Rudy Giuliani is a long way from Ellis Island.
So starts a NYT editorial which analyzes the shifting of America’s Mayor’s position on illegal immigration.
A decade ago, as mayor of New York, Mr. Giuliani used that historic backdrop to champion the cause of immigrants, calling attacks on people who came here legally a blow to “the heart and soul of America.” And from City Hall he often defended illegal immigrants, ordering city workers not to deny them benefits and advocating measures to ease their path to citizenship.
While this is true, he has since stated, and the editorial does mention this, that was before 9/11, and that had a profound effect upon him. Giuliani’s views are not clear cut, but this issue simply does not have clear cut solutions, OTHER than stemming the tide of illegals, which Giuliani has backed consistently since 9/11, and still does vigorously.
“The reality is that they are here, and they’re going to remain here,” now he emphasizes denying amnesty.
At last “A Voice of Reason” regarding immigration policy.
“Immigration reform has to begin with border security because we are a nation at war,” said Anthony V. Carbonetti, a senior political adviser who has worked with Mr. Giuliani for 15 years. “He is still very proud that people want to come to this country.”
For now, Mr. Giuliani is relying on his reputation as a law-and-order mayor to convince voters that he will crack down on illegal immigration. He also sprinkles his comments with nods to his past statements, saying he would welcome immigrants willing to learn the language, respect the culture and follow the law.
These days, when he says he opposes amnesty, Mr. Giuliani says he does not mean that the millions of people here illegally should be deported, but rather, that they should have to earn their citizenship and that nothing should be accorded automatically.
On the campaign trail, he says the first order of business must be to try to identify the 12 million immigrants who are here illegally and issue them “tamper-proof” identification cards.
Then, he said, they should start paying taxes. If they want to become citizens, they should have to “get on the back of the line,” he said.
“And then, at the end of the line, if they are ever going to become citizens,” he said, “the thing I am really interested in, they have to read English, write English, speak English and be able to understand the basics of American civics.”
I particularly like the balanced and equitable approach Mr. Giuliani has towards this issue. These people who are here need to be legally protected, not deported, and then pay their dues and taxes and assimilate to our culture. While we may not like how they came here, the idea of uprooting them, detaining them and sending them home, isn’t going to happen, and it probably shouldn’t. However, the border must also be secured.
Mr Giuliani, recently in Iowa quoted another fairly liberal Republican, Abraham Lincoln.
“The best American is not the American who has been here the longest or the one who just arrived,” Mr. Giuliani said recently. It is the one who understands the principles of America the best because we are a country held together by ideas.”
Amen and Amen.