This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 14, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: O'REILLY: In the "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight, we continue our reporting on the chaotic border situation. As you may know, President Bush has proposed a new law that would allow illegal immigrants currently in this country to work toward citizenship if they fulfilled some requirements like having a job and staying out of trouble.
Apparently, the Bush administration ordered the border patrol to ask apprehended illegal aliens about the president's proposed new law. And one of the questions was, did the rumors of amnesty influence your decision to illegally enter the USA?
Now chances are you've never heard about any of this because there may have been a cover-up. The administration is accused of not releasing information about the survey to the public.
One of those making the accusation is Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo, who joins us now from Washington. You really think they covered this up?
REP. TOM TANCREDO (R), COLORADO: I really do, Bill. And that's certainly the information that we've been able to receive. Thank God for judicial watch. I'll tell you. They've really been a dog - they've may have doggedly gone after this. And they have spent a year and a half in court trying to get the information which we finally got, some of it is partial stuff, but finally got information that pretty much proves the point it is a cover-up.
O'REILLY: All right, now the government asked the border patrol (search) to interview illegals they apprehend.
O'REILLY: The border patrol does that. They write up the answers. And we'll get to the explosive answers in a moment. And then they file it back to Washington. Then Washington puts it under national security? Is that — they didn't want to give it out? Is that the deal?
TANCREDO: OK. Let me go through the timeline here for you. It's kind of important that we do this.
On January 7 of 2004, the president gives his speech in which he outlines his proposal for an immigration - an amnesty, certainly I believe it is that. And that's the question.
Does everybody else think so? The president may say it's not, but I think everybody else says yes, it is. At any rate, gives the speech on January the 7th.
The day after they begin doing this survey, January 8th it starts, it's supposed to be six months long. Three weeks into the survey, a memo, which we have here, comes out that says we are only getting 38 percent positive responses. Doesn't elaborate on what that means.
Right after that, they shut the whole thing down. And then shortly after that, a memo goes out for internal use only. I don't know if any of this can be seen there, but for internal use only. Key talking points, this is about the president's plan.
Number one, do not speculate about the program. This is from the Office of Public Affairs Guidance (search), U.S. Customs (search) and border protection.
Do not speculate about the program, the president's program. Do not talk about amnesty. Do not talk about the increase in apprehensions because they had a 25 percent spike in apprehensions right after the president gave his speech. And do not give comparisons of past immigration reform proposals. Do not provide statistics on apprehension spikes or past amnesty data. I think there's a cover-up.
O'REILLY: All right, that's to the press. They're ordering the border patrol not to tell the press that.
TANCREDO: That's correct.
O'REILLY: All right, now do you know what the interview answers were that the border patrol compiled in the three weeks they did this survey?
TANCREDO: We know what they — let me see. On about 800 — I think they only provided about 900 of the questionnaires to us of the 1,711 that in fact they did. They finally released 900 to judicial watch.
So we do have all of the answers. You know, the questions where, are you coming across, why you are coming across? And then some people gave, you know, more of an answer. And one of the funny ones was when they said, are you going to apply for amnesty when you get here? And the guy says in Spanish, what do you think I am, stupid? Of course I am.
O'REILLY: Well, was there a — did you do a statistical analysis of how many people...
O'REILLY: ...came to the United States in that 25 percent spike up period because they thought they could get amnesty?
TANCREDO: Yes. Here it is. Analysis of the raw data from the survey forms indicate, one, 45 percent crossed illegally based on rumors of the Bush administration amnesty. Forty-five percent. Sixty-three percent received Mexican government or media information supporting the notion of a Bush administration amnesty. Sixty-four percent have been in the United States previously illegally. Eighty percent said they were going to apply for amnesty.
O'REILLY: All right, so your conclusion is that if President Bush gets this new law, it will surge illegal immigration...
O'REILLY: ...before it's passed, even when it's being debated and voted upon, because people want to get here to work toward this amnesty.
TANCREDO: Of course. Only logical that that would happen. When the president gave his speech, Bill, I remember saying at the time, I was interviewed by the press. And they asked me what I thought about the speech. And I said, you know, even if his plan does not become law, even if it never makes it through the process, he has already done great damage to us. Because I guarantee you right now there are people packing up and heading north to get the amnesty to get here in time.
And sure enough, we saw a 25 percent spike, that is an increase in the number of people trying to get across that border. Of course they would, Bill. Naturally. It's almost you know, one of those things you say well, who would not?
I mean, — but they were hoping, I think, and this is somewhat speculation here. I believe that they were hoping that the information they'd get through this survey would be different.
TANCREDO: That most people would say...
O'REILLY: Well, obviously they didn't want it out.
TANCREDO: Right, exactly.
O'REILLY: And we appreciate you coming on, congressman. Thanks very much for bringing us up to date.
TANCREDO: Thank you, sir.
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