Giuliani Makes The Mistake Of Being Technically Right
I cannot explain this Giuliani exchange other than he's been paid a bribe to throw the 2008 race.
GLENN: [I]sn't illegal immigration a crime in and of itself?
GLENN: Aren't you saying --
GIULIANI: Glenn --
GLENN: You're protecting criminals by saying that being treated as a criminal is unfair.
GIULIANI: Glenn, it's not a crime. I know that's very hard for people to understand, but it's not a federal crime.
GLENN: It's a misdemeanor but if you've been nailed, it is a crime. If you've been nailed, ship back and come back, it is a crime.
GIULIANI: Glenn, being an illegal immigrant, the 400,000 were not prosecuted for crimes by the federal government, nor could they be.... In fact, when you throw an immigrant out of the country, it's not a criminal proceeding. It's a civil proceeding.
GLENN: Should it be?
GIULIANI: Should it be? No, it shouldn’t be because the government wouldn’t be able to prosecute it. We couldn’t prosecute 12 million people. We have only 2 million people in jail right now for all the crimes that are committed in the country, 2.5 million. If you were to make it a crime, you would have to take the resources of the criminal justice system and increase it by about 6. In other words, you’d have to take all the 800,000 police, and who knows how many police we would have to have.
That is 100% correct, technically speaking. We have an Administration and a GOP majority that cut the COPS program, the manpower simply doesn't exist to prosecute 12 million immigrants.
But the problem is that his actual views on the subject of immigration, only hinted at here, are wildly out of step with the Republican base. He did create something of a "sanctuary city" in New York, and he did work the court system pretty heavily to make sure it stayed that way. Not to mention the fact that the statement "it's not a crime" is so easily taken out of context that his opponents will have a field day with it.
The early reaction on the right is not good. This is one of those statements that will linger. The immigration issue mortally wounded McCain and there's no reason to believe it won't hurt Giuliani severely either. With a Republican Party increasingly marginalizing themselves with regard to people of color, it's clear that there are some lines in the sand being drawn by the base, and that real estate on the other side is getting smaller and smaller.