New York Governor George Pataki says fellow Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate have failed to advance immigration reform bills that adequately deal with border security.
Pataki, who arrived in Iowa today (Thursday), says it’s a national security issue. “There’s no question in my mind that one of the most important things our country can do to protect ourselves and protect our freedom is to make sure that we know that everybody coming into the United States is coming here legally,” Pataki says.
Pataki presides over what he calls a “state of immigrants” and New York City which is home Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, but Pataki says the immigrants who passed through Ellis Island came here legally. “People sometimes don’t remember that four of the terrorists who attacked us on September 11th came here illegally across the Canadian border,” Pataki says. “While I’m aware that the vast majority of people coming here today are here to work hard and build a better life for their families, we’re still at risk when we don’t know whether they’re coming here to engage in proper work activities or to attack us again.”
Pataki says after 9/11 he dispatched three-hundred state troopers to patrol the Canadian border in his state. The New York governor says there weren’t then and there still aren’t enough federal border patrol agents along that border to do the job, and none of the proposals in Washington call for immediately beefing up the number of border agents. Pataki fears that won’t happen “for years.” Pataki says his state is bearing the cost of keeping those state troopers along the Canadian border.
Pataki, a potential presidential candidate in 2008, headlined an event in Cedar Rapids Thursday to honor veterans. Friday morning, he will have coffee with GOP leaders in the Anamosa area at nine o’clock. He’ll speak at a Memorial Weekend ceremony in Tipton at 11. At one o’clock, he’ll tour the Clinton County Bio Energy facility and he’ll help local Republican candidates raise campaign cash. On Saturday morning he’ll stroll through the Des Moines Farmers Market then give the commencement address at Des Moines University.