TCS Daily

Rudy and the Borders

By Philip Klein - April 10, 2006 12:00 AM

In the past few weeks, as hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets and competing legislation danced around Congress, Americans were reminded of how divisive the issue of immigration can be, and how elusive a compromise remains. Although lawmakers are feverishly working to settle the issue, a resolution may have to wait for a potential presidential candidate who is currently sitting on the sidelines. His name is Rudy Giuliani.

Before discussing why Giuliani would be well suited to forge a compromise on immigration, it is worth addressing what such a compromise might look like.

The hard-line positions on both sides of the immigration debate are untenable. On the extreme side of the anti-immigration movement, there is a troubling tide of old-fashioned economic protectionism. There are those who portray immigrants as people who leech off of the system or steal jobs from Americans. But the vast majority of immigrants who sneak into the country do so to work hard and support their families. Immigrants are an asset to the American economy, rather than a liability.

While it may be true that some members of the anti-immigration crowd harbor feelings of xenophobia, it is outrageous for extremists on the pro-immigration side to cry "Racism!" whenever anybody wants to get serious about limiting immigration. Without sufficient border control, immigrants can render any Congressional legislation irrelevant by entering the country illegally and continuing to work under the radar.

It should also go without saying that protecting the borders is one of the main tenets of national security. As America leads the War on Terror, it is unfathomable that it would let millions of people flow into the country without knowing who they are. Skeptics may find it hard to imagine Al Qaeda terrorists sneaking into the United States by crossing the Mexican border, but flying planes into skyscrapers also sounded far-fetched prior to the Sept. 11 attacks.

There are plenty of opportunities to debate the specifics, but the broad outlines for an immigration compromise would be a system that makes it easier for people to immigrate into the U.S. legally, while securing the borders so that they cannot enter illegally. Our government should be eager to welcome hard working immigrants who want to contribute to the economy, but it also has a duty to keep track of who they are.

Giuliani is uniquely qualified to reconcile these two positions. As the grandson of Italian immigrants, Giuliani's success is living proof of the value of immigration. His credentials on law enforcement and national security and his no-nonsense approach to governing would be indispensable in crafting a better system of patrolling the borders. And his strongly pro-immigration record as mayor of New York City would put him in the best position of any Republican to get tough on border security without alienating Hispanic voters.

Throughout his mayoralty, Giuliani spoke movingly about the immigrant experience. For instance, in a speech given at Ellis Island on June 10, 1997, he said:

"Our country would not be the richest, most successful nation if it were not for immigrants. From the inception of this country, the very process of immigration is what has come to define us as a nation...

"Immigrants constantly infuse new life into our economy and culture. They come with the desire to succeed, they work hard and they challenge us to do better..."

Conservative critics of Giuliani may argue that he has no credibility on border enforcement because he was too lax on immigration when he was mayor of New York City. But Giuliani had different responsibilities as mayor than he would as president, and he has always recognized the need to do a better job patrolling the borders. As he remarked in the same Ellis Island speech:

"Illegal immigration is a very real problem—but it is one that lies outside of the responsibility of cities and states of this country.

"Controlling our borders is a core function of the federal government and it is a problem that requires serious attention..."

Should Giuliani decide to seek the Republican nomination, he would have to win over at least some social conservatives. Were he to suddenly become pro-life, or announce his support for a Marriage Protection Amendment, the dramatic turnabout would undercut his reputation as a leader who sticks to his guns. However, he could take a hard-line on border enforcement while remaining perfectly consistent with his prior unabashedly pro-immigration stances.

In a recent column, William Kristol argued that the GOP could not afford to become the anti-immigration party. Kristol asked, "How many Republicans will have the courage to stand up and prevent the yahoos from driving the party off a cliff?"

One comes to mind.

Philip Klein is a New York-based journalist. He can be contacted through his Website:



For this and many other reasons, I'd love to see Rudy run. Perhaps he could bring us back toward on center on social issues as well. It would be nice to have someone I'm not embarassed to watch speak in public too. :)

Motives of the 12 million
In writing this article, I assume, since you have stated as fact, that you have personally spoken with all 12 million trespassers and know their intentions for their illegal entry into this country. If you only had time to speak with 10.3 million, that's close enough for government work.

P.S.: What's the Bond market going to do for the rest of the month? I need to pick up a little mad money for summer vacation. Thanks.

Immigrants vs. Criminals
I agree with Rudy with repect to his views on immigrants and immigration. It is important, though, to make a distinction between those who immigrate to this country with the desire to become Americans and to live and work legally in America and those who break our laws, enter the country illegally, have no desire to become Americans and would prefer to pilfer all the spoils they can grab and send it back to their own country. The former I call immigrants, and I am one of them. The latter I call illegal criminal aliens and I abhor them.

They do steal jobs that Americans, including legal immigrants ARE willing to do and they do bring with them crime, drugs and disease. Moreover, they themselves are exploited by unscrupulous employers in a manner reminiscent of child labor or even 19th-century slavery. No compassion for these abused workers coming from the left, though, I've noticed.

Finally, I'd like to propose the following changes in our laws to reflect recent apparent policy decisions coming from our elected officials: Bank robberies are now to be known as "undocumented withdrawals". Murders are merely "undocumented euthanasia". Neither are to be legally prosecuted. Anyone who commits a crime continuously for at least 5 years is to be rewarded. Anyone who commits a crime for 2-5 years is to be rewarded slightly less and anyone who only commits a crime for less than 2 years will get the least reward, but a reward nonetheless. If you don't pay income taxes, you are to be fined only $2000 (even though your taxes would probably have been many times that amount). And last, as the head of a household with a wife and child, I expect to never be punished with jail time for any crime because that would be breaking up a family. And we can't have that now, can we?

To: gouldjw



Not anti-immigrant - anti ILLEGAL immigrant
I truly believe that for the vast majority of Americans the issue is not being against immigrants, but having a serious problem with ILLEGAL immigration.

You all calling us anti-immigrants is simply wrong.

We want control of our borders FIRST, then we can decide on how many LEGAL immigrants (500K, 1M, 2M ?) per year to allow into the country.

No amount of calling me such names as "anti-immigrant", "racist", "xenophobe", "nativist", or "protectionist", is going to change that.

Fix Legal Immigration
Step 1: Control the border: fences, troops, Minutemen, whatever works.

Step 2: Concurrently start rainding businesses that hire illegals and fine or shut them down. (no need to deport)

And: increase security of IDs.

Step 3: Significantly raise the number of visas for immigrtion into the country and take it away from the State Department. If DHS is responsible for immigration they should be responsible for the immigration visas.

Grant temporary worker visas issued ONLY in a foreign country meaning those currently in the USA would have to go home to get one. (no need to deport)

But Congress needs to raise the legal immigration numbers dramatically. There are only 65,000 visas per year for US citizens to sponsor thier siblings. Filipinos need to wait over 20 years for a visa to become available, Mexicans over 10 years.

To: wjohnson

If you believe in the Bible, everyone came from somewhere else. SO, the next time we get a traffic ticket, let's flash the anti-immigrant, racist, xenophobic, and protectionist cards so we can "legally" break the law.

The cop would probably beat the hell out of both of us.

Maybe we should change our last names first!

realistic proposals
The pro-illegal rally here in Tucson this morning shows they are learning. Almost no Mexican flags. To deal realistically with this problem, unlike Bill Crystal who knows nothing about it, we have to understand a few facts. I spent many years dealing with illegals' health issues. Many are worthy people who want a better life. Many, however, do not want to become Americans. They go back and forth to Mexico and their families are there.

A fence would stop this traffic and probably reduce the numbers by 25% or so.

Next, they must be willing to learn English. Italian immigrants in Boston 40 years ago could live in the North End for several generations without learning English. Italy, however, was not 100 miles away.

Next there has to be a time period in which they have lived law abiding lives here. Five years at least. One of the Republican amendments that were blocked in the Senate last week would have reduced the time by a year for English proficiency. That's a good idea.

Next, and most important, we have to fix legal immigration! Read Mark Steyn's account or other accounts by legal immigrants. The INS, whatever it is called now, is incompetent to keep track of legal immigrants. Why should we expect them to deal with illegals?

To: marjon
I'll vote for it!

To: Mike_K
I noticed the flag thing also. Reminds you of all of the Palestinian women dancing in the streets after the 9/11 attacks. When they found out that they were on camera they sat down in a hurry.

I wonder why they don't show that film clip any more?

Different story these days
As the our country becomes more and more of a welfare state, the degree to which immigration helps the country declines. Back in the day, the only thing you got by coming here was a chance to work, now there is all kinds of perks, payed not by the employer, but by the tax payer.

Another point that should be made in this discussion is that many of the people comming here illegally are not hoping to become citizans. They're just here to get what they can to send back to Mexico. From what I hear, the money is second only to Mexico's oil business. Makes more sense now why Mexico is hard core about THEIR southern border but not the northern border.

And the arguement that since there are so many of them, then you just CAN'T enforce the law now, thats just BS. The sooner you get cracken the better. Pretending you didn't mess up doesn't make things better, it just allows the problem to get worse. A line of busses from the border to Alaksa? Give me a break, how many people do you think you could catch all at once, also, with employer sanctions, the people here illegally would provide their own transport. Imagine what would happen to wages for those jobs with all those people out of the picture? Now we're talken about a "living wage".

TAX overseas remittances
I have heard GA adds a 5% tax on money remittances. Why not add or increase a US tax on remittances to Mexico?

Some immigrants are assets and some immigrants are liabilities to the economy
You wrote "Immigrants are an asset to the American economy, rather than a liability."

This is a highly simplistic view.

A 22 year old immigrant who brings advanced training in Physics or Computer Science is clearly an asset to the economy and will raise the lifetime real disposable incomes of almost all current U.S. citizens.

A 60 year old immigrant who arrives with no assets is clearly a liability and will lower the lifetime real disposable incomes of almost all current U.S. citizens.

An 18 year old high school dropout who brings nothing but a strong back and willingness to work may be an admirable person, but he or she will lower the lifetime real disposable incomes of all current U.S. citizens whose productivity exceeds his. And he will lower the current and near future wages of all U.S. citizens whose productivity is less than his.

To: xyzzy1

I wish you could explain this to more people.

Thank you.

To: marjon
That's discriminatory. I don't think that it would be if it only applied to senders without a Green Card or work permit.

To: SullyA
I agree with you.

Unfortunately we still have a vast group of people that think that IMMIGRANT and TRESPASSER are synonyms.

"We are not criminals"
From FOX headlines today,
"We are not criminals”
“During Monday's protests, Carlos Carrera, a construction worker from Mexico, held a large banner that read: "We are not criminals. Give us a chance for a better life."
"We would like them to let us work with dignity. We want to progress along with this country," said Carrera, who said he has been in the United States for 20 years.”
Isn’t being here illegally a criminal act? And he has just admitted to being a criminal for 20 years.
Has he paid taxes for those 20 years? If not then he has committed another crime.
Where was his dignity when he was sneaking across the boarder like a thief in the night?
Where is his dignity when he has to hide any time an INS agent goes by him?
Why should we give a person that has shown disrespect for our laws for 20 years a chance at a better life? What about all those 100’s of thousands of people waiting on the list to get into this country legally? Maybe THEY should get the chance to have a better life because they have shown the ability to follow our laws and regulations.
As for losing willing workers, I have brother in law in Bosnia that is a construction worker that would love to come to the US. I can have him drop by the Embassy in Sarajevo and fill out the forms and be ready to take Mr. Carrera’s job over in no time at all.

To: dismanrc
You are right!

That's a good example of 'I shall observe no law that I don't like' syndrome that too many of these people have developed.

Talk about simplistic
I really am not concerned about words like "most." Four illegal aliens got false ID in Virginia before boarding aircraft that destroyed the World Trade Center. But most people who use illegal ID aren't here to destroy us.

Unfortunately the government has no control over who crosses the border and hasn't the least idea of why they are here. Think about it 12 million people enetered without detection. Did any bring the plague, tuberculosis, dengue fever? Would any smuggle in anthrax?

Are we willing to allow 12 million people who do not understanbd American ideals or culture to become citizens after they have violated our laws for years?

I am tired of the illegal alliens contribute more than they take? Really, FBI statistics state 25% of all Federal crimes are caused by illegal aliens. Over half the prison population in California is composed of illegal aliens.

Yet our Senate doesn't want to disallow any illegal who has been conviocted of a felony. Hello, does this sound right to you?

How many of these people have paid taxes? Lets examine it in a different light how many traffic accidents have resulted from illagl aliens and their being uninsured. How many hospitals have closed due to illegal aliens use of emergency wards? How many of the scholl children in LA are not here legally?

The author casts anyone opposed to illegal aliens as some sort of throw backs. Well I'm not the one with blinders on. Does anyone believe our agricultural system would collapse if there were no illegals to pick crops? Look at the building trades industry, skilled jobs and you find illegals. Do you think the poor in the US aren't having their jobs stolen? Does anyone believe that wages for all of us aren't impacted? 30 years of uncontrolled immigration has resulted in no wage growth for the middle class.

The US takes in over 50% of the world's legal immigrants and in addition to the 500,000 olegal immigrants we are supposed to accept another 1,000,000 illegals annually?

Wake up America. The Bushes and Kennedies love this because ot assures them cheap nannies and gardeners. But for the factory worker or building contractor your jobs are being taken.

Red Dawn
Anyone remember the prologe to Red Dawn?

Prior to the invasion of the USA through Mexico by the Soviets and Cubans, illegal aliens around the country sabotaged US bases and crippled the US military.

Venezuela, Cuba, China and Iran are all getting quite friendly and how many illegal aliens from these countries are 'working' in the USA?

Pro-immigration, sure. Pro-illegal immigration, NO
Rule number one!! Do not trust anyone who chooses to frame the debate as one about "immigration." Essentially everyone I hear of who is "anti" is anti-ILLEGAL immigration. Both Author Klein and William Kristol (in the referenced column) make this same disingenuous argument. It is useless to talk of rules 2 and 3 until rule numero uno is adhered to.

Thanks for the comment.

Annexation NOT amnesty
If the border is the problem, move the border.

Offer statehood to Mexico. Encourage the 11-12 million Mexicans here illegally and those here legally to go home and vote.

Demote Vicente Fox to govenor.

Add another star to our flag. Clean out the corruption and watch our new state flourish.

The American Dream is not easy to kill.
As long as there is an incentive, higher pay, better work, etc then there is going to be a porous border with Mexico.

The best thing is that they take jobs that would otherwise be outsourced to guess where? MEXICO!!!!!!

So which is it? Less immigration legal or illegal, and more outsourcing or vice versa?

You can all stop with the enforcement crap about penalizing companies that may hire illegal immigrants. There is no politician from the South, Mid South, or South West who is going to campaign on the tighter enforcement policy with any prayer of getting elected. You are going to penalize Walmart with 30000 employees in Texas for employing 200 illegals. Not a chance.

Besides, enforcement costs BIG BUCKS. Like on the order of the social services these folks consume.

We need more Nigerians and Pakistanis
I am driven to distraction by all this anti-immigration talk. We need to welcome more, not less, freedom-loving, work-seeking, people to our borders.
However, I do confess that it does pose some difficulty to have so many non-English speaking peoples as recent immigrants. This does compromise our society's ability to homogenize, detoxify, and absorb all of one group into one or the other of our bold political parties. Therefore, as we really would prefer peoples who are already English speakers, I propose that we bring in more people from the countries of the British Commonwealth. Let us bring in 1,000 people a day from each of the countries of Pakistan, Nigeria, Ghana, India, Bangladesh, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Sierra Leone, and, uh, let's just throw in Liberia while we're at it. That would be about 4.75 million folks a year. I don't doubt that our embassies could find 365,000 in each of those countries who are well-educated, speak good English, and would be happy to come to America. Maybe by the second year, the supply would run out in Malawi or Ghana, but India would be happy to pick up the slack.
Who but an ultra-racist yahoo, an uneducated bumpkin, an economic know-nothing, or a right-wing xenophobe could oppose such a brilliant plan??

I believe the last line sums it up
Obviously the author of this is an uneducated bumpkin, ultra racist yahoo, an economic know nothing, and some specieis of unidentified left wing troll. The issue is control and border security. I haven't seen anyone mention the need for more illegal aliens.

This sort of thingis as useless as a pulled tooth.

Enforcement costs big bucks? How much did 9-11 cost?
I wonder if there is any politician who can campaign on a plank of amnesty and looser control who can hope to win?

As for the choice between illegal immigration vs outsourcing there are various other options available.

It was a joke, Thomas!!
Gosh, sorry you didn't get it!!

But, au contraire, the words you use--control and border security--do imply you want to control ILLEGALITY, and not limit immigration, per se. And, furthermore, it is indeed illegal immigration that some are saying not to worry about. "Hey," they say, "lighten up. So what if they are ilegal? They are only taking jobs no one else wants. They are mostly family-friendly, hard-working guys. They are just contributing their small share to the great cultural diversity of this wonderful and tolerant nation." No, obviously they don't say (see the article!!), "We are pro illegality."

Let's do as the Mexicans do
Just to show we are open to diversity lets use the same standards that Mexico does with foreigners. I do love to display cultural diversity.

Ruyd could do little
The debate is in the House and Senate, any bill that is going to become law must past through those toilets and has little choice but to pick up a little unwanted extra weight along the way.

We need immigration reform for three main reasons.

1. we need to secure our borders, and we have needed this for 50 years.

2. We need to control who is coming into this country, again a security issue.

3. We need to shorten the waiting period for legal immigrants, encourage all immigrants to become citizens and do away with the invasion coming in from the south. Like it or not, it is a true invasion. A good number of radicals believe the Southwestern U.S. should be Mexican territory and that is what they want to see it become. A large percentage, if not most, illegals play into this as they do not want to become American citizens. I wonder why we should allow them to be able to spounge off our economy?

If a Guest Worker program is needed, then institute one and make sure the "Guest Worker" is paying taxes. Make sure these guest workers aren't allowed to birth their children here, making them instant citizens.

I have nothing against immigration and would like to see more LEGAL immigrants coming to this country. But we can not be the destination of even 1/10th the worlds population. We must have some control and reasonable immigration numbers. Those numbers should both stabilize our population and streamline the immigration process.

i don't know what the answers are, but the problem can be fixed; just not by the turds in Waashington. Those guys would scr ew up a steel ball.

Culture anyone?
Why oh why do all the talking heads refuse to discuss the lack of assimilation of illegals and its impact on American culture???

Is it now "racist" to talk about protecting one's culture if it is Judeo-Protestant?

We just had an undocumented hispanic person kill a beloved football coach and Father in a street race. MS3 gang members beheaded an entire family who were supposedly snitches. Watch Americas Most Wanted and you will get the idea.
I would like to believe that most illegal immigrants who come here are not like that or on welfare or public assistance. I hope the savings from their cheap labor makes the employers that abuse them a lot of money. Much of this money may be cash and non taxable. I really do not believe that anything good comes from having undocumented and illegal immigrants here, for them or us. We need to secure our borders and find a fair way to vet and document the ones that are here or send them back. Securing the borders needs to be the first step and the rest can be hashed out later.

To: ThomasJackson
Very well put. The only shame is that not enough people, particularly in Washington, D.C., will read it.

I've amended my order of things to be done. Now it is:

1. Seal and secure the southern border.

2. Replace most of Congress.

3. Relocate the 12 million to the other side.

4. Rethink the amount of new legal arrivals that we really need. Don't forget that a number of citizen families are still having children.

To: marjon
I hope that you are wrong. But aren't you glad The Brady Bunch hasn't eliminated the Second Amendment?

To: murungu

A while back I created "The Society For The Terminally Hard Of Listening" because I discovered so many potential members, myself included, every day. Congress seems to be full of them. The Press just about defies the limit of 100%. Unfortunately we are doomed to banging our heads on the wall because we can't seem to make the public understand the seriousness of the dilemma that we find ourselves.

I can only hope that the citizens of the United States of America wake up before they find themselves being relocated to somewhere else.

They are trying
The 2nd Amendment is illegal in DC and in MA and CA and a few other cities.

To: JonathanSwift

It definitely will be cheaper.

The new southern border would be a snap to secure.

Think of it: we would become a member of OPEC!

Somebody is going to make a fortune teaching English.

P.S.: Make sure they have a new election for governor to replace Mr. Fox.

Seriously, It's a great idea.

To: murungu
Spread the wealth!

A great idea. You might opt for a few less Pakistanis (most of them don't care for us).

Of course we could always make our own babies. It might even be more fun.

To: ThomasJackson

But still don't no why we needed the first illegal alien. Don't we have enough criminals of our own?

To: murungu
I'm amazed at the cavalier attitude that most people take when addressing the desires of the 12 million law breakers. No one knows their intentions except for them. Their intentions, no matter how honorable, started out with a crime.

And to paraphrase Joan Rivers: If you know them so well, name one of them!

To: Pauled
We need to change that little oversight about birthing here creates citizenship. This is a country, not a game show.

Limiting immigration quotas has always been a regular thing here. Immigration should be a two-way street; just because you want in doesn't mean that we want you. Bring in people who help America. We need more strong minds, not more strong backs.

What are they?
We have work that Americans will do but at prices so high that this work will transfer over seas. What do you want to do about it?

Do not say buy better equipment, the market for Illegal workers balances between more expensive equipment, more expensive labor, cheap labor, and outsourcing.

Do not say government subsidy to purchase equipment. Think $600 hammers?


I agree
In fact, that is what I was alluding to; on both counts. But we can probably raise the quotas. As for strong minds vs. strong backs; I think we could use a few of both.

To: marjon RE: 2d Amendment
Only to law abiding citizens.

To: billott1
The nice thing about machinery is that after you use it and depreciate it, you can sell it for scrap.

Eliminate government subsidies for firms that buld plants overseas
Tax their overseas profits till it doesn't really profit them to go overseas if overseas production isn't intended for overseas markets but rather domestic ones.

Control labor union abuses.

Reduce the government regulations that cause businesses to flee.

Bar government from social engineering in provate industry.

How many fruit pickers does this country need?
Aside from the insults to those who abide by the law how does the US benefit from getting the cast offs of a failued society.

Why aqren't we hearing that for every illegal that comes in we could be getting a doctor; engineer or politician. Hmmm, maybe that's what congress doesn't want to see.

You got my vote
Run for congress.

It would be nice if a bunch of newbies would
What we need is a system that gets rid of the lifers . Term limits are good, but need to be longer than 10 years of a lot of reasons.

As for me, i have niether the money or backing. Besides, I doubt I could get my wife to vote for me; where would I get the support! LOL

Seriously, I wish money didn't matter; if that were the case I would put my hat in the ring tomorrow. But it takes at least a million dollars to even consider getting elected.

To: ThomasJackson
Most politicians seem to want a less intelligent voter base so that their actions will go unchallenged.

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