The Latest: Rick Santorum favors curbs on legal immigration

AP News
Posted: Jul 18, 2015 7:25 PM
The Latest: Rick Santorum favors curbs on legal immigration

The latest on the Republican presidential contenders wooing social conservatives at the annual Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, an event that's attracting thousands of potential Iowa caucus-goers. All times are local.


6:20 p.m.

Several Republicans presidential candidates are vowing to stop illegal immigration. But Rick Santorum says the U.S. needs to curtail legal immigration as well.

The former Pennsylvania senator says the vast majority of immigrants coming into the U.S. — legally and illegally — are driving down wages for American-born workers.

Santorum tells Iowa evangelical voters on Saturday that "we need to hold the line and stop illegal immigration" while reducing legal immigration of unskilled workers by 25 percent. He says that will help bring up wages in the U.S.

Santorum is among 10 presidential candidates courting religious conservatives in Iowa. He won the state's caucuses in 2012, but faces strong competition for the evangelical vote in 2016.


3:30 p.m.

Hillary Clinton may not be at Saturday's conservative Christian conference in Iowa, but that's not stopping some of the 2016 Republican presidential candidates who are there from taking shots at her.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has told the audience about the Democratic front-runner's staff corralling reporters at a July 4 parade in New Hampshire. He says despite his ups and downs with media, he'd never use a rope to restrict reporters.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio noted that while Clinton was talking about those living paycheck to paycheck, he actually knew people living that way.

Donald Trump told reporters he had the best chance of beating Clinton in a general election.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, however, declined to go after Clinton by name on Saturday and promised "not to impugn anyone's character" over the next 18 months. He says, however, he would point out his differences with other candidates on the issues.


12:30 p.m.

During a news conference after his appearance, Trump did not apologize but tried to clarify his remarks: "If a person is captured, they're a hero as far as I'm concerned. I don't like the job John McCain is doing in the Senate because he is not taking care of our veterans."

Trump said he avoided service in the Vietnam War through student deferments and a medical deferment, then said he didn't serve because "I was not a big fan of the Vietnam war." He added he wasn't a protester.

Other 2016 hopefuls were quick to attack Trump's comments. In a statement, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said the remarks make Trump "unfit to be commander-in-chief." On Twitter, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said: "After Donald Trump spends six years in a POW camp, he can weigh in on John McCain's service." Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush wrote on Twitter: "Enough with the slanderous attacks. @SenJohnMcCain and all our veterans — particularly POWs have earned our respect and admiration."



Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is again criticizing a well-respected member of his own party.

Speaking at a conference of religious conservatives on Saturday, Trump was pressed on his recent description of Arizona Sen. John McCain as "a dummy."

The moderator, Republican pollster Frank Luntz, described McCain as "a war hero." McCain spent more than five years as a prisoner of war after his plane was shot down during combat in Vietnam.

Trump said McCain "is a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."

Trump is among 10 GOP presidential candidates on the program for the Family Leader Summit in Ames, Iowa.


11:30 p.m.

Donald Trump is currently running for president as a Republican. But while courting evangelical voters at the Family Values Summit in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday, he again refused to rule out a third-party run if he doesn't win the nomination.

Some Republican officials don't take the businessman and reality TV star's candidacy seriously. Others fear that heading a third-party, Trump could siphon votes away from the eventual Republican nominee and ultimately cost the GOP the presidency.

And when pressed, Trump again refused to apologize for his recent description of Mexican immigrants as "rapists" and "criminals." Instead, he says, he's "so proud of the fact that I got a dialogue started on illegal immigration."


11:15 p.m.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is aggressively refuting the notion that he lacks experience compared with others in the Republican presidential field.

The 44-year-old freshman senator argues that he best understands the challenges Americans face today. He says he understands having to live paycheck to paycheck and notes that until recently he had student loans payments.

Rubio admits some of the candidates have more experience "on the issues we faced 18 years ago, but no one running has more experience on the issues we face right now, today, in the 21st century."

Rubio was the first presidential candidate to address the annual Family Leadership Summit. Nine more Republican prospects are scheduled to take the stage in Ames, Iowa.