Gingrich Supports Controversial South Carolina Immigration Law and Will Address “Birth Tourism” if Elected

Dec 9, 2011
2:12 pm

Just weeks after he preached a more 'humane" approach to immigration that was seen as an political olive branch to US Latino voters tired about the GOP's negative rhetoric, GOP front-runner Newt Gingrich is sharing a different message in a key primary state where the Latino vote is non-factor: South Carolina. Yesterday, Gingrich, who in essence has become the leading Republican presidential candidate, declared that if he were elected President, he would sign an executive order his first day in office dropping federal lawsuits against South Carolina, Alabama, and Arizona.

In addition, Gingrich also said that he would support a possible "birth tourism" measure that South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham would introduce. As reported by the

Gingrich told a gathering of business and community leaders that on the day he’s inaugurated, he will sign an executive order dropping lawsuits against South Carolina, Alabama and Arizona “because I think the federal government should be stopping illegal immigration, not stopping the states from enforcing the laws.”

Gingrich also said U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from Seneca, will introduce a measure, possibly as a constitutional amendment, to address “birth tourism,” referring to people who come to the U.S. on a tourist visa to have children, who then can be considered Americans.

“That’s clearly not what the 14th Amendment (to the U.S. Constitution) implied, and I think it’s inaccurate to interpret that way,” Gingrich said, referring to the provision that persons born or naturalized in the United States are U.S. citizens.

A spokesman confirmed Graham is examining two approaches, including a constitutional amendment. The other would seek a new Supreme Court interpretation of a century-old case.

“We’re still working on the i’s and t’s of it, but we are going to be introducing something,” said Kevin Bishop, Graham’s spokesman.

Last year, in an interview on Fox News, Graham said he might introduce an amendment to address birthright citizenship. It brought a barrage of criticism from supporters and detractors alike who interpreted it as a reversal of his stated positions on immigration reform.

South Carolina’s immigration law, which takes effect Jan. 1 and borrowed some portions from Arizona’s measure, would require that law enforcement officers, upon “reasonable suspicion” that a person might be in the country illegally, check his or her immigration status.