Hispanic Groups Protest Illegal Immigration Hotline

This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," August 13, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, no way, no, sir, no how. America's sheriff, Joe Arpaio, refusing to pull the plug on his hotline today, which Hispanic groups deemed racist. On it, callers can report possible sightings of illegals in their area.

So, today, Hispanic groups claimed that they are fighting back, launching a hotline on their own to go against the good sheriff's.

Reaction now from Sheriff Arpaio of Maricopa County in Arizona and state Representative Ben Miranda, who hate Sheriff Joe's hotline.

Representative, maybe I should go to you first.

And why — what — what did you not like about the sheriff's hotline?

BEN MIRANDA (D), ARIZONA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Well, I think it distracts away from finding a solution for immigration.

I mean, everything that Sheriff Arpaio does or myself or anyone involved in the debate on immigration should not be a dead end. The hot line doesn't get us there. The question really becomes this. Should we put our resources on stopping that drug dealer in our neighborhoods who also has halfway houses or — not halfway houses, but those holding houses that hold immigration victims and persons, or should we put it on that maid that is on her way to work?

I mean, we don't have the resources to put it on everything. So, I think it's — when Sheriff Arpaio goes in the direction he does, I think it does an injustice.


CAVUTO: Let the sheriff respond to that.


JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA, SHERIFF: Well, first of all, Ben, it's your legislature that passed the new law on arresting smugglers. And we're arresting the smugglees. We arrested 631. They are felons. We're the only law enforcement agency doing that. They are felons, a class-four felon.

So, I am just extending that program into a hot line to receive any information on illegal immigration. I never said Hispanic. I don't care where they're from. If they come here in this county illegally, and if we have probable cause, we are going to arrest them. It is very simple.

We are training 160 officers. Tomorrow will be our last class. You ought to be happy that my officers are being trained by the federal government to curtail any profiling.

CAVUTO: All right, Representative, if the end result is fewer illegals coming here or getting away with coming here, wouldn't you pleased with that?

MIRANDA: Joe, I want to find a — Neil, I want to find a solution for immigration. I don't want to get at those sexy things like doing a hot line that simply all it's going to do is, a neighbor is going to report a neighbor, someone is going to report on someone that has a gripe with it.

There is no control over this hot line. If Sheriff Joe Arpaio is going to respond to each and every one of these calls that come in, that's a waste of resources.

I have kids. I have family that look just like me. What other basis is an officer going to use to try to identify a person except that?

CAVUTO: Let the sheriff respond, then.


CAVUTO: Sheriff, is there a litmus test you use to distinguish the bad calls from the good ones?

ARPAIO: Yes, we received 1,200 calls. You don't see us going around knocking down doors. We did arrest eight last week from the hot line, but that was probable cause. There's no need to be concerned.

Of course, his group calls me the Third Reich and compares me to the gestapo. That is what he did with his press conference and his associates.

By the way, Ben, for your information...

MIRANDA: Yes, Joe.

ARPAIO: ... there is a federal — there is a federal hot line to report immigration. You never talk about that hot line, but you are talking about my hot line, because you don't like me enforcing the immigration laws. That's the bottom line.

MIRANDA: Joe, I don't have any problem with — I don't have any problem with you, Joe, in terms of trying to assist with immigration.

But let me tell you something. Talk about hotlines. The city of Phoenix has a crime-stop line. Why not piggyback on that and utilize that to stop some of this activity?


MIRANDA: Listen, we are not here to stop immigration by using a hotline that is going to use racial profiling as the only basis.

ARPAIO: We don't do profiling.


MIRANDA: You talk about the eight individuals that you detained and arrested. Listen, you can walk outside of this studio right now and pick up eight people. You can walk outside of your office, Joe, and pick up eight people.



MIRANDA: So, if you want to pick up eight people, go...


ARPAIO: No, we don't do that. That was probable cause, and that was a felony that we arrested the eight, the new law, the felony.

Number two, we have an animal cruelty hotline. We have a drug hotline. What is wrong with a hotline for illegal immigration?

CAVUTO: All right. Gentlemen, thank you both very much.

MIRANDA: You're most welcome.

CAVUTO: Fair and balanced. We heard both sides.

And you articulated them very, very well.

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