This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," April 26, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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ALAN COLMES, HOST: Our top story tonight, the Minutemen are on Capitol Hill this week, lobbying for immigration reform. And to underscore their message, the Minutemen have provided us with an exclusive video shot over the course of the last year. The footage was shot by an associate of the Minutemen and shows hundreds of immigrants streaming across the border into the United States near what is in Naco, Arizona. Now, some of the video we are showing you was shot just a few feet from where Sean visited last week.
And joining us now from Capitol Hill to tell us about this powerful video, Minuteman organizer Chris Simcox.
Chris, welcome back to the show.
CHRIS SIMCOX, MINUTEMEN PROJECT ORGANIZER: Thanks, Alan. Appreciate it.
COLMES: Funny, last time you were on the show I had the quote that — you agreed that you had said this — that you were bored sitting there, not a lot was happening. How does that jive with what we just saw with all the people on that video crossing the border?
SIMCOX: Well, I didn't make that comment, Jim Gilchrest did. I haven't been bored working out there for the last two and a half years.
But yes, the video shows exclusively, you know, what's happening. We're going to be there on May 1 in the areas where the Minutemen have been, and we're going to document the return of the immigrants to prove to you that our presence did make a difference.
COLMES: So do you disagree with your partner when he said, "I'm bored, there's nothing for us to do here"?
SIMCOX: I think it was just an off-the-cuff remark. A lot of people, there has been nothing to do. That was the point. We sit and we watch. We create a presence, and no one has been coming across the border. That's a good thing.
It's like golf, Alan, you know, low score wins. No one crosses, we have security.
COLMES: All right. Well, now you know the Border Patrol has said that it turns out that March 30 there was an infusion of new Border Patrol agents, an increase of patrols south of the border and that this would more than offset any lack of those coming in the country in that area by an increase in the desert west of Tucson. They just went around where you guys were.
SIMCOX: Right. But it still proves that if we could stretch this line, if Border Patrol could set up the same model, all across Arizona and from the Gulf to the Pacific, no one will cross the border. That's what we're asking for.
COLMES: If you could be deputized and, indeed, the very people who want to spend their time doing this could be subsumed by the Border Patrol, deputized by them, trained by them, would that be acceptable?
SIMCOX: Well, we would hope we wouldn't have to do that, Alan. Our point is that this is a political protest. Why could our government not provide the manpower and the resources necessary to secure the border?
At this point citizens are willing to do that to make the point, hopefully to force the government to do their job.
COLMES: Well, they tried to do it. In fact, Congress had approved it. The president, however, did not sign on to allowing as many as Congress wanted. I'm talking about Border Patrol agents. And that more are coming in because there has been approval for more of them.
This has already been in the works. So clearly, that's going to help.
SIMCOX: It's too little, too late, Alan. I mean, look how many people are coming into the country. We need to stop this now. It's a national security issue.
I'm here on Capitol Hill. I'm working both sides of the aisle here. This is not a partisan issue. This is a U.S. security issue. We need to stop people from breaking into the country, as you've seen.
We're also hearing reports that this is happening on the northern border now. So it's just — it's clearly unacceptable. We, the people, are going to hopefully put enough pressure on the government now to get them to relieve us from duty with National Guard troops that's what we need.
COLMES: First of all, are you ever going to ever have enough people to have zero immigration, or zero illegal immigration? We have a very big border. You covered about 23 miles of it. You're never going to cover the whole thing.
SIMCOX: I disagree, Alan. Our — this is the greatest nation in the world, supposedly. We have resources, you know. And we have proven, too, that Mexico can do a lot to make sure that they help secure this border. We need to work together and there needs to be a binational effort to secure the border and to protect people from being exploited.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Hey, Chris, Sean Hannity. Thanks for being with us.
This — this video is stunning, but I don't know if I would have believed it unless I saw it myself when I was there with you on the border. Because these paths, as you can see, they're lined up here.
But I want you to explain to the audience how these are set paths that are taken by groups every day, how there are markers on the paths, how there are assistant — assistance areas. How blue flags represent water stations. I don't think people understand the systematic effort to break the law and not respect our sovereignty.
SIMCOX: It's true, Sean. You should see it from the air. These paths are highways that are carved into the dessert. In fact, there are groups, environmental groups called Heal the Desert that are attempting to repair the environmental damage to these areas. On mountains and national forests and even the national parks in the area are also just, you know, riddled with these trails that have been used for, you know, a decade or more. This has been going on quite awhile.
So the trash — the trash — you should see the trash from the air. I mean, you can actually follow the trails from the border to up to 100 miles north by following the bottles of water and the trash of the backpacks.
HANNITY: Look, I saw it when I was there. And by the way, in the next segment, Chris, we're going to show the nighttime tape that you had taken, and it's as bad or sometimes worse at night.
What I don't understand is this. Here you are in Washington. Here we have this tape. And I don't doubt that probably most of the people that are crossing here probably just want a job and an opportunity. But that's not the point.
If they can do it, the enemies of this country can do it, and they can do it in large numbers just like this. You know, when you take this tape to these congressmen and these senators, how are they reacting?
SIMCOX: Well, at this point, everyone agrees, and that's what's so frustrating, Sean, is that everyone agrees this is a terrible problem. It's a national security risk.
But everyone continues to drag their feet and say, well, we have this interest to deal with. We have to consider this effort. No one is considering the safety of U.S. citizens.
And again, look at the crime statistics and the drugs and the exploitation and the people smuggling that's going on. People are dying in the desert. We seal the border, no one dies.
HANNITY: Yes, I agree with that. And it's interesting, Chris, because when I was down there and you and I were walking along that border by that fence, it's interesting how the Democrats and the state legislature out there, they made a bigger deal of me stepping through a hole for 20 seconds than they did looking at this real problem, which is a real national security problem. I'm sure you're aware of that. Are you?
SIMCOX: Yes. And they know it's a national security problem. So — and we're getting that from both sides. I had a discussion with John Kerry yesterday, who says he appreciates our help, that we're doing a great job. We need more border security. So I'm going to meet with Hillary Clinton tomorrow.
HANNITY: Wait a minute. I want to back up. You met with John Kerry, and John Kerry supports the Minutemen effort?
SIMCOX: Yes. He supports what we're doing and says we've done a great job in bringing attention, that we've been responsible. He appreciates the effort, and he agrees that we need to do more...
HANNITY: Does he want you to keep doing this?
SIMCOX: I don't know about that. It's really not his choice. We as citizens are going to do it either way. But...
HANNITY: But I'm surprised in John Kerry in particular. And if he's right on this issue, then he's right on the issue. I didn't hear him saying a lot of this stuff on the campaign. But — but I think this ought to be a lesson for Republicans that there's an important political issue at stake here, as well, homeland security issue.
SIMCOX: Absolutely. We're talking to Hillary Clinton tomorrow. We're talking to Joe Lieberman.
HANNITY: You're meeting with Hillary tomorrow?
SIMCOX: We have hopefully, this hopefully this set up that we'll meet with Hillary, and we'll talk about this. We know that she has come out lately and talked about the need for more border security.
Again, this is not partisan politics. This is a nonpartisan issue. It's about the safety of American citizens and our sovereignty as nation.
COLMES: Chris, we've got to come back.
SIMCOX: Let's get the debate going.
COLMES: We're going to come right back. By the way, no one disagrees about border security. We do need that. And we're going to continue with Chris Simcox after the break and also hear from someone who isn't necessarily thrilled with what the Minutemen are doing.
We'll show you even more of this stunning new video, including, as was mentioned, some night vision footage. You don't want to miss it.
HANNITY: Some of the new video that "Hannity & Colmes" has exclusively obtained from the Minutemen Project shows illegal immigrants, as you see right there, crossing into the desert in Arizona into the middle of the night.
Now, the clips you are seeing now were shot in the last 10 months with an infrared camera. But you can clearly see dozens of illegals crossing the border into the United States.
We continue now with Minuteman organizer Chris Simcox, and also joining us is UCLA professor, president of No Borders, Inc. Raul Hinojosa is with us.
First, Chris, I did want to point out on this video in particular here, this was all shot at night. And by the Border Patrol's own estimates, they acknowledge that four or five million people that they're not getting are coming into the United States each year, correct?
SIMCOX: That's correct. And we can document that; we can account for that. You see by the video how many people that we've documented that have slipped through the Border Patrol's fingers.
HANNITY: Mr. Hinojosa, do you not see, do you not understand that if people are coming over — let's say they have just the motive that they want a job and a better life. Do you not see if we don't control our borders, that the enemies of this country could cross over with dangerous weapons and perhaps wreak havoc on our cities. Do you not understand that?
RAUL HINOJOSA, PRESIDENT, NO BORDERS: I think what this video is really showing you is...
HANNITY: I didn't ask you about that. I asked you — answer my question.
HINOJOSA: ... that this country is losing its capacity to have a rational debate on its problems. The real — the only thing you're seeing in this video is that this is the sausage making as to how you get on your plate tonight your tomatoes.
HANNITY: Mr. Hinojosa, I don't have a lot of time.
HINOJOSA: And how your grandchildren will be treated.
HANNITY: I won't ask you another question if you don't respond to my question. I asked you a question. Do you not understand if people cross over because they want a job, do you not recognize that the enemies of our country have access to our country. Is that not a danger, yes or no, sir?
HINOJOSA: We should control the border. And here is the way to do it. The only way it's ever been done is what Ronald Reagan did. Ronald Reagan legalized immigration. And do you know what happened along the U.S.-Mexican border? It dropped dramatically the illegal movement.
HANNITY: Why, because we open them to the enemies of this country? Doesn't that mean anybody with ill intentions could cross?
HINOJOSA: Mexico is not an enemy. You should not try to make this an issue of Mexico being an enemy.
HANNITY: I don't think Mexico is an enemy.
HINOJOSA: That's who we have a border with, and we have Canada as another border.
HANNITY: What if somebody came from Canada that's a member of Al Qaeda?
HINOJOSA: The logical way to do this is to first of all get rid of this problem of us feeding our labor force through this process of undocumented immigration.
How do we do that? We make the process legal. We make the process — who do we really need in this country to really do the work? Let's make sure we have enough of the visas in this country. This process would disappear.
COLMES: It's Alan Colmes in New York along with Chris Simcox. Obviously, we'll get him back here in a second. But you don't disagree that we need to have some kind of workable pragmatic policy on the border, correct? You don't disagree with that?
HINOJOSA: The problem is not the border. The problem is our need for immigration, that we don't take our head out of the sand.
COLMES: You wouldn't just let anybody who wants to cross the border illegally come in here, would you?
HINOJOSA: It's not matter of letting them — I don't want them to come illegally. I think we should — we know what the issue is. We need 300 to 400,000 workers...
COLMES: So you're saying anybody who wants to come here should come here? Is that what you're saying?
HINOJOSA: I'm saying you create a legal orderly process that would more than fill the need for the jobs in this country. That's why people come here.
COLMES: But you're not answering whether or not — would there be such a thing under your plan as illegal immigration, yes or no.
HINOJOSA: There would not need be illegal immigration. Look what Ronald Reagan did. Ronald Reagan...
COLMES: All right. But he didn't legalize everybody. He gave amnesty, but there were still those after that who came here illegally.
HINOJOSA: Only five — only five years later, after — because we did not currently set up a system for bringing in future...
COLMES: Chris, I don't agree with Raul that we shouldn't have — we shouldn't stop illegal immigration. The question is whether we do it using vigilantes.
And one of the other problems, Chris, is that merchants in border towns are saying that their businesses are suffering because Mexicans who would enter legally are fearful of the vigilantes — you're group on the border. And that's hurt business in border towns that need that business.
SIMCOX: It's hurt businesses in one town specifically, Douglas, Arizona. That's because of the outrageous comments by their mayor, Mayor Bahrain. And the — and the atmosphere of hate...
COLMES: It's not the mayor's fault that people aren't legally coming over the border. They're intimidated by vigilantes on the border. That's what happened.
SIMCOX: Well, that's unfortunate because there are no vigilantes on the border.
COLMES: Well, that's the president's word, by the way.
HINOJOSA: The vigilantes is what President Bush said and there are incidents right now where people are pulling guns.
SIMCOX: That's not correct. That's outrageous.
HINOJOSA: We're disintegrating the rule of law.
SIMCOX: No, actually we're up holding the rule of law. And that's why we're out there. Because our government's not enforcing it.
HINOJOSA: It's not your right to do that.
SIMCOX: Oh, sorry. You must read our Constitution, sir. You're not to clear about our rights as citizens.
HINOJOSA: You don't know the — now you're interpreting the Constitution.
SIMCOX: And the laws of the state of Arizona give citizens the right to do what they're doing, which is...
HINOJOSA: Actually, they do not. They do not. If you think about — if you look carefully at what the Constitution says, that you do not have the right to pull a gun on somebody.
SIMCOX: That would be unlawful.
HANNITY: We've got to go, guys. But if we don't control our borders, the enemies of this country will have access and they could wreak havoc in an American cities. Everybody, regardless of political affiliation, ought to understand that. Thank you both for being with us.
HINOJOSA: We need immigration reform.
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