November 15th, 2007
10:39 PM ET
11 years ago

Richardson: 'Stop demonizing immigrants'

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson favors more border enforcement and comprehensive immigration reform.

(CNN) - New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson came to the defense of immigrants and criticized the proposal to build a fence along the border with Mexico during a CNN debate Thursday night.

"Two years ago, I was the first governor to declare a border emergency because the federal government wasn't doing its job in stopping the flow of drugs and people," Richardson said. "You know what, we should stop demonizing immigrants, we should stop doing that."

Richardson said he would create a path to legalization, punish employers that hire illegal workers, strengthen the presence of the National Guard along the border and improve diplomacy with Mexico. He slammed Congress for failing to pass immigration reform, saying it's less popular than "Dick Cheney and HMOs."

- CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich

Filed under: Bill Richardson
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Bob Sacramento, CA

    Richardson only has one thing going for him. Big words and catch phrases. NO DEMOCRAT IS DEMONIZING IMMIGRANTS... Actually debate the issues. Do you think it's demonizing to arrest illegal immigrants, etc. Just say it. You don't have a plan and you wouldn't dare offer one. You hide behind your 30 seconds. The others could rip you to shreds if they could actually cross exam like a real debate....

    November 15, 2007 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  2. Milton Smith, Lantana, FL

    Bill Richardson is a disgrace!! His support of illegals is quite telling. This guy would do better running for office in Mexico!!

    November 15, 2007 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  3. steve, Carlsbad California

    I loved how Joe Biden presented himself on stage. He was very frank and direct to the point on his responses.
    I think he and hilary looked the best up there.

    November 15, 2007 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  4. Flossy, New York, NY

    uh, there's a difference between a legal immigrant and an ILLEGAL ALIEN, bill.

    November 15, 2007 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  5. Mike, Keno, OR

    Richardson, you fool, we're not demonizing immigrants, only ILLEGAL immigrants. Don't alienate the progressive base that wants control over our borders and an end to illegal immigration.

    November 15, 2007 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  6. Greg, Rochester, MN

    Gov Richardson is the only candidate with real hands on experience dealing with this issue.

    November 15, 2007 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  7. Roger Aurora Illinois

    Bob, This wasn't a message for the democratic candidates. This was addressing a stigma we as Americans have. The fence is more than just legislation. It's largely symbolic, and in a way that isn't particularly friendly. Does Richardson find it demonizing to arrest them? I'd say no considering he'd put more National Guard troops at the border. People arrest, a fence doesn't, so I don't think you're being fair to him by inferring that.

    November 15, 2007 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  8. Sam, Sioux city, IA

    Oh please. Bill Richardson is right on about immigration. He did a great job during this debate and is the most qualified for the job. Go Bill!

    November 15, 2007 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  9. janet , hammond indiana

    If it were up to Richardson we would be supporting all of Mexico. He needs to go home or be deported. He is anti-american and he is the one who demoralizing Americans.

    November 15, 2007 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  10. Mike Dallas, TX

    This is by far the most disorganized and undisciplined debate. This is also the first debate I heard audience members boo candidates and became a distraction. Could it be another PLANTGATE?

    November 15, 2007 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |

    Lou Dobbs is the anti-Christ!

    November 15, 2007 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  12. Daniel Maldonado

    We are NOT "ILLEGALS!"

    November 15, 2007 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  13. HB

    Bill did offer a strategy and a solution that you don't like.Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth and stop hiding your inner dislikes towards undocumented. We have a situation and we need to fix it,we can not go back in time otherwise we would have prevented it.Get real and wise.

    November 15, 2007 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  14. Roger Aurora Illinois

    Does anyone else feel there is a ecological aspect to this fence? I think too many people are wrapped up thinking of ways to keep people out and haven't stopped to wonder what a massive fence might to do grazing herds who's path don't recognize the borders between countries.

    November 15, 2007 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  15. anita preer Boston, MA

    I will not even dignify this circus as a debate. It was unprofessional, biased, and Wolf Blitzer was actually rude to all the candidates EXCEPT Hilary. He interrupted, cut off answers and insulted Barack Obama, by saying, "You have said that Hilary uses triangulation, whatever that means," as if he was some idiot who made up a word when Wolf knows perfectly well what the word means. It was obvious that this debate was different, set up to model the Jerry Springer show, maybe, with an out-of control audience ALLOWED to interrupt Barack Obama and boo Edwards, not once, but many times. Some investigation into how the audience was chosen is necessary, and why their behavior was allowed. Also, post- debate "analysis" by Gergen and Carville !!!! Are you kidding me? Oh, yes, Hilary won. This was the most revolting, insulting thing I have ever seen. The netroots says that CNN really stands for "Clinton News Network." Now I believe it. Blitzer and CNN owe Obama and Edwards an apology, but even so, I will never watch it again.

    November 15, 2007 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  16. Stephen Lone Wolf, Los Angeles, CA

    Breaking into the country under the cover of darkness is NOT IMMIGRATION!
    Someone, who doesn't know the difference, does NOT belong in the White House!

    And we do NOT need a path to legalization! We HAVE one! It is called LEGAL IMMIGRATION!

    Enough of the political double talk and obfuscation!
    This nation is not going to stand for it!

    November 15, 2007 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  17. S. Kaufman Queens NY


    Immigrants have always been welcome in this country...give me your tired, your poor and all that jazz...

    But keep out those bums breaking into our country illegally.

    That's no different than breaking into our houses or places of businesses or our cash registers...GET IT????

    November 15, 2007 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  18. Dave, Newark, DE

    Bill Richardson is an idiot. "We should stop demonizing immigrants" – There's a difference between immigrants and ILLEGAL immigrants. He should know better.

    November 15, 2007 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    He is one of the most qualified and with significant experience. Go Bill Richardson!

    November 15, 2007 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  20. Milo Sanchez, Sacramento CA

    Shame on you Mr. Richardson, try living in my neighborhood, where illegal immigrants push drugs, drive without a license, or insurance, and break just about every city/county law. They too have an equal amount of hate for americans, it's just their money they want..oh yeah, I'm Mexican-American, raised by migrants, and I love my country, it very clear you don't. Why don't you run for president in Mexico?

    November 15, 2007 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  21. Angela, Raleigh, NC

    I will tell you what is anti-American that as soon as someone express his opinions on immigration,that do not match yours, he automatically deserves deportation. This man has been a public servant for very many years, and deserves more respect.

    November 15, 2007 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  22. Brad, from the great state of Texas

    Richardson seems like the type of person to do a lot of talking and discussing instead of DOING something. Like most Democrats, he feels sorry for these people in an effort to court the rising number of Hispanic voters. And of course, he opposes "the wall" because it is a symbol of separateness (which conflicts with Dems' "one world" vision), even though a barrier is a real solution (it's worked for places like San Diego). And what good would his plan do? Sure, put the National Guard there to stand around, because it would be "cruel" to let them use force. Punish employers who hire them? How would anybody find this out if local authorities can't turn them in? Improve diplomacy with Mexico? Come on–Mexico only wants to export its economic woes, and authorities there are making bank from all the bribes they get from drug lords. Maybe Ricardson should stick to international "peace" missions (never mind, those haven't worked out too well in our favor).

    November 15, 2007 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  23. Adam, Sacramento CA

    Hmm no plan.

    Additional border security
    Enforce the law on Employers hiring illegals.
    Already used his national guard to help secure his border.
    Gave His police what they wanted drivers licenses to those here illegally.

    Why are they here illiegally why that's due to the lets study it and say immigration reform clinton's biden's and dodd's who have had decades to address the issue push for enforcement on employers or turn a blind eye. ENd the jobs and the people stop coming it's supply and demand. If there are jobs no wall will stop them end the jobs and force a legal hiring immigration process.

    They turned a blind eye what do you really think they'll do as president. Change.

    RIchardson, hasn't turned a blind eye he's acted within his authority as a governor and he tells us what he'll do as president.

    Kudo's for courage and ideas

    November 15, 2007 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  24. Susan Irwin,Pa

    Tonight I watched members of going to be my former party do an old fashioned jig. Shame on all of you. I would have stayed and voted for Edwards.Untill! The question about illegal aliens invading our country. This comprehensive immigration they are all talking about is legalizing illegal aliens (Domestic invasion on our soil)Did they all not agree that they were to take an oath to defend the Constitution and defend our country domestic and foreign?Seems like Coporate America is in Edwards, Obama Clinton Richardson Biden and so forth.What horrible people we have to choose from . They could care less about Middle America. They are part of the establishment of elites. Hope none of you win. You are ignoring We the People again and right in our face.Did you hear about global trade. All we want is all our jobs back at living wage, benfits and some good food with vitamins not this crap we are getting from their Chinese, Mexican cohorts and who knows what we are eating. For God's childrensake, America was doing good till all these light bulbs came on in these people's ,the canidate, heads.geez I just kiss up to this country and sell out this one. What a disgrace and a crime.Ship the illegals home. Let their countrys iron out their problems. We have give to much money for years that it should be like shrines in each and everyone of these countrys.We have given Pakistan 10 Billion dollars. Do you know how much good food it would buy our countrymen and nourish them? You are all very unstable. You can't think. If you think we didn't hear you and understand your double talk you are wrong.I can not believe the blantant stupidity you all displayed with all your college education and experience. Ilegal Aliens mean illegal. How many lawyers were on that stage? The war all of it Shame on you over and over.You democrats are an embarassment!The republicans have only one that shines.

    November 15, 2007 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  25. Liberal Chic

    Man, we have to realize that illegal immigrants are a vital part of our economy. Without them, we would be paying a lot more for dining out, groceries, homes/constructions and those of us who afford them, domestic work.

    Illegal immigrants are here doing the work they do because American citizens don't want those jobs. Don't think employers actually prefer to hire illegal aliens if they've got legit Americans knocking on their doors for the same pay.

    Plus, illegal immigrants pay sales taxes, rents and buy a lot of goods that support both the local and national economy. We would definitely feel the negative impact of kicking them all out.

    We need to figure out some kind of a guest worker program so that they can help us as much as we can help them.

    We are demonizing them (because we feel insecure about our personal economic well being). And we should stop and figure out how to better compete with everyone else out there in the global economy.

    November 15, 2007 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
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