Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman said Sunday that he was “not running” his past support for in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants.
Both former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have recently been hit with criticism for policies that could benefit immigrants.
During a September debate for the Republican nomination, Perry charged that candidates who oppose in-state tuition have “no heart.” The governor later said that he chose “a poor word to explain that.”
At a debate this month, Gingrich declared he was “prepared to take the heat” for supporting some form of amnesty.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney immediately pounced on Gingrich, who was leading Romney in some polls.
“We’ve got to stop illegal immigration,” Romney said. “That means turning off the magnets of amnesty, in-state tuition for illegal aliens, employers that knowingly hire people that have come here illegally.”
On Sunday, Fox News host Chris Wallace noted that Huntsman had also supported in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants.
“That’s right,” Huntsman said. “That was supported by the people of my state, it was supported by the legislature, and I supported it as well. I’m not running from that at all.”
The candidate added that the U.S. shouldn’t decide what to do about the 11 or 12 million undocumented immigrants until the border had been completely secured with “fencing and technology and boots on the ground.”
Watch this video from Fox News’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast Nov. 27, 2011.