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Pat Buchanan Defends Controversial Immigration Comments

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 22, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: America is being invaded by millions of illegal immigrants every year, and it threatens the future of the country. That is according to Patrick J. Buchanan. He addresses this issue of immigration in his brand new — and what I'm sure will be considered controversial by the left — it's called "State of Emergency: The Third Word Invasion, The Conquest of America."

Welcome out of bondage. Welcome back, Patrick.

PAT BUCHANAN, AUTHOR: Well, thank you very much. Good to see you, fellows.

HANNITY: Thanks for being with us. I almost feel like with you two saying, "Welcome to 'Crossfire' tonight." It's the old days.

Look, first of all, this book is resonating. It's now the number one book in the country on Amazon.com. I have no doubt it's very likely to be number one on the New York Times list. Why is this issue so hot now and so timely?

BUCHANAN: Bob Beckel and I discussed this back there in 1992, '93, when there were about three or four million illegals in the country. It was a blazing issue in southern California in that primary against President Bush. This is all over the country now.

Hazleton, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, crime is up. Illegal aliens are all over America. Sean, there are now 12 million illegal aliens in this country at the low figure. That is more illegal aliens than all the Irish, and Jewish folks, and English, whoever came in our history. That's why it's resonating.

HANNITY: You say the West is passing away. What do you mean by that?

BUCHANAN: Well, there's not a single Western country where native-born Western peoples are reproducing themselves. Birth rates in Europe, some of them are down to half of what is needed to replace themselves.

Europe's danger is it's being invaded from across the Mediterranean. Islamic peoples are coming. And they not only come from a difficult culture and civilization; they come from one that's been at war with the West and becoming militant. The United States, the native-born American population, is static or less than that, and the immigrant populations are exploding. And we got 36 million immigrants in America right now, Sean, as many as has come all in our history.

HANNITY: You were way ahead of this issue, way ahead of the curve and on this issue. For years you've been talking about the susceptibility, the vulnerability we have on the issue of immigration, more specifically to our borders. You were saying this long before 9/11.

For me, immigration now more than anything else is about the safety and security of America. Let me give you an example. Chief law enforcement officers, several Texas counties along the southern U.S. border, warning that Arabic-speaking individuals are learning Spanish, integrating into the Mexican culture. And smugglers are sneaking them into the U.S. Isn't that our biggest concern about immigration?

BUCHANAN: Security is one of the main concerns. Look, border security is national security. In 2003, there were 50,000 people caught on the Mexican border coming in other than Mexicans. Last year, it was 155,000. It has tripled. The whole world has gotten the message that Mexican folks got about 20 years ago. The whole world is coming, Sean, and a lot of those folks, you can bet intelligence agencies are sending them in, Al Qaeda is sending them in. Al Qaeda folks have talked about coming in through Mexico.

HANNITY: Look, the last time I interviewed our homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, I said, "Mike, are there Hezbollah cells in America?" He said yes. "Are there Al Qaeda cells in America? Yes."

What boggles my mind, Pat, politically speaking, both parties have an unwillingness to address the problem. We've had five years since 9/11. It's our greatest vulnerability. So here's my question to you. You've done all the research. Why won't they fix this obvious vulnerability?

BUCHANAN: I've got a chapter in there that's called, "Why the Paralysis?" Why won't they? Republicans are scared to death that if they do something about border security and build the security fence and the rest of it on the border, Hispanics will neglect them, turn away from them, go to the Democratic Party, and the Republican base is shrinking. And Rove's great white hope, if you will, is the Hispanic community. That's one reason.

The second reason is the corporate community is desperate to have workers coming in who undercut American workers. And, secondly, in that bill in the Senate, there is a blanket pardon for every corporation that has ever hired an illegal alien, a pardon from civil penalties as well as criminal penalty. Why do you think the Chamber of Commerce is fighting for this issue?

BOB BECKEL, GUEST HOST: Pat, first of all, we've been together for 20 years...

BUCHANAN: It's good to see you, old friend, too.

BECKEL: And you, too. Years ago, I remember you talking about this. So I feel like I'm on the set with the father and the son of illegal immigration in one place.

HANNITY: He may be embarrassed to hear that.

(CROSSTALK)

BECKEL: Well, no, he's not embarrassed. I think he's probably proud of you.

But listen, Pat, you say in this the Hispanic culture in the Southwest, it is a culture that will take over the Southwest and essentially make the Southwest of the United States still a part of America but not really a part of America.

Now, let me ask you this. The Irish and the Italians came to New York, and they brought their culture here. Eastern Europeans went to the north-northwest part of the Midwest. The Germans and the Scottish went to the Appalachians and brought their culture with them. What's different?

BUCHANAN: One thing that's different is, in the year 2050, there will be 102 million people of Hispanic descent in the United States, primarily Mexican, wholly concentrated in the American Southwest. That's one thing.

The second thing is Mexicans, unlike Irish or unlike Germany folks, never claimed America as their country, they owned it. Fifty-eight percent of Mexicans believe the Southwest belongs to them.

The third thing is, they were assimilated. There was the powerful assimilation movement in this country that doesn't exist right now. And so the point of the thing is, they are not assimilated into America. Many of these Hispanic kids, as a matter of fact, you know what culture they're assimilating to? Rap culture, the crime culture, anti-cops, all the rest of it.

We also had this, Bob, a 40-year timeout. Almost zero immigration from 1924 to 1965. That was the period where the guys I went to school with in the '50s and '60s and the '40s, they were the sons of immigrants. They'd all been completely assimilated, Americanized. We were marinated in the same culture.

BECKEL: You say in your book that the Mexican government is undertaking a conscious campaign, if I'm quoting you right, to use America as a dumping ground for its poor and unemployed to do two things: one, ease social pressure in their own country, and to reclaim and annex the southwest of America. Do you think this is a policy of the Mexican government?

BUCHANAN: It's a policy of the Mexican government to let its people go to help them move into the United States, because here they get educated, they get medicated, they get all of the social welfare benefits. They're not in Mexico as a revolutionary force.

Secondly, Mexican-Americans deliver $16 billion in remittances back to Mexico from the United States.

Third, Mexico has changed its constitution. Mexican-Americans can now become citizens of Mexico again. The whole idea is to create this giant fifth column in the United States which can leverage the American government in elections and pressure them to do what is in the interest of the nation of Mexico.

BECKEL: OK, but one difference between that part of the United States and the other part that's were settled by European immigrants is that it really was a Hispanic culture to begin with. We won it in war, I grant you that, but it's a lot easier to assimilate that part of the nation, isn't it?

BUCHANAN: But, here's the thing. People don't realize, when we had the war of independence in Texas, there were only 3,000 Mexicans there. There were only 4,000 in California when we got there, mainly soldiers and others. It is a myth that these were all heavy populated by Mexican folks. The Aztlan plotters, they say this is the historic Aztlan where the Aztec people came from. It's not. It was empty land populated by American Indians.

HANNITY: All right, we've got to take a break. Mr. Buchanan, good to see you. Now, one of the things you talk about is the solution, and you actually agree with JFK's solution back in the '60s.

Stay right there. We'll pick it up with Pat Buchanan in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BECKEL: Welcome back to "Hannity & Colmes." I'm Bob Beckel, sitting in for Alan Colmes.

We continue now with the author of "State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America," with my old friend and sparring partner, Pat Buchanan.

Pat, I remember in Iowa, I think one of your presidential races, I was out there with you, following you around, and people were screaming at you about a 70-mile fence across Mexico, if you remember. You were sort of alone. They called you David Duke, if I remember. And now I guess the opening bid is 350 miles, is that right?

BUCHANAN: Well, it was. You know, all that we asked for was a 70-mile fence along seven border crossings, and you were compared to David Duke. Now even the liberal Senate wants 350 miles and...

BECKEL: All right, well, let's talk about the politics of this issue for a second.

BUCHANAN: Sure.

BECKEL: I agree with you, by the way, that this is going to be helpful for the Democrats in the long run. Why is it, I mean, George Bush, if anything, has been a strong partisan Republican all of his life. Why is it that George Bush is taking a position that's running obviously counter to the conservative base of America?

BUCHANAN: I think George Bush is a conviction politician. I disagree with him on trade. As you know, I disagreed with him on Iraq, and I disagree with him on immigration.

But he believes in this. What I don't understand is why he's not enforcing the laws of the United States, quite frankly, because there is an invasion.

But I'll tell you, there's a political reason in the White House, which is the belief that, look, the old Reagan Democrats, the Nixon new majority were basically white folks. They're shrinking as a share of the population, and the one minority we can really get which is exploding in size is the Hispanic minority. And if we do this, the same thing will happen to us they say that happened to the party in California.

BECKEL: OK, I don't usually defend George Bush, so I find myself in a little uncomfortable position here — but you attack him for essentially laying this on the party of Ronald Reagan. But was it not Ronald Reagan in 1986 — and I believe you were working for him at that point...

BUCHANAN: I was.

BECKEL: ... who signed the Simpson-Mazzoli bill that — and used, in Reagan's own word, "amnesty" — I don't think you probably wrote that — that allowed three million mostly Mexican-Americans into the country. Now...

BUCHANAN: That's right.

BECKEL: ... how does that square with your criticism of George Bush?

BUCHANAN: We did something, we thought it was a one-term thing. And I went along with it. And I talked to President Reagan's son just about an hour and a half ago about that. I said, "We thought it would work, and we thought the employer sanctions, with one-time amnesty, that's it, and now we're going to get this done." That was one of the things that leads me to believe those folks don't know what's going to happen. You give an amnesty to 12 million, you'll get 25 million.

HANNITY: Pat, let me ask you about — you have in chapter four, "The Face of America, Year 2050."

BUCHANAN: Right.

HANNITY: And part of what you describe is you're talking about the racial makeup of the country.

BUCHANAN: Right.

HANNITY: And then people say, "There it is. It's about race." What do you say to your critics?

BUCHANAN: Well, what I'm saying is the Hispanic folks coming into the country, as I mentioned to Bob, many of them are not assimilating because they don't want to assimilate. They're proud Mexicans. They come here to work. They love Mexico. They love the music, they love the culture. They don't want their kids to become Americans. They're proud Mexicans. They march under Mexican flags.

What we've got to say to them is, "Folks, we've got nothing against Mexico, but immigrants we want here are people who want to become Americans." Now, your ancestors, some of them are Irish. They came here to be Americans.

HANNITY: They're all Irish, Pat.

BUCHANAN: Well, so are mine. Jumped the fence, as they say. But that basically is it.

And I do believe this: Given the proximity of Mexico, the claim it has on the Southwest, the huge number of Mexicans there, the idea that we took the land from them, I think you're risking the breakup of America.

HANNITY: Pat, I want you to go into more detail here. And you have extensive research in the book, and it's very compelling. By the way, I urge everybody to read it before they make any judgments about it, because your critics will come after you. And I want people to read it for themselves.

But you talk about the Aztlan movement, and you talk about the belief that the Southwest of the United States is really Mexico's and that there's a large contingent that really believes that. That's part of your argument here. Explain it.

BUCHANAN: Right. OK. The Mexican government, of course, and its consuls in the United States have suddenly awakened and they keep using the term, "It looks like Reconquista is happening." And you get the militants, some of them teaching in American schools, and these other movements — La Voz de Aztlan — they talk openly about Los Angeles as the capital of the New Aztlan.

And then you got the Mexican government policy, which is basically the erasure of borders between the United States and Mexico, and we all become part of the North American union and we merge with the European Union.

HANNITY: But that's how politically they've sort of — it's a release valve...

BUCHANAN: It's their...

HANNITY: ... and Vicente Fox has used this to keep the political pressure from change.

BUCHANAN: They provide cartoons. They provide maps for illegals. He calls the illegals heroes.

HANNITY: Water, yes, all that.

BUCHANAN: He calls them heroes.

HANNITY: I had a big fight with him, and he wouldn't admit there's an illegal immigration problem.

BUCHANAN: You know, listen, these guys, these two Mexican presidents, Zedillo — they come into the United States and they talk to Mexican-Americans. They say, "You're Mexicans north of the border."

There is a battle on for the allegiance of Hispanics and Mexicans in the United States, between us and Mexico. They're saying blood's what counts, and we say, "You're Americans, you're American citizens." This is the battle that's going on.

BECKEL: OK, Pat, we've got to battle for a break here for a second. We'll continue with Pat after the break.

BUCHANAN: All right.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: As we continue on "Hannity & Colmes," we continue now with the author of "State of Emergency," Patrick J. Buchanan back with us.

This is what we have, a situation now. Everyone says, "What are we going to do with the 12 million illegal immigrants here?" We have a situation now in Chicago. A woman is here illegally, seeks refuge in a church. The government says we're not going to go in. What should they do?

BUCHANAN: I don't think the government should go in and create a crisis on this issue and let it resolve itself. But I'll tell you what you you're your policy that will work, Sean, is attrition.

What you do is you build a security border. Then you start punishing these businessmen. You do a Prop 187, as they did in California, no welfare benefits to them. You interpret the Fourteenth Amendment correctly. If you're born in the United States, you got to be born to an American citizen here, and that makes you a citizen, not...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: If you're illegal and you have a child, it shouldn't...

BUCHANAN: Exactly. That's not an automatic American citizen. We'll take care of you. That's a medical emergency, but you're going back. You get rid of the magnets, secure the border, the problem will resolve itself in time.

HANNITY: All right. Let me ask you about this. One of the things you pointed out in your book, you talked about your solution to the immigration problem.

I say the number one problem we have with susceptibility to terrorism. You say let's go back to JFK, a Democrat. He talked about putting limits on the number of immigrants, one of the numbers now and one of the numbers you proposed that were similar to his.

BUCHANAN: I reviewed that book when I was at the Globe-Democrat. I said, "I know that book." And I got it out of my library. I reviewed that, and I did favorably.

And you know what Kennedy recommended? We want about 150,000 immigrants a year. And the most — he said our liberal senator, Lehman, wants 250,000. You offer that to restrictionists today, they say, "We'll take it. We'll take it."

And that was Kennedy. And what Kennedy wanted to do simply was to open it up. He said people who don't use the quotas from Germany, and Ireland, and England, we should give them to Italy, and Eastern Europe, and other folks who are here. That's JFK's idea of immigration reform.

(CROSSTALK)

BECKEL: Pat, we're friends, and we spent 20 years disagreeing, so let me disagree with you on something here for a second. I've done a lot of politics in Texas, San Antonio, Texas, third-generation Mexican-Americans. You could not find a more American-assimilated group. The largest percentage of any ethnic group in this country of Medal of Honor winners are Mexican-Americans. Now, is it really...

BUCHANAN: It used to be Scotch-Irish.

BECKEL: Well, it did, but it was taken over by Mexican-Americans. So in fairness to the Mexican-Americans who have been here now for two or three generations, I don't know of stronger Americans than them. I mean, are you just assuming that everybody is going to be that way? I mean...

BUCHANAN: When you say a Mexican-American, you're saying an American citizen. You've got every right I do. There's no objection whatsoever to these folks. You're exactly right. They've served in the military. They work hard. They're good people. They're fellow Americans. We want to Americanize them, and they are already a part of America.

Our problem is with folks who just are coming here simply to work, some of them don't like America. They boo American teams in stadiums. They march under Mexican flags. Those aren't Americans.

BECKEL: OK, but I'll tell you who are Americans that really bother me. Last year, exactly four employers in this country were prosecuted for hiring illegal immigrants. These are Americans. They run chicken-processing plants, you know the whole drill. Don't you think part of this ought to be that we ought to throw some of these dogs in jail, as well as get rid of illegal immigrants?

BUCHANAN: Make them do the perp walk. You're exactly right.

BECKEL: You said Frank Perdue, I'm for that.

BUCHANAN: Frank died.

BECKEL: Oh, he did? That's right. We can't perp walk Frank, OK.

BUCHANAN: But let me say that you're exactly right. I went out to IBP in Iowa, you know, Iowa Beef Packers. They've dropped wages 40 percent, and all the Mexicans come up and do the job. No Iowans do it, and the guy running the place, his salary went from $400,000 to $4 mil.

The exploitation of these folks is unbelievable. You're exactly right. And, frankly, I got to criticize President Bush on this. Clinton was much tougher on employers than Bush was, far more arrests, far more people going in and checking places out.

BECKEL: OK, but if you take a look at this — how do you respond to the argument that a lot of these jobs Americans won't do?

BUCHANAN: Well, you go through my book, there's no job illegal aliens are in, from nannies to construction workers, roadwork, or washing cars, where Americans aren't a majority, overwhelming majority. They are competing with black Americans, with white working-class kids that dropped out of high school, with women who dropped out of school, with Mexican- Americans. They're holding down wages. Wages of working Americans are down 8 percent below what they'd be, according to a Harvard economist, George Borjas, who is an immigrant from Cuba.

HANNITY: Pat, I urge everyone to read the book, "State of Emergency," whether they agree or disagree, always productive.

BUCHANAN: Thank you, my friend.

BECKEL: And I say to those liberals out there, give Pat a break, too, and give it a read. It's interesting.

HANNITY: Thank you, Pat, for being on "Crossfire" today.

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