Just a few quotes, mostly on questions to do with immigration and sovereignty:
Ernie Nardi: This is Ernie Nardi from Dyker Heights in Brooklyn, New York, with a question for the ex-Mayor Giuliani.
Under your administration, as well as others, New York City was operated as a sanctuary city, aiding and abetting illegal aliens.
I would like to know, if you become president of the United States, will you continue to aid and abet the flight of illegal aliens into this country?
Cooper: Mayor Giuliani?
Giuliani: Ernie, that was a very good question. And the reality is that New York City was not a sanctuary city. (OFF-MIKE) single illegal immigrant that New York City could find that either committed a crime or was suspected of a crime. That was in the executive order originally done by Ed Koch, continued by David Dinkins and then done by me.
The reason for the confusion is, there were three areas in which New York City made an exception. New York City allowed the children of illegal immigrants to go to school. If we didn't allow the children of illegal immigrants to go to school, we would have had 70,000 children on the streets at a time in which New York City was going through a massive crime wave, averaging 2,000 murders a year, 10,000 felonies a week.
The other two exceptions related to care -- emergency care in the hospital and being able to report crimes. If we didn't allow illegals to report crimes, a lot of criminals would have gone free because they're the ones who had the information.
But, most important point is, we reported thousands and thousands and thousands of names of illegal immigrants who committed crimes to the immigration service. They did not deport them. And what we did, the policies that we had, were necessary because the federal policies weren't working.
The federal policies weren't working, stopping people coming into the United States. If I were president of the United States, I could do something about that by deploying a fence, by deploying a virtual fence, by having a BorderStat system like my COMSTAT system that brought down crime in New York, and just stopping people from coming in, and then having a tamper-proof ID card.
Governor Romney, was New York a sanctuary city?
Romney: Absolutely. It called itself a sanctuary city. And as a matter of fact, when the welfare reform act that President Clinton brought forward said that they were going to end the sanctuary policy of New York City, the mayor actually brought a suit to maintain its sanctuary city status.
And the idea that they reported any illegal alien that committed a crime -- how about the fact that the people who are here illegally have violated the law? They didn't report everybody they found that was here illegally.
And this happens to be a difference between Mayor Giuliani and myself and probably others on this stage as well, which is we're going to have to recognize in this country that we welcome people here legally.
But the mayor said -- and I quote almost verbatim -- which is if you happen to be in this country in an undocumented status -- and that means you're here illegally -- then we welcome you here. We want you here. We'll protect you here.
That's the wrong attitude. Instead, we should say if you're here illegally, you should not be here. We're not going to give you benefits, other than those required by the law, like health care and education, and that's the course we're going to have to pursue.
Cooper: Mayor Giuliani?
Giuliani: It's unfortunate, but Mitt generally criticizes people in a situation in which he's had far the -- worst record.
For example, in his case, there were six sanctuary cities. He did nothing about them.
There was even a sanctuary mansion. At his own home, illegal immigrants were being employed, not being turned into anybody or by anyone. And then when he deputized the police, he did it two weeks before he was going to leave office, and they never even seemed to catch the illegal immigrants that were working at his mansion. So I would say he had sanctuary mansion, not just sanctuary city.
Cooper: All right. I have to allow Governor Romney to respond...
Romney: Mayor, you know better than that.
Giuliani: No ...
Romney: OK, then listen. All right? Then listen. First of all ...
Giuliani: You did have illegal immigrants working at your mansion, didn't you?
Romney: No, I did not, so let's just talk about that. Are you suggesting, Mr. Mayor -- because I think it is really kind of offensive actually to suggest, to say look, you know what, if you are a homeowner and you hire a company to come provide a service at your home -- paint the home, put on the roof. If you hear someone that is working out there, not that you have employed, but that the company has.
If you hear someone with a funny accent, you, as a homeowner, are supposed to go out there and say, "I want to see your papers."
Is that what you're suggesting?
Giuliani: What I'm suggesting is, if you ...
Giuliani: If you're going to take this holier than thou attitude, that your whole approach to immigration...
Romney: I'm sorry, immigration is not holier than thou, Mayor. It's the law.
Giuliani: If you're going to take this holier than thou attitude that you are perfect on immigration...
Romney: I'm not perfect.
Giuliani: ... it just happens you have a special immigration problem that nobody else up here has. You were employing illegal immigrants. That is a pretty serious thing. They were under your nose.
Romney: I ask the mayor again. Are you suggesting, Mayor, that if you have a company that you hired who provide a service, that you now are responsible for going out and checking the employees of that company, particularly those that might look different or don't have an accent like yours, and ask for their papers -- I don't think that's American, number one.
Number two ...
Cooper: We got to move on.
Romney: Let me tell you what I did as governor. I said no to driver's licenses for illegals.
I said, number two, we're going to make sure that those that come here don't get a tuition break in our schools, which I disagree with other folks on that one.
Number three, I applied to have our state police enforce the immigration laws in May, seven months before I was out of office.
It took the federal government a long time to get the approvals and we enforced the law. And Massachusetts is not a sanctuary state, and the policies of the mayor of pursuing a sanctuary nation or pursuing a sanctuary city...
Cooper: We've got a number ...
Romney: ... are, frankly, wrong.
Cooper: We've got a number of questions from our viewers on this topic, so we have a lot more to talk about on this. You will have another chance to respond.
Giuliani: And it's really hard -- it's really hard to have employer sanctions...
Cooper: All right. Let's play this next video from the same topic.
(Begin video clip)
Michael Weitz: Good evening. There are thousands of people in Canada and Mexico waiting to come to America legally. They want to become American citizens. They want to be part of the American dream. Yet, there are those in the Senate that want to grant amnesty for those that come here illegally.
Will you pledge tonight, if elected president, to veto any immigration bill that involves amnesty for those that have come here illegally?
Cooper: Senator Thompson?
Thompson: Yes, I pledge that. A nation that cannot and will not defend its own borders will not forever remain a sovereign nation. And it's unfair...
We have -- we have thousands of people standing in line at embassies around the world to become United States American citizens, to come here to get a green card, to come here and to assimilate and be a part of our culture. They are part of what has made our country great. Some of our better citizens. We all know them and love them.
Now, it's our country together -- their's and ours, now together. It's our home. And we now get to decide who comes into our home.
And to place somebody above them or in front of them in line is the wrong thing to do.
We've got to strengthen the border. We've got to enforce the border. We've got to punish employers -- employers who will not obey the law. And we've got to eliminate sanctuary cities and say to sanctuary cities, if you continue this, we're going to cut off federal funding for you, you're not going to do it with federal money.
Now, there are parts of what both of these gentlemen have just said that I would like to associate myself with.
First of all, of course, Governor Romney supported the Bush immigration plan until a short time ago. Now he's taken another position, surprisingly.
As far as Mayor Giuliani is concerned, I am a little surprised the mayor says, you know, everybody's responsible for everybody that they hire, but we'll have to address that a little bit further later. I think we've all had people probably that we have hired that in retrospect probably is a bad decision.
He did have a sanctuary city. In 1996, I helped pass a bill outlawing sanctuary cities. The mayor went to court to overturn it. So, if it wasn't a sanctuary city, I'd call that a frivolous lawsuit.
One question to Tom Tancredo was from a man who said he 'needed' guest workers for his business, and he wanted to know what Tancredo would do to help him.
...Well, I'll tell you, I'm not going to aid any more immigration into this country, because in fact, immigration...
... massive immigration into the country, massive immigration, both legal and illegal, does a couple of things.
One of it is, makes it difficult for us to assimilate. The other thing is that it does take jobs.
I reject the idea -- I reject the idea, categorically, that there are jobs that, quote, "No American will take." I reject it.
Now, what they will do...
... what you can say -- what you absolutely can say to these people is that there are no -- there are some jobs Americans won't take for what I can get any illegal immigrant to do that job for. Yes, that's true.
But am I going to feel sorry if a business has to increase its wages in order for somebody in this country to make a good living? No, I don't feel sorry about that and I won't apologize for it for a moment. And there are plenty of Americans who will do those jobs.
Cooper: We've got another question from a YouTube watcher. Let's watch, please.
YouTube question: Good evening, candidates. This is (inaudible) from Arlington, Texas, and this question is for Ron Paul.
I've met a lot of your supporters online, but I've noticed that a good number of them seem to buy into this conspiracy theory regarding the Council of Foreign Relations, and some plan to make a North American union by merging the United States with Canada and Mexico.
These supporters of yours seem to think that you also believe in this theory. So my question to you is: Do you really believe in all this, or are people just putting words in your mouth?
Cooper: Congressman Paul, 90 seconds.
Paul: Well, it all depends on what you mean by "all of this." the CFR exists, the Trilateral Commission exists. And it's a, quote, "conspiracy of ideas." This is an ideological battle. Some people believe in globalism. Others of us believe in national sovereignty.
And there is a move on toward a North American union, just like early on there was a move on for a European Union, and it eventually ended up.
And there is a move on toward a North American Union, just like early on there was a move on for a European Union, and eventually ended up. So we had NAFTA and moving toward a NAFTA highway. These are real things. It's not somebody made these up. It's not a conspiracy. They don't talk about it, and they might not admit about it, but there's been money spent on it. There was legislation passed in the Texas legislature unanimously to put a halt on it. They're planning on millions of acres taken by eminent domain for an international highway from Mexico to Canada, which is going to make the immigration problem that much worse.
So it's not so much a secretive conspiracy, it's a contest between ideologies, whether we believe in our institutions here, our national sovereignty, our Constitution, or are we going to further move into the direction of international government, more U.N.
You know, this country goes to war under U.N. resolutions. I don't like big government in Washington, so I don't like this trend toward international government. We have a WTO that wants to control our drug industry, our nutritional products. So, I'm against all that.
But it's not so much as a sinister conspiracy. It's just knowledge is out there. If we look for it, you'll realize that our national sovereignty is under threat.
Cooper: Congressman Paul, thank you.
Reading through the transcript it does appear that Romney and Huckabee had a sharp exchange over the immigration issue, specifically over tuition breaks for illegals. When reminded of his favoring children of illegals in that respect, Huckabee resorted to claiming the moral high ground by saying we are a 'better country' than to punish children for their parents' acts. And then Huckabee went into his Abraham Lincoln-esque story about coming up from poverty.
In all, the debate doesn't seem to have revealed anything I didn't already know, and it confirmed my already-existing perceptions of the candidates. I think this series of debates (which are not real debates, anyway) have done little but produce a certain campaign fatigue in many of us; I'm hearing people say they are sick of the election and the candidates.