October 23rd, 2007
05:00 PM ET
15 years ago

Thompson outlines immigration plan

Watch Thompson discuss his immigration plan Tuesday.

(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson, who in recent days has taken on his opponents over immigration, called for federal funds Tuesday to be cut off for cities that don’t crack down on illegal immigration.

Thompson, surrounded by police officers at a roundtable in Naples, Florida, outlined his first proposals on immigration reform. Thompson’s plan would address increased enforcement by adding at least 25,000 border patrol officers, doubling the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and finishing a wall on the US/Mexico border.

The former Tennessee senator also called for action against so-called “sanctuary cities”. He said discretionary federal funding should be eliminated for states and cities that don’t report illegal immigrants and said, “We need to tell them, if you’re going to have sanctuary cities in violation of the law, you’re not getting federal money."

Thompson has directly criticized former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani for his handling of immigration while in office, and accused former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney of not speaking out against sanctuary cities until recently. But rival campaigns returned the favor, attacking Thompson on the issue.

The Giuliani campaign in a statement accused Thompson of not being “consistent or conservative” on immigration over the years, citing Senate votes against employer sanctions and a national employment verification system.

On the campaign trail in Boston, Giuliani said, “I’m the one who can bring about immigration reform. Some of the others have never done anything like the dimension of bringing about immigration reform....they’re kind of new to this endeavor."

Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said, “Fred is showing late, as usual, on the sanctuary cities issue, and is probably unfamiliar with all the details as well. Governor Romney has been the strongest candidate when it comes to demanding that our existing immigration laws are enforced.”

- CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk

Filed under: Fred Thompson • Immigration
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. David, Dallas Tx

    So if New York, for example, didn't crack down on illegal immigrants, it would lose the money it gets from Homeland Security, leaving the city more vulnerable not only to terrorist attacks but opening the door for terrorists to enter the country and thereafter relocate elsewhere.

    Well, I will concede that Thompson’s plan is a plan of action, which is more than many candidates are willing to offer. It's just a pity the plan’s so ill-conceived. But that's what you get from hardcore political conservatives—-decisions based on ideology, insufficient planning, and insufficient attention to detail or consequences.

    Just look at Iraq.

    October 23, 2007 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  2. Theresa Belle Harbor NY

    thompson needs to realize
    we are all immigrants
    may we never forget our roots
    how about we treat each with civility

    October 23, 2007 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  3. Jo R, Buena Park, CA

    As a Mexican I wish my country was a place where people from different nationalities would want to be but some Americans don't apreciate this reality.

    October 23, 2007 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  4. Milo Janus Denmark, NJ

    Thompson is sick of illegal immigrants because they wake him up at 11am when they mow his lawn.

    October 23, 2007 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  5. Justin, Washington DC

    The fact that there are zero comments attests to how unenthusiastic people feel about Thompson. I can't help but think that his support is going to drop even more dramatically as elections near.

    October 23, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  6. Karen,nj

    Federal funds should be cut off from "sanctuary cities". Many people do want that. Now if the Democrats can do that we would start to be moving in the right direction.

    October 23, 2007 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  7. Phyllis

    I don't particularly like Thompson, but I like his position on immigration.

    I wish there was a Democrat who would be so bold.

    October 23, 2007 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  8. Pippen, Arlington VA

    This article seems to relate to a candidate's stance on an issue... hardly appropriate for the CNN Political Ticker.

    October 23, 2007 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  9. Tony Antin, Centerville, MA

    When are the Republicans going to learn that, as long as there are jobs for them here, people desperate for jobs are going, somehow, to get where the jobs are. Walls don't work without machine guns, and even with them a wall did not work totally in Berlin. It's the same with drugs. We will never keep them out as long as Americans buy them.

    October 23, 2007 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  10. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Oh no, Fred, please don't penalize liberal vast-majority Democratic bastions like Arlington County, Virginia for their "inclusive" feel-good policies which explicitly support the hordes of illegals who support the economy. Who will mow the lawns of all the federal officials and lawyers who live out here?

    October 23, 2007 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  11. Mike, Atlanta, GA

    Good. I'm glad at least one candidate "gets" it. All the Dems and several of the Republican candidates for Prez are in favor of amnesty. The issue of illegal immigration is THE most important issue to me. The other issues matter very little if we continue to flush our country down the toilet.

    October 24, 2007 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  12. Dave, Hilo, HI

    And we care what Fred says because...?

    October 24, 2007 04:55 am at 4:55 am |
  13. Dan (Columbia, MD)

    Fred is right on this issue.

    Immigration is a great thing and we are a nation built by immigrants.

    The issue here is ILLEGAL immigration. It's a slap in the face to all immigrants that obeyed the law and did it right.

    If a city or state is going to break the law then they can suffer the consequences. Withholding federal funds is a start. The federal government also needs to follow up with prosecuting those that are breaking the law and putting this nations security and future at risk!

    BTW, in case any illegal immigration supporters here want to accuse me of racism save your breath. I'm an AMERICAN whose mother came to the United States LEGALLY and took the time to learn the language and assimilate into AMERICAN culture.

    October 24, 2007 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  14. John, Michigan

    I am all for cutting off federal funds to "sanctuary cities" but which candidate will tell me why our existing immigration laws are not being enforced?
    The president and Congress better quit dreaming and get to work protecting our borders and our citizens.

    October 24, 2007 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  15. jay, Snellville, GA

    To bad he supports NAFTA, can't really take anyone like that seriously on the immigration debate.

    October 24, 2007 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  16. RL Dallas TX

    I'll vote for whomever agrees to pack all the illegals up and ship them back to Mexico. I'll even let them borrow my SUV.

    October 24, 2007 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  17. Otis

    Let's see, if wood floats and ducks float, if a witch floats, she must be made of wood, or be a duck. Got'a love the knee-jerk nationalistic, xenophobic (look it up), cowboys wait'n for Fred to put on the presidential spurs. Yee-haw!
    "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." S Lewis.

    October 24, 2007 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  18. t

    "This issue has real implications for our country. It captures all the American people's anger and frustration not only with illegal immigration, but! With the economy," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and an architect of the Democratic congressional victories of 2006. "It's self-evident. This is a big problem." The DREAM Act bill that is one hour from a senate vote is totally an outrage from the American people. Our Capitol Hill Team is hearing from fence-sitting Senators that the argument that is moving those most toward voting YES on the DREAM Act amnesty is that it would give an amnesty to "only 60,000 kids a year is a joke."

    DREAM Act Offers Amnesty to 2.1 Million
    New Estimate Shows Another 1.4 Million Family Members Could Also Stay

    WASHINGTON (October 23, 2007) The Senate is currently considering the DREAM Act (S.2205). Some have argued that only 60,000 illegal immigrants would be granted amnesty annually under the Act, but a new analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies of 2007 Census Bureau data shows millions of potential beneficiaries.
    • An estimated 800,000 illegal immigrants under age 17 have been here long enough to qualify for legalization under the DREAM Act. There are a total of 1.7 million illegal aliens estimated to be under age 18.
    • There are an estimated 900,000 parents of illegal aliens under age 18 who qualify. It is unclear whether the government would deport these parents.
    • The DREAM Act is also unclear as to what will happen to the siblings of legalized illegals who are themselves illegal, but do not meet the Act s requirements. There are an estimated 500,000 such children.
    • The DREAM Act also allows illegal aliens ages 18 to 29 to legalize if they claim to have ! arrived prior to age 16. We estimate 1.3 million meet this requirement. There are a total of 4.4 million illegal aliens in this age group.
    • Thus the total number of potential amnesty beneficiaries is 2.1 million (assuming no fraud). This does not include 1.4 million siblings and parents of qualifying illegals who may end up receiving a de facto amnesty.
    • Prior legalization programs have been plagued by fraud. One-fourth (700,000) of those legalized in the 1986 amnesty are estimated to have done so fraudulently.
    • Given the difficulty in determining whether an applicant meets the DREAM Act s amnesty requirements, coupled with the overworked nature of the immigration bureaucracy, fraud could be a significant problem.


    Baucus (D-MT); Biden (D-DE); Durbin (D-IL); Harkin (D-IA); Johnson (D-SD); Kerry (D-MA;) Landrieu (D-LA)
    Lautenberg (D-NJ); Levin (D-MI); Reed (D-RI); Pryor (D-AR); Rockefeller (D-WV).

    October 24, 2007 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. Linda - Albany, NY

    This is one issue I agree with Thompson on. However, more needs to be done, like sending illegals already here back home where they belong.

    October 24, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. Nita, Killeen, TX

    I think that's a great idea. Instead of forcing businesses to support illegal immigrants who flock to certain sites and stores for work, they need to deflect all that attention back to the local municipalities and make adhere to the law to the law of the land.

    October 24, 2007 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. Doremus Jessup, Vermont

    WAY TO GO Fred. In the spirit of your brilliant plan, please be sure to REVOKE the tax exempt status of all religious organizations that practice politics – it's a violation of separation of church and state. Oh, also remove all military personel from service that may be gay or express disagreement with Dick Cheney. And please, please be sure to send every politician to prison for criminal behavior and execute anyone, including high ranking officials guilty of treason, ya know, like uncovering CIA spies, etc.

    October 25, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |