- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Rudolph W. Giuliani has stocked his presidential campaign’s immigration-policy committee with pro-enforcement people, in a move that will appeal to the party base and help him counter charges that he protected and welcomed illegal aliens during his time as New York mayor.

Mr. Giuliani tapped former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert C. Bonner to lead his team as chief homeland-security adviser. Among the others of the team are former Homeland Security officials C. Stewart Verdery Jr. and Michael J. Petrucelli and former Immigration and Naturalization Service Assistant Commissioner Jan C. Ting.

Mr. Giuliani also sent out a press release yesterday pointing to his time as a federal prosecutor, when he called for more action on enforcing immigration law.

“Clearly, he wants it understood that as a former prosecutor he takes immigration law enforcement very seriously and that he understands what the problems are, and I think, based on the advice he’s been getting, he understands what needs to be done,” said Mr. Ting, a law professor at Temple University. “I think he’s going to commit himself to doing what needs to be done.”

Immigration is roiling the 2008 Republican presidential field, with Mr. Giuliani’s top competitor, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, running ads calling for border enforcement and attacking Mr. Giuliani on the campaign trail for his record in New York.

Mr. Giuliani faced question after question about the issue last week as he campaigned in Iowa and again in Colorado and has said he wants the border secured first and says then the government can address the issue of the 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens already here.

Potential candidate Newt Gingrich is also driving the issue among Republicans, using his own speech to the Iowa Republican Party straw poll to urge President Bush to call a special session of Congress to end sanctuary-city policies. Such municipal policies prevent local authorities from asking someone’s immigration status or reporting illegal aliens to federal authorities. In New York, Mr. Giuliani went to court to defend the city’s policy.

Kevin Madden, a spokesman for Mr. Romney, said that action made illegal immigration a bigger problem.

“Sanctuary-city policies that were authorized and advocated by the mayor were the type of policies that essentially created a magnet of illegal immigration in this country, which strained our ability to control our borders,” Mr. Madden said.

Steven Camarota, research director for the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that wants stricter immigration limits, said Mr. Giuliani’s time as mayor was clear.

“In general, Giuliani was one of the mayors who was always traditionally seen as most friendly to immigrants. That’s a fact,” he said. “There’s nothing he seems to have done in his administration to crack down on illegals. In general, he didn’t do that.”

But Mr. Ting said Mr. Giuliani was dealing realistically with conditions as he found them.

“My view-from-a-distance take on it was there were humanitarian concerns in New York City,” he said. “My guess is the mayor wanted to make sure appropriate emergency services were available to people and they didn’t want to feel threatened.

“I think that’s very different than the kind of sanctuary cities that have been set up in states like, oh, Massachusetts, where Governor Romney’s administration made direct financial grants to those cities,” he said.