Rudy Giuliani, Immigration Liberal

We’ve been keeping a close eye on all the recent talk about Rudy Giuliani’s attempts to bring some level of conservative nuance to his essentially liberal social positions on abortion, gay rights and gun control as he pursues the Republican nomination.

But what about immigration?

Giuliani strongly supported a guest worker program supported by President Bush and said during a newly interesting appearance on Meet the Press the following: “There isn’t a mayor or a public official in this country that’s more strongly pro-immigrant than I am, including disagreeing with President Clinton when he signed an anti-immigration legislation about two or three years ago, which we got some amendments of to protect the rights of immigrants.”

Those positions put Giuliani in stark opposition to even some of his more moderate Republican supporters.

As an informed reader reminded me, Tom Kean Jr., who ran for U.S. Senate in New Jersey last year and is now an honorary chairman of the Giuliani campaign in that state, was loudly opposed to the guest worker program.

And Barron Thomas, the former Bush “Pioneer” fund-raiser and a promoter of what he calls Giuliani’s practical, non-ideological approach, recently told me that he opposes John McCain (his home-state Senator) because McCain is too soft on illegal immigration.

Maybe there are lots of Republicans like Kean and Thomas who will be willing to support Giuliani despite their clear differences on immigration. But it will be interesting to see how he deals with the issue when it’s raised by people who are somewhat less inclined to compromise.

–Jason Horowitz