This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", Dec. 4, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Anti-immigration forces are picking up steam as we go "Beyond the Beltway."
House conservatives are blocking the intel reform bill because it lacks a tough immigration provision, and they’re signaling their opposition to one of President Bush’s pet projects, a guest worker program with Mexico. This would allow some 8 to 10 million illegal aliens (search) in the United States who apply for temporary work permits.
Both Colin Powell and Karl Rove (search) say it’s high priority in the second term. But anti-immigration forces vow a big-time fight.
Now, look. Bush’s proposal is far from an ideal proposal. What we really ought to do is, we ought, for illegal aliens who have been here a long time, who pay taxes, who have a clean record, who learn English, and are willing to pay a fine, ought to be allowed to gradually become American citizens. And they’re here anyway.
FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: What do you say to the people back in those countries who are waiting in line for to be legally admitted to the U.N.? What do you say to them?
KONDRACKE: Look, I’m sorry, but the fact is that these illegals are here. And if they, and if they’re here cleanly, they ought be allowed.
BARNES: Who came here illegally?
KONDRACKE: Well, OK, but they came illegally, but they’re here now and they have children, and their children are denied educations and college and stuff like that.
BARNES: No, they aren’t.
KONDRACKE: That’s not — Yes, they are. And some of them are deported. It’s a mess.
KONDRACKE: It’s a mess.
KONDRACKE: And there ought to be, and it ought to be humanely handled. And unfortunately, Bush is going to, I mean, Bush, his position’s a lot better than those of the nativists in his own party who basically want to keep everybody out, and when they’re here, hound them to death, practically.
BARNES: But they do represent, I think, majority opinion in the U.S.
KONDRACKE: Well, they do represent majority opinion, but I hope that Bush will be changing it. But it’s not just humanitarianism that’s behind this, you know. And Bush realizes that the Hispanics are the future of American politics and he wants it to go Republican.
BARNES: No question about that. I think the problem with Bush’s plan is that it won’t work. The idea is, you’ll give them these green cards for three years, and then they can be renewed for another three years, and then they will return to their home countries.
KONDRACKE: I don’t think so.
BARNES: Of course not. They’re not going to go back. And, we’re not going to throw them out, since we don’t throw out people here very often who are here illegally.
KONDRACKE: So we ought to legalize them.
BARNES: Look, I’m for immigration, but not for open borders, which is practically what you’re proposing,
KONDRACKE: I’m not for open borders.
BARNES: Or for the Bush plan which won’t work. Well, that’s what it sounds like Mort.
BARNES: But, if all the people who take your position, not you, but all the others who take your position are mainly Democrats take that position, if the Hispanic vote (search) starts to tilt Republican, and it’s getting pretty close, they’ll have a completely different opinion on this. They won’t want so many immigrants to come in. You know that’s true.
KONDRACKE: You’re, you’re a cynic. You’re a cynic.
BARNES: All right, all right, anyway.
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