O'Reilly didn't mention Giuliani's 1994 invite to illegal immigrants who "work hard"

››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN

On The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly noted a viewer's complaint that during his August 14 interview with Rudy Giuliani, O'Reilly failed to confront Giuliani "about what he said 10 years ago on illegal immigration. He protected illegals." O'Reilly did not bring up a 1994 speech in which then-Mayor Giuliani reportedly vowed to "protect" illegal immigrants and stated: "If you come here and you work hard and you happen to be in an undocumented status, you're one of the people who we want in this city."

On the August 15 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly noted a viewer's complaint that during his August 14 interview with Republican presidential candidate and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, O'Reilly failed to confront Giuliani "about what he said 10 years ago on illegal immigration. He protected illegals." O'Reilly called this "a legitimate question," and added, "I did, however, ask him about the New York City situation." O'Reilly then played a previously unaired portion of the August 14 interview. But, in the clip, O'Reilly merely stated, "Here in New York City, you've got a million illegal aliens, many of whom came when you were mayor," and went on to note that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney "is saying, 'Hey, you were "sanctuary city" guy. Now you're a tough guy. What about back then?' " In response, Giuliani claimed that he was forced to offer services to illegal immigrants because the "immigration service was deporting no more than 1,500 or 2,000 a year." However, O'Reilly did not bring up a 1994 speech in which then-Mayor Giuliani reportedly vowed to "protect" illegal immigrants and stated: "If you come here and you work hard and you happen to be in an undocumented status, you're one of the people who we want in this city."

As an August 8 ABCNews.com article reported, "New York became a sanctuary city, where illegal immigrants enjoy some measure of protection, through an executive order signed by Mayor Ed Koch in 1989, five years before Giuliani became mayor in January 1994." According to the article, though "Giuliani inherited the policy, he reissued it and seemed to embrace it." Indeed, a June 10, 1994, New York Times article reported that, in a speech the week before, Giuliani had given a "spirited defense of illegal immigrants, virtually urging them to settle in New York City." From the Times:

While political leaders across the country talk loudly about illegal immigrants as a costly burden, the two most prominent politicians in New York [Giuliani and then-Gov. Mario M. Cuomo] go so far as to describe them as a boon.

[...]

Last week, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuiliani gave an even more spirited defense of illegal immigrants, virtually urging them to settle in New York City. Standing before television cameras, he criticized the growing hostility toward illegal immigrants across the country as simplistic and unsophisticated.

"Some of the hardest-working and most productive people in this city are undocumented aliens," Mr. Giuliani said. "If you come here and you work hard and you happen to be in an undocumented status, you're one of the people who we want in this city. You're somebody that we want to protect, and we want you to get out from under what is often a life of being like a fugitive, which is really unfair."

ABCNews.com also reported that "[a]t a speech in Minneapolis in 1996, Giuliani defended Koch's executive order, that, in his words 'protects undocumented immigrants in New York City from being reported to the INS while they are using city services that are critical for their health and safety, and for the health and safety of the entire city.' "

Yet, in asking Giuliani about GOP criticism that he has been inconsistent on the issue of illegal immigration, O'Reilly did not note that as mayor, Giuliani reportedly offered to "protect" illegal immigrants who "work hard."

O'Reilly has attacked other mayors for their illegal-immigration policies. For instance, on the April 6 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, while discussing a March 30 automobile crash that killed two teenage girls -- reportedly at the hands of an illegal immigrant -- O'Reilly blamed Virginia Beach Mayor Meyera Oberndorf in part for the accident, saying that what O'Reilly described as Virginia Beach's "sanctuary city policy" prevented police from detaining and deporting the driver, despite three previous alcohol-related convictions. O'Reilly added that Oberndorf "should be baking pies, not running a major city." On the April 11 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, O'Reilly again attacked Oberndorf, claiming that "she has no clue at all" and stating: "[T]he honest reporting is that Mayor Oberndorf has no clue, none, shouldn't be there and neither should the police chief. And that's the truth. And if you don't get them out of there, you're gonna have more dead girls in the street."

From the August 15 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day." I got a few letters criticizing my interview with Rudy Giuliani last night.

[Viewer], who lives in Beaverdam, Virginia, wrote, "You blew the interview with Rudy, Bill. You should have confronted him about what he said 10 years ago on illegal immigration. He protected illegals."

Well, it's a legitimate question, but last night's conversation was focused on what the mayor would do as president about illegal immigration. I did, however, ask him about the New York City situation.

Roll the tape.

[begin video clip]

O'REILLY: Here in New York City, you've got a million illegal aliens, many of whom came when you were mayor. And Romney is saying, "Hey, you were 'sanctuary city' guy. Now you're a tough guy. What about back then?

GIULIANI: What I had to deal with was a situation in which we had 400,000 illegals at the time in New York. The immigration service was deporting no more than 1,500 or 2,000 a year. I couldn't deport them. So I had to do something with it.

And what I did with it is, I put the kids in school, because if they weren't in school, I was going to have terrible problems. We allowed them to report crimes that were committed against them so we could catch criminals. And we allowed them to get services in the hospitals, which, anyway, we're actually required to do by federal law. So these were sensible programs.

[end video clip]

O'REILLY: All right. And there is his explanation of that. And you can decide if the mayor's answer was ridiculous.

Posted In
Immigration
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Bill O'Reilly
Show/Publication
The O'Reilly Factor
Stories/Interests
Rudy Giuliani, 2008 Elections
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