Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he’s happy the U.S. Senate sunk the immigration reform bill on Thursday. Gingrich isn’t too complimentary of President Bush, a fellow Republican, for pushing the bill, either.
"I hope the president will let it go," Gingrich says. "It was a mistake to try to resurrect it…It has made the country even angrier. I’m glad to see the Senate listening to the American people." Gingrich is leading a group called "American Solutions for Winning the Future" and he’s been speaking out against what he refers to as "amnesty" for those who’ve entered the country illegally.
Gingrich says instead of drafting another bill, the feds should enforce the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act that made it a crime to knowingly hire illegal immigrants. "I wish the president would focus on keeping the word of the American government," Gingrich says. "…We don’t have to go around chasing people who are here illegally. We just have to make sure that American employers obey the law and then we should be quite clear that if you’re a criminal who’s here illegally, we’re going to deport you very promptly and very quickly and over time we can solve the rest of this."
Gingrich has described the Bush Administration as dysfunctional and called the immigration reform bill a "handwritten invitation" for more to enter the country illegally. Gingrich is mulling a bid for the White House and made an appearance Thursday in Iowa City. Gingrich plans to attend the Iowa Republican Party’s Straw Poll on August 11th, but he will not reveal whether he intends to run for president until late September.