Newt on immigration: What if we had local boards who could legalize certain illegals?

posted at 9:48 pm on May 19, 2011 by Allahpundit

I don’t know, guys. We’ve reached the point where the “Newt implosion” narrative has crystallized so thoroughly that every new story about him ends up being refracted through that prism. I don’t trust my own judgment at this point. Is this new bit genuinely toxic, as Ace’s co-blogger Gabe seems to think, or is it much ado about nothing?

Newt Gingrich, whose campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination has gotten off to a rocky start, risked fresh controversy on Thursday by suggesting that some illegal immigrants living in the United States “may have earned the right to become legal.”…

Gingrich recounted how World War Two-era U.S. draft boards chose who would serve in the military, saying a similar system might help deal with the millions of immigrants living in the United States illegally.

“Because I think we are going to want to find some way to deal with the people who are here to distinguish between those who have no ties to the United States, and therefore you can deport them at minimum human cost, and those who, in fact, may have earned the right to become legal, but not citizens,” Gingrich said.

Here’s the complete quote via Radio Iowa:

“This is, at the risk of — as I do on occasion — of getting into trouble with the news media,” Gingrich said, in answering the question, and a few people in the audience chuckled. “…I’m looking seriously at the way the Selective Service Act used to work in the 1940s and World War II where a local Selective Service board who knew the local people made the decisions…because I think we are going to want to find some way to deal with the people who are here to distinguish between those who have no ties to the United States and therefore you can deport them at minimum human cost, and those who, in fact, may have earned the right to become legal, but not citizens.”

That’s not totally alienating to the conservative base, right? You can imagine local amnesty draft boards designating illegals who’ve served in the military for special legalization privileges. (We already do it, kinda sorta.) As well as anyone else who has “ties to the United States,” which, er … could be millions of people.

Seriously, am I misreading this? Or does Newt know something about the imminent zombie apocalypse, leaving him willing to antagonize grassroots righties at every turn knowing that none of it will matter come Sunday? Exit quotation: “My reaction is if you’re the candidate of very dramatic change, it you’re the candidate of really new ideas, you have to assume there’s a certain amount of clutter and confusion and it takes a while to sort it all out, because you are doing something different.”

Update: Greenroomer Patrick Ishmael e-mails to say that Newt made these comments in Waterloo, Iowa. And he is, apparently, a big Abba fan. So I guess this is obligatory…


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