Rom­ney ad raps ‘sanc­tu­ary cities’; GOP ri­val fires back at crit­i­cism

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Stephen Di­nan

Mitt Rom­ney on Aug. 21 be­gan run­ning a ra­dio ad blast­ing New York and other cities for pro­tect­ing the iden­tity of il­le­gal aliens, step­ping up a feud with fel­low pres­i­den­tial can­di­date and for­mer New York Mayor Ru­dolph W. Gi­u­liani.

“Im­mi­gra­tion laws don’t work if they’re ig­nored. That’s the prob­lem with cities like Ne­wark, San Fran­cisco and New York City that adopt sanc­tu­ary poli­cies,” charges the new ad, be­ing run in Iowa and New Hamp­shire. The ad says that if elected, Mr. Rom­ney will deny some fed­eral funds to cities that main­tain sanc­tu­ary poli­cies.

But Mr. Gi­u­liani’s camp says it’s an odd line of at­tack against Mr. Gi­u­liani, who as mayor tried to get the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to de­port dan­ger­ous il­le­gal aliens.

The fight pig­gy­backs on news that one man charged in the ex­e­cu­tion­style killings of three Ne­wark, N.J., col­lege stu­dents is an il­le­gal alien who had been in­dicted ear­lier this year for two felonies, in­clud­ing rape of a child, but was re­leased with­out fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties be­ing alerted.

Ne­wark is one of a num­ber of “sanc­tu­ary cities” that pre­vent of­fi­cials from ask­ing the im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus of those they come in con­tact with. Those poli­cies are now com­ing un­der scru­tiny.

Two weeks ago, Mr. Gi­u­liani and Mr. Rom­ney sparred through high­pow­ered sur­ro­gates — The top Repub­li­cans on the House Home­land Se­cu­rity and Ju­di­ciary com­mit­tees weighed in on the two men’s records.

Rep. Peter King of New York, the top Repub­li­can on the Home­land Se­cu­rity Com­mit­tee, in a col­umn in The Wash­ing­ton Times, crit­i­cized “the ut­ter hypocrisy” of Mr. Rom­ney’s at­tack, ar­gu­ing the gov­er­nor showed lit­tle in­ter­est in the is­sue un­til the end of his sin­gle term in of­fice and that the il­le­gal-alien pop­u­la­tion “boomed” in Mas­sachusetts dur­ing those four years.

But Rep. La­mar Smith of Texas, the top Repub­li­can on the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, said Mr. Rom­ney did far more — in­clud­ing deny­ing driver’s li­censes to il­le­gal aliens and au­tho­riz­ing the state’s Na­tional Guard to de­ploy to the U.S.-Mex­ico border.

In the wan­ing days of his gov­er­nor­ship, af­ter his Demo­cratic suc­ces­sor had been elected, Mr. Rom­ney also signed an agree­ment with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to have state po­lice troop­ers trained to en­force fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion law. But new Gov. De­val L. Pa­trick re­scinded that pol­icy be­fore it took ef­fect.

Maria Comella, a spokes­woman for Mr. Gi­u­liani, said that means Mr. Rom­ney is “tout­ing a pol­icy that didn’t go any­where,” and pointed to four Mas­sachusetts cities that had sanc­tu­ary poli­cies dur­ing Mr. Rom­ney’s time in of­fice. Mr. Rom­ney did noth- ing to dock their fund­ing — the so­lu­tion he now says he would fol­low as pres­i­dent.

But Kevin Mad­den, a spokesman for Mr. Rom­ney, said the cities are flout­ing fed­eral law, not state law, so it’s not valid to com­pare his time as gov­er­nor to what he would do as pres­i­dent.

“The gov­er­nor of New York didn’t en­act or em­brace ‘sanc­tu­ary city’ poli­cies — the mayor of New York City did,” Mr. Mad­den said.

“The dis­tinc­tion on this is­sue is Gov­er­nor Rom­ney tak­ing ac­tion against th­ese poli­cies, while other can­di­dates im­ple­mented, em­braced and are now de­fend­ing ‘sanc­tu­ary city’ poli­cies,” he said. “Ma­jor, ma­jor dif­fer­ence.”

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