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Michael Bloomberg on Illegal Immigration Solutions

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," December 15, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: "Factor Follow-up Segment" tonight, immigration both legal and illegal. In New Haven, Connecticut, Mayor John DeStefano wants to give illegal aliens the right to vote, if you can believe it. Here in New York City there are an estimated half million illegal aliens and residents creating all kinds of drama.

Here now New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and from Washington Nick Schulz from the American Enterprise Institute; and they are working on solutions to the immigration problem.

New York City has a reputation, and it may not be founded, being a sanctuary city for illegal aliens.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), NEW YORK CITY: Well, it's an entry city. People from around the world want to come here. We have a record population 8.4 million highest the city... the biggest the city has ever been. This year we're going to have 50 million tourists come to New York City. It's a place people want to come.

O'REILLY: But with a half million illegal aliens you are not doing what Arizona does or Alabama does or other states where they are cracking down and they're saying look, we don't really want these people here. You are not doing that in New York City.

BLOOMBERG: We are not doing that. They're part of the economy. I think that everybody that's here undocumented should find a way to get documented. This country should be in control of its borders. This country should not have undocumented but it should be open to people around the world. Without that we are just not going to stay a super power, Bill.

O'REILLY: But what do you say to people who say Mr. Mayor these people cheated. There is a legitimate immigration process, they went around it. They broke our civil laws coming in here. And you Mr. Mayor are really rewarding them by allowing them to stay and take part in New York City's infrastructure which costs money.

BLOOMBERG: Bill, think about how we got here. Back in 1986, I think it was, we had big immigration reform and Congress did what Congress always does. They talk tough.

O'REILLY: And did nothing.

BLOOMBERG: And did nothing.

O'REILLY: Right.

BLOOMBERG: They pass laws but then they don't fund it so that you can enforce the laws. So yes all the 11 million... it's probably down to something much less than 10 million now because a lot of people have gone home. And if you take a look there's almost nobody coming across the Mexican border.

In any case, people that are here illegally most of them just overstay visas. They don't run through the desert. Just visa...

O'REILLY: Well, it doesn't really matter how they get here.

BLOOMBERG: But in fact, what's happened here is these people are part of our economy. You can't pick the crops without migrant workers who work... take jobs others won't.

O'REILLY: We are looking for solutions too. But I don't think bad behavior should be rewarded like giving them the vote in New Haven. You wouldn't want to give them the vote.

BLOOMBERG: No, I do feel very strongly only citizens should vote.

O'REILLY: Ok. Now the solution, Mr. Schulz, seems to be to expand legal immigration. Is that what you and the mayor are working on? Do you want to expand legal immigration?

NICK SCHULZ, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Yes. That's right, Bill. Look, we have got... Christmas is right around the corner. The biggest Christmas gift we could give the American economy is to open our doors to skilled immigrants from around the world who want to come here. They want to learn, they want to start businesses and they want hire Americans.

O'REILLY: How do you know they are skilled? Is there a litmus test that you would impose.

SCHULZ: Not a litmus test you would impose but they're either... they're going to good schools in their home country or a lot of them are coming here, they're going to our best universities and colleges. And the way our system is now, we are educating these folks here at great schools and then we're sending them back home because we're not letting them stay in the country.

O'REILLY: So why do we need... why do we need more skilled labor with the unemployment rate at 9 percent. I mean there are a lot of white-collar people who can't get jobs. Why do we need to import people to make it tougher to get a job?

SCHULZ: Because we have looked at this. AEI has a new study out that's looked at this. Skilled immigrants are net job creators and they're net job creators in a big way.

O'REILLY: All right. So you say they are entrepreneurial, they are going to start up businesses and they're going to hire Americans, right?

SCHULZ: Absolutely. That's part of it.

O'REILLY: You believe that and your study backs that up.

SCHULZ: Absolutely.

BLOOMBERG: And we have done similar studies. Nick couldn't be more right. For every person that has a graduate degree in science or engineering that is here they generate something like 2.5 jobs for Americans. If you want to have more jobs, we need more immigrants. It's plain and simple.

O'REILLY: All right. I got into trouble a couple of years ago when there was a big fire in the Bronx that killed a bunch of illegal aliens because they were living in a flop house like 30 of them. And the city knew that there was all kinds of violations in the flop house. But the city didn't do anything about it and didn't report the situation to ICE. And I said these people would be alive today if the city of New York had done its job and regulated this.

That was a harsh assessment, I think, on my part but I believe it. I believe that we are not doing the illegal immigrants any favor by looking the other way and letting them live in an underground situation. But you disagree with me.

BLOOMBERG: No, I think that number one, I don't know the situation that you are talking about.

O'REILLY: You remember that big, big fire.

BLOOMBERG: Yes there was a big fire.

O'REILLY: A lot of people...

BLOOMBERG: There are tragedies all the time, I don't know how you link that to undocumented...

O'REILLY: But you know... you know there are people jammed into apartments.

BLOOMBERG: Yes. There are plenty of American citizens jammed into small apartments as well.

BLOOMBERG: Only because you want to make a difference. Human life is human life.

O'REILLY: The code violations when you go in. If the person who owns the apartment or who's renting it apartment is illegal you can report that person to ICE if you so choose.

BLOOMBERG: Yes. But if they are violating the zoning laws, you can report them to the city government and we will do something about it as well.

O'REILLY: You didn't in that case.

BLOOMBERG: Maybe we didn't in that case. But the bottom line is that has little to do with the fact that we need jobs in this country desperately. And the ways to get jobs is to have people with great skills who are entrepreneurs come to this country and create the jobs.

And if you look at the statistics, if you look at the percentage of new businesses that are started by entrepreneurs, much higher than those started by Americans who have been here for many generations.

O'REILLY: That's true. And there are certain industries like electronics and all of that that have dominated.

BLOOMBERG: I will give you a good idea. We were... I was asked one time on television, what do you do for the big cities in this country that have been hollowed out where industry has left or just disappeared. I said here is what you do because we don't have a lot of money to fix the problem. But if you just go and say to people around the world if you have skills, you can come, we will give you a visa to live in that city. You agree not to take any federal, state or city moneys live in that city for seven years. You figure out how to make a living. We will give you full citizenship at the end of seven years.

O'REILLY: If you are good citizen.

BLOOMBERG: If you don't break the laws and take any federal money. Those people would use...

O'REILLY: All right. I'm not opposed to it.

BLOOMBERG: And those people would create jobs and that's what you do to these cities.

O'REILLY: I'm not opposed to it. As long as it's legal, I think you guys have something that the brains around the world could absolutely help this country.

Look at me. I'm Irish and my people came here and look at this brain right here, Mr. Mayor. Can you see it?

BLOOMBERG: I can see it, Bill. I can see it.

O'REILLY: All right, gentlemen. Thanks, happy holidays

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