- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 24, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa — Famed neurosurgeon Ben Carson said Saturday the next president must be committed to stopping flow of illegal immigrants coming into the country.

Speaking at the Iowa Freedom Summit, Mr. Carson said strengthening the nation’s borders should be a top priority for the next president.

“Whoever wins in 2016, I’m pretty sure it is going to be a Republican,” Mr. Carson said. “I think they should make it their goal to seal that border within year.”

The issue of immigration has tied the GOP in knots, with some establishment Republicans calling on Congress to embrace legislation that would provide most illegal immigrants with legal status, and, in some cases, an eventual path to citizenship.

But most of the 1,200 grassroots activist that turned out for the conservative gathering here hosted by Rep. Steve King and Citizens Unite, oppose amnesty. They want Congress to crack down on illegal immigration by bolstering the nation’s borders and enforcing the law.

Mr. Carson’s said his “common sense” approach to the problem includes a revamped guest worker program for immigrants as long as they take jobs that American citizens won’t fill.

Under the plan, he said the illegal immigrants living here already would have leave the country before they could apply for a work visa.

Mr. Carson, a Washington Times columnist, arguably is the biggest surprise among the emerging 2016 field, with the latest Real Clear Politics average of national polls showing Mr. Carson running behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Mr. Carson has never run for elected office, but rose to stardom at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast, where he denounced Obamacare.

Since then, there has been a strong push from the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee to convinced him to enter the race, and Mr. Carson has signaled some interest in running.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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