Newt Gingrich didn't know what 287(g) is; uses loose borders shibboleth (plus the usual immigration speech)

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In an interview with WXIA of Atlanta, Georgia (link), Newt Gingrich admitted not knowing what the 287g program is; see the link if you aren't familiar with it (note, of course, that unlike Newt there's a good chance you aren't running for president). Gingrich also used a variant of the safe legal orderly shibboleth; see that link too.

Reporter Doug Richards (@richardsdoug)'s questions were fairly weak and just generated mostly a stock speech; contrast the questions below to these questions for conservatives and Republicans who support mass immigration and see question authority for more.

In the interview, Gingrich reiterated his constantly-repeated call for a guest workers program. On the positive side, Gingrich didn't oppose 287g once it was explained to him; those who are even worse on the issue would have opposed it.

See the entries on Newt Gingrich for long discussions of why his plans wouldn't work.

Bolding, notes added:

Q: Two little issues I'd like to ask you about. Georgia just passed an immigration bill, and is grappling with the whole business of changing the agricultural economy in south Georgia so that they're no longer dependent on the migrant workers that have done most of the work in the fields for the last generation. You called for Republicans to sort of temper their views on immigration. First of all, does it make sense to have that kind of change in a state immigration law when arguably immigration is a national issue?

A: Well, Washington has failed consistently for 26 years, since the Simpson-Mizzoli Act of 1986 (1986 amnesty). So you can see the frustration when you're in Arizona or here or Alabama or South Carolina. I mean, people are just frustrated. And it's natural, under our system, that that frustration comes out at the state level if the federal government is incompetent. And on this topic, it's been totally incompetent.

Second, in the long run, we need to have an official guest worker program that is legal, that is sophisticated. Probably run by American Express, Visa or MasterCard so that you have very very low levels of fraud. But in the long run, I think our economy will require a guest worker program of significant scale.

Q: And it makes sense for the states to sort of force the issue the way Georgia has done?

A: Well I think the states are just desperate for leadership. They're saying to the federal government, "you have to do something, because the current system is such a mess."

Q: There's a program called 287(g) which some sheriffs in Georgia have implemented. Is 287(g) a humane immigration program?

A: I have no idea what 287(g) is.

Q: OK. 287(g) basically deputizes county sheriffs to work as immigration agents. Cobb County has it, Gwinnett County has it. If you get arrested in one of those counties, those sheriff's deputies are authorized to check your immigration status.

A: I think that's perfectly reasonable. In fact, I see no problem with -- I would move to cut off all federal funding to cities or states that call themselves sanctuary cities or states. If you pick up somebody and check -- it'd be a little bit like stopping somebody to see whether or not you have a driver's license. I mean, nobody is surprised if you get pulled over by the police, that they actually want to see your driver's license. Well similarly, if they look at your driver's license and it turns out when they run the check that it's false, they have a reason to go a step further. If it turns out it's false because you're here illegally -- the idea that we shouldn't tell the federal government strikes me as nonsense.

Q: Critics say it's one of those things, though, where the head of the family is instantly deported -- you know, some family that's been here for twenty years illegally -- is suddenly disrupted basically because of a traffic violation. And I wonder if that goes to the humane --

A: But that's not true. They're disrupted because they broke the law. So it's not the traffic violation. So the question is, should you make law enforcement officially blind and stupid? Or should law enforcement be able to use its brain, and if it finds somebody who breaks the law, they broke the law.

Now I've proposed that we have an orderly, structured system for people who have been here a long time, that allows them to find residency but not citizenship, and that does not include amnesty. But until the federal government does its job, you can't blame the states for somehow trying to fill the vacuum that Washington's incompetence has created.