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. Courtney Davidson Phoenix Arizona

    Abortion rights are not a big ticket item anymore (after all the Constitution itself is being dismantled) but the right to choose must be protected through the courts by democratically appointed judges.

    November 15, 2007 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  2. Sandra Saunders, Bishop, CA

    thank you so much for fighting for the
    immigrants. i am sick of hearing every-
    one make everything here their fault.
    blessings on your efforts.

    November 15, 2007 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  3. RD

    was very impressed with Bill Richardson during the debate. Don't agree with his immigration policy totally but has excellent leadership and real ideals on alot of issues. my rating of the debate is
    1. Joe Biden
    2. Bill Richardson
    3. John edwards
    4. Osama Obama
    5. Chris Dodd
    6. Hillary clinton
    7. Dennis whats his name.

    November 15, 2007 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  4. John Halverson Phoenix, Arizona

    Fences make great neighbors. If they are in the country illegal they are illegals period!

    November 15, 2007 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  5. had enough Tucson, Arizona

    Mexico is a beautiful country. There were millions who marched here to change our laws, I never saw how many marched in Mexico to change things down there so that they wouldn't have to cross the border.

    November 15, 2007 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  6. Rich, OKC

    This is mostly true from

    On Wed, 6 Jun 2007 23:35:23 -0500, 'Colonel Harry Riley USA ret' wrote:


    Your vote against an amendment to the Immigration Bill 1348, to make English America 's offical language is astounding. On D-Day no less when we honor those that sacrificed in order to secure the bedrock character and principles of America . I can only surmise your vote reflects a loyalty to illegal aliens.

    I don't much care where you come from, what your religion is, whether you're black, white or some other color, male or female, democrat, republican or independent, but I do care when you're a United States Senator, representing citizens of America and vote against English as the official language of the United States

    Your vote reflects betrayal, political surrender, violates your pledge of allegiance, dishonors historical principle, rejects patriotism, borders on traitorous action and, in my opinion, makes you unfit to serve as a United States Senator... impeachment, recall, or other appropriate action is warrented.

    Worse, 4 of you voting against English as America 's official language are presidential candidates: Senator Biden, Senator Clinton, Senator Dodd, and Senator Obama.
    Those 4 Senators vying to lead America but won't or don't have the courage to cast a vote in favor of English as America's official language when 91% of American citizens want English officially designated as our language.

    This is the second time in the last several months this list of Senators have disgraced themselves as political hacks... unworthy as Senators and certainly unqualifed to serve as President of the United States.

    If America is as angry as I am, you will realize a back-lash so stunning it will literally rock you out of your panties... and preferably, totally out of the United States Senate.

    The entire immigration bill is a farce... your action only confirms this really isn't about America ; it's about self-serving politics... despicable at best.
    The following senators voted against making English the official language of America :

    Akaka (D-HI)
    Bayh (D-IN)
    Biden (D-DE) Wants to be President?
    Bingaman (D-NM)
    Boxer (D-CA)
    Cantwell (D-WA)
    Clinton (D-NY) Wants to be President?
    Dayton (D-MN)
    Dodd (D-CT) Wants to be President?
    Domenici (R-NM) Coward, protecting his Senate seat...
    Durbin (D-IL)
    Feingold (D-WI) Not unusual for him
    Feinstein (D-CA)
    Harkin (D-IA)
    Inouye (D-HI)
    Jeffords (I-VT)
    Kennedy (D-MA)
    Kerry (D-MA) Wanted to be President
    Kohl (D-WI)
    Lautenberg (D-NJ)
    Leahy (D-VT)
    Levin (D-MI)
    Lieberman (D-CT) Disappointment here.....
    Menendez (D-NJ)
    Mikulski (D-MD)
    Murray (D-WA)
    Obama (D-IL) Wants to be President?
    Reed (D-RI)
    Reid (D-NV) Senate Majority Leader
    Salazar (D-CO)
    Sarbanes (D-MD)
    Schumer (D-NY)
    Stabenow (D-M)
    'Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale, and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled or hanged.'
    ~ President Abraham Lincoln Amen '

    November 15, 2007 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |

    I want to hear a candidate say that they are going to punish ALL employers of illegal aliens, reduce legal immigration, secure our borders and ports, end birthright citizenship to the children of illegal aliens and under no circumstances will they grant amnesty to those who have entered our country in violation of our laws.

    November 16, 2007 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  8. Rico, Alb. NM

    Have you been to New Mexico? Looks more like "Old Mexico" to me...thanks Bill.

    November 16, 2007 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  9. Seth, Minneapolis

    The English language does not make America great. America has a proud tradition of immigration, and that list of senators who (among many republicans) voted against that ridiculous amendment only means they have some integrity and decency. It has nothing whatsoever to do with surrender, violation, dishonor, patriotism or anything. I studied the history of the English language in college, and I hold no teary-eyed sentimentalism for our bastardized german/french language. It's a great language, but it isn't superior to Spanish or Russian or Welsh or Hindi. That retired colonel friend of yours needs to simmer down and read a good book–put that language to good use.

    November 16, 2007 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  10. John, Mpls, MN

    Richardson is a snake. He does'nt mention the word illegal. No, nobody is demonizing anyone really, we are FED UP with the growing and unabated tide of ILLEGAL immigrants Mr. Richardson !!!

    November 16, 2007 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  11. CWalker

    We all talk of protecting our borders and illegal immogrants.Why is nothing ever said about companies who move out of the U.S. to Mexico.We are so worried about Mexicans coming here to take our jobs but our jobs are going there.

    November 16, 2007 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  12. Ethan Moya, Albuquerque, NM

    What makes the English language a symbol of patriotism? This is probably the silliest argument I've ever seen. What would it accomplish to name the country's official language? How does this damage anyone's morale except for the most ridiculous people already completely morally emaciated?

    November 16, 2007 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  13. Julie Medford,Oregon

    Richardson just doesn't get it Immigrants and Illegal Alien are not one in the same and I think Richardson and Kunich should know better. Let me get this right we can't control the borders so we give everyone who broke the immigration laws of our country a reward for this behavior with a drivers license. Biden and (finally Clinton) got it right. Just say NO.

    November 16, 2007 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  14. Marcos Robles, Tucson, AZ

    I've just finished watching the debate in Las Vegas, and I just have to say that the performance of the moderator is a dereliction of duty, or the service that the public media is supposed to provide.

    to boil down all of the human complexity of an issue like immigration, to focus all of the attention to the debate to the questioner ("this question is really a question that lends itself to a yes or no answer") is an abdication of your role as an objective arbiter of a deeply relevant and complex issue. Or to try and bait one candidate against another, it's just an insult to our intelligence. it's searching for a headline, for a one-hour special on the some made-up controversy.

    it's just a joke – but this isn't the daily show or the colbert report.

    November 16, 2007 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  15. Zorro, Philadelphia PA

    You want to talk demonizing? Well the media is DEMONIZING Patriotic Americans who object to the outright invasion of their country by a foreign nation. Not only the media, but the President of the nation invading us dares to demonize us for objecting to the flagrant breaking of our immigration laws. In fact, Mexico PROMOTES the invasion of their poor and criminals into the US and we're supposed to just sit back and take it up the you-know-what? I don't THINK so!

    November 16, 2007 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  16. Ruthiness, Blue Bell PA

    Nobody is demonizing IMMIGRANTS Mr Richardson. Immigrants who come here legally are welcomed here to the tune of 2 MILLION a year – more than ALL THE COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD COMBINED IN ONE YEAR. Now if you want to talk about ILLEGAL ALIENS – then nobody has to demonize them – they do that all by themselves by being responsible for a much larger percentage of the CRIME in this country than their percentage of the population. Facts don't lie and facts don't demonize. It's a no-brainer if people start their first day in a country by breaking immigration laws, using a stolen identity to work or perhaps working under the table, they are not going to be the most upstanding model citizens now are they? Why do you think Mexico doesn't WANT THEM???

    November 16, 2007 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  17. Brett, Madison, WI

    Rich, you do no the supposed "quote" of Lincoln you included in your post was never said by him, right?

    Voting not to make English the official language in no way, shape, or form damages morale or undermines the military. To think otherwise is insane.

    November 16, 2007 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  18. Mike, Atlanta, GA

    You don't like the fence, Bill? Do you have a fence around your yard? Do you have walls in your office? If so, why? When you answer that, you'll start to understand why we want you idiots to get that fence built.

    November 16, 2007 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  19. Lee, Mays Landing NJ

    Richardson is actually talking sense with regard to something that may help abate this problem (the root of the problem is the jobs).
    The repugnant party candidates will all mouth the jingoist soundbites for their yahoo constituency, and maybe blow billions more to add to our debt to build a fence that does not work, but in the end they will do NOTHING to stop this.
    But this is the political card the right wing will play. Most of them actually know that nothing will be done and a fence will be a worthless boondoggle.

    November 16, 2007 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  20. Independent in IA

    Looks like Gov. Richardson is planning on keeping President Calderon's feet toasty-warm...

    November 16, 2007 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  21. Demonized in the USA

    Would the legalized illegals then actually be accountable like the rest of us citizens?. We have to answer to breaking laws in this country, something politicians as well as illegals are not accountable for many times.

    How many times do you turn on the TV and the news hour plays footage of the lastest car/drug hit and run/ whatever and the name of the offender is hispanic and the person is illegally here. Don't believe me, try it.

    How many of our own citizens white, black, brown, who cares, don't make a small enough anual salary to qualify for the social programs that are being drained of resources by illegals.

    How much of the maufacturing sector is now taken over by mininum wage temporary work services using illegals. They have taken permanent jobs away from Americans that used to do these jobs that had benefits. The temps don't get benefits these are paid out of our taxes to the programs you generally can't qualify for unless impovershed.

    How many times are we promised by Politicians that one more amnesty and we will straighten this out.

    How many times are we to be promised corporations will start being held accountable to the American citizen.

    Seems to me the American tax paying citizen and legal residents are the ones being demonized for not wanting to take anymore of this crap from politicians like you.

    Give the American citizen their dignity and rights to a chance at a better life in this country back, then we can start talking more about what others need.

    November 16, 2007 04:09 am at 4:09 am |
  22. sevens7777 Frisco, Txs

    It seems that we need to give Richardson a roll of toilet paper, looks like he needs to wipe his rear and mouth, crap coming out of both ends. Daniel Maldonado your little clip on "we are not illegal aliens", to bad we got this country not you. Plus if the citizens of this country would do to Mexico what the illegals are doing here you guys would have a fit. Suck it up big boy, and sit there and look like an idiot and don't open you mouth and prove it.

    November 16, 2007 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  23. Bea Greene Wood Co. Tex

    let him have them all then.. Illegals go to NM. tHE gOV. WOULD BE SINGING ANOTHER TUNE THEN.

    November 16, 2007 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  24. laurinda,ny

    Yes, fences are great. I'ts better than electric jolts to the neck!

    November 16, 2007 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  25. Joe, Indianapolis, Indiana

    Mexico doesn't offer drivers licenses to illegal aliens because they say, "it would hurt national security." Mexico deports all of their illegal aliens. But Mexico wants to tell America what to do with their law-breaking citizens. Mexico is a failed country and Mexicans should be trying to take back their country and make it better. But please, don't tell Americans what legal and illegal is. We know and that is why there is no more Amnesty.

    November 16, 2007 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
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