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Romney acts holier-than-thou on the immigration issue -- but he doesn't have the record to show it.

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Rudy Tougher, Mitt Softer on Illegals than Perceived

Romney acts holier-than-thou on the immigration issue — but he doesn’t have the record to show it.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Willard Mitt Romney has accused fellow GOP presidential contender Rudolph W. Giuliani of operating a “sanctuary city” while New York mayor. Presumably, Giuliani waved illegal aliens into Gotham, like a third-base coach urging runners home ahead of a mighty outfielder’s throw. In fact, Giuliani was tougher on illegal immigrants than Romney claims. Conversely, Romney was easier on illegals than his current hard-line posture suggests.

In last month’s CNN/YouTube debate, Romney quoted Giuliani:

“If you come here, and you work hard, and you happen to be in an undocumented status, you’re one of the people that we want in this city.” Romney conveniently omitted this sentence from Giuliani’s June 1994 press-conference remarks:

“And if you’re somebody who comes here, and you want to violate the drug laws, the laws against violence, the laws to protect us in other ways, then I’d like to see you apprehended and put in prison and then sent back to where you came from.”

Among New York’s 400,000 illegals, the feds deported 776 in 1994. With the Clinton Administration spurning expulsions, Giuliani did the best he could.

Giuliani maintained city policies that let illegal aliens report crimes without risking ejection. With 1,946 homicides and 600,346 serious crimes the year he was elected, Giuliani wanted illegals to identify criminals. They similarly could receive emergency medicine, rather than remain untreated, possibly sickening others. Illegals also could send their children to public schools, rather than have 70,000 kids roaming the streets, attracting criminals, and possibly committing violations themselves.

Giuliani’s anti-crime campaign otherwise targeted illegal-alien offenders.

“We’d like to see a situation in which we can put ’em on a plane and charge INS for the ticket,” Katie Lapp, Giuliani’s criminal justice coordinator, told Newsday in November 1994. “It’s the mayor’s position that INS should increase border patrols and keep these people out of the country in the first place.”

INS never approved what Newsday dubbed “Air Giuliani.” In April 1994, however, Giuliani restored alerts to INS whenever police arrested illegal-alien criminal suspects. In January 1993, INS claimed it lacked resources to pursue such reports and asked Democratic mayor David Dinkins to stop making them.

In contrast, Romney waited until 18 days before leaving office to secure federal permission for state troopers to arrest illegal aliens. Actually, this program never commenced. As promised, Romney’s Democratic successor, Governor Deval Patrick, scrapped it before troopers began relevant training.

Romney’s immigration record was ho-hum long before this 11th-hour initiative. Beyond opposing drivers’ licenses and in-state college tuition for illegals, Romney’s failures helped keep Massachusetts attractive to them.

It may be a private matter that illegal aliens raked Romney’s lawn as recently as November 29. But Romney’s administration should have scrutinized state employees more carefully. Among nine Massachusetts public-works sites examined in the June 18, 2006 Boston Globe, 38 percent of weekly wage-earners lacked valid Social Security numbers. At one university masonry project, 55 of the contractor’s 87 workers had dodgy Social Security numbers. Some belonged to dead people. One jail-construction worker offered this unusual Social Security number: 666-66-6666.

“The governor is not surprised that our current immigration laws are a mess,” Romney’s gubernatorial spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom shrugged.

Meanwhile, Romney let Brewster, Brookline, Cambridge, Lexington, Orleans, and Somerville, Massachusetts openly flout federal immigration laws.

“I’m not going to break the trust we have built up with the immigrant community to enforce the misguided policies of the federal government,” Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone said in the July 6 Somerville News.

Romney could have pressured or sued these six sanctuary cities to become non-sanctuaries. He also could have slashed their allowances. Instead, state tax dollars cascaded into their coffers.

Romney’s proposed assistance to these locales grew from $103,218,421 in Fiscal Year 2004 to $107,419,246 in FY 2007 — up 4.1 percent.

Did Romney challenge these sanctuary cities?

“Absolutely not,” Cambridge mayoral spokesman John Clifford told the American Spectator’s Philip Klein. Clifford laughed: “He never took on Cambridge, except out of state.”

“Romney’s being a hypocrite on this issue,” Somerville’s Joseph Curtatone told ABC News. “I did not receive a mandate, any communication, anything at all from him about this. If it’s so important to him, why didn’t he have the state police enforcing it?”

Written By

Mr. Murdock, a New York-based commentator to HUMAN EVENTS, is a columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.

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