Bob Beckel defends comments on student visas

Should US consider new restrictions in wake of Boston Marathon attack?


This is a rush transcript from "The Five," April 23, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: Well, yesterday, I raised a little controversy here and some people wondered whether I was going to pull back on it, and I'm not, despite the early morning calls from my liberal friends who among up on me.

I made a point yesterday that there are 75,000 Muslim students in the United States right now of which 20 percent have never showed up at their schools. There's another 20,000 coming in the fall of this year. I have no problem with those people staying, 75,000 and the 20,000 coming. They have every right to get an education. They have been approved.

What I said was we need two years to allow this to get worked out in the United States because the FBI has got active files on a number of students visa holders who are Muslims who are not in school and some who you are. And if the FBI could not deal with this fellow in Boston with all they had on him. It seems to me that we ought to give time for them to clear up their problems with the current Muslim population here and then let students come back in. That's what my point was and I stick with it.

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: You imagine if they have a problem with 75,000, what are they going to do with 11.5 million illegals here illegally?

BECKEL: There is a big difference.

BOLLING: I mean, think about it, Bob.

BECKEL: There is a big difference. These 75,000 --

BOLLING: These 11 million have no idea where they come from or what they're about. Leave them here but --

BECKEL: We do know that the Muslims that are coming here come from countries where their leadership does not like the United States. Their clerics do not like the United States. They are taught not to like the United States. That's much different than the people who come in from Mexico.

So there you go.


DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: I'm going to make this a banner day and disagree with you again.


PERINO: I think that education diplomacy is one of the best things that we have. Most of the leaders that you deal with in leadership that are in the Middle East were educated in the West, either in the United States or in Britain. They are going to be educated somewhere. And wouldn't you rather have them here and get a taste of America and freedom than overseas?

I do think that stronger coordination with those governments makes a lot of sense and holding, possibly holding universities liable because they are looking for the money, universities are, they are -- all they want is that money.

But I think that we cannot wall ourselves off from the world. Education diplomacy are our best tools. This was -- this guy wasn't even -- the losers were not on student visas.

BECKEL: Let me (INAUDIBLE) Boston with all -- I don't think what I'm proposing would have stopped Boston from happening.


GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: I have mixed feelings. I find it funny that people who are angry at you over cutting off student visas are usually less angry about terrorists cutting off people's heads. But I just think overall better background checks.

When I got married, my wife had to move over with me to London and into the United States. We had -- she had to go through so many background checks. Essentially say she is not a terrorist. I mean, that's what you have to do. And she had to do health checks and all these other stuff and -- anyway.

BECKEL: Where were you on this?

ANDREA TANTAROS, CO-HOST: You have moments of brilliance. And I have to say, I absolutely agree with you, Bob, on this one. You know, the State Department has a couple programs in place. One of them was ramping up to bring Muslim students to the U.S. actually recruiting them.

And Dana is right. The universities do this because they can actually charge the foreign students more, so that they get five year visas, scholarships covering tuition. They learn English.

But should we really be teaching them nuclear physics so they can return to their home countries and not all of them. Not all of them radicalized, but they do come here it to get an education.

You know what that does? That takes the seat away from an American kid. Also parents can't even get their kids into colleges now because there is not enough spots.

GUTFELD: If you take them out of the school, school GPA is going to drop because they are killing (ph) our students.

BECKEL: I agree with Dana, by the way. A lot of these schools, particularly for profit schools, are signing, all they have got to do sign a letter saying yes they are accepted to school and they can get a student visa.

I'm not suggesting the massive number of these students are all radicals bent on doing damage on the United States. But I believe the statistics. And at some point, you got to say to yourself, and you got 75,000 or 95,000, there is a percentage of them that are potentially dangerous.

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