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Giuliani Seems Slightly Divided on Immigration, but English Definitely Mandatory

Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani began this week's campaign trail at a now-infamous cheesesteak stand in South Philadelphia. The stand garnered considerable press coverage in June 2006, after posting signs asking that customers speak English.

The two small signs at Geno's Steaks read "This is America: When ordering please speak English.''

Giuliani has long believed that all immigrants wanting to live in the U.S. permanently should learn English. In 2006, he also vehemently opposed President Bush's desire to offer temporary work visas to illegal immigrants. More recently, however, Giuliani and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney have both spoken favorably about that same visa legislation.

Then too, during his stint as New York mayor, Giuliani often cited the local contributions of illegal aliens. In 1994, he told the New York Times, "If you come here, and you work hard, and you happen to be in an undocumented status, you're one of the people who we want in this city."

Monday, Giuliani said "Immigration is the best thing we have going for us. We need new people. We need people who are going to inform us, give us new ideas, but it has to be legal."

Despite these somewhat conflicting statements, Giuliani insists his stance on immigration has never changed during his political career. Although he's more consistent than some politicians have been, we have a sneaking suspicion that he tends to bend a little, in whichever direction will garner more votes from the audience of the moment. He can't open his arms to hardworking illegals and at the same time tell us that only legal immigration is acceptable. Can he? Maybe we're missing something here.

In any event, if he's elected President, Giuliani promises to vigilantly track immigrants by implementing tamperproof identity cards, to bolster U.S.-Mexico border fencing and high-tech surveillance, and to deport more criminal illegal immigrants.

Joe Vento, who owns Geno's Cheesesteak stand, explained that he posted the signs because a growing number of customers could only speak a foreign language. His own grandparents, he said, arrived from Sicily, Italy in the 1925 and did their best to learn English.

He did add that no customer has ever been refused for not speaking English.

A discrimination case by the city's human relations commission is pending against Geno's. Giuliani said that this case simply highlighted the need for one universal language, for practical as well as patriotic reasons.

Aside from his apparent support of Bush's plans to legalize illegals, Giuliani, overall, seems to be toughening his view on immigration to win more Republica votes.

Further Reading from the New York Times
Giuliani Accused of Attracting Illegals, 9/6/07
Attacking Giuliani's NY Record, 8/23/07
Giuliani Shifts Tone on Immigration, 4/22/07

Monday October 1, 2007 | comments (0)

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