Hegseth, Geraldo in spirited debate on Trump's immigration plan: 'Enough coddling, enough rule-breaking'

Is President Trump's proposed immigration overhaul lacking in compassion or does it represent the tough steps the U.S. needs to take to combat the crisis at the border?

That's what Geraldo Rivera and Pete Hegseth debated on a special live audience edition of "Fox & Friends" Friday.

Trump on Thursday unveiled his immigration overhaul plan, which would dramatically alter how the U.S. accepts people into the country, upending the system in order to favor admissions based on merit rather than family ties.

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Rivera said Trump's proposal is "not bad," and he acknowledged there is nothing wrong with an immigration plan that is in part merit-based.

He took issue, however, with Trump's tough rhetoric on immigration, arguing there is no need to have "such an edge" and calling instead for "pragmatic idealism."

Hegseth, on the other hand, said he's fine with a leader with "edges and toughness" to deal with the immigration crisis.

"I think that's exactly where we're at. We've done enough coddling, enough rule-breaking, enough running and dashing across the border and suddenly you've got DACA recipients," Hegseth said.

He added that "DACA 2.0 and DACA 3.0" could be on the way due to "insane" asylum laws that incentivize migrants to make the dangerous trek to the U.S.

Rivera countered that it's possible to be a tough leader, but also have a kind, compassionate, comforting side.

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"The comforting of people is the citizens in this country who came here the right way. They want to know there's rule of law for them," Hegseth said.

He later added: "It doesn't mean you don't have compassion. It means you believe in the rule of law. And the rule of law is ultimately compassionate to the people who follow it and not compassionate to those who break it."

Fox News' Adam Shaw contributed to this report.