Squeegee men were a lot different than violent criminals, of course, but they contributed to the sense of menace in the city because they would begin to wipe car windows regardless of whether the motorists desired it, and try to intimidate the drivers into giving them money, even scratching cars with keys. I understand that this puts me at odds with many of my fellow conservatives, but I don’t see a Mexican migrant worker, restaurant employee, or gardener who is working at the behest of his employers in quite the same light just because they are in the country illegally.
Another reason why I think the comparison doesn’t fully hold is that Giuliani has vowed to end illegal immigration by stopping it at its point of origin through improved border security. In this sense, it may be easier to discuss the issue by drawing a different parallel–subway turnstile jumping, which was another one of the petty offenses that Giuliani cracked down on as part of the “broken windows” strategy. Turnstile jumpers were arrested when caught, which was a departure from the previous strategy of looking the other way. But Giuliani didn’t allocate scarce police resources to conduct manhunts for people who may have been caught on camera jumping turnstiles weeks before.
As for the amnesty question, obviously this can get into a matter of semantics, but if we define amnesty as any policy that would allow someone who is here illegally to be put on a pathway to citizenship–no matter what fines or requirements are involved–then yes, Giuliani would be for it. However, one of the major arguments against amnesty is that it won’t work because politicians won’t be serious about securing the border, and down the road we’ll be facing another crisis over what to do with millions of illegal immigrants. Whether one thinks he is sincere or not is another debate, but if we take him at his word, Giuliani has recognized that gaining control of the border would have to take priority over deciding what to do with those who are already here illegally. And if Giuliani were able to use his law enforcement background to gain control of the border, and did demonstrate seriousness about deporting criminals who are here illegally, than he would remove the strongest argument against amnesty.
I think the argument is much weaker for deporting illegal immigrants who are purely here to work in this country, or getting the same result through attrition by cracking down on employers. This is especially true if it also means opposition to increasing the level of legal immigration, thus disrupting labor markets. The big debate over Jobs Americans Won’t Do is a misnomer, because the real question is at what price Americans would perform certain jobs. As a consumer, I personally don’t see any advantage to paying more for a cheeseburger just so it can be flipped by an American rather than a Mexican.