Friday, September 7, 2007

Mitt Romney on "sanctuary cities"

Governors aren't responsible for the actions of their mayors. But as president, I would be:

MR. WALLACE: Governor Romney, in recent weeks, you have gone after Mayor Giuliani for running what you say was a sanctuary city for illegals. But as governor of Massachusetts, you did nothing to stop Cambridge, Somerville or Orleans, all of which proclaim themselves to be sanctuaries.

MR. ROMNEY: [W]ith regards to sanctuary cities, the governors aren’t responsible for mayors who are not following the law. And actually in my case, I -- as soon as I learned about it, a program in the department of -- of ICE, that we could have our state police authorized to enforce the law, I did just that, so that in sanctuary cities in our state and non-sanctuary cities, the law would be enforced.

But this is a place where Mayor Giuliani and I just simply disagree.

I think we should reduce federal funding to cities that call themselves sanctuary cities. I think saying, as he did, if you happen to be an undocumented alien, we want you in New York, we’ll protect you in New York -- I think that contributed to 3 million illegals in this country becoming 12 million illegals coming into this country.

Sanctuary cities are those which ban city employees from asking a person about their residency status or contacting the INS when discovering an illegal alien. The argument being that illegal immigrants won't report crimes or seek medical care if they feared being deported.

Enforcement of immigration laws is typically the purview of the federal government, not the states. In 2006 Congress passed a provision which authorized state and local officials to identify and detain illegal immigrants. Rudy Giuliani left office at the end of 2001.

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