This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," January 20, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: "Hannity & Colmes" obtained this video from The Minutemen Project, whose representatives say it shows members of the Mexican military involved in operations at the border with the United States. Earlier this week, The Washington Times reported that the U.S. Border Patrol has warned its agents in Arizona of incursions into the United States by Mexican soldiers. The paper reported that more than 200 incursions by suspected Mexican military units have been documented since 1996 up and down the U.S.-Mexican border.
Joining us now, the organizer of the Minutemen Project, Chris Simcox, and a member of the Mexican Senate, Jeffrey Max Jones. Welcome to you both.
Chris, let me begin with you. Michael Chertoff was on the show earlier tonight. We didn't have time to get into it; we were talking clearly about the bin Laden tape. But he's on record of having said that these reports are overblown. If there are any Mexican military over the border, it's by accident, it's minimal and the number 216 is just not accurate. Is Chertoff not telling the truth?
CHRIS SIMCOX, MINUTEMAN ORGANIZER: Obviously. We sent this videotape two years ago to his predecessor, Tom Ridge, who still didn't feel that the border is a serious issue. I'm sorry. When we have millions of people crossing our borders, we have rogue military, the Zetas, gangs, drugs, and now the Mexican military, when is our government going to take our border seriously, such as they do the border (INAUDIBLE).
COLMES: Well the issue is not taking it seriously, I'm just saying that Secretary Chertoff is saying that reports of 216 are overblown.
Senator Jones, what's your position on this, and who are these people in military uniforms being photographed by the Minutemen?
JEFFREY MAX JONES, MEXICAN SENATOR: The opinion that I have — the information I have up until now is said by Michael Chertoff, himself, is that this incursion is innocent, an innocent incursion, and until we have other information officially from the U.S. government, we will take it as they say it is.
COLMES: Are there any people from the Mexican military who come into the United States who are on the border or over the border? Does it happen, and why?
JONES: Yes. It does happen. The border from El Paso on down to the Gulf is very clearly delineated with a river. But between El Paso, Texas, and California, the border is not as clearly delineated and there have been issues in the past where, innocently, people have crossed the line in those areas.
COLMES: Chris Simcox, you're saying these are rogue —
JONES: — information that we have is that way.
COLMES: Chris Simcox, you're claiming that they are involved with drug running and smuggling and bringing people into the country? Is that what you're position is?
SIMCOX Yes. Border patrol agents will tell you those 217 incidents are not innocent. Many times the military will run groups of illegals across as a diversionary tactic top absorb Border Patrol's resources. Once Border Patrol is cleared out, they know the coast is clear. And we've caught them up to three miles up the San Pedro River in Cochise County escorting drug mules into this country.
COLMES: Senator, can you answer that charge?
JONES: I do not have any other information other than what the U.S. government, itself, is saying on this issue. I do not know of any cases where the information that I'm being told here tonight is proven to be true.
HANNITY: Senator, you do acknowledge there is a severe illegal immigration problem.
JONES: I do.
HANNITY: You do. Because Vicente Fox — we had the Mexican consul guy on the other night on this program, and they won't acknowledge the basic fact. And the basic truth is that there are people, many of them — we estimate some 11-plus million in the United States alone — from Mexico that didn't respect our laws and sovereignty. What should we do about people that don't respect our laws and sovereignty?
JONES: Well, I think the problem that we have up until now in dealing with this issue is, we're trying to attack the migration process, or the act of migration, itself. And as long as we continue doing that, we're not going to have any good long-term solutions.
HANNITY: It's not really migration. Isn't that law breaking, though?
JONES: Yes, it is breaking the law.
HANNITY: I appreciate your at least acknowledging it. But shouldn't the United States — would it be wrong for the United States to either put troops on the border or build a fence on the border? Is it wrong for the United States to protect its borders fully?
JONES: Well, I think the United States has a right to be concerned over its borders.
HANNITY: I didn't ask you that. I said, we have the right to protect the borders fully.
JONES: Yes, you have the right to protect your borders fully. That is a right, and if you choose to do that, you can do that. But the point that I'd like to make is that looking at the border is not going to solve the problem. That's just where the act of migration occurs. Give it the name you want. We need to look at the real causes, and the U.S. —
HANNITY: The real problem is people don't respect our laws, isn't it?
JONES: Well, if you want to look at that as the only issue, go ahead and do it, but this is the same problem that was had with the 55 mile-an- hour speed limit in the U.S. and prohibition and other issues as well.
HANNITY: I don't think it's exactly the same, sir.
JONES: You have to look at the root causes if you want to solve the problem.
HANNITY: The root cause is —
JONES: Let me be really clear, here.
HANNITY: I would control the border, and I would enforce the laws we presently have first, and then if you want to deal with the other issues involving guest worker programs — whatever debate you want to have. But first things first, you've got to control the borders.
JONES: Ok, you're free to say that, Sean, and that's fine.
HANNITY: Thank you very much.
JONES: If you want to do that, go ahead and say that, but I'm saying as long as you continue looking at things from that perspective where the only issue is what happens at the border, you're not going to solve the real problems.
And I want to make something here very clear. Migration — this long- term massive migration is not in Mexico's long-term interests.
HANNITY: I agree with you.
JONES: It's not good for us. We're losing our human capital.
HANNITY: I agree.
JONES: Ninety percent of Mexicans in the U.S. are between 18 and 49 years of age. They are in their productive prime. And it is not in our interests to do that. And I think there's something you need to know: President Fox realizes this as well. But he's dealing with a Congress — he's the first president that's come to power in Mexico without controlling the Congress. And he has — the PRI and the PRD party do not want to see the economic reforms that the country desperately needs —
HANNITY: I think it's a problem.
JONES: — so we can do what we need to do to solve this.
HANNITY: And it's probably going to get worse after the next election.
Let me go to Chris Simcox. Chris, the bottom line here is, this is really an American problem. I don't expect the Mexican government to solve America's border issues. I think this is what the American government ought to be doing, and I think the first thing they got to do is start enforcing the laws we currently have on the books, correct?
SIMCOX: Absolutely. I couldn't agree with you more, Sean. And when Mexico — the government of Mexico — cannot control narcoterrorists — they have cities that are held in the grips of narcoterrorism along the border. We have human slave trade, we have sex slave trade. The government of Mexico is forcing its people into the desert to die.
We're the ones that can stop that. When we secure our borders and build a fence and put military there, it will protect people on both sides if the border and force Mexico to provide economic opportunities for its citizens.
HANNITY: And I think, Senator, for Mexico to be a good partner with the United States, don't they have to stop really the incentive of coming to the United States, A, by fixing the economy and B, for example, they put up these aid stations in support of people that are breaking the law. Don't they have to stop doing things like that?
JONES: Well, I could make a very clear argument that it would probably be in Mexico's interest to put up a wall so we are not losing our human capital. But those types of solutions do not work in the long term. We have to get tot the root. Ad the U.S. has to get at the root cause. The U.S. is creating pull factors in the U.S. that need to be dealt with by the legislative body.
HANNITY: Are you going to blame the United States now? Are you going to blame the United States for this problem, sir?
JONES: I'm not blaming the United States.
HANNITY: Sounds like it.
JONES: I think we're the net losers in terms of this migration process.
HANNITY: All right.
COLMES: Thank you very much, Senator. Appreciate it.
Chris Simcox, thank you for coming on.
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