If you look at this YouTube clip of Rudy Giuliani talking about illegal immigration this week and in 1996, it’s abundantly clear that he has changed his position on whether the border can be controlled, and I don’t think it does any favors to Giuliani for supporters to argue otherwise. The campaign points out that technology has improved over the last 11 years. Fair enough. And, if you take them at their word that this is the source of his change in position, that explains the part of his 1996 speech where he says, “We’re never, ever going to be able to totally control immigration…” and, “I don’t know that there’s any technological way to totally control it.” However, it does not explain the part of the quote where he predicts disastrous consequences that would occur if you were to control it (“If you were to totally control immigration into the United States, if you were to totally control the flow of people in the United States, you might very well destroy the economy of the United States because you’d have to inspect everything and everyone in every way possible.”) Now, you could also argue that 9/11 made him change his views about whether we should seek to control the border. I know, personally, that 9/11 changed my view of this issue. Before that, whenever people spoke about securing the border, I heard the thundering voice of Pat Buchanan vowing to build a wall around America, and it was a scary thought. After 9/11, I’ve come around on that view, and though I remain a very strong proponent of legal immigration, I firmly believe that we need to gain control of the border and monitor who comes in and out of the country. So, it’s understandable, to me at least, how somebody could change his mind on this issue. But clearly a change has taken place with Giuliani. And I don’t think it would be helpful for him or any of his supporters to suggest otherwise.
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