Justice Dept. Memo Reveals Lax Rules for Illegal Immigrants

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," March 23, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: It is the "Big Outrage." In baseball, it's three strikes and you're out. But in the immigration game, the rules are way, way looser.

It now appears the immigration rules are actually six strikes before you're out. That's right, illegal immigrants crossing over into the U.S. had to be arrested at least six times before getting prosecuted and tossed out of the country. That's according to a new Justice Department memo revealing prosecution guidelines in Texas for immigration offenses.

With such lax prosecution rules for immigrants, is it any wonder there are so many illegals in this country? With me now is the National Border Patrol Council president, T.J. Bonner.

T.J., I just don't quite get it. Your guys are scooping these people up five times before they get to toss them?

T.J. BONNER, NATL BORDER PATROL COUNCIL PRESIDENT: That's down in Texas, John. In California, the number is much higher. Even more alarming is the number of times you have to catch the smugglers and the number of people they have to be transporting or the amount of drugs.

In California, for example, southern California, unless they have 12 individuals in a smuggling load, we don't prosecute. All across the border, unless they have 500 pounds of marijuana, we don't prosecute. That is not personal use by any stretch.

GIBSON: T.J., why is this happening? I thought there was a — you know, does this, in fact, explain why so many illegals are still in the country? We're not tossing them. I thought that they ended this sort of catch and release deal.

BONNER: No, they only ended it a day for people from countries other than Mexico. If you're from Mexico, we will catch you time and time again. Personally, I've caught the same group of people four times in one shift, and we do nothing to them except send them back and give them another try.

GIBSON: Why is this situation still going on with all the attention being paid to illegal immigration, all the attention in Congress and the Oval Office, and this kind of thing is still happening?

BONNER: The business interests that want cheap labor are simply too powerful. The politicians cave in every time.

GIBSON: Do you see an end to it?

BONNER: Not in the foreseeable future. I see a lot of lip service, but I don't see any meaningful steps being taken to solve the problem. And it scares me to see that they're talking about yet another amnesty for 12 to 20 million people. We learned nothing from the 1986 amnesty wherein we gave legal status to three million people. We are here 21 years later, and the problem has magnified.

GIBSON: National Border Patrol Council President T.J. Bonner, thanks a lot.

Content and Programming Copyright 2007 FOX News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2007 Voxant, Inc. (www.voxant.com), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon FOX News Network, LLC'S and Voxant, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.