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Hannity

An Immigrant In The White House?

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes", February 23, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: If Arnold Schwarzenegger hopes to make it to the White House one of these days, there is one big obstacle he'll have to overcome. In order to be president of the United States, you have to be a natural born U.S. citizen, but some lawmakers are hoping to change all of that by amending the Constitution to allow immigrants who have been citizens for a certain period of time to be eligible to run for the White House.

This would be good news for Governor Schwarzenegger, who became a citizen in 1983.

This weekend on "Meet the Press," Governor Schwarzenegger was asked if he thinks immigrants should be allowed to run for the country's highest office.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: I think, you know, times have changed. I think this is not much more global economy. I think there are so many people here in this country that are now from overseas, that the immigrants that are doing such a terrific job with the work, bringing business, you know, there is no reason why not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLMES: Joining us now is California's Congressman Darrell Issa and the author of "Invasion," Michelle Malkin. Good to have you both with us.

Michelle, no other federal office requires you to be born here. Why should we have the requirement for president?

MICHELLE MALKIN, "INVASION" AUTHOR: Well, look, I frankly think that this kind of effort is not a good use of our national time, energy, and resources.

I don't think that it's a big human rights violation that naturalized Americans cannot attain the nation's highest office. And the Founding Fathers had good reason at the time to put this into Article II Section 1 of the Constitution.

And I would say, look, it's a matter of priorities. How about enforcing Article IV Section 4 of the Constitution, protecting this country against invasion.

COLMES: Absolutely.

MALKIN: How about enforcing our immigration laws, first and foremost? And look, so Arnold Schwarzenegger or Madeleine Albright can't become president, boo hoo. I don't think most Americans, naturalized or native born, are shedding many tears about it.

COLMES: You know what? The country has changed. We're a nation of immigrants. We always have been. We're much more so now than we've ever been. And this would expand the possibilities for both people on the left and the right.

I don't think it's a left or right issue. I think it's an American issue and America is a big melting pot. So wouldn't it make sensing to change with the times and let this happen?

MALKIN: Look, the times are right now, that we are waging a war on terror. Our borders are still porous. Linda Vester did a terrific report this weekend outlining the reports on the north and south.

We've got resource problems. Our border patrol is not being supported. We've got criminal aliens running around who have been given citizenship by the Clinton and Gore administration, and we still haven't revoked those yet, under fraudulent circumstances.

Don't we have better things to do with our time?

COLMES: There are always priorities. But Congressman Issa...

MALKIN: That's right.

COLMES: I think both sides benefit here whether it's Arnold on the right or you know, Jennifer Granholm, a governor who was born in Canada, would be another candidate on the left.

Your view?

REP. DARRYL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: Well, to be honest, Alan, you know, we have to go back to the reason it's in the Constitution the way it is.

There was a fear by the Founding Fathers that a Tory would come back and somehow take the country back to England. Those times expired 150 plus years ago.

What we have today is we have illegal immigration. We have a failure to obey our laws. We have a lot of things that Michelle is very accurate about.

But, oh, by the way, we have this opportunity to say, if you play by the rules, you come here you become a citizen legally and you wait 35 years, you can be president.

And if you look at John McCain, John McCain is only barely allowed to run for president. Why? Well, he was born in the Panama Canal Zone, which happens to be a little teeny carve-out that somebody interpreted would be considered the U.S.

On the other hand, you can be an ambassador's child, born while serving -- or a soldier's child, born when your soldier is serving overseas, and you can't be.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Darryl, good to see you. And Michelle, it's always good to see you.

I don't have strong feelings about this. I think -- I was a big supporter of Arnold Schwarzenegger. I love him. I guess if you're going to change it for anybody, to give them an opportunity, it probably would be him, if you want to.

But in one sense I'm like, you need two-thirds of the Congress, you need three quarters of the states. You know, we have so many pressing issues, do we really want to engage in this battle at this time right now? I mean, do we really want to do, this Darryl?

ISSA: Sean, Michelle and I were talking before we came on. You know, in the next three weeks, we're probably going to name five post offices in the House. And the Senate is going to have resolutions on days celebrating everything you can imagine.

I assure you, the House and the Senate have the time to consider whether or not the child, for example, of two U.S. citizens who happens to be born abroad should be able to enjoy the same benefits as any other citizen.

MALKIN: Boo-hoo. Boo-hoo.

HANNITY: And Michelle, it's like, I don't believe the Constitution should be up for grabs. You know, it's difficult for a reason. The process is difficult for a reason. And I think our founders in their wisdom made it that way.

MALKIN: I absolutely agree with you, Sean. Let's reserve amending the Constitution for the greatest important issues of the day, things like abolishing slavery and giving women the right to vote.

Again, Arnold Schwarzenegger can't be president. Big deal. I mean, again, I think this is a diversion from our greatest problems with immigration and that's the point.

ISSA: Well, you know, what I would suggest to Michelle, who has a great many issues, is if this isn't a big enough issue and if pooh-pooh is the answer, or boo-hoo, there are things that could be suggested to be added.

We've had people who have come to my office and suggested, since I support this legislation, that perhaps what we ought to do is include in this constitutional amendment a ban on people who are born here, but of parents that are here illegally.

There are a lot of opportunities to make real change in immigration, some of which require a constitutional amendment.

MALKIN: Sure. I'm glad to hear the congressman mention that, because I think that's a far more important issue from a national security perspective. The idea that we're giving so many people citizenship who are born to illegals and then those people using that citizenship in ways that, frankly, endanger us.

COLMES: Would you then, Michelle, be -- I mean, you don't want to just willy-nilly change the Constitution, I agree with that. Would you then be for something that would dictate that if you're a child of an illegal alien you cannot then run for president, even if you are an American citizen?

MALKIN: Yes, that's all well and good, Alan. That's fine. But you know, I just think, the bottom line on this is, I think that every congressman and senator should work and divert their resources to defeating the amnesty plan that was proposed by the White House before they contemplate something like this.

COLMES: Congressman, this shouldn't be just about Arnold or any other one person. It should be based on policy and what the best policy.

ISSA: I must tell you that this piece of legislation, Orrin Hatch was working on it in the Senate and we were working on it in the House before Arnold -- before the recall ever began.

This is not about Arnold Schwarzenegger or Albert Einstein or Bob Hope, rest his soul. This is about an injustice that, in the course of 200 plus years, we ought to find some time to add it.

HANNITY: We've got to go. Thank you.

ISSA: Thank you for putting this on the front burner.

HANNITY: And Michelle, good to see you. Thank you both for being with us.

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