Dyker man on YouTube ignites GOP fisticuffs over immigration

for The Brooklyn Paper
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A Dyker Heights man not only incited a debate about illegal immigration at last week’s Republican debate, but he also thrust himself and his neighborhood into an international spotlight.

But that’s Ernie Nardi for you.

The 59-year-old Dyker resident proved that he’s not afraid to take an unpopular position on a controversial issue when his pre-recorded question kicked off last week’s Republican debate on CNN.

Nardi is a technician for the Madison Square Garden Network who has lived in Brooklyn his entire life. He feels that illegal immigration is changing the face of the city and believes that those here illegally are displacing legal citizens and contributing to our decline. He is angry that New York has become a safe-haven, and destination for illegal immigrants.

And get this: He’s a registered Democrat.

The question that began the debate featured Nardi in a YouTube video, his white-haired head covering 70 percent of the screen and a TV with rabbit ears in the background, criticizing former Mayor Giuliani for running a “sanctuary city” for immigrants during his time atop New York’s bureaucracy.

“This is Ernie Nardi from Dyker Heights in Brooklyn, New York,” he started, his accent unmistakable to anyone who has seen even one Scorsese movie. (You’ll find a link to his YouTube video at

“If you become president, will you continue to aid and abet … illegal aliens coming into this country?” he concluded, practically barking out the final words.

The question did put Giuliani on the defensive and allowed a rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, to attack with what political insiders might have called “The Nardi Gambit.” But after a few minutes of back-and-forth — Giuliani accused Romney of hiring illegal aliens at the governor’s mansion, Romney accused Giuliani of ignoring the central crime of undocumented workers, namely, that they’re here illegally — the nation moved on.

But not Nardi.

“Rudy Giuliani just lied to you,” he said in a response that was not, alas, part of the debate, but is still floating in the YouTube ether.

He’s still angry. Nardi says that he chose to speak up because of how Giuliani, as well as his predecessors, dealt with illegal immigration. He claims that there is a “total lack of media coverage and lack of enforcement from Bloomberg, Giuliani, Dinkins, and all the way back to Koch. People are sick and tired and the situation has been festering for many years. Illegals have no rights, they should be deported.

“I asked the question that I did because I was annoyed by reports about illegals in Bensonhurst and Bath Beach cat-calling women and urinating in public. They take over pockets of areas, ruin the neighborhood, and lower the quality of life.”

Nardi’s question has generated controversy all over the country — but mostly in the form of people e-mailing him to call him a bigot.

“You are wholly ignorant of the issues at stake,” wrote one anonymous poster, adding that Nardi is “a dinosaur nationalist that needs to keep his mouth shut and keep his hateful comments to himself.”

But Ernie Nardi doesn’t mind (if he did, he wouldn’t be Ernie Nardi). “I put Dyker Heights on the national radar and I’m glad my message is out,” he said.

Part of his message, by the way, is that he favors legal immigration — for anyone who has “a desire to assimilate” when he or she gets here.

Updated 4:34 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

howard says:
At lest Ernie Nardi had the guts to get up an say what he felt and millions of other Americans feel. Millions of other Americans might not feel that strongly about it, but do not like it and might not be vocal about it as Nardi. Over the last few years millions of Americans have seen an increase of illegal immigrants in their, speaking a foreign and do not feel comfortable with it. Then add "press one for english", at the ATM machine or when you call a company, seeing store advertising in a foreign language, seeing illegal immigrants demanding their rights, see foreign flags on businesses or windows, they are getting worried. Now add extra expenses at school for bilingual, emergency rooms full on illegal immigrants cause they can't get treated at a doctor's office. Now put iceing on the cake that the government has "allowed" this to happen. An American majority is pissed. Now the Republicans are pushing against illegal immigration. The democrats are quietly for it and the reason being, they want to hold on to the black and labor vote. The democrats will get more of the Hispanic votes, but will overcome the amount of black and labor votes they lose
Dec. 6, 2007, 9:53 pm
Dean Smith from Palm Desert, California says:
Name calling means you have no defensible argument.
All illegals coming here since 1983 should be deported, along with any children, if even one is found to be on welfare.
Dec. 7, 2007, 5:32 am
Jeff from Forest Hills Queens says:
Mr. Nardi speaks the truth! If you love your country and speak out against those who come here illegally and are destroying it, you're a bigot. GIVE ME A FREAKIN BREAK! Bigot and racist are words used for those who have no other defense for the indefensible!

Nardie, 75% of Americans stand behind you! The other 25% are bleeding heart liberals who live in LA LA land and drink cool aid!

Dec. 7, 2007, 2:21 pm
Marsha from Florida says:
I agree with Ernie Nardi. People are sick and tired and the situation has been festering for many years.
Thanks to Ernie, these politicians can no longer turn a blind eye to illegal immigration,... or can they? We all must speak up!
Dec. 8, 2007, 7:14 am
Cathy from Dallas, Texas says:
You go Mr. Nardi! Come to Dallas and you will see the horrible effects of the illegal invasion of our country. There are growing pockets of our city that look like Juarez. Our poor citizens have to wait in line (behind illegals) over 9-12 hours to get treated at our public hospital, Parkland. Our public schools are a disgrace because many of the students are kids of illegals who demand to be taught in Spanish. Our pro-illegal Governor has "dummied down" our education system to accomodate bilingual programs at the expense of providing a decent education to American kids. Mr. Nardi, American citizens totally agree with you!
Dec. 8, 2007, 10:13 am
A Patriot says:
Thank You, Thank You Ernie for speaking out against the invasion of our country.Milliions of Americans agree with you 100%.
It's time to take our country back !!
Dec. 8, 2007, 6:42 pm
31scout from Pennsylvania says:
Thanks Ernie for saying what has to be said. This issue must be addressed and these candidates need to be put on the sopt.
Dec. 8, 2007, 7:56 pm
No More! says:
Mr. Nardi, I applaud you for putting the question to these so-called "leaders" of this nation. They are selling out our country and its citizens and they KNOW it. You are one heck of a guy! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mr. Nardi. Millions upon millions of Americans agree with you. We're fed UP with this situation and we want these illegals out of our nation. I don't care if they're on welfare or not! That is byfar not the only problem they bring to our nation. We're tired of their arrogance and their "entitlement" attitude. We're tired of them ruining neigborhoods, we're tired of the crime they bring, their third world ways and attitudes. We're tired of them taking seats in colleges that our children should have, whether we pay for it with our tax dollars or NOT.

They bring NOTHING good to this nation that an immigrant who is LEGAL, or a citizen, can't contribute. We need people here who want to BE Americans...not RULE Americans and steal us blind.

Thanks, Mr. Nardi. You spoke for millions upon millions of AMERICAN CITIZENS!
Dec. 8, 2007, 10:28 pm
Carol from Seattle, WA says:
Thanks to Mr. Nardi, much of the country now understands how ridiculously the majority of candidates react when asked about illegal immigration. They side-step and double-speak, but how many will actually say, yes, we must enforce ALL our immigration laws and we must do whatever it takes to secure our borders. We must stop ID theft and document fraud and we will prosecute and deport all involved.

Those who are now bad-mouthing Ernie have no argument that will hold water for not enforcing our laws. I also agree w/ the comment that anyone here illegally post the 1986 amnesty has no excuse and those who were here before the 1996 pseudo-amnesty also have no excuse and should be given no further opportunities to flout our laws! Deport them...
Dec. 9, 2007, 3:40 am
Mike from Bay Ridge says:
As long as their are so many illegal immigrants in the country we will never be able to make a workable and reliable legal system for immigration. Illegal immigrants are breaking laws and thereby undermining the order of American society. To be against illegal immigration does not mean that a person is anti-immigrant, or racist,e tc. A legal system of immigration, with documentation and order is neccessary, just as all other public matters are governed by enforced laws and protections (for everyone, the government, the citizens of the US, and the immigrants themselves).
Dec. 11, 2007, 10:38 am


July 30, 2009, 3:04 pm
judy from brooklyn says:
What is not being mentioned enough are the dangers that these people bring to women and children. These increasing third world populations do not have the more egalitarian and contemporary view of women ,and Ernie has addressed this,miraculously. Catcalls,rape,child molestation....Look at what is happening in the nordic countries.Epidemic of raping of Danish children Swedish women by unhappy muslim immigrants. Expect a lot of this here because these illegals from their cultures disrespect. Ernie tell it until you can't anymore! You are speaking for all of us.Americans are raging inside.
July 2, 2010, 5:31 am
mike viehl from bensonhurst says:
its gotten so much worse,im with you,repeal the amendment allowing children of these crminla sto be citizens,bring troops home and round em up.
we need to have our riots now and get it over with.these people dont and refuse to speak english and are making us a 3rd world flophouse
teddy roosevelt predicted it 100 yrs ago.either u americna or not.english should be demanded and forced on them
no interpretors,no welfare
April 9, 2011, 8:05 pm
Antoinette from Dyker Hgts says:
I am all for this--Most Americans just stay quite until it is to late...The Invasion of illegal immigrants has gone too far in this country--when are we gone to close our borders?? Unfortunately $$$ talks..people must be getting paid to look the other way. Neighborhoods change, but when one race takes over every where, that just makes me feel out numbered..I like all people but the Asian invasion is getting out of hand.
March 22, 2012, 10:24 am

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