“There isn’t a mayor or a public official in this country who is more strongly pro-immigrant than I am, including disagreeing with President Clinton when he signed on to an anti-immigration legislation about two or three years ago.”
-Rudy Giuliani on “Meet The Press,” February 6th, 2000.
“[Illegal Immigration] is a valid problem and, after Sept. 11th, is a bigger, valid problem. We need to know who’s here. We need to assure ourselves that the people that are here are here for lawful, decent purposes and not to bomb us, hurt us, commit crimes or sell drugs.”
-Giuliani in Newsday, February 13th, 2007, ‘Giuliani in California; Rudy talks issues, avoids landmines”
This might not qualify as a true flip-flop since Giuliani conflated legal and illegal immigration (a trick common to many politicians in both parties) — but it does illustrate the degree to which the debate has shifted towards restrictionism, thanks to grassroots activism and the strict-border promises of several populist freshman Democratic legislators. On this issue Rudy Giuliani has not flip-flopped — or “evolved,” if you prefer — at least as far as we’ve ferreted out so far. But his increasing rhetorical focus on enforcement is a sign of the prevailing winds and not, perhaps, fully representative of Giuliani’s full views on immigration.