is an instrumental part of the community they can stay but if not they should go.
He made sure to verbalize that this plan would only go into motion once the border was secure and there were no more undocumented immigrants entering the country. He added that he believed the border would be secure by January 2014.
"In World War II, local community citizens judged who ought to be drafted and who shouldn’t; it requires trusting citizens rather than bureaucrats. It's a jury system for local communities," Gingrich said, according to Yahoo News.
Gingrich then referred straight to Bachmann and told his standing room audience that Bachmann had agreed with his reformation plan before, but said that the current population of immigrants should be discussed in the debate in September.
Bachmann offered her stance on Gingrich’s plan “It is sequential, and it depends upon where they live, how long they have been here, if they have a criminal record. All of those things have to be taken into place,” Bachmann said, according to ABC.
Gingrich told ABC News that he does not expect a decrease in supporters because of this comment.
“I think people who ignored you or didn’t think about it suddenly get very anxiety ridden and look for a clever way to pick a fight,” Gingrich added.