This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 22, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: We're just days away. On July 29th, Arizona's illegal immigration law is supposed to go into effect. And then on August 1st, National Guard troops arrive at the border. Moments ago, Arizona Senator Jon Kyl went "On the Record."
VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, nice to see you, sir.
SEN. JON KYL, R-ARIZ: Thank you, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, big news in Arizona. The law goes into effect next Thursday, if the injunction is not granted barring the statute going into effect. And the president's sending troops to the border. Are you happy?
KYL: Well, we're not happy because we still have a very bad situation. But progress can be made. And certainly, the assets the president is now committing to this are a step in the right direction.
VAN SUSTEREN: Step in the right direction? So you think that it's going to be an appreciable difference? I mean, is it -- is it -- I assume what your ultimate goal is to seal the border in the Tucson sector. That's what you're looking for, to the extent we -- we can seal a border. Is this -- is this really going to take us a giant step further in that?
KYL: No, but it's a positive step. There are about three or four things that are needed. The National Guard troops provide a great deterrent, so long as people can see them. People on the other side of the border don't want to mess with our troops. And so if we have them deployed in enough numbers and they're visible, that's a good deterrent to crossing.
Another is to have an adequate supply of border patrol itself. I mean, there is no substitute for the law enforcement officials, and the Tucson chief of the Border Patrol told Senator McCain and me about a month ago he needs about 800 more Border Patrol troops. So we need that.
We need additional surveillance equipment. Now, one of the things I noticed the president did, he is transferring surveillance equipment from someplace, don't know where, to the Tucson sector. Well, that's good. But what happens in the place now that he transferred it from? Do they now begin to have people coming through there? I don't know. Those are just some of the issues that we need to address.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did you have any direct communication from the White House? I know you sent letters cosigned with Senator McCain, but how do you learn about these things? Direct communication with staff or the White House or you read about it in the paper.
KYL: This last thing we read about it in the paper.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why is that, because it seems like a very ineffective way to deal with problems?
KYL: I don't know. All of us want to work together to try to solve the problem. I don't know why we read about it in the newspaper.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have any doubt the president wants to solve it?
KYL: I think in his own way he would like to solve it, but his approach is different than some of the rest of us.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is it limited resources or something else?
KYL: I don't think it is limited resources because Congress has made it clear if you need something we'll try to get the money there. And it is not that much.
I mentioned 800 border patrol agents. I'm not sure how many more we need, but maybe a couple thousand will do it. That's not all that much when you are talking about the number of troops. Surveillance equipment I'm not sure how many millions that cost, but in the overall scheme it's not that much.
Then the thing that -- well, it cost some money, but the operation streamline where you catch them crossing the border, you put them in jail for a short period of time as a deterrent. The only thing that costs is renting the jail space from one of the local counties or the state so you have a place to incarcerate these people. And you have to hire a judge. You have to have temporary courtroom space and so on. In the overall scheme of things it is not that expensive.
VAN SUSTEREN: I never know whether or not I'm being an alarmist or being realistic about the problem. The violence in Mexico is, obviously, at our border.
I picked up this morning's "Washington Post" it talks about violence in Mexico growing and talks about a car bomb that's been set off with a very sophisticated cell phone detonation. A doctor was blown up. What they did was they summoned some people to the area, and as soon as they got there they blew it up.
Do you have any sense the violence is growing? What is your thought?
KYL: The violence in Mexico is clearly growing. We do know that. It's something over 20,000 deaths, homicides in the last three years or so. I saw the comparison to American deaths in Afghanistan where you just were and Iraq, twice as many people were killed in Mexico last year.
It is a place of great danger because of the drug cartels. Fortunately, not a lot of that has spilled over into Arizona and Texas and California. And as you and I have talked about, they have tried to dissuade American police officers from doing their job, investigating crimes that have something to do with Mexico.
VAN SUSTEREN: The article talks about graffiti left on a wall in an elementary school, a warning to the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration that more bombs would be set off. There are warnings at least.
KYL: Yes, they've directly threatened the police force in Nogales, Arizona, for example.
VAN SUSTEREN: Assuming this graffiti originates from a drug cartel, it is also naming our DEA and our FBI.
KYL: Exactly. So all of our law enforcement officials, including the border patrol, and even our park service employees, our national service -- national forest folks out patrolling near the border, all of them are vulnerable.
VAN SUSTEREN: What's interesting is the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, he said the violence in Mexico is disturbing, but has not reached the level of terrorism. Does it make a difference whether we call it terrorism or not? Is that realistic or does it show his view that maybe it is not as bad as we think it is?
KYL: I can't imagine he's talking within Mexico. I mean 23,000 murders in three years hasn't risen to the level of terrorism? I don't know what else you would call it.
VAN SUSTEREN: At least his view because it is not trying to take down the government. I think it is a direct challenge to President Calderon, but I think that's where he says it is not trying to directly take down the government.
KYL: Well, they don't have to take down the government if they threaten enough people or bribe enough people to let them do their drug operations as it used to be in Colombia until President Uribe cleaned up the situation in Columbia.
I think with all of the money they have sloshing around their ability to threaten people, I think this is a direct threat to legitimate government in Mexico. I suspect the legitimate leaders are very concerned about this.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is the issue sealing our border or do we need to take more responsibility or help Mexico more than we have already?
KYL: It's both. First of all, I don't like the term "sealing the border." We need to get control of our border. With respect to Mexico, we are helping them, the initiative in which we provide equipment like helicopters, working on the drug issues --
VAN SUSTEREN: But it is getting worse. We may be helping them, but if we are not helping them, it is getting worse.
KYL: No, we are helping them. It is getting worse. Maybe that means we need do more.
But the point is, President Calderon is cooperative with us and President Obama is cooperative with him. We have the same goal in mind in. We are working together. If the question is, do we need to do more? Obviously the answer is yes, we need to do more to help them.
But it would be useful if he would help us more on this border issue because he seems to turn a blind eye toward his people coming across the board near the United States earning money here and sending it back home. That's one of the best ways of supporting their families in Mexico. That is not right if they come in illegal.
We need a system where they can come in temporarily legally, and we don't have people illegally crossing the border.
VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think of the fact that Governor Richardson of New Mexico is going to hold the governors' conference in his state? The border governors in Mexico said they wouldn't go to the one in Arizona. Governor Brewer cancelled and Governor Richardson said, fine, we'll do it in my state?
KYL: That's a lot of politics. What I really resent the administration won't back the state of Arizona and in fact it attacks Arizona.
Does it ever do anything about the sanctuary cities that thumb their nose at federal immigration law? No, that is fine with the Obama administration. But when a state tries to enforce the law, let's sue them, boycott them. That is baloney.
VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you, sir.
KYL: Closing on that technical term.
VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed, thank you, sir.