Newt Gingrich is the first candidate on stage that specifically addresses the illegal alien population living amongst us. His bold plan is drawing criticism.

He has earned the name "Mr. Speaker," for good reason. First because he was Speaker of the House, but also because he speaks boldly on complicated, thorny issues and has done it again with his ideas on immigration.

He stayed within the safe political confines by saying our borders must be secure, of course, that goes without saying. All candidates on that stage are saying secure borders are mandatory, that will not separate you from the herd. Our nations borders are dangerously porous and must be secured

But it was what he said following the secure borders which drew a collective gasp and a shocked momentary silence. Newt said we need to be humane and not separate families that have lived here as peaceful law abiders for 25 years. With that he conceded that some illegals would be allowed to stay here.

Gingrich's proposed plan is not amnesty and would not result in citizenship for people who have lived in this country for decades, yet he would grant them a legal path to stay here. His plan would not result in them becoming voters either.

Of course he has been criticized by other GOP presidential contenders, saying that he is a liberal on this issue and he is pro amnesty. But we all know we have to deal with this sooner rather than later and it is going to take a courageous leader to tackle this issue. Gingrich has had the courage to put forth his idea.

Newt Gingrich said Republicans are for families and that's why he wants to find a humane solution for our immigration crisis. But truthfully, this plan by the Speaker was not just a statement on the stage that night to help him win the GOP nomination. It probably is going to cause him angst with the conservative base, but raise his popularity with moderates, in the other party.

This move was a strategic gamble to position himself as the GOP Presidential candidate, beyond primary thinking. By reaching across the aisle to gain favor with many who did not look upon Mr. Gingrich as a humane sort, this has caused many to wake up to the fact that the Speaker is capable of being compassionate. It shows he can be a humane problem solver, not to mention a brilliant political player.

Speaker Gingrich should flesh out his plan for the country to see and get some feedback on it. There are many questions he will be asked about his proposal and he should be ready with answers. For instance, he said families that have lived here for 25 years could be granted a path to remain here legally. How about those that have only been here 10 years?

What about social services and programs available to US citizens? Would these new legal residents be able to avail themselves of them? Also what about those who have tried to immigrate into our country legally, shouldn't they go to the head of the line?

It will be interesting to see how the Speaker weathers the storm of his ideas. But as Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia said about him: "I wouldn't underestimate Newt, he's one of the smartest politicians out there, and don't think he hasn't thought this through."

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