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Amy Sherman
By Amy Sherman July 19, 2016

Rudy Giuliani wrongly says Hillary Clinton is for open borders

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani defended Donald Trump’s plan to secure the border and said that Hillary Clinton would take the opposite approach.

"You know Donald Trump will secure our borders," Giuliani said at the Republican convention July 18. "His opponent has had her chance to do this, and she has failed. Hillary Clinton is for open borders."

Claiming that Clinton would create "open borders" suggests she would allow undocumented immigrants to travel freely or with very few restrictions between two countries.

That’s not what Clinton has proposed. Clinton supported legislation in 2013 that included a path to citizenship (with conditions) and heightened border security.

However, some experts argue that "open borders" doesn't necessarily mean no enforcement at all, but rather making it far easier for undocumented immigrants to stay here. Clinton does want to make it easier for many undocumented immigrants, but that’s not the same as getting rid of enforcement or allowing people to enter and leave the United States without border control.

We were unable to locate a Giuliani spokesperson Monday night.

Clinton’s proposal

Clinton and Trump have taken vastly different approaches on immigration, although they have both said they favor secure borders.

During this campaign, Clinton has called for addressing immigration laws including a path to citizenship within her first 100 days. But she has also called for protecting borders and deporting criminals or those who pose threats.

"We need to secure our borders. I’m for it, I voted for it, I believe in it, and we also need to deal with the families, the workers who are here, who have made contributions, and their children," she said in November. "We can do more to secure our border, and we should do more to deal with the 11 or 12 million people who are here, get them out of the shadows."

This is pretty consistent with her view as a New York senator and secretary of state.

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In her 2014 book Hard Choices, Clinton praised the 2013 immigration bill co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of senators including Marco Rubio of Florida. That bill included billions for border enforcement over a decade for new surveillance equipment and fencing along the Mexican border, as well as adding 20,000 border agents. That bill passed the Senate but never reached a vote in the House.

Clinton’s immigration platform does not amount to open borders, Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration expert at the libertarian Cato Institute, previously told PolitiFact Florida when we fact-checked a similar claim by Trump that we rated False.

Open borders existed before 1875, when there were no federal restrictions on emigrating to the country, he said. The United States had immigration restrictions from 1875 to 1924 without a border patrol, which was created in 1924.

It’s wrong to conflate "open borders" with anything less than perfect enforcement of immigration laws, he said. It’s also wrong to "claim Clinton is for open borders while she has also supported massive increases in border security to better enforce our restrictive immigration laws."

But Clinton has said she wants to limit deportations to violent criminals, not deport children and end raids and round-ups and go further than President Barack Obama for DREAMers and their parents if legally possible — although that is in legal limbo after the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked. That greatly expands who could avoid deportation in a Clinton White House.

Those policies amount to less enforcement to supporters of reduced immigration, including Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, and Roy Beck, executive director of NumbersUSA.

Beck has told PolitiFact that the term "open borders" is imprecise. However, if undocumented immigrants can "stay as long as you don’t commit a violent crime, that is pretty close to open borders. You don’t have to give amnesty -- you can just not have a threat of deportation, and it allows people to stay."

Our ruling

Giuliani said, "Hillary Clinton is for open borders."

Clinton supported a 2013 bill that would have invested billions in border security in addition to a path to citizenship. As a presidential candidate she has called for securing the border and targeting deportation to criminals and those who pose security threats. While her plan would make it easier for many undocumented immigrants to avoid deportation, that’s not the same as allowing a free-for-all at the border and ending enforcement.

We rate this claim False.

Our Sources

CATO, "We don’t need more border patrol," July 6, 2016

Govtrack, Senate Bill 744, 2013

Hillary Clinton campaign website, Immigration reform, Accessed June 22, 2016

Politico, "Full transcript: Donald Trump NYC speech on stakes of the election," June 22, 2016

MSNBC/Telemundo, Transcript of Clinton-Sanders Town Hall, Feb. 18, 2016

Washington Post/Univision, Transcript of Miami debate annotated, March 9, 2016

Los Angeles Times, "Clinton slams Trump's immigration plans, nudges Sanders to exit race in L.A. stops," May 5, 2016

Latino USA, "Clinton: you have to control your borders,"Nov. 9, 2016

Associated Press, "Clinton pushes immigration overhaul to campaign forefront," May 6, 2016

Washington Post, "Clinton’s stance on immigration is a major break from Obama," March 10, 2016

Washington Post, "What did Hillary really propose on immigration?" May 6, 2016

Breitbart, "Hillary Clinton releases plan to dissolve border within 100 days," May 25, 2016

Huffington Post, "Hillary Clinton Pledges To Take On Immigration Reform In First 100 Days," Feb. 19, 2016, "Trump’s attack on Clinton’s character,"June 22, 2016

BuzzFeed News, "Number Of Undocumented Immigrants In The U.S. Declines To Lowest Level Since 2003, Study Says," Jan. 20, 2016

New York Times editorial board, "Parsing the Senate’s immigration bill," April 18, 2013

PolitiFact Florida, "Donald Trump says Hillary Clinton would create ‘totally open borders,’" June 23, 2016

PolitiFact, "Compare the candidates: Clinton vs. Trump on immigration," July 15, 2016

PolitiFact, "Clinton reaches too far on immigration claim," April 24, 2016

PolitiFact Florida, "Bernie Sanders says that Hillary Clinton opposed driver's licenses for illegal immigrants,"March 9, 2016

PolitiFact, "Rand Paul said that Marco Rubio is for an 'open border,'" Dec. 15, 2015

Interview, Joshua Schwerin, Hillary Clinton campaign spokesman, June 22 and July 18, 2016

Interview, Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, June 22, 2016

Interview, Roy Beck, executive director of NumbersUSA, June 22, 2016

Interview, Alex Nowrasteh, immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute, June 22 and July 18, 2016

Interview, Frank Sharry, founder and executive director of America’s Voice, June 22 and July 18, 2016

Interview, David Leopold, founder and principal of David Wolfe Leopold & Associates and past president and general counsel for American Immigration Lawyers Association, June 23, 2016  

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Rudy Giuliani wrongly says Hillary Clinton is for open borders

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