This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 13, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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O'REILLY: Continuing now with our lead story, ICE rating, targeting criminal illegal aliens.
Joining us now from Irvine, California, Claude Arnold, retired ICE special agent was once in charge of investigations in Los Angeles. So, when you saw the local news in the southland, as they call where you live, reporting on the raids, what did you think?
CLAUDE ARNOLD, FORMER ICE SPECIAL AGENT: My first reaction is it was mass hysteria. Right? People, it being reported, what actually wasn't happening. In fact, this operation was a fairly routine operation. The same type of operation they did conduct under President Obama throughout his administration. But it was being characterized as something that it wasn't and what that did was it caused hysteria in those communities. People thinking that ICE is out --
O'REILLY: All right. So, they turn on the local news channel seven, channel 2, channel 4, the news out there in L.A., and all of a sudden hearing that poor, innocent migrants are being dragged off by ICE agents, when the stat is in Los Angeles, out of them 165 arrested, 151 had felony arrests. A hundred and fifty one out of 165. And the others that were taken into custody, I understand, had deportation warrants out on them. They were already ordered deported. Okay?
ARNOLD: Yes. Majority of them.
O'REILLY: So, did you hear any of that on any of the network news, local news in Southern California? Anything like that at all?
ARNOLD: No, no. You know, I had been doing some media today. So, hopefully, they will be reporting what I told them.
O'REILLY: Then why didn't they report the truth?
ARNOLD: You have to ask them why.
O'REILLY: You don't have any idea, living in that area as long as you have and dealing with the illegal aliens?
ARNOLD: Yes. Of course.
O'REILLY: You know why they didn't --
ARNOLD: Yes. It is politically motivated.
O'REILLY: Yes, of course it is.
ARNOLD: And trying to characterize the Trump administration as being heavy-handed.
O'REILLY: Okay. But it's more than that. They are trying to get migrant viewers to watch their channels out there. And so, they are not going to say, oh, these are the bad guys, these are the felons, the rapists, the gang members, they are going to say, oh, you know, they shouldn't be doing this to you, it's about money, as well as politics, is it not?
ARNOLD: It may very well be. Yes.
O'REILLY: Ratings. All right. Now, in your experience, does the Trump administration doing anything differently than the Obama administration did?
ARNOLD: I think there is one very small difference. The executive order that President Trump issued on immigration has returned to the line level officers and agents the discretion to make arrests for people who are in the country in violation of immigration law. Regardless of their criminal history. So, in doing these targeted operations, which clearly were targeting felons, dangerous criminals, if they encounter someone who was in the country in violation of law, instead of looking like the other way, as they are required to under the policies of the Obama administration, they have the discretion to arrest someone and initiate --
O'REILLY: All right. But you use the word discretion. What the ICE people tell us is, if the illegal alien is not deemed to be a danger to the country, all right, they let them go.
ARNOLD: They do. They are not detained. They may put them into the process, initiated removal proceedings, but still have to go seen immigration judges, et cetera. But they are not going to detain them. You are absolutely right. They don't have the bed space to detain people like that. They got to prioritize who they detain and who they don't detain.
O'REILLY: All right. Mr. Arnold, we appreciate it very much.
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