Rudy Giuliani on Immigration
Former Mayor of New York City; Republican Candidate for 2000 Senate (NY)
A: Well, of course, this was developed in the 1960s, because the longest dictatorship, I believe, in the modern world, is the one of Fidel Castro. The presumption is that if you’re fleeing Fidel Castro, given decades and decades of murder, oppression--including, most recently, the way he cracked down on Brothers to the Rescue, all of these things--there’s a presumption in the immigration law that if you’re fleeing Fidel Castro, you’re fleeing political persecution. In every other situation, you have to prove it. If you can prove that you’re fleeing political persecution, you’ll be accepted. We’ve had this exception now for, what, for 40 years? And I think it’s a fair one, given the history of Castro, which is a pretty unusual one. And he is the longest-standing dictator, certainly in this hemisphere, I believe in the world.
A: What you would do is you would secure the border. You’d have a tamper-proof I.D. card. And once it was working, what you would do is you’d deport the people who are criminals. You’ve got to get that number down to a number that is deportable.
Q: What will you do with the ones--let’s say 8 million, 6 million, whatever--who haven’t broken the law?
A: You let them sign up. You assure yourself that they’re safe, decent people, that they’re now working on the rolls.
Q: But that sure sounds like amnesty for that self-selected group of people.
A: Not at all. If they ever wanted to become citizens, they would have to get on the back of the line. They couldn’t get ahead of anyone else. They would have to pay fines.
Q: But you wouldn’t make them leave the country?
A: The first thing that has to be done is we have to end illegal immigration. If we don’t end illegal immigration, we’re really going to risk legal immigration. We should end illegal immigration at the border, because it can’t be really dealt with internally. We should do it by having a fence, a technological fence, as well as a physical fence. It should be used to alert the Border Patrol of the people coming to the border, and we should stop people from coming in. Then we should have a tamper-proof ID card that everybody can get who wants to come into the US legally. When we accomplish that, when we have control of our borders, when we preserve the legality of immigration, we can then turn to the people that are here. The people that come forward can sign up. They can pay taxes, and then the people who don’t, those people should be expelled from the US if they don’t already leave.
A: The federal policies weren’t working, stopping people coming into the United States. If I were president of the United States, I could do something about that by deploying a fence, by deploying a virtual fence, by having a BorderStat system like my COMSTAT system that brought down crime in New York, and just stopping people from coming in, and then having a tamper-proof ID card.
Giuliani also strained the facts when he flatly stated during the debate that New York “was not a sanctuary city.” New York indeed had a policy, which Giuliani defended during the debate, that forbade city employees from giving federal immigration officials the names of illegal aliens unless the immigrant was suspected of other criminal activity or turning the person over was required by law. That protection was granted by a previous mayor through executive order 124 in 1989 and renewed by Giuliani. However the city chooses to characterize its policies, they fit the description of “sanctuary” applied by neutral experts.
GIULIANI: New York City had a policy of allowing people who are illegal immigrants to report crime and to put their children in school. Otherwise, we reported every single illegal immigrant that committed a crime. The results were pretty darn good. I brought down crime by over 60%. I brought down homicide by 67%. I had the most legal city in the country. And I took the crime capital of America and I turned it into the safest large city in the country. The senator has never had executive responsibility. He’s never had the weight of people’s safety and security on his shoulders. I have. And I think I out-performed any expectations.
In fact, Giuliani’s policy as mayor was not so simple as he now claims. New York didn’t describe itself as a “sanctuary city” for aliens. However, Giuliani told the New York Times early in 1994 that “Some of the hardest-working and most productive people in this city are undocumented aliens. 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.” The Times said back then that the mayor was “virtually urging illegal immigrants to settle in NYC.”
ROMNEY: I authorized our state police to enforce the law in sanctuary cities.
Q: [to Giuliani]: You said in 1994: “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 a fugitive.“
GIULIANI: I had 400,000 illegal immigrants, roughly, in NYC. And I had a city that was the crime capital of America. I didn’t have the luxury of political rhetoric. So I said: If you are an illegal immigrant in NYC & a crime is committed against you, I want you to report it. My policies led to a city that was the safest large city in the country, so they must have been sensible policies
Giuliani’s point is valid: DHS said in a 2006 report that it lacks the resources to deport even all illegal aliens who are convicted criminals. His numbers, however, aren’t. In his last year in office, 2001, the federal government deported 4,282 illegal immigrants from the New York field office. The number for New York City would be somewhat lower, since the field office serves not only the city’s five boroughs but also Long Island and several New York counties within a two-hour drive of the city. But it would not be less than half, or the 2,000 figure Giuliani cited.
GIULIANI: People that come in illegally we gotta stop. You stop illegal immigration by building a fence, a physical fence and then a technological fence. You then hire enough Border Patrol so they can respond in a timely way. And then, if anybody becomes a citizen, we should make certain that they can read English, write English and speak English, because this is an English speaking country.
GIULIANI: It frustrates me that if someone comes here illegally, in addition to everything else that’s involved in that, if they commit a crime, we don’t throw them out of the country As the mayor of NYC I wanted to get the Immigration Service to get rid of the drug dealers who are coming out of jail. It makes no sense--after they have been in jail for selling drugs--we now have to keep them in the US. They couldn’t do it because they had other people lined up to throw out. They had like a professor who over-stayed his visa. I had a drug dealer who had maybe killed people. A person who comes here illegally and commits a crime should be thrown out of the country.
According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Applicants for naturalization must be able to read, write, speak, and understand words in ordinary usage in the English language,“ with some exceptions.
When we asked the Giuliani campaign what exactly he was calling for, they said they wanted ”more strenuous“ requirements to prove that applicants truly understood the language.
We think Giuliani’s ad falsely suggests there is no English-speaking requirement for naturalized citizens. What he should have said is that he wants to make certain those applying for US citizenship can read, write and speak English BETTER than the law now requires.
A: The problem with this immigration plan is it has no real unifying purpose. It’s a typical Washington mess. Everybody compromises, and the compromises leave you with the following conclusion. The litmus test you should have for legislation is: will it make things better? And when you look at these compromises, it is quite possible it will make things worse. The organizing purpose should be that our immigration laws should allow us to identify everyone who is in this country that comes here from a foreign country. They should have a tamper-proof ID card. It should be in a database that allows you to figure out who they are, why they’re here, make sure they’re not illegal immigrants coming here for a bad purpose, and then to be able to throw out the ones who are not in that database. We can do that. Credit card companies take care of data that is greater than that.
GIULIANI: I’ve read the 400 pages, and this is part of the problem in Washington--they say things and then it’s not in the legislation. There are four or five different methods of identification, not one. It does not provide information about who exited the US. Now tell me how you’re going to figure out who’s in the US, if you can’t figure out who’s left the US. And finally, it doesn’t provide for a uniform database. Many countries have this. The US doesn’t have it. On September 11th, when we tried to figure out who was in this country, it took weeks to figure out who were the right people and who weren’t, because there isn’t such a database. And that is a fatal flaw in this legislation, and wishing it away doesn’t make it possible.
GIULIANI: I’m very uncomfortable with that. It’s one thing to be debating illegal immigration. And I think the bill needs to be fixed in the way that I’ve indicated. But we shouldn’t be having a debate about legal immigration.
A: The focus on immigration should be to know everyone who’s in the US. We should have a tamper-proof ID card; we should have a database in which we can identify the people who are in this country. We’ve got to be sensible about immigration. If we do the kinds of things that some of the [other GOP candidates] are talking about, this country’s going to be in greater danger; it is going to be more insecure; we’re going to face a situation in which terrorists can find a big underground to hide in. So we need a fence--a technological fence--we need a tamper-proof ID card. And we need a way that people who are working in this country can come forward, sign up for the tamper-proof ID card, get in the database and start paying their way.
A: That is a total misunderstanding. My interest as mayor was to focus on the criminals that were here. I wanted the INS to throw them out. At the same time, there were 400,000 illegal immigrants in NYC, roughly, when I was the mayor. The immigration service could throw out no more than about 2,000 a year. The question was, should the children of the other 398,000 illegal immigrants go to school? Did it make sense, in a city that had so much crime, to have 40,000 kids sitting at home? Should they be able to report crimes? Of course they should. The criminals who criminalized them were going to criminalize others. Should they get treatment in hospitals? If they don’t get treatment in hospitals, you have communicable diseases. I had real responsibilities that I had to deal with. This was a very effective way to deal with those responsibilities.
PAUL: I’m a no, because I am a strong supporter of the original intent
GIULIANI: When he called me up to endorse him, he got me on the phone, he said, “Will you endorse me?”, and I was too afraid to say no. I would say yes.
TANCREDO: Intimidating as he might be, I’m saying no.
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Mayor Rudy Giuliani(NYC)