This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 26, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight, protests explode over a new illegal immigration law in Arizona. The new law signed by Arizona governor Jan Brewer requires police to question any suspected illegal immigrant. Now, at a rally in Arizona, a Democratic congressman slammed the new law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RAUL GRIJALVA, D- ARIZ.: This state of ours, Arizona, which we all love, has entered a very dark, shadowy period of its political existence. By signing the law, the governor basically codified into state law racial profiling, violation of civil rights, due process and constitutional violations. And so the reaction is going to be a reaction of opposition across the state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: The congressman also said he wants President Obama to fight the new law. Arizona state senator Russell Pearce joins us live. State Senator Pearce sponsored the controversial bill.
Good evening, sir. And what provoked or prompted to you sponsor this bill in the first place?
STATE SENATOR RUSSELL PEARCE, R - ARIZ.: The rule of law, Greta. I mean, the stories they tell, the outrageous fabrications and myths, are just -- is unbelievable. In this bill, we've mirrored federal law. It's illegal to enter or remain in this country in violation of federal law. We have simply mirrored that. Nobody's erased the 4th and 14th Amendments. In fact, we put profiling as an illegal issue in the bill. We codified it. We made sure people can't racial profile. These are the most outrageous stories in the world!
What we've done in this bill, very simply, is -- and I've watched over the years it get more and more violent -- you know, number two in the world in kidnappings (INAUDIBLE) home invasion, carjacking, identity theft of the nation. I've been to Officer Erfley (ph), who was murdered (INAUDIBLE) Office Atkins (ph), Officer Martin (ph), Officer Eagle (ph), Rob Krentz, who was just murdered on the border. I just had a hearing for the ranchers down on the border, a half a day hearing in the senate. Their fences are cut. Their cattle is slaughtered. Their dogs are killed. Their house and windows and doors are boarded. They're fearful. They pray for daylight because they hear noises, scared to come outside.
Enough is enough! We're a nation of laws. This doesn't change any -- all I've done, very simple, is I removed the handcuffs. Now, I've been in law enforcement most of my life, have two boys in law enforcement. I believe handcuffs are a great tool when they're on the right people. We're going to take them off law enforcement. They have policies that restrict law enforcement's ability to enforce these laws. They're illegal under federal law to have those policies. We're going to remove them in the state of Arizona. Officers can ask and they can act like any other crime...
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me ask you...
PEARCE: ... and the same standards.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me ask you how -- so that I -- so that I -- so that I...
PEARCE: You betcha.
VAN SUSTEREN: ... understand how it's implemented -- OK -- if someone commits an armed robbery and a police officer steals it, obviously -- sees it, the police officer chases down the armed robbery, makes the arrest. If someone is standing on a street corner, waiting for a bus, does the police officer under your law have the authority to approach the person and say, Are you a citizen or not?
PEARCE: You know, that's a great question. Because it's absolutely one of the myths to get thrown around. Law enforcement has no more authority today, if this law was effective today, than they had yesterday. It must be a lawful contact. We honor 4th and 14th Amendments, like I said. We've written into the bill you can't use race as an issue for pulling people over. You have to have a legitimate -- in fact, it says right in the bill, like any other law (INAUDIBLE) rolled it out because they knew these would be the games played by the (INAUDIBLE) simply don't want the laws enforced.
They're not worried about racial profiling. They're scared to death the laws are actually going to be enforced. It's illegal. We're going to enforce the law. All we've done is take the handcuffs off! You can't stop...
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me ask you...
PEARCE: ... anybody...
VAN SUSTEREN: So that I...
PEARCE: ... just because...
VAN SUSTEREN: So that I understand...
PEARCE: ... you don't like how they look.
VAN SUSTEREN: So I understand...
PEARCE: Go ahead.
VAN SUSTEREN: ... how this is executed -- so...
VAN SUSTEREN: So if someone is doing something sinister, like, you know, casing a joint, going up and looking at it and messing with a lock on a door or something like that...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... a police officer can approach that person and ask reasonable questions, right, if the person -- but if the person is just...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... standing -- but if the person's just standing at the bus stop, doing nothing wrong, even if the person might look -- you know, suppose that someone may look Hispanic, for instance, the police officer has no right just to simply approach that person and begin the inquiry. Is that the way the law works?
PEARCE: Greta, absolutely. Illegal is not a race. It's a crime. There's -- you know, I mean, we have civil rights provision in the Arizona constitution. We have civil rights provisions in the U.S. Constitution. We honor those. I'm a limited government guy. I'm a pro-freedom guy. I would never, never pass any bill that constituted any abuse of one's civil rights! All we're doing is taking the handcuffs off from law enforcement, allowing them to ask reasonable questions if they have reason to believe, like any other crime. And it takes a lawful contact, reasonably, and then probable cause.
You know what's interesting is we put guns on our police officers. They make life-and-death decisions. And they're my hometown heroes, by the way, you know? And yet we're afraid -- because 95 percent of the time, it's a phone call (ph) to ICE. But we're scared. We're afraid to let them pick up the phone and call ICE? This is the most outrageous thing in the world! And people ought to read the bill! It is carefully crafted. It just takes (INAUDIBLE) 1325 and puts it into state law. You know, states have inherent authority to enforce these laws. We're making it clear...
VAN SUSTEREN: And Senator...
PEARCE: ... by moving that federal statute over.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I hope you'll join us again, but we're out of time, and I hope you'll join us again because this is a continuing controversy, as you might imagine.
PEARCE: I would love to!
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, sir.
PEARCE: I would...
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, sir.
PEARCE: The myths have to be put away! Greta, thank you. God bless you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, sir.
The immigration battle, though, is not just in Arizona. The town of Farmers Branch, Texas, is in a fight of its own. In 2007, the town passed a law making it illegal for landlords to rent houses or apartments to illegal immigrants. Well, since then, a federal judge has thrown out that ordinance, saying only the federal government can enact immigration laws. But the fight goes on.
Farmers Branch Mayor Tim O'Hare joins us live. Good evening, Mayor.
MAYOR TIM O'HARE, FARMERS BRANCH, TEXAS: Good evening, Greta. How are you?
VAN SUSTEREN: I'm very well. So Mayor, it sounds like the statute that you enacted got bounced because the judge says -- the judge didn't say whether she agreed or disagreed with the whole concept of having illegal people in the United States, but rather that the state doesn't have the authority, or the city, to do the authority. It's a federal government matter. Is that a correct synopsis?
O'HARE: Yes, Greta. Back in 2007, Farmers Branch residents voted on an ordinance similar to the one that this judge struck down by 68 to 32 percent wanting us to go forward with an ordinance to address renting property in our town to illegal aliens. And this judge, Jane Boyle (ph), U.S. district court judge, ruled that ordinance 2952, which is a more recent version, was unconstitutional. And our city council voted last week to appeal that to the fifth circuit court of appeals.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, what provoked you or prompted you to pass this ordinance in the first place? Was there an episode or an incident? You know, why'd you do it?
O'HARE: Well, there were a number of things, Greta. You know, the first one that comes to mind is we had a 2-year-old little girl that was killed in a drive-by shooting in 2006, and the two people that are now in jail for that crime were illegal aliens. And we had residents coming forward, asking us to do something about the problem.
You know, Farmers Branch is a fantastic community. It's a beautiful place, a suburb of Dallas. But illegal immigration has definitely taken its toll on our city from property value standpoints, to school district, to shopping areas. And people in our town said, Hey, we've had enough, please do something about it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you asked the federal government -- and I know that over in the neighboring state of Arizona, Senators Kyl and Senator McCain have asked for help from the federal government. In fact, they most recently asked for 3,000 National Guard. Have you asked for help from the federal government on this immigration issue?
O'HARE: What we have done, Greta, is we've joined the CAP program, the Criminal Alien Program. We've also had a police officer trained under the 287-G program. And both of those are federal initiatives that invite states and local law enforcement folks to get involved in addressing the problem. So we've been at that since about 2006.
And I can tell you that in 2006, 2007, 2008, anywhere from 14 to 20 percent of the people in our local jail in any given month were in the country illegally. And through the efforts that we've made, that number today is now down to somewhere between 3 and 5 percent on a monthly basis.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, so is the federal government helping you? I mean, I guess that -- you know, you have Arizona passing this statute, and it almost in some ways seems like that the states along the border are saying, Look, you know, the feds aren't doing something, so we're going to do something. Now, whether it's constitutional or not -- that'll be sorted out in the courts. But it's almost like -- you know, like almost a begging the federal government, you know, Do something about immigration, illegal immigration.
O'HARE: You know, Greta, the reason that we're where we are today is because the federal government has failed to address the issue. And I think part of the reason that the federal government has failed to address the issue is they just don't have the manpower to do it. And with certainly what you see in Washington today, they don't have the political will to do it.
And people throughout the country, especially in Texas -- not just Farmers Branch, but throughout the state of Texas, and all along the border states -- you're seeing people that are fed up with the problem, and getting states and cities involved is what's going to make a difference. It's just like any other federal crime. When you have crimes going on in your town, in your state, it's a joint cooperative effort between federal authorities, state authorities and local authorities to keep us safe. And that's what we're trying to do in Farmers Branch.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so the statute is -- at this point, federal district court says that you don't have the authority. And so now it's being appealed to the United States court of appeals for the 5th circuit. And we will continue to follow that. Mayor, thank you, sir.
O'HARE: My pleasure. Any time.
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