Sanctuary Cities in Romney's Massachusetts - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Sanctuary Cities in Romney’s Massachusetts

In recent days, Mitt Romney has assailed Rudy Giuliani for maintaining a "sanctuary" city for illegal immigrants in New York and has pledged that as president he would  reduce federal funding to "sanctuary" cities. But as governor of Massachusetts, Romney led a state that had several sanctuary cities and he took no action to cut their funding in order to pressure them into changing their policies toward illegal immigrants.

In describing Giuliani's reign as mayor yesterday, Romney said, "New York City was the poster child for sanctuary cities in the country." Romney may have only meant "poster child" in the metaphorical sense, but while he was governor, Cambridge, Massachusetts was a poster child for sanctuary cities— only quite literally. Last year, Cambridge renewed its status as a sanctuary city, openly declaring, "Cambridge has a proud history as a Sanctuary city" and "the City of Cambridge rejects the use of the word 'illegal' to describe human beings." In response, the restrictionist immigration group ProjectUSA took out a mock billboard advertising it as a destination for illegal immigrants.

Despite the fact that Cambridge was openly a sanctuary city, the Romney administration did not make any attempt to reduce state aid—a policy Romney is now advocating at the federal level.

Earlier today, I spoke with John Clifford, a press spokesman for Cambridge Mayor Kenneth Reeves, and asked whether the city remembers any pressure, financial or otherwise, applied by the Romney administration asking them to change their sanctuary status when it was up for renewal last year.

"Absolutely not," Clifford responded. I followed up by asking whether the Democratic government of Cambridge had clashed with the Republican administration of Romney at any time during his term as governor. Clifford laughed. "He never took on Cambridge, except out of state."

Other sanctuary cities in Massachusetts include Somerville and Orleans.

Asked for comment, Matt Rhoades, Romney's communications director said:

 "One of the responsibilities of the President is to enforce federal law. As President, Mitt Romney will make sure that cities that offer sanctuary to illegal immigrants suffer a financial penalty. As Governor of Massachusetts, he took action to ensure the state did not become a magnet for illegal immigration.  He vetoed in-state tuition at public colleges and universities for illegal immigrants, opposed driver's licenses for illegal immigrants and signed an agreement with the federal government to allow state troopers to enforce federal immigration laws.  Governor Romney believes sanctuary cities weaken our ability to secure the borders because they encourage illegal immigration and reward lawbreakers by setting up zones of protection."

While it is technically true that Romney "signed an agreement with the federal government to allow state troopers to enforce federal immigration laws," he only did so in the closing weeks of his term, and the program never actually went into effect because it was rescinded by Romney's successor even before the state troopers began training. 

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