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Bill O'Reilly: Is reforming immigration the right thing to do for America?

By Bill O'Reilly

The controversy over illegal immigration took another turn today. In order to persuade conservatives to support a new law, some Republican senators including John McCain and Marco Rubio are hoping that tough new border proposals that will cost billions will be enough to pass legislation that would allow illegal aliens already here to work legally.

Basically the new stuff comes down to doubling the border patrol from 20,000 to 40,000 on the Mexican front, building 700 miles of new fence and installing a variety of high tech gizmos designed to track those who cross the border illegally.

In addition the E-Verify system would be used so aliens who do not follow the rules couldn't work in the USA at all. Now the bill is extremely complicated and if passed would take years to implement. Senator Rubio told me on the phone today that it would be at least 13 years, 13, before people in the country illegally right now could gain full legal working status and even longer to achieve citizenship.

"Talking Points" supports immigration reform, even though I well understand the new law will be somewhat chaotic and will be a magnet for even more people to come here illegally, which is why we need step up security on the border.

For conservative Americans the issue is a difficult one because immigration reform would reward bad behavior; the illegal entry into the USA. But please keep in mind that part of that illegal behavior was actually encouraged by the federal government, which for decades did nothing to stop it. Also some business people who make money from cheap labor aided and abetted illegal immigration.

The Republican Party has a lot to lose here. If it doesn't compromise many Hispanic voters will reject the GOP entirely pretty much dooming the party in the future. That's reality.

Liberals on the other hand are generally soft on illegal immigration because it helps the Democrats as most new voters support the entitlement party. Also the left likes to bill itself as the ideology of compassion. A footnote off all of this comes in "The New Yorker" magazine which implies that Fox News colluded with Republican senators on immigration reform. The writer Ryan Lizza reports that I, your humble correspondent, had private conversations with Republican senators and agreed to support the immigration bill in those conversations.

That never happened. I never collude with anyone. This is a no collusion zone. I occasionally talk with politicians who give me information, as every political analyst and reporter does. But there are never ever any deals made here about anything.

Back to reality. It is time for the USA to pass immigration reform. For years I've called for a more secure southern border, you know that. And now it looks like the secure border is in reach at least somewhat. So I hope this bill does become law.

And that's "The Memo."

O'Reilly Factor, hosted by Bill O'Reilly, airs on Weekdays at 8PM ET on Fox News Channel.