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Hannity

More Debate Over the Immigration Bill

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," May 18, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Our top story is the continuing debate over yesterday's immigration deal. Although the bill was bi-partisan in nature, there's also bi-partisan opposition tonight. Last night, we heard from Senator Jon Kyl who supports the deal.

Tonight, here are some of the people who are opposing it: Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she has serious concerns, and Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey says he will vote against it. EvenBarack Obama says he is against it, in its current form.

On the other side of the aisle, former Speaker Newt Gingrich says the deal is a sellout of every conservative principle. And presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he strongly opposes it.

Joining us now with more is Republican congressman and presidential candidate Tom Tancredo. And from Immigrants without Borders, Elias Bermudez.

Mr. Bermudez, let me start with you. As a representative of immigrants, how do you view this? Will immigrants sign onto it or will they go underground, because they have to touch base on their home country in order to get back in?

ELIAS BERMUDEZ, IMMIGRANTS WITHOUT BORDERS: Sir, Mr. Colmes, I thank you for the opportunity to be here today. And I want to tell that immigrants will embrace this. This is actually the last hope that we have for bringing people out of the shadows and truly assimilate into this community that for so long they have contributed to the greatness of this country.

COLMES: See, you like the bill. But what about the issue of having to touch back home? Some have said, well, that's not going to sit well with many immigrants who are going to not trust the idea that they can get back into the country once they go back to their home country?

BERMUDEZ: The touchback provision is something that I actually wanted in that bill, because we want to remove the stigma of illegality by having these people lawfully admitted through the port of entry. And I hope that this touchback provision can be solved by allowing people, through a temporary program, to be able to go visit their parents. —They will do it on their own.

COLMES: Tom Tancredo, I know you're against this bill and you don't like the provisions for illegal immigrants in this country. But before those provisions can kick in, there has to be border security, they're building a wall, and all these other things in place first. So doesn't that give a fuller, more comprehensive picture to what this bill does?

REP. TOM TANCREDO (R), COLORADO: The day after this is passed, the day after this is passed, anyone who is presently here illegally can get a probationary "Z" visa. And there's no triggers involved for that. And what you get is a Social Security card, a work authorization card, and an immunity against being deported.

Now, that's what you get the day after this is passed. If that is not amnesty, I don't know what is. Later on, there are provisions to go into place before you can get the actual Z visa. But let me tell you, even those are almost a joke.

COLMES: A joke? But, Congressman, you have to go through eight to 13 years. ou've got to pay a $5,000 fine, then a $4,000 fine. You've got to go back to home country. You've got to prove you're not a criminal. And after all these hoops you've got to jump through, and it's a long-term process.

TANCREDO: Listen, who is really going to enforce this is the other issue. Even the things, if we believed that they were actually meaningful, who is really going — does anybody believe that this administration or the next will do any better at enforcement?

Why can't we just do this? Why can't we simply enforce the laws that are on the books? Everything or most of the triggers are actually laws that are on the books today. They're nothing new. They simply have to be enforced, and they're not.

COLMES: But, Congressman, there is more enforcement in here, there's more Border Patrol, there are more strictures, there are more things that have to be done on an enforcement level before these illegal immigrants can even be considered for citizenship on this bill.

TANCREDO: Three hundred and seventy miles of fence has to be there, right? OK, there are 2,000 miles of border. And we've already approved 700 miles. Go to 18,000 border patrolmen? Fine, hire then, great. We are already at 12,000. It's not a doubling.

But nonetheless, I'm happy that that's, you know, a provision. But what I'm saying is, none of these are new. We have already approved 20,000 Border Patrol. We did that two years ago. Any of these things could be done if you just simply enforce the law today. You don't have to give amnesty to do it.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Well, and, Congressman Tancredo, we never built the fence, which the funding is there for it.

But, Elias, I want to go back to you. Do you believe — and this is a very fundamental question here — do you believe in the rule of law? Because there are people that have been going through this process to come into our country legally that have waited for years. And yet the people that did not respect our laws and sovereignty will literally be given the very thing they wanted. So my question to you is, why should they go to the front of the line? Why should they get that benefit, having not respected our laws?

BERMUDEZ: And, first of all, the congressional intent here...

HANNITY: No, no, no. Elias, no, no, answer my question. Why should they benefit, having not respected our laws?

BERMUDEZ: The answer is, they should not benefit by going in front of the law. And they will not, by having a temporary card to be legally, will not be in the front of the line.

HANNITY: Elias, they get to stay in the country.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: They get what they wanted.

BERMUDEZ: They get to stay in this country because of the fact that we need them here. If 12 million people were to walk out of this country tomorrow...

HANNITY: Elias, let me tell you something.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMUDEZ: ... we will suffer tremendously. We will suffer tremendously.

HANNITY: Sir, there are people that have been trying to get into this country for six, seven, and eight years, doing it legally, that want to come here. And you cannot satisfactorily explain to this audience why people who did not respect our law get to have the benefit of staying here. You cannot satisfactorily explain that.

BERMUDEZ: Well, I have news for you, Mr. Hannity. I have news for you. Out of those people that are waiting, 6 million of them are already in the United States waiting exactly for that moment, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting. So, hopefully, Hannity, we can actually find a solution here. Let's find a solution...

HANNITY: I have a solution.

BERMUDEZ: ... and stop bickering about it. Let's find a solution.

TANCREDO: It's enforce the law.

HANNITY: Enforce the law.

TANCREDO: Enforce the law.

BERMUDEZ: That's exactly what the solution is.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMUDEZ: And if you enforce the law, if you enforce the law, you're going to be hurting this country.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Stop right there. Hang on a second. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Congressman Tancredo, wait a minute, wait a minute.

TANCREDO: Wow.

HANNITY: He's saying, if you enforce the law — so wait a minute. This whole issue is about creating a brand new law. We're not going to obey the old one, but we'll obey the new one. I find that hard to believe. Why should anybody have any faith or believe the new law when we don't enforce the old law?

TANCREDO: It's no going to happen. The only reason...

(CROSSTALK)

BERMUDEZ: If you give me the opportunity, if you give me the opportunity, I will answer this, Congressman Tancredo.

TANCREDO: As will I.

BERMUDEZ: It's time to stop the hypocrisy of this situation. Either you want to have a solution or you want to continue to have the undocumented to be talking about it.

TANCREDO: I do want a solution.

BERMUDEZ: We want to get rid of the undocumented, give them the opportunity to do this. And if you and I can get together and really take them all out once there is a legal mechanism where they can become legal and they don't obey that, then you and I can...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Let me ask Tom Tancredo this question. Congressman, this is an important question for me. First of all, the law is yet to be written. The American people have not had an opportunity to fully scrutinize this. I am upset that people like yourself and Jeff Sessions were kept out of the negotiating here, but Ted Kennedy was invited into this whole thing here.

TANCREDO: And La Raza. And La Raza.

HANNITY: And I'm also appalled how they want to push this through the Senate without any committee analysis, any cost analysis, any impact on the health care system, on Social Security and Medicare. They're trying to ram this through in record time. Why are they doing it that way?

TANCREDO: Because, of course, the longer it sits over there, the more people learn about it. And the more they learn about, the more upset they get. Robert Rector, [from the] Heritage Foundation, just came out with a study of this, $2.5 trillion is what this will cost America over the lifetime of the people.

COLMES: Finally we have bipartisanship, and nobody wants bipartisanship. Finally you got bipartisanship in Washington, and nobody wants the bipartisanship.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMUDEZ: They didn't invite him because he doesn't want it to work.

COLMES: Elias, thank you very much. Thank you both very much for being with us.

BERMUDEZ: Thank you.

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