Much of the attention on this blog has been focused on the Rudy-Romney clash on immigration, but the other day Fred Thompson had his own post on sanctuary cities. Reading Fred’s post makes it pretty clear why so many people like him. It opens with a clever analogy:
If you listen to folks who oppose immigration and border enforcement, you get the feeling they think we put locks on our doors to keep everybody out. The truth is we have locks so we can choose who comes in…
And after going into details about the problems with sanctuary policies, it closes with a simple truism:
We have the right to keep criminal predators out of our home. Those who want to immigrate into America need to knock, identify themselves, and ask permission first. They will not do so though if we can’t even ask who they are, which is prevented in sanctuary cities. Now I am a strong federalist, but immigration is a responsibility of the federal government, and the failures of local officials to enforce our national laws have a direct impact on communities around the country. So federal law must be enforced, or our neighborhoods will continue to be the scene of chilling and lurid crimes committed by those who broke the law in the first place to come to America.
Smart, hard to disagree with, and easy to digest. Perfectly understandable why people find him so appealing.
However, when you read it next to Giuliani’s description of his specific plans, it’s pretty clear who is the one with executive experience, and who is thinking about practical ways to actually secure the border. Here was Giuliani on a South Carolina radio show yesterday:
The second commitment of my Twelve Commitments is to end illegal immigration. And the way we would do that is to build the physical fence of 700 miles, fill in the other 1200 miles on the southwest border with a technological fence, hire more border patrol, deploy them in substations that would have them no more than 25 to 50 miles away from any point on the border. And then use the technological equipment, the camera equipment, the heat seeking equipment, the motion sensor equipment to alert the border patrol so they can be there and stop people from coming into the country. And then we’d have a tamper-proof ID card for every person who comes into this country from a foreign country. Tamper-proof means not only the photograph but also biometric data so that we can know everybody who’s in this country. The goal has to be that we have to identify everyone coming into this country from a foreign country, otherwise you’re not allowed in the country.
Giuliani also spoke a bit about his frustration as mayor that the INS wouldn’t deport actual criminals and drug dealers who were here illegally. The host, Keven Cohen then asked, “Alright so whose hands are tying the system from working now? I mean why is that happening? Why can’t you even get people to get deported at a higher rate?” Then Giuliani responded:
“The reason is that nobody has organized it the right way. It’s the same thing that people would say to me why did New York City not reduce crime for 30 years? Because the leadership at the top hasn’t organized this in the right way. It’s got to be organized in a way in which you turn around the bureaucracy and you win them over to you. It has to be explained to them, it has to be made simple, you’ve got to set goals. So you start of with — I mean the fence has been authorized for I don’t even know how long now, almost a year right? Only a few miles have been built. And the border patrol has been authorized to go up to 18,000. I don’t know how many of those they’ve already hired. You’ve just got to do it. This is not brain surgery. It’s complicated, it’s not brain surgery. You’ve just got to do it. You’ve got to build a fence, build a technological fence, hire the border patrol, set up a BorderStat program to measure people coming over the border, start doing it. At first it’s not going to be 100% successful, but if we get to 50% success we are a lot better off. Then we’ll get to 60, we’ll get to 80 and we’ll eventually get pretty close to 100% success.”
This is coming from a man who not only talked about reducing crime while campaigning for mayor, but actually did it. I know, because I lived in New York City both before, during, and after Giuliani, and the difference was dramatic. I’m well aware that many conservatives have a problem with Giuliani’s immigration policies as mayor, but, given that he inherited a city with 400,000 illegal immigrants, I really don’t see how he could have put them on notice that if they reported a crime, they could be deported. That would deprive the police department of crucial information that could be used to help protect legal citizens.
As for the Fred vs. Rudy contrast that I set up, again, I can understand why people really like Thompson. I like him myself. But the reason I prefer Rudy is that I think he would be better at the actual job of being president.