August 10, 2007

Giuliani Defends Immigration Record In Visit To Colorado

Accused of harboring illegal immigrants in New York, a city dubbed as a "sanctuary" by those critical of illegal immigration, Giuliani argued that his record demonstrated a tough stance on those here illegally:
"My response is you have to look at the results. New York City had the least amount of illegality per capita of any major city in the country and I brought that change about," Giuliani said during a visit to a Colorado Springs restaurant.

"When we came into office, New York City was the crime capital of America. When I left office, it was the safest large city in America in just about every single category, which means it had the least amount of illegality of any kind, whether you're talking about illegal immigrants or illegal Americans," Giuliani said.
. . .
Giuliani also answered questions from supporters and customers about his stance on illegal immigrants. He drew a map of the Mexican border on a piece of paper and said fighting illegal immigration will require a combination of physical barriers and technology to fill in the gaps.

Giuliani said immigrants should be given tamperproof identification cards.

"Everyone from a foreign country should be identified," Giuliani told Krystal Holthus, a Colorado Springs resident concerned about the issue.
Mitt Romney has argued that Giuliani's lax position and failure to enforce immigration policies made New York City a de facto "sanctuary city", inherited from his predecessor, Mayor Ed Koch. Giuliani will have to square away his current explanation of his stance on illegal immigration with his statements made in the '90s:
At a June 1994 press conference, Giuliani decried anti-illegal immigration policies as unfair and hostile.

"Some of the hardest-working and most productive people in this city are undocumented aliens," Giuliani said at the time. "If you come here and you work hard and you happen to be in an undocumented status, you're one of the people who we want in this city. You're somebody that we want to protect, and we want you to get out from under what is often a life of being like a fugitive, which is really unfair."

At a speech in Minneapolis in 1996, Giuliani defended Koch's executive order, that, in his words "protects undocumented immigrants in New York City from being reported to the INS while they are using city services that are critical for their health and safety, and for the health and safety of the entire city."

"There are times when undocumented immigrants must have a substantial degree of protection," Giuliani said.
This is a different decade, and Giuliani is no longer running for office in one of the most liberal cities in America. He will, if he receives the GOP nomination, have to overcome considerable doubt by those who seek border security and enforcement of the law. Anyone concerned by the state of illegal immigration in this country will demand more than platitudes from any candidate seeking their vote come November 2008.

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