This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," May 18, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: President Bush visited the U.S.-Mexico border in Yuma, Arizona, this afternoon. That's just one day after the Senate approved funding for almost 400 miles of new border fence. And in just a few minutes, we're going to show you our own Carl Cameron's interview with the president at the border in Arizona from today.
And throughout tonight's show, we'll be showing you lots of new and exclusive video shot at the border in Yuma, by the way, not far from where the president visited just hours ago.
First, joining us now is the Border Patrol's chief patrol agent in Yuma, Arizona. Ronald Colburn is with us, and he was with the president from earlier today.
Ronald, tell us a little bit about your trip with the president.
RONALD COLBURN, U.S. BORDER PATROL: Well, thank you, Sean, and thank you for inviting me. It was very exciting for the entire community of Yuma, but especially exciting for the men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol. We hosted the trip here, and he spoke in our sector headquarters. It was a thrill for all of us.
HANNITY: Ronald, look, I've been down to the border now on four separate occasions. We've got another trip. I saw how massive this problem is, and I hope the president maybe got a good perspective today.
The only thing that I saw that we needed: We need more Border Patrol agents. I would say twice the number is a good start. We probably need about four times the number of agents we presently have and more infrastructure. Did you communicate that to the president?
COLBURN: Yes. And, first of all, Sean, call me Ron, please. I go by Ron. And, yes, we talked about the tactical infrastructure, we talked about smart borders technology, and especially we talked about the force multiplier that the National Guard would be. It's about putting the boots on the ground. And boots on the ground here are increasing. We've doubled our staffing level in Yuma alone in the past year.
HANNITY: Is that enough, in your estimation, Ron? Do you think we need three or four times the number of agents we currently have?
COLBURN: We need more agents. The National Guard will hold that line for us while we bring on 6,000 agents, probably in the next two years and a quarter, based on the president's speech. Those agents, boots on the ground, will be what it takes. It's going to take more.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Hey, Chief Colburn, it's Alan Colmes. I hope you don't mind if I call you Chief Colburn. Why does it take so long, two-and-a-half years, to get up to speed with 6,000? Is that going to be enough? And why does it take so much time?
COLBURN: That will actually be, Alan, a monumental number of people to be recruited, hired, trained and deployed back into the field. Those are the challenges with recruitment, training and hiring of the type of complex work that Border Patrol agents do in the field. It's a very ambitious schedule, but we know we can do it.
COLMES: Do you look forward to the National Guard helping out? Or do you really look forward to the day where that's just a temporary measure and that they're finally gone and you have all Border Patrol people there, not the National Guard?
COLBURN: First of all, we're very excited about getting the help. We've been working with the National Guard, actually, for years. Just today, I was able to show the president tactical infrastructure being constructed by the Red Horse Unit from Pennsylvania and Ohio, National Guard units right here in Yuma supporting the Border Patrol.
We're very excited about it. But the end game is to have an exit strategy for the National Guard, replaced by Border Patrol agents deployed in the field in law enforcement roles.
COLMES: Talk of a wall now, the Senate just passed that. With a wall, don't you still need enforcement personnel? So how much good does the wall actually do, if people can go above it or below it, and you still need personnel to do enforcement?
COLBURN: You're absolutely right, Alan. It is a matter of layering on multiple layers of technology of tactical infrastructure. Some people refer to it in part as fence, and also the agent personnel, and also elevated and ground sensing systems, such as aircraft and ground-based radar. We are the experimental locations for ground-based radar working with the U.S. Marines here in the Yuma area, and we've had great success with it.
HANNITY: Hey, Chief, thank you for being with us. And thanks for all of the good work you and the guys are doing on the ground for us. We appreciate it.
And joining us now, Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo, who's been a strong critic of the president.
Congressman, you see that the president says he's going to double the number of agents. They're going to build 400 miles of fence. I know your biggest concern is about amnesty. Do you give the president credit for taking on this problem, this issue, at this time?
REP. TOM TANCREDO, R-COLO.: Absolutely. I am totally and completely — you do not know how long it has been that I have been wanting to be able to be supportive of the president.
Listen, he's in my party. He's the guy I voted for. I want him to be successful. I don't like being a critic of the president. I simply disagree with him completely and totally when it comes to this idea of marrying the idea of enforcement with the idea of — and it really is amnesty, no matter how many times he tries to say it isn't. It's amnesty. When you put those two together, it ruins it for me.
HANNITY: See, look, I agree with you, and I actually think, though, there is an opportunity here. First of all, the president is tackling a problem that has, frankly, been in the works for 15 years. I'm glad that he's doing that. I like doubling the number of agents. We may need more. I like the idea of building fences. I like infrared sensors. I like the drones.
If we take amnesty out of it, this country is now engaged in this debate. Congress is going to weigh in on this. If the American people speak loudly, the people like you, it may not happen, isn't that correct?
COLBURN: Yes, sir. I believe that the longer this debate goes on in the Senate and the more people find out about it, even members of the Senate — you know, this whole bill, by the way, this 654-page bill was written by Ted Kennedy and his staff. The Hagel-Martinez bill, I mean, they put their names on it, but it's really a Kennedy bill, and even they are finding out things in it that they think, "Wow, no kidding. That's amazing."
I believe that the longer the debate goes on, the less and less likely it is that we'll get something like that out of there. And that would be wonderful. If we could get enforcement of the law, actual construction of a true barrier on the border, whether you call it a virtual fence or a low- tech fence, and a lot of boots on the ground, and also enforcement of the laws inside the country against people hiring people who are here illegally. Take away that magnet...
TANCREDO: ... and we will be OK.
COLMES: ... it's Alan Colmes. Thank you for being on our show once again.
TANCREDO: Hi, Alan.
COLMES: You have said that the president has no Republican support in the House for an amnesty program. Is his broad-based, comprehensive plan dead on arrival in the House?
TANCREDO: I will tell you that, right now, you know, as we speak, things are fluid around this place, as you know. But as we speak, there is no way that a bill that they call comprehensive, which is just a euphemism for amnesty, there is no way that a bill containing amnesty will get a majority of Republicans in the House to support it.
Now, why I put it that way is because the speaker of the House has said to us on more than one occasion that he would not bring a bill forward that did not have that majority Republican support. So I'm telling you that that's the basis on which I would say we will not see a bill.
COLMES: When the president says it's not amnesty, do Republicans not believe the president when he says this is not an amnesty bill?
TANCREDO: He is — I keep saying, you know, let's send him the dictionary. He said tonight, again, I heard him from the border saying, "I call amnesty immediate citizenship, and my bill is not immediate citizenship for people who are here illegally."
Well, Mr. President, you're the only person I know who defines amnesty that way. Amnesty is when you do not apply the penalty that the law requires when you have violated that law. And when you tell people who have come into this country illegally that they can stay, that is amnesty. There's just no two ways about it.
COLMES: Congressman, do you want to deport 11 million people?
TANCREDO: You don't have to. It's a false dichotomy. You do not have to have either amnesty or massive deportation.
COLMES: What do you want to do?
TANCREDO: You can have attrition, if you do what I say. I know this is a radical idea, you know, something that is...
COLMES: But you still have to do something about the people who will remain in this country.
TANCREDO: ... and that is enforce the law.
COLMES: What do you do about the people who stay here?
TANCREDO: You enforce the law against people — I mean, against employers who are hiring the folks who are here. If you do that, you will get attrition. Over time, millions of people will return home because, of course, that's why they came to the United States for a job. If they can't get one, they will go home.
TANCREDO: You don't have to have massive deportation.
HANNITY: Appreciate your time, Congressman Tom Tancredo.
TANCREDO: Thank you, guys.
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