In a pair of Miami campaign stops Wednesday, Newt Gingrich derided Mitt Romney for suggesting people who are in the United States illegally would "self-deport" to their home countries given tough enough immigration laws.
Gingrich doubled down on his criticism in an interview with Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS 4. "I think he's amazingly insensitive to the realities of the immigrant community," Gingrich said of Romney. "His whole concept of self deportation -- I've not met anyone who thinks it's in touch with reality. People aren't going to self-deport."
Yet in the past, the Gingrich campaign has spoken of self-deportation as a likely consequence of the former speaker's own immigration proposal. A story in The Concord (N.H.) Monitor from November cites Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond saying a small percentage of undocumented immigrants would remain in the country following the Gingrich plan.
"It's likely the vast majority of them would self-deport," Hammond told the newspaper.
And then there's this 2010 interview with conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham, where she says, at time mark 8:13: "We have to enforce this law. We have to do that first. No work, self-deportation. Come back. We can figure out our immigration system after we enforce this border. But I just think you're not going to get the support of the people unless we really see that border enforced."
Gingrich's response: "I agree with you. I'm against comprehensive reform."
In addition to apparently agreeing with all or some of Ingraham's statement, which includes a mention of self-deportation, being against "comprehensive" reform gets into the weeds of what that term means and could cause Gingrich trouble down the line. (Speaking with Univisión's Jorge Ramos Wednesday, Gingrich said he is for immigration reform -- just not the same kind Ramos supports.)
Another interesting nugget in the Ingraham interview: Gingrich talks about favoring the controversial Arizona law that cracked down on illegal immigration. In a general election, that would almost certainly be used by Democrats to attack Gingrich to Hispanic audiences.