(CNSNews.com) – GOP presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich, campaigning in the early primary state of South Carolina, criticized the Obama administration for challenging state laws that combat illegal immigration.
“After years of failure on the part of the federal government to achieve border security, it is an outrage that the Obama administration would seek to block South Carolina and other states who choose to pick up the slack,” Gingrich said in Charleston after meeting with state Sen. Larry Groom, the author of the South Carolina immigration law.
“If the Obama Administration put as much energy and resources into controlling the border as it does into attacking our own states, we would have 100 percent border security by now,” said Gingrich.
The Georgia Republican and former House Speaker has been fending off criticism from other Republican primary opponents for arguing in a recent debate that certain illegal aliens should be allowed to stay in the country, if they have been in the country for 25 years and broke no other laws.
In South Carolina, the first in the south primary state, Gingrich took a firmer line in touting the South Carolina law that requires law enforcement officers who make traffic stops to call federal immigration officials, if they suspect someone is in the country illegally. The measure bars officers from holding someone solely on that suspicion. Opponents claim the measure encourages racial profiling. The law is set to take effect in January.
As was the case when Arizona and Alabama passed similar laws, the Department of Justice (DOJ) brought suit to stop the South Carolina law from being enforced. In this most recent case, 16 Latin American and Caribbean countries asked to join the Justice Department’s suit, the Associated Press reported in early November.
The countries involved in the case are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.
“It is inconceivable that these foreign countries would have joined a lawsuit that deals exclusively with the meaning of the U.S. Constitution, if President Obama had made it clear that their participation was not welcome,” Gingrich said.
Adding that other nations were involved in the Arizona lawsuits as well, Gingrich said, “It makes you wonder what country does President Obama think he is president of?”
“Welcoming foreign governments to participate in constitutional disputes between our federal government and the government of several of the states touches upon American sovereignty,” Gingrich continued. “Sovereignty means our right to self-government, that is to say, our right and ability to rule ourselves rather than following the dictates of others.”
“In weakening our sovereignty by such actions as welcoming the participation of foreign governments in a judicial determination of the meaning of the U.S. Constitution – a question foreign governments have zero competence in – President Obama ignores the core fundamentals of our Constitution and Bill of Rights,” said Gingrich. “The Obama administration should defend American sovereignty from foreign encroachment, not abet such encroachment.”
In its filing in the South Carolina case, the Mexican government said it “has an interest in protecting its citizens and ensuring that their ethnicity is not used as the basis for state-sanctioned acts of bias and discrimination,” the Associated Press reported.
Gingrich’s campaign plan, the “21st Century Contract with America,” says that his administration will “waive every obstacle to controlling the border and would shift resources to achieve virtually 100 percent control by January 1, 2014. If necessary, we would move one-half of the 23,000 Washington-area Department of Homeland Security bureaucrats to the Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona borders.”
In South Carolina, Gingrich leads the previous frontrunner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 38 percent to 15 percent, according to a Nov. 28 Insider Advantage poll.
Nationally, Gingrich has a more narrow lead, with a 2.5 percent lead over Romney according to the Real Clear Politics average of all polls.
But in Iowa, which holds a caucus on Jan. 3, 2012, Gingrich leads Romney 32 percent to 19 percent, according to a Rasmussen poll on Nov. 15. Romney’s stronghold is in New Hampshire, where he holds a 17 point lead over Gingrich according to a Polling Company poll.
On Nov. 27, the New Hampshire Union Leader, the largest newspaper in the state and very influential among conservatives, endorsed Gingrich for the Republican presidential nomination.