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Romney Skewers Giuliani on Immigration

Giuliani's campaign is paying more attention to the issue.
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Opposition research remains a great way for campaigns to make hay against each other.

The Republicans have attacked each repeatedly on the hot-button issue of immigration, with great success. Immigration reform helped kill John McCain's campaign this spring and summer, while Tom Tancredo rode the issue to a fourth-place finish in the Iowa straw poll.

GOP voters in the South and Southwest obsess the most over immigration and the effects it's had on their communities.

A new poll

shows Rudy Giuliani doing very well in those states, so the timing couldn't be better for Mitt Romney to "inform" such voters of Giuliani's history on immigration.

Romney, having dodged McCain's

Guatemalans on his front lawn comment, skewered Rudy Giuliani's immigration record in

this polemic

on a campaign stop in Iowa last week, which featured these particular attacks:

If you look at lists compiled on Web sites of sanctuary cities, New York is at the top of the list when Mayor Giuliani was mayor. ... He instructed city workers not to provide information to the federal government that would allow them to enforce the law. New York City was the poster child for sanctuary cities in the country.

Romney's assessment of New York City's immigration policy proves accurate. In fact, when mayor, Giuliani defended the policy publicly saying:

Some of the hardest-working and most productive people in this city are undocumented aliens. ... 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.

Giuliani maintained a policy started by Ed Koch and continued by present Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Lax immigration enforcement hasn't hurt New York City. Immigrants fill needed jobs in the city's thriving economy and have no negative consequences on public services or crime. In fact, crime in New York dropped significantly under Giuliani and has fallen under Mayor Bloomberg.

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Rudy Giuliani and his campaign realize that GOP voters around the country have no sympathy for this successful policy in a liberal Northeastern city, and so they have scrambled to respond.

Initially, they blew off these attacks by saying Romney likely would flip flop on his comments later that afternoon. But action speaks louder than words, and the campaign yesterday issued two press releases on immigration:

1)

Announcing new immigration policy advisers

.

2)

Laying out Giuliani's 25-year record

of opposing illegal immigration and favoring stronger borders.

I guess Romney's attacks weren't so frivolous after all.

Giuliani will appear at a

town hall meeting today

in Aiken, S.C., to discuss his new "commitment" to end illegal immigration and secure our borders. It seems he now opposes the policy that is successful in New York City.

Romney desperately needs some way to bring Giuliani down in the national polls. Romney can't effectively use abortion (he's got his own problems there), but I think Giuliani's statements in favor of illegal immigration while mayor will work well for an attack.

Look for Romney's camp to press the issue in an attack ad in the near future to build on this opportunity.