Napolitano on the Obama Administration's Crackdown on Criminal Illegal Aliens

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," October 6, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


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BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: "Personal Story" segment tonight: Almost under the radar the Obama Administration has cracked down on criminal illegal aliens, deporting them in record numbers. In the fiscal year 2010, almost 400,000 illegals are sent home - half of them convicted of criminal activity here in the USA.

Joining us now from Washington, the head of the Homeland Security Department, Janet Napolitano. So, Madam Secretary why has this policy been kept so quiet? I mean, I followed this issue as you know very, very closely. You guys are deporting people in record numbers, but that isn't really widely publicized.

JANET NAPOLITANO, U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: I know it's -- it is kind of interesting. But what we've done is focused on criminal aliens in the United States. We have also focused on felony fugitives. We have installed something called secure communities in 600 plus jurisdictions around the United States. We think we'll have it universally available by 2013. It allows us to prioritize and really remove from our communities aliens who have also committed crimes.

O'REILLY: OK. I'm going to ask you questions that my viewers ask me.


O'REILLY: Yes, you are deporting them but can't they just come right back across the border? Isn't it easy just to come back in here because we do see criminals convicted of crimes that have been here many, many times and deported them, bang, bang, bang, bang bang.

NAPOLITANO: Yes, that's kind of the yo-yo effect. Here is the thing. First of all, some of them have committed crimes in Mexico or Central America. We turn them over to law enforcement. So, they may be prosecuted in Mexico and Central America, et cetera.

Secondly, we have instituted a number of programs where they're not just returned over the border. They're actually repatriated into the interior -- into the southern parts of Mexico and makes returning all of them more difficult.

O'REILLY: All right, how much is this costing the American taxpayer, because we have to pick up the tab to fly these people out of here?

NAPOLITANO: Well, it does cost. But we think it's worth it. We think it's worth it to --

O'REILLY: Do you have a number how many billions of dollars a year you have to spend to get these people out of here.

NAPOLITANO: Yes. I would have to go look it up for you. But, I will tell you it is worth it because we would rather --

O'REILLY: Well, sure.

NAPOLITANO: We would rather repatriate them, so they don't keep coming back.

O'REILLY: Absolutely. Do you seize their assets here in the USA. If you're going to deport -- Say somebody is being deported and they have a house. Do you seize the house to pay for the deportation?

NAPOLITANO: No. Usually, in that case here is what would happen is that a state that is prosecuting this individual, if they have grounds or the federal government may forfeit the house, but that will go to the treasury not to us directly.

O'REILLY: All right, because that should happen. I mean any assets in the United States of any illegal alien who is caught committing a crime should be forfeited immediately. OK, now --

NAPOLITANO: Yes. It would be nice -- yes, paying their way back.

O'REILLY: You know, I give the Obama Administration a lot of credit for this crack down. And, he is doing a lot more than the Bush Administration did. But the public perception because of the lawsuit against Arizona -- in Arizona pretty much what you are doing but they are doing it on the state level and it's a parallel thing and then you see Holder go into sue Arizona. But, you in your department are aggressively trying to get these people out of here who are causing trouble. Do you see any incongruity here?

NAPOLITANO: No. I think not. And, you know, I was the governor of Arizona --


NAPOLITANO: And attorney general of Arizona. I'm a little familiar with the situation there. And, there -- there is a big difference between the federal government taking on its responsibility and taking the lead and prioritizing the criminal aliens and other aliens we want removed from our country versus a state striking out on its own --

O'REILLY: But, it's the same goal though --

NAPOLITANO: We really don't want 50 states --

O'REILLY: It's the same goal, protecting the people.

NAPOLITANO: We all -- Well, at a base level, yes. But not, in fact, in terms of how you carry out the law.

O'REILLY: All right. Well, I still think that you guys could probably do this a better way. But, you are not involved in the lawsuit. I want to make that clear. All right, now we got to go to the Nicky Diaz situation. As you know she was illegal alien, who worked for Meg Whitman who is running for governor of California for nine years. She comes out. She admits to the nation she had a bogus social security number and was employed for nine years. She lied to an employment agency in California. That's how she got to Mrs. Whitman's house in the first place. Now, what is Homeland Security/ICE going to do about her?

NAPOLITANO: You know, I don't know the answer to that question.

O'REILLY: Shouldn't you know it Madam Secretary? You are in charge and this is a huge case. Shouldn't you know the answer to that question?

NAPOLITANO: Well, I will know it at some point. But, I don't know it right now. I mean I think obviously this is ultimately a matter for California voters to decide in terms --

O'REILLY: It's a federal matter. No. No. No. No. I mean sure, the election between Brown and Whitman in California --


O'REILLY: But, this is a federal matter. And, this is why it's important because this is the highest profile illegal alien situation that we have had here in this country for years. Everybody is locked in on this woman. And, I'm not taking an editorial position. I'm not going to tell you what to do. That would be insulting and I wouldn't do that.

However, the folks want to know what the federal government is going to do about this because it sends a message to all the other people using bogus social security cards that are hurting the country, Madam Secretary.

NAPOLITANO: Indeed. And, what I am saying is we don't have a decision made right now that I could tell you. But, I can tell you this. I can tell you that our efforts over the past 19 months have resulted in more people being deported who have used bogus social security numbers who have criminal records who have committed crimes than in any other period in our nation's history.

O'REILLY: All right, can you assure my viewers -- millions of people are watching all over the world now. Can you assure them that the federal government will do something about this Nicky situation?

NAPOLITANO: I will assure them that we will look at this very seriously.

O'REILLY: And when you come to a conclusion, will you come back and tell us?


O'REILLY: All right. So, now we have you on videotape, Madam Secretary.


NAPOLITANO: It's very good. Exactly.


O'REILLY: Listen, I think you're doing the right thing here. And, I wanted everybody to know it and it's a pleasure to have you on the program and any time you want to come on, you are welcome.

NAPOLITANO: Thank you so much.