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Romney Hits Urban
Immigration Sanctuaries

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney today continued his assault on his chief rival's immigration credentials, launching a new radio ad that criticizes the leaders of cities which become sanctuaries for immigrants from federal laws.

The new spot, titled "Exceptional," does not name former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani. But it's clear that Giuliani is his target. (You can listen to it here on Channel '08.)

"Immigration laws don't work if they're ignored," an announcer says. "That's the problem with cities like Newark, San Francisco and New York City that adopt sanctuary policies. Sanctuary cities become magnets that encourage illegal immigration and undermine secure borders."

Romney campaign advisers believe they have an effective message for Republican voters, for whom immigration is a critical issue. By highlighting Giuliani's welcoming policies regarding immigrants in the 1990s, they hope to undermine his support among conservatives and raise doubts about his law-and-order bonafides.

The Giuliani camp is pushing back hard, both with a defense of his own record and by accusing Romney of coming late to the game on illegal immigration. Giuliani says his concern in the 1990s was reducing violent crime, and insists that whatever leeway he gave to illegal immigrants was in pursuit of that goal.

He says Romney looked the other way while several Massachusetts cities declared themselves "sanctuary cities" even as other governors -- Pete Wilson in California and Bill Owens in Colorado -- took action against such localities. Romney says there was little he could do as a governor about local officials flouting federal law.

In the new ad, though, the announcer promises that "as President, Mitt Romney will cut back federal funds to cities that provide sanctuary to illegal immigrants."

The issue shows no signs of going away.

--Michael D. Shear

By Post Editor  |  August 21, 2007; 11:33 AM ET
Categories:  About The Trail , B_Blog , Mitt Romney  
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