Rudy Giuliani framed immigration as a national security issue this morning at a conference sponsored by the Latino Coalition and held at the Four Seasons in
During his speech, Giuliani spent much of his time making the points that have now become a part of his standard stump speech: staying on offense against terrorism, cutting taxes, reducing government spending, reforming healthcare through the free market, supporting free trade, and achieving energy independence. But not surprisingly given the audience, much of his speech was devoted to laying out his philosophy on immigration.
Giuliani has come under fire from conservatives who see his support for sanctuary laws in
After speaking about the threat of terrorism, Giuliani said that we needed to view illegal immigration within the national security context. He said if we have 12 million people here illegally, it's challenging to separate those who just came here to work from those who came here to sell drugs or plot terrorist attacks–like looking for "a needle in a haystack." That's why he supports increased border security, and he came out in favor of a physical fence in addition to a technological fence, and an improved border patrol force. He said he supports allowing those who are just here to work to come forward, pay taxes, and be put on a path to citizenship after learning English, paying fines, etc. And he said we need to document them and give them tamper proof IDs and enter them into a database so we know who is in the country. This is not the same as amnesty, he insisted, although I'm sure many conservatives would argue that this is precisely amnesty. But his point was that if we reduce the number of undocumented immigrants to a more manageable number, it will be easier to identify the bad guys and kick them out.
Giuliani said his view was formed when he was mayor of
The fact that Giuliani took time out of his campaign schedule to address this particular audience indicates that he intends to build support within the Latino community, which is a large and growing voting block. The chairman of the Latino Coalition said that the group had extended invitations to all of the candidates in both parties, but that Giuliani was the only candidate who accepted. During his speech, Giuliani noted that his support among Latino voters grew each time he ran for mayor, peaking at about 50 percent in his 1997 landslide.
During the speech, he also condemned Hugo Chavez. When speaking with reporters afterwards he was asked how he reconciles that with the fact that