This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," September 26, 2006, that was edited for clarity.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Meanwhile, crunch time on Capitol Hill, as the House takes another shot at securing America's borders. Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto, and this is "Your World."
House Speaker Dennis Hastert trying to push through legislation to deport illegal and criminal immigrants. A handful of House border bills are now in the hands of the Senate, but, with only three days left, only one — one — is likely to even come up for a vote at all.
Reaction now from Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo of Colorado.
Congressman, this does not look good for your cause.
REP. TOM TANCREDO, R-COLO.: Well, it looks better now.
Neil, there's two ways to look at this. The glass is half-empty or half-full. I mean, actually, we are happy that we are going to get anything done. The House has passed a series of bills, as you say.
I think the Senate is going to blink on at least one, because we have been in this little eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation here for a while. But I think...
TANCREDO: Is probably going to be the fence. I think we’re going to — in fact, I understand...
CAVUTO: The 700-mile fence, not shortening it?
TANCREDO: That’s correct. And — and more important — Neil, the important thing is, this time, I don’t think there’s going to be anything in there about negotiating the fence with Mexico, as to whether or not we can build it.
So, I think we will have — you know, we will double the size out of the Senate bill, more than doubled, and we will get rid of their stupid provision about negotiating with Mexico.
At least that — Frist has filed for cloture on it. It’s going to come up next week. We’ll see what happens. But I think they’re going to blink on that one.
CAVUTO: All right. You were talking about Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.
You probably know the sentiments of some of your colleagues in the Senate far better than I do, Congressman, but the read I’m getting is even that measure is far from a sure thing in the Senate. So, I don’t want to stress the half-empty glass, but let me pose that half-empty-glass question to you.
If — if Congress were to recess without action on any of these measures that you hold dear, what then?
Really, you know, I’m not — I’m not actually used to praising my leadership here, but — but they have done some good stuff. They have put this through. I — I want the American public to know that the House has done their job.
Point — if you want to point fingers at anybody for not coming through on this, it is the United States Senate. And, so, I hope they take their licks on it.
CAVUTO: All right. Well...
TANCREDO: And I don’t care if they’re Republicans.
CAVUTO: OK, because that’s just the point. They are Republicans. So — so, then...
TANCREDO: Yes. C'est la vie.
Well, you know what? We’re going to have to show — you know, it’s interesting. Last week, I saw the generic numbers, the generic ballot for the House Republicans and for the Senate Republicans. Ours went up. Theirs went down.
What’s the only issue that’s separating us today? It’s this issue of immigration. What should that tell my fellow colleagues in the Senate? What should that tell them about where — what America expects from them?
Maybe that’s why we’re at least going to get the Senate bill. They should do a lot more, but I hope they held — they’re held accountable one way or the other.
CAVUTO: All right. But if — if you don’t get a vote, or even passing any one of these measures, Congressman, you really don’t get any change in illegal immigration.
So, would Americans, regardless of what the House has done or what the Senate, you claim, isn’t doing, take that out on your party?
TANCREDO: It is certainly possible. I understand that there’s the old, you know, "let’s throw the bums out" theory.
TANCREDO: It’s pretty prevalent out there.
It’s just that the problem is, if they’re mad at us because we haven’t done enough on immigration, do they really believe the Democrats are going to do more? That’s not going to happen.
I mean, if the Democrats take over, I guarantee you the next thing you’re going to see is a amnesty — an amnesty immigrant and — and a guest-worker bill, and there will be no enforcement measures whatsoever, or at least nothing to speak of.
So, you know, every — don’t — let’s not cut off our nose to spite our face here. I’m — I’m as angry or as frustrated as anybody else out there, but I got to keep plugging away on it. And we’re going to get closer to getting the job done with Republicans than we are with Democrats leading the parade.
CAVUTO: There are a lot of moderate Republicans, as you know, Congressman, who don’t want to touch this whole illegal immigration wall issue with — well, I guess a 700-mile wall. So — so...
TANCREDO: Fewer and fewer, Neil. Fewer and fewer.
CAVUTO: Fewer and fewer, that’s — that’s quite accurate, sir.
But what I’m asking you, then, assuming they don’t get action on this, this is, at best, an issue for the `08 elections. Are you going to make that the issue?
TANCREDO: Here we go.
Yes, I am definitely going to make it an issue. That, I can answer you, absolutely. I will do everything I can to make it an issue, Neil.
CAVUTO: Should the presidential nominee of your party in `08, Congressman, have a stance similar to the House position or what now is a softer, more muted Senate position on illegal immigration?
TANCREDO: I think that anybody running for the presidency of the United States, and certainly for the Republican nomination, better take a good hard look at what the Republican base wants.
And what they want is the House position. What they want is secure border, enforcement of the laws inside, go after employers who are hiring people, make them use the — the Social Security check system. That’s what Americans want. And I think...
CAVUTO: Well, they’re — now, that — John McCain comes to mind, a — a front-running presidential candidate. Do you like his position on immigration?
TANCREDO: No, I do not, absolutely not.
CAVUTO: Because he’s a lot softer...
CAVUTO: So — so, let me...
TANCREDO: It’s — it’s way too soft.
CAVUTO: All right. So, he’s your party nominee in `08, or looking like he could be, is that your way of saying, "I’m running, if that’s the case?"
TANCREDO: Brother, you are something else.
TANCREDO: You — you really do like to press it.
I will run if there are no other top-dog candidates that are going to take on the issue. And I have told you that before. And I — and I mean that.
CAVUTO: OK. So, John McCain — John McCain is the nominee, Congressman.
CAVUTO: Could you accept him as your nominee?
TANCREDO: Boy, I don’t want to cross that bridge now.
CAVUTO: OK. Tom Tancredo, very good seeing you.
CAVUTO: All right.
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