ABC News’ Christine Byun Reports: As one of his first proposals as a presidential candidate, former Senator Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., is tackling illegal immigration as a national security issue.
"A nation that cannot secure its borders ultimately will not remain a sovereign nation," Thompson told a group of law enforcement officers in Naples, Fla.
Touting it as a "common sense" approach, the GOP hopeful rolled out his multi-point proposal to secure the country’s borders Tuesday while campaigning through the Sunshine State.
Thompson — who once voted against a national employee verification system — says in light of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and recent improvements in technology, he would like to see a system in place "where employees can very quickly determine whether or not somebody applying for the job is legal."
He also wants to slash discretionary spending to what he calls "magnets of illegality," sanctuary cities where local government and police cannot inquire a person’s citizenship status.
Today, Thompson accused former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, again of being soft on immigration, stating his rival has been "consistent in his support of sanctuary cities." Thompson says he would deny sanctuary cities federal education grants to public universities that offer in-state tuition to illegal students. He says the government must stop acting as "inducers of illegality," stressing the immigration process needs to be more fair.
"So many people have stood in long lines for years to play by the rules and come here and be great Americans — and they have been," Thompson said, adding, "It’s certainly not fair to them, to grant amnesty for a group of people who have not played by the rules."
Thompson also proposes a more careful tracking of expired visas and would try to reduce "the scope of chain migration," by limiting immigration of extended family members. He says he would support a "faster track" to citizenship to those who serve in the armed forces. He also stressed the country must continue to remain a "haven" for the politically oppressed.