Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Pat McCrory and illegal immigration

Perdue and McCrory in Greensboro  from YES! Weekly:

McCrory is an interesting kind of centrist candidate. His rhetoric on immigration appeals to a certain conservative and nativist sentiment that runs strong in this state, but his advocacy of mass transit makes him more progressive than many prominent Democrats in the state. And with Charlotte’s new light-rail system, he has a record to match.

“I think the more choices you have, the better,” McCrory told the audience at Embassy Suites. “You put bike paths and pedestrian paths where you think they might be needed, not just today, but for the future.”

In discussing gangs, he made a connection between illegal immigration and criminality, and demonstrated a cognizance of recent events in the Triad.

“We have a serious gang problem right here in Greensboro,” he said. “You also have international gangs. In Charlotte we had a shootout with an El Salvadoran gang, all illegal immigrants. Let me repeat, all illegal immigrants. And thank God, they missed and our police didn’t.”

Later I asked McCrory if he agreed with the five leading candidates — Democrats Perdue and Moore; and Republicans Fred Smith, Bill Graham and Bob Orr — that undocumented immigrants should not be allowed to attend North Carolina community colleges.

He clearly is: “I am opposed to it. They’re illegal.”

I took the question a step further and asked if he also would be in favor of denying undocumented immigrants access to emergency rooms, and the mayor drew a distinction.

“I believe in helping people for their health and safety,” he said. “I would not deny anybody help for their health and safety.”

My response to the article:

"McCrory is an interesting kind of centrist candidate. His rhetoric on immigration appeals to a certain conservative and nativist sentiment that runs strong in this state[...]"

I think your wording here attempts to denigrate McCrory's stance on immigration. While it is true that some conservatives' immigration views stem mostly from blind xenophobia, the same can not be said for McCrory.

As mayor of a large southern city for the past 12 years, McCrory knows firsthand how dangerous illegal immigrants can be. We here in the Greensboro and Winston-Salem areas would do well to remember that we are having an increasing problem with gangs whose membership consists soley of illegals. Violent crimes against honest, hard-working Americans are disgusting enough when committed by their follow citizens. When these same crimes are committed by people who shouldn't even be here, the blame shifts partly to a government who has no desire to enforce their own laws.

I am aware that most illegal immigrants are NOT gang members and are only interested in making a better life for their families. I have no problem with people from other countries wanting to move to America for better opportunities; that is why we have a LEGAL path to citizenship. By crossing the border and living here illegally, these people have already shown that they are capable of breaking our laws, and for some of them, more violent crimes are an easy progression.

One of McCrory's biggest concerns is North Carolina's crime rate, and I dare say he's had more first-hand experience with that than any of the other GOP candidates. McCrory's immigration stance is firmly connected to his fight against crime, not simple conservative "rhetoric".

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