MANCHESTER, N.H. (CBS) – Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich spoke with dozens of Hispanic voters during a town hall meeting in Manchester, talking to them about immigration and campaign finance.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Kim Tunnicliffe reports.
Gingrich also defended himself against charges of racial insensitivity during the town hall meeting.
A black man told Gingrich Sunday he was insulted over the former speaker’s comments that most African Americans rely on food stamps rather than paychecks.
Gingrich pushed back, clarifying his position on the issue.
“There is a real problem in America. We have a president who has put more people on food stamps — people, I didn’t say any ethnic group, people — than any other president in history,” Gingrich said.
“I would like to get more people on paychecks, and I said I would like to debate the issue of food stamps vs. paychecks,” added Gingrich.
As for the immigration issue, Gingrich stated that he would create a program allowing illegal immigrants that have been in the U.S. for 20 years and have an American sponsor to become legal residents
“We have to end a period of having people in the shadows. It’s bad for the country. It’s bad for the people. It leaves them to get exploited. It is dangerous. It means those who need help are afraid to show up and ask for it,” said Gingrich.
“So, I wanna find a path that gets us to a system where 99.9 percent of everyone here in the United States is here legally,” Gingrich added.
Gingrich said that those residents would also have to go back to their home country to apply for U.S. citizenship. He also wants to modernize the visa program to make it easier to come to the U.S. legally.