This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 16, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: As we continue on this special edition of "Hannity & Colmes," I'm Sean Hannity, reporting from Midland, Texas, the home of George Herbert Walker Bush.
And still to come, we're going to give you more details on our road trip to the U.S.-Mexico border this week, including a trip to the Rio Grande tomorrow.
But first, earlier today we went to the Minutemen's staging ground for an exclusive look at their preparations. Now the Minutemen are planning to patrol Texas's border with Mexico in October. And they made national headlines in April when they patrolled the border in Arizona.
Joining us now with details, Chris Simcox. He's the president of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps. How are you?
CHRIS SIMCOX, PRESIDENT, MINUTEMEN CIVIL DEFENSE CORPS: Great, Sean.
HANNITY: You know, it's funny. I'm here, I watch you. Wherever you go, cameras and controversy follows. Are you surprised it's still going on?
SIMCOX: Well, I'm surprised the government hasn't responded yet. When are they going to get the message that we really are sincere about border security?
HANNITY: Two governors, two states, two states of emergency declared in two days. So obviously, something is happening.
SIMCOX: Something is happening. Let's just hope that it's more than just talk. Certainly, Governor Napolitano in Arizona, we've been at her for years over this issue. You know, my question is, what took you so long? Now will it be more than just talk?
HANNITY: Is it political considerations on her part? We keep hearing that a person with the name of Goldwater, the nephew of Barry Goldwater, may be running for office. Do you think it's about politics?
SIMCOX: It could be. Let's hope it's not. I would rather see the governor take this sincerely that her constituents have wanted this problem solved for many years. Let's hope they don't turn it into a political football. It's just too serious.
HANNITY: Governor Richardson, for example, you apparently had been talking to him. He told me today that he has no desire to meet with you and doesn't want you doing this job. There have been discussions with his office or no?
SIMCOX: Had been discussions with staff members, and we pitched the ideal of a meeting. They felt it was a good thing so that we could clear the air, talk about our procedures and what our intentions were. At that point, they seemed to drop off.
HANNITY: I had the governor on my radio show today. Now he in the past had signed a bill to allow illegal immigrants to get legal driver's licenses and allow legal immigrants to have access to the benefits of the lottery system in the state of New Mexico. Is that consistent with his declaration of a state of emergency in your view?
SIMCOX: No, not consistent at all. Why reward illegal behavior and then turn around and say we have a state of emergency with illegal behavior?
HANNITY: Do you think it has to do with his desire to run for president? I mean, are you cynical at all, or do you think they're doing it for the right reasons?
SIMCOX: I'm certainly cynical, Sean. But let's hope that they don't turn this into a political issue. With Governor Napolitano, I don't anticipate the money that she's going to allocate going to do anything to help secure the border, basically just repay the taxpayers for the expense of fixing the problem.
HANNITY: You had told me — the last time I interviewed you, you said you had somewhere near 10,000, 15,000, 20,000 people that had gotten in contact with you that want to be members.
HANNITY: You know that the world is watching, that your critics have raised a lot of concerns about you. And in response to that, you have toughened your vetting process and your training process, which is part of the reason you're here.
HANNITY: Tell us what you have done to address that and, even though you had a successful effort with no issues in Arizona, why you're still getting tougher even now?
SIMCOX: It's about responsibility and standards. We want the best people we can find to send this political message. We know that one mistake will ruin everything. We have a strict criminal background check that is involved now, a much more thorough psychological vetting, and we're getting the kind of people that we're looking for. And they also know who we are now. We're not going...
HANNITY: A no confrontation rule. You — you are telling these guys when you train them, they are not to confront illegal immigrants if they see them?
SIMCOX: Absolutely. In fact, you're to retreat at any instance of someone approaching you with aggression. Retreat and report. It's not our job. We want — safety for our volunteers is of the utmost importance.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Chris, it's Alan in New York. Thank you for coming on our show tonight.
It's not just Governor Richardson who perhaps has not been favorable to what you're doing. Rick Perry of Texas, has said that — he' a Republican — in June, he said he understands and shares your concerns, he says, but this is not the solution.
Why do you think Governor Perry in the state where you now sit is not supporting you?
SIMCOX: Well, it's not about support. And you know, it's certainly not the solution to have citizens on the border. The solution is for the governor to take public safety seriously and national security seriously and deploy the National Guard or use military to augment Border Patrol. Remember, Alan, we have always said, it's not our job. It is our duty as citizens, but we want the government to do its job so we can go home.
COLMES: But he says don't do it. President Bush referred to it as vigilantes and these are the Republicans that are perceived as being strong on the issue of border protection. It must disappoint you that they're not supporting your cause.
SIMCOX: I think it's disappointing to all Americans that the federal government refuses to enforce the laws, refuses to secure our borders and then tells us that — that they don't support us doing it. So this pass the buck back and forth everywhere, citizens aren't standing for it anymore.
COLMES: It's not that they...
SIMCOX: This is a political statement and I think we're making a difference.
COLMES: Not that they refuse but they need more resources. More resources are being deployed. How confrontational will you be? Now you said you will just — you're going to have no contact with any people you see crossing the border? Will your people be armed?
SIMCOX: Our people will be armed if they feel it's necessary. But they also have proven themselves to be the most law-abiding citizens in this country. Take will abide by all of the laws of the states in which they work. And that is responsible, and those are the standards that we hold everyone accountable for.
COLMES: And if the rules are not to have any contact, not to physically touch anybody and just to simply call the authorities, why would they need to be armed?
SIMCOX: For their personal safety, Alan. This is a dangerous situation. Again, why should Americans have to be armed sitting in lawn chairs on U.S. soil if the federal government were doing their job? It's a dangerous situation. There's crime. There's terrorism coming across the border every day in the form of drug dealers, human smugglers.
And you know, we'll defend our lives if that situation presents itself.
COLMES: How do you distinguish between those who are illegal and are actually involved in crossing illegally and those who might be here on worker programs or legitimately in the United States? You're looking for people who are Hispanic, I guess?
SIMCOX: No, not at all. We're in direct view of the border fence and in many cases on private property. When you see a group of people walking across private property who have not been invited, I don't think they're Boy Scouts on a hike, Alan. You know, it's clear that they're entering this country illegally. When you watch them come through the fence, they're illegals, and they are entering our country, and they could be a threat to public safety and national security.
HANNITY: Chris, we will see you for the rest of the week here.
COLMES: We thank you very much, Chris.
HANNITY: Chris, thanks very much.
SIMCOX: Thank you.
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