Politics & Policy

Mayor Rudy on Immigration

Editor’s Note: In light of the immigration deal, here are a various past comments from Rudy Giuliani on the subject.

From an October 1996 speech by Rudy Giuliani at the Kennedy School of Government:

Illegal immigration is a different matter. I do not defend it. No one should break the law. But preventing illegal immigration is the job of the federal government. The United States has to do a lot better job of patrolling our borders. If we can’t stop illegal immigration, then we can’t stop drugs and weapons from entering the country, either.

But in a country as large as ours, with our protection of individual liberty, and with a huge border that spans sea, deserts and mountains, and given the strong desire that people have to come to this country, the federal government may never be able to stop illegal immigration completely. At best, all we can expect is that the federal government will do a better job of patrolling our borders.

The reality is, people will always get in. And the reality is, the federal government does not deport them. In New York City, which has 400,000 undocumented immigrants, only about 1,500 a year are deported. Under the new federal legislation, that number would — at most — double to about 3,000 out of 400,000.

So illegal and undocumented immigrants are going to remain, and even increase. And nothing that is now being proposed in Washington would realistically change that very much.

In New York City, we recognize this reality. New York City’s policy toward undocumented immigrants is called “Executive Order 124.”

This order was issued seven years ago by Mayor Ed Koch and reissued by my predecessor, Mayor Dinkins, and by me. “Executive Order 124″ protects undocumented immigrants in New York City from being reported to the I.N.S. 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 aliens must have a substantial degree of protection. For example, parents fearful of having their family deported may very well not send their children to public schools. That could mean that a potential 70,000 to 80,000 undocumented children might remain hidden in apartments or be turned out on the streets. And some of these children are citizens — born in the U.S. — even though their parents were not.

If their parents take them out of school, not only will these children suffer irreversible damage, they will most likely end up doing damage to the rest of society. Similarly, illegal and undocumented immigrants should be able to seek medical help without the threat of being reported. When these people are sick, they’re just as sick and just as contagious as citizens… And could possibly become a danger to public health.

And everyone should understand the practicality of wanting undocumented immigrants to feel comfortable reporting criminals to the police. Reporting criminals protects all people, citizens and non-citizens alike. It makes absolutely no sense to create a disincentive for immigrants to report crimes. Muggers don’t ask for a green card. The federal government should not mandate state and city policies that have the effect of reducing the number of undocumented aliens reporting crimes.

And yet Section 434 of the new welfare reform law, and Section 642 of the new immigration law, would effectively invalidate New York City’s “Executive Order 124.”

I know that our executive order offends some people. They ask, “Why should we pay to provide services for illegal immigrants?”

The answer is, “It’s not only to protect them, but to protect the rest of society, as well.”

The federal government’s effort to overturn “Executive Order 124″ is not only bad policy, it is a violation of the U.S. Constitution. It is my opinion that the new law is unfair because discriminates based on immigration status.

But perhaps even more fundamentally, under the Tenth Amendment to our Constitution rights not granted to the federal government are reserved to the states. During the recent Presidential debate, two things caught my attention.

First, at the very beginning, Senator Dole said the sharp drop in crime in New York City — crime is down 38 percent since 1993 — accounts for 30 percent of America’s national decline in crime…

By the way, that’s because while crime in New York City is down 38 percent, crime nationally is only down by an average of only three percent. I’m always looking for ways to get that information out…

The second time was when Senator Dole said he carried a copy of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution in his pocket. In my legal opinion, Section 434 of the federal welfare reform law, and Section 642 of the new immigration law, violate the Tenth Amendment.

Therefore, tomorrow the City of New York will file suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to challenge the constitutionality of Section 434 and Section 642 on the grounds I just mentioned.

The Tenth Amendment provides that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

One right not granted to the federal government is the right of state and local governments to provide for the health and safety of their local communities. This right is generally described as “the police power.” When Ed Koch signed “Executive Order 124″ it was a classic example of New York City’s police power being used to protect the health and well being of our city.

Most likely, the federal government will reply that controlling immigration is one of their core functions. But this is a disingenuous argument. The federal government will be forced to argue that it has to treat undocumented immigrants unfairly in order to discourage others from coming here. Attempting to control immigration by creating a disincentive for a woman to report to the police that she has been beaten up by her husband is a very weak argument. And it’s a horrible position for the federal government to take.

From a subsequent address, in October of 1996, on WINS-AM Radio:

Similarly, illegal and undocumented immigrants should be able to seek medical help without the threat of being reported, possibly deported. While these people are sick, they’re just as sick and just as contagious as citizens. They could possibly become a danger to public health if they were not able to seek health care services.

And I’m sure everyone can understand the practicality of wanting undocumented immigrants to feel comfortable reporting criminals to the police. Reporting criminals protects all people, citizens and non-citizens alike….

America became the most successful nation in history because of our constant process of reform and revitalization, a process that is driven by immigrants who come here to create a better life for themselves and for their children. That’s why anti-immigration movements always die out. As we have in the past, I believe we will return to the recognition that new Americans are good for our country.

From a November 1996 speech in New York City to a rally organized by the Coalition of Catholic Churches:

America is an immigrant nation with a long and proud tradition of inclusion and diversity. This tradition has helped our country to grow into the world’s leading economic power. Forward-looking and enlightened Americans joined together to stop the “Know-Nothings” of the mid-nineteenth century. This allowed for an incredible expansion in the twentieth century. Now, we must do the same and stand up to today’s isolationist movement to ensure that America’s next century is as prosperous as the last.

More Giuliani immigration speeches can be found at the website “Rudy97 – Campaign to Reelect Rudy Giuliani.”

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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