Angelides: Immigration Is a Federal Issue

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," June 19, 2006, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, it is a beautiful city. And no matter what time you come here, there is always traffic here. So, one thing that didn't leave me in New York is that San Francisco deals with the same things. It just seems so much more stunning to look at.

We are reporting to you live today from San Francisco, California. And big news here is the gubernatorial election. He might just be the guy who will terminate the Terminator.

Now, polls in California are all over the map, but they show that, if the election for governor were held right now, my next guest could beat Arnold Schwarzenegger. The defining issue, well, among many, it could be the secret issue of immigration.

With me now, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides.

PHIL ANGELIDES, D-CALIF. GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: It's great to be with you, as always.

CAVUTO: Good to have you. Thank you for coming.

ANGELIDES: In New York, as well as another state.

CAVUTO: Wherever. We do it all over the place, right?


CAVUTO: You had said that you are against putting National Guard on the border. The governor, as you know, relinquished and said, all right, I will put the 1,000 or however many it was there. Why were you against it?

ANGELIDES: I just believe it's the federal government that ought to do its job.

You know, after 9/11, President Bush promised 2,000 new border guards a year and failed on that promise. I believe the federal government has only funded about 50 percent of the commitments that came out of the post-9/11 legislation.

And I just believe that we ought to hold the Bush White House, the Congress, to the — feet to the fire. They ought to be supplying border guards. It's their responsibility.

You know, Neil, we are already paying in this state $750 million a year to incarcerate undocumented felons. That's a federal responsibility. And my view is, enough is enough. I would have pressured the White House, unlike this governor.

CAVUTO: But 1,000 guards are better than none, right?

ANGELIDES: But, look, the fact is, the Guard is already stretched thin. They are in Iraq. They are in Afghanistan. They need to be here for flood, fire, disaster. And the federal government ought to fund border enforcement. That's just my view. And they ought to reimburse us the $750 million they owe us for incarceration costs.

CAVUTO: But, Phil, you are also one of the most gifted politicians I have ever interviewed. So, something in your poll tracking data must show that this position, in the face of Americans who are all whipped up about this immigration issue, is a winning position here. Is it?

ANGELIDES: Well, my consultants would wish I would look at the polls. Really, I haven't looked at polls on this issue. This is just my gut instinct. You know, this is...

CAVUTO: Well, is this helping you with the Hispanic community?

ANGELIDES: Well, I don't think this is a poll-able issue, because here's what I think a governor should be doing, all right?

A governor should, most of all, try to calm the waters, because this can be a very explosive issue. A governor should do a governor's job of conscientiously trying to get Washington to fulfill its role. And I don't believe Washington has done a good job on border enforcement or reimbursing costs.

Now, in terms of immigration policy, my view would be that, with respect to the people already here, you know, deportation, it's not even politically or financially feasible. We ought to say, what's the best thing for California?

I happen to believe the best thing, ultimately, would be for all the people working here, obeying the rules, paying their taxes, supporting our economy, some sensible path to citizenship. It's probably the most sensible thing.

CAVUTO: All right, now, there are a couple of million here, though.


CAVUTO: A couple of million here.

So, you would legalize them all?

ANGELIDES: Well, I would give people who have been here a certain period of time. I don't whether it's like the Senate bill, you know, a number of years.

People here who have had, you know, no infractions against the law, people who have committed to learning English, my view is, a path of citizenship would make sense.

CAVUTO: What about the others?

ANGELIDES: In terms of — oh, look, if people break laws in the state, they ought to pay penalties for that.

And I do think we need stronger border enforcement for the future.

CAVUTO: But how would you deport those guys?

ANGELIDES: Well, look, right now, people commit felonies here in this state, and they're, you know, housed in state prisons. And we bear the bill. We got to have a better system.


Why isn't this the issue it is nationally here, where this is really the epicenter of the problem?

ANGELIDES: Well, why is it such a hot issue here, you're saying, or...

CAVUTO: Not. It's really not.

ANGELIDES: Well, it's interesting, because I think most Californians are thoughtful about it.

You know, Governor Schwarzenegger and I have many disagreements. On education funding, I believe he has not done what he should.


ANGELIDES: College tuition fees, he has raised them. I have been against that. He has borrowed — you and I have talked about that — billions of dollars to patch over budget deficits.

CAVUTO: But, all the sudden, they found $7 billion in more tax revenues. So, doesn't that help him?

ANGELIDES: I want to say, on immigration, you will find that I don't think this is going to be a wedge issue in this gubernatorial election.

Now, in terms of our budget, yes, there has been a surge of revenue. But we still face a $4 billion budget hole next year. We still owe over $25 billion.

And, when I'm governor, I'm going to do what Pete Wilson did, Ronald Reagan did, Pat Brown did, previous governors. I am going to come in and finally end this ongoing deficit spending.

CAVUTO: You say when you are governor.


CAVUTO: Depending on the polls, too close to call. What's going to win it for you?

ANGELIDES: I believe, in the end, Californians are going to want a governor they can count on. And the fact is, they don't know who Arnold Schwarzenegger is right now. He said he would balance the budget.

CAVUTO: Well, they like him personally. They don't know you personally.


And people are going to have to get to know me and my beautiful family...


ANGELIDES: ... and a sense who — what my values are.

I think they will have to also come to believe that, as governor, I will keep my word, and that I will try to help hardworking families, middle-class families, climb up the ladder of opportunity.

CAVUTO: All right. Phil Angelides, always good seeing you. Thank you very much.

ANGELIDES: Great to be with you.

CAVUTO: We had tried to arrange for Governor Schwarzenegger, and couldn't happen. But maybe it will.

Maybe you will put in a pitch, right?

ANGELIDES: I will take his next spot.

CAVUTO: All right. Thank you.

CAVUTO: All right. Thank you.

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