Gingrich, in comments to the media Wednesday following a Tea Party town hall meeting in Orlando, Fla., said a "human approach" should be used to determine if longtime illegal residents, especially children, should be allowed to stay, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
"Recognizing there are millions of immigrants who have been here a short time, who have no roots here, and they probably should go home," Gingrich said. "On the other hand, you have someone who came here at 3 years of age and now they're 19. ... I suspect we're going to want to find some way to enable them to move toward legality, if not citizenship."
Gingrich told the Tea Party town hall meeting that while he supports the Tea Party's conservative ideology, the success of the Republican Party comes first, the newspaper said.
"I believe, like [Ronald] Reagan did, in 'big-choice elections.' I believe in elections that say, 'Look, if you want to go in this direction, vote for this person; if you want to go in this direction, vote for this person,'" he said.