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Bill Richardson: How is the European immigration debate different?
Bill Richardson is the Governor of New Mexico and former candidate for the 2008 Democratic nomination. Of Hispanic descent, Richardson was born in Pasadena, California, but spent most of his childhood in Mexico City. Richardson graduated from Tufts University, from which he also received a Masters in International Affairs. In 1982, Richardson was elected to the United States House of Representatives. During his time in the House, Richardson focused on foreign affairs as well as on issues of importance to the Native American community. In 1997, Bill Clinton appointed Richardson United States Ambassador to the United Nations; Richardson left that post in 1998 to become Secretary of Energy. Richardson is known for his "shuttle diplomacy" and has been nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize. Richardson was first elected the Governor of New Mexico in 2003; he was reelected in 2007 in a landslide, earning 69% of the vote. Richardson is the author of two recent books: the campaign autobiography Between Worlds: The Making of an American Life, and Leading by Example: How We Can Inspire an Energy and Security Revolution.
Question: How is the European immigration debate different?
Well it’s basically the same. You know it’s a fear of people to those that maybe are gonna take their jobs; in some cases that look different. But the reality is that immigrants many times are coming to another country certainly not to be terrorists; certainly not to be leaders; but simply to feed their families. It’s an economic issue. And movements in Europe where, for instance, in Southern Europe with Turkey trying to become a part of the European Union; with countries like Morocco, countries like Spain that are trying to become part of Europe. Refugees from those countries or immigrants from those countries have difficulty. And it takes a process for them to be accepted. And so the movements are similar. However, I think most have found that if you bring immigrants out of the shadows; if you set proper standards for citizenship and behavior; and you . . . you treat people like human beings – you don’t demonize them – that your social fabric as a country is strengthened in Europe and in America.
Recorded on: 11/20/07
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