For far too long, too many have spoken out on the problem of illegal immigration but done too little. The laws we need to combat illegal immigration are on the books in this country, and they are pretty clear. However, these laws only work if they are enforced across all levels of government – federal, state and local. If we are to end illegal immigration, we must establish the rule of law and enforce the current laws.
That is why the practice of creating sanctuary policies in places like New York City is so troubling. "Sanctuary cities" tell those who are here illegally that the laws of this country do not matter. Sanctuary policies create virtual amnesty zones for illegal immigrants. While amnesty was just defeated in the Congress, places like New York City offer a promise of amnesty to those who ignore our immigration laws. It is disturbing that some cities have intentionally decided that certain laws do not need to be enforced.
Furthermore, sanctuary city policies encourage illegal immigration and weaken our nation's ability to secure our borders. There is very little doubt that sanctuary city policies are one contributing factor to why we have gone from 3 million illegal immigrants in this country in 1986 to more than 12 million illegal immigrants today.
The policies that were implemented and embraced by mayors in places like New York City severely undermined the enforcement of our immigration laws and weakened our ability to secure our nation's borders. The public officials who openly advocated the creation of "zones of protection" for lawbreakers are responsible for contributing to a flood of illegal immigrants in this country today. These policies have created an even bigger illegal immigration problem.
Governor Romney believes we need to end sanctuary policies. As President, Governor Romney will crack down on these sanctuary policies and will withhold federal funds that go to these cities. He strongly believes that cities that do not and will not enforce federal immigration laws should not be receiving federal funds. Governor Romney will step up the enforcement of our immigration laws. On this, we have his word and a clear record of action.
On this issue, records are important. They provide a critical insight into what a candidate will do once elected to public office. On enforcing our immigration laws, Governor Romney is tested and proven. In 2006, he signed an agreement with the federal government to deputize Massachusetts State Troopers so they could help enforce immigration laws. Governor Romney rightly recognized that the illegal immigration problem required new solutions, especially if localities would not enforce immigration laws. Instead of watching our nation's laws being violated, Governor Romney acted.
However, that is not the end to Governor Romney's record of enforcing our immigration laws. He authorized Massachusetts National Guardsmen to deploy to the Southern Border. In 2004, Governor Romney vetoed a plan that would have provided illegal immigrants the same in-state tuition at public colleges and universities as Massachusetts citizens. In 2003, he announced his opposition to efforts to give drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants, again upholding the rule of law. "Those who are here illegally should not receive tacit support from our government that gives an indication of legitimacy," he said at the time. He also insisted upon teaching our kids in English. Governor Romney's record is a proven record of action.
As President, Governor Romney will enforce our immigration laws, reform the immigration system and withhold federal funding to "sanctuary cities" that do not enforce federal immigration laws. Based on his record, there is no doubt that Governor Romney will enforce our immigration laws. We have a clear record of action that demonstrates to all Americans that he has led on this issue and will continue to enforce our immigration laws while in office.