01/31/2013 11:17 am ET

Newt Gingrich: 'Self-Deportation' Is 'The Most Anti-Human Phrase'

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich took a hit at 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's "self-deportation" stance on immigration, calling that phrase "anti-human."

“I said we're not going to deport grandmothers who've been here for 25 years. Romney came and said, ‘Well they'll self-deport,’” Gingrich said on CNN's “The Situation Room.” “That is the most anti-human phrase you can imagine."

In a Jan. 2012 debate against other GOP presidential hopefuls, Romney said he favored what he called "self-deportation" over policies that require the federal government to round up undocumented immigrants and return them to their home countries, the AP reported.

"The answer is self-deportation, which is people decide they can do better by going home because they can't find work here because they don't have legal documentation to allow them to work here," Romney said.

This isn't the first time Romney's "self-deportation" stance has been criticized. Vice President Joe Biden mocked Romney in October 2012, and in late November Donald Trump claimed that Romney’s "maniacal" self-deportation policy cost him key minority groups in the 2012 election.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) -- who recently unveiled a new immigration proposal as part of the Senate's "gang of eight" -- has also criticized Romney's stance, saying in Feb. 2012 Republicans needed a "broader solution" to immigration that's more "humane" than "self-deportation."



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