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Al Sharpton Protests 'Racial Profiling' of Arizona Immigration Law

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(L-R) Reverend Al Sharpton, the National Action Network; Ramesh Ponnuru, The National Review (FNC)

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 26, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

TUCKER CARLSON, GUEST HOST: Protests raged over the weekend on the streets of Arizona as thousands reacted to a new law designed to combat illegal immigration.

Good evening. I'm Tucker Carlson in tonight for Sean Hannity.

The controversial measure was signed by Governor Jan Brewer on Friday and will take effect this summer. The law will make it a crime to be in this country illegally. Therefore anyone unable to provide law enforcement with proper documentation could be jailed and possibly deported.

The goal is to crack down on the more than 460,000 illegals now in Arizona. Illegal immigration is largely controlled by an organized criminal cartel in Mexico.

Arizona has long since been ground zero in the border wars and the problems that go with it — drug trafficking, human smugglers pushing north from Mexico through the state.

• Watch Sean's report on Arizona's border problems from last year

You saw some of the things that may have convinced Governor Brewer to sign that bill. But opponents are up in arms saying it will only encourage racial profiling. Protest took place over much of the weekend into today.

But police are also investigating a bizarre case of vandalism in Phoenix where they found refried beans smeared on the windows of the state capital in the shape of swastikas. Go figure.

In addition, there's word tonight that President Obama has instructed his Justice Department to look into the legality of the law, a measure he has called, quote, "misguided," among other things.

Joining me now with reaction to all of this from the National Action Network, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and from The National Review Ramesh Ponnuru.

Welcome to you both.

REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Thank you.

CARLSON: Reverend Sharpton, you have said you will protest this law?

SHARPTON: I'll protest the racial profiling of it. Obviously everybody wants to see drug cartels and illegal immigrants out of the country. I think drugs affect poor people and people of color more than anyone.

But two wrongs don't make a right. To have a law that says police can based on just their own sight, see, and say oh that could be an illegal person, and they're going to determine that because they are looking for Mexicans is to profile someone —

CARLSON: Wait, wait a second.

SHARPTON: — based on race.

CARLSON: If I can say, Reverend Sharpton, all laws are enforced at the discretion of the police officer. He sees — a cop sees a guy with a gun running out of liquor store, he doesn't say oh, you know that's profiling. No —

SHARPTON: No, no. You —

CARLSON: He determines that person is a suspect.

SHARPTON: You're mixing apples and oranges. If a cop sees a person running out of a store with a gun he's seeing a crime. He's not seeing a person standing —

CARLSON: He doesn't know it's a crime.

SHARPTON: He sees a guy running out of a store with a gun. It is likely that it could be a crime. Somebody standing in front of the store and he says based on the race and nationality of the person he could be a criminal, that's profiling.

CARLSON: Yes, I don't —

SHARPTON: So don't mix apples and oranges.

CARLSON: So does, Ramesh — since I know you're grounded in legal issues, does this law specify anything having to do with an individual's race?

RAMESH PONNURU, THE NATIONAL REVIEW: No, the law explicitly says that race and ethnicity can't be used as reasons for the police to consider somebody suspicious. And it's also worth noting that they have —

CARLSON: Wait, wait.

PONNURU: Yes.

CARLSON: It says in point blank —

PONNURU: Yes, it explicitly says —

CARLSON: Clear language, you can't you can't racially profile.

PONNURU: That's right. That's exactly right. And the law also says that the police have to already have a lawful contact with the person. That is, maybe they pulled the person over for a traffic stop. For example. They are not just looking for people who they think might be illegal and then stopping them.

CARLSON: OK. Rev, so I think both of us know what is really going on here.

SHARPTON: Yes, we do. We're talking about a law —

CARLSON: This is an attempt by the — by the Democratic Party to whip Hispanic voters into a frenzy —

SHARPTON: First of all —

CARLSON: — and get them out on their behalf in 2010.

SHARPTON: The Democratic Party hasn't whipped anybody into a frenzy. The assumption is that the people that are marching and protesting and standing up against this don't have enough sense to stand up for their own interests.

I don't see where any party and I might add some Republicans have said that they questioned this. You couldn't even get Senator John McCain to come out and endorse this who was the Republican standard-bearer.

CARLSON: Well, actually McCain did endorse it.

SHARPTON: No, he came very late into this. Very late and supported it at the last minute. So I think that it's absurd to try to make this just the Democratic Party.

CARLSON: Well, I mean Lyndon Johnson supported the Civil Rights Act at a very late — I mean, who cares? That's not the point. If you would respond to what Ramesh said —

SHARPTON: And I think that he was wrong to do that. So don't again act like this is the Democratic Party. The problem here is that in order to, as you stated, combat people coming from Mexico, they have put on this stronger law and that means you're looking for Mexicans.

If we are to do that against any race, if it was Polish, Irish, it'd be profiling.

CARLSON: Even though the law says specifically —

SHARPTON: Well, I —

CARLSON: — that you can't take race into account.

SHARPTON: The law says specifically that —

CARLSON: So what do you want! That's what the law says!

SHARPTON: You want to answer the question. Do you want me to answer? The law —

CARLSON: I want you to do your best.

SHARPTON: The law says that the person — that the policeman is not supposed to do that but clearly the law, clearly gives the policemen the right to target based on he's looking for Mexican immigrants.

You can't have it both ways, Tucker. You can't say we're going to stop people from coming from Mexico but we're not looking for Mexicans.

I mean do you think the public is stupid?

CARLSON: I don't actually think that Mexico is mentioned in the law. So far as I know.

SHARPTON: OK. So are we now going to then say that everybody they stop that we are going to therefore check them for their legal papers?

CARLSON: Rev, if I could just bring a little reality in this?

SHARPTON: I'm asking you a question.

CARLSON: As somebody who grew up in the border, I can tell you that in the areas where this law will be enforced, I would say the many — the majority of the population is Hispanic and most of them are American citizens. So the idea that anybody looks —

SHARPTON: Are you saying that you are — you and him representing that every Arizonian stopped for traffic, they're going to check their citizenship papers?

PONNURU: No.

SHARPTON: White, black —

PONNURU: No.

SHARPTON: Well, then that's my point.

CARLSON: Ramesh?

SHARPTON: Thank you. Thank you. You got another question?

PONNURU: Because there's a well — there's a well developed body of law which this new statute does not change at all as to what counts as qualifying for reasonable suspicion. For example, if you are on a corridor that is well-known as a corridor that's often used for illegal trafficking. If you are in a van that is overloaded with people.

There has to be multiple factors. It's never one factor.

SHARPTON: And if you are on a corridor —

PONNURU: It can never be one —

SHARPTON: If you are on a corridor —

PONNURU: It can never be race and ethnicity alone. And it has to stands up in court. There's plenty of opportunities to challenge this in court.

SHARPTON: If you are on a corridor — I'll ask the question again.

PONNURU: There's plenty of opportunities to challenge this in court.

SHARPTON: If you are on a specific corridor and you are a member of any race, are they going to ask for your national citizen papers?

PONNURU: Well, all I know is the law explicitly said they can't use race and ethnicity. And if you think that the cops —

SHARPTON: And you have a problem answering the questions.

PONNURU: You think the cops are going to do it any way —

SHARPTON: Because you yourself —

PONNURU: — they don't need the law.

SHARPTON: You yourself will not answer that because you know that.

PONNURU: Wait, if the cops —

CARLSON: Rev, I — I get that this is a golden opportunity —

PONNURU: If you think the cops are going to break the law —

CARLSON: It's a golden opportunity —

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: — that neither one of you —

CARLSON: — to demagogue on the race question.

SHARPTON: Oh now we're demagoguing.

CARLSON: Let me ask you a sincere question. Yes, we are. Yes, we are.

SHARPTON: You can ask me a question, and I answer it. I ask a question I'm demagoguing.

CARLSON: Let me ask you a very quick question.

SHARPTON: Why don't you just admit you can't answer the question, Tucker?

CARLSON: Actually it was answered.

SHARPTON: No, it was not answered.

CARLSON: It certainly was.

SHARPTON: You told him to answer and he has said —

(CROSSTALK)

PONNURU: You're not listening to my answer.

CARLSON: OK, gentlemen, gentlemen. Let me ask you a very crisp question —

SHARPTON: Go ahead.

CARLSON: — which is this.

SHARPTON: And — and you still haven't an answer to my very crisp question.

CARLSON: You said — hold on — hold on —

Slow down. You said that you were as against drug cartels and human smuggling as the next guy. So why don't you name something specific since the current is not working that you would do to end that and save the people of Arizona human smuggling and drug trafficking in our border region — Texas, Arizona, California?

SHARPTON: I think that — I think that's a whole another issue. I think what we've got to do is go after the cartels. Go after the source.

CARLSON: Like invade Mexico?

SHARPTON: You want to answer questions or ask.

CARLSON: I just want to know what you're talking about.

SHARPTON: You can answer questions and when I answered a question, you won't let me answer.

CARLSON: What are you talking about? They're in Mexico, so are we going to invade Mexico?

SHARPTON: No. What you have cartels that have the extensions obviously in Arizona and obviously around the country. Clearly we have been wanting that — I'm the guy that painted crack houses to book crack dealers in New York and in the Bronx that you wrote about, do you remember that?

CARLSON: Yes, I do. Vividly.

SHARPTON: So if you know you wrote about me going after drug dealers, you know I would do it. I would go after the source. I certainly wouldn't be waiting for people to be stacked up at the end of the —

CARLSON: We've got to send you down to —

SHARPTON: I answered his question. He asked me about cartels. I reminded him he wrote about what I would do about drug dealers. But what I'm trying to give you to deal with is that still does not justify going at people based on race.

If you're going at everybody — if everybody had to give their ID.

CARLSON: Alright.

SHARPTON: If you want a card, that would not be racial profiling.

CARLSON: OK. I think we've established that — unfortunately we don't have time — that the law as I think Ramesh calmly and coolly recounted — does specifically—

SHARPTON: No. You've established what he's saying. You also established that neither one of you will represent that everyone will have to do the same thing. That's what we've discussed.

PONNURU: He's got a problem with cops, not the law.

SHARPTON: What problem do I have with the cops?

CARLSON: Ramesh, thank you both very much.

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: I have no problem with the cops.

PONNURU: You think they're going to break the law.

CARLSON: And it continues in the green room.

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