“America needs America’s mayor to lead us as president,” Wilson said while endorsing the former mayor of New York. Wilson, who served terms as U.S. senator and San Diego mayor, becomes Giuliani’s most recognized supporter in the nation’s largest state. But the endorsement represents some tricky political calculus for Giuliani, since the immigration policies Wilson championed as governor in the 1990s are widely blamed for driving Latinos away from the GOP in California. Wilson’s support could help the former New York mayor lure support in February’s GOP primary, in which conservatives predominate. But that could turn against him in the general election in November 2008, when a far larger number of Latinos would be voting. “It may be good to have the endorsement of any former governor of a large and important state like California, but Pete Wilson comes with a lot of baggage,” said Jaime Regalado, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles. “He was largely despised by most Latinos,” Regalado said. Wilson appeared with Giuliani at a hotel in Santa Monica. Wilson is arguably best remembered for his support for Proposition 187, the 1994 California law that blocked illegal immigrants from access to most government services. The law was quickly overturned by the courts and never took effect but Wilson became its public face. It was credited with helping him win re-election but made him a pariah in the Latino community. Giuliani, in his days as New York mayor, was one of its outspoken opponents. He called the proposition “mindless.” In recent weeks, Giuliani has been defending New York’s so-called sanctuary policy, which stopped city workers from reporting suspected illegal immigrants. The policy is intended to make illegal immigrants feel that they can report crimes, send their children to school or seek medical treatment without fear of being reported. It did require police to turn in illegal immigrants suspected of committing crimes. An estimated half-million illegal and undocumented immigrants live in New York, and only a fraction are deported each year. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! POLITICS: Formergovernor’s stance on illegal immigration may end up hurting the candidate. By Michael R. Blood THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Rudy Giuliani picked up the support Thursday of former Gov. Pete Wilson, an endorsement that could be a mixed blessing for the Republican presidential front-runner because of Wilson’s hardline reputation on illegal immigration.