Gov. Paterson said illegal aliens "obviously shouldn't be here" and told a caller to contact immigration authorities if he knew of any. "The important thing is to report it to INS and let's get moving so that we reduce that number," Paterson said.
Gov. David Paterson today courted some more controversy for himself as he took a relatively hard line on illegal immigrants during illegal a morning radio show.
A caller on "The John Gambling Show" on WOR-radio asked Paterson about the cost burden illegal aliens put on the education system that is shouldered by legal resident tax-payers.
"There's a difference between illegal aliens and illegal permanent residents. Illegal aliens obviously shouldn't be here," he told the caller. "and the only time that we aren't as aggressive in trying to find illegal aliens is when it's a health care issue."
"If you know any illegal aliens that are here that shouldn't be here, then the important thing is to report it to the INS and lets get moving so that we reduce that number," said the governor.
When asked if Paterson's advice was sage, gubernatorial hopeful Rick Lazio, responded emphatically "No!" and went on to say that immigrants should not be scapegoated.
Later Paterson released a statement that backpedaled his radio comments.
"My comments were taken out of context earlier today during a radio interview," said Paterson. "Any suggestion that individuals contact law enforcement to report known undocumented immigrants would not achieve our shared goal to ensure a decent quality of life and the safety of all New York State residents, including undocumented immigrants. Anyone who knows my background, who knows my career in public service, knows that I have always fought for the rights of all people in New York."