This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," October 4, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: We’re just east of San Diego Tuesday night. We’re right on the border, right over my shoulder with Mexico and, of course, the United States. We’re going to get back to the situation that was unfolding earlier where some young kids had just basically come over from Mexico into the United States.
It looks like that issue is going to be resolved in just a few moments I’m told by border patrol. No legal action will be taken, for those of you that were watching.
But first, the men and women of the United States Border Patrol (search), I went out with them. There must be, what 1,900 orders they’re guarding. They’re not bonding between the U.S. and Mexico, and with that much territory under their watch, that that’s best way to get a lay of the land is from the air.
So earlier today, I went up in a border patrol helicopter to see just how they do it.
BORDER PATROL OFFICER: There we go, gentlemen.
HANNITY: One of the things you can see is just how vast this border is and how many areas that people can cross.
BORDER PATROL OFFICER: It is. It’s unbelievable.
Let me make a turn. There’re some aliens hanging around this culvert here. There’s the — there’s border patrol vehicle coming up. They slithered back under the fence there.
HANNITY: Is this still considered Tijuana? This looks like an awful lot of poverty?
BORDER PATROL OFFICER: This is all still Tijuana down there.
HANNITY: Look at the poverty. I mean, that’s sad.
BORDER PATROL OFFICER: Now we’re going into the mountains starting to get up to about 4,000-foot elevation. But you can look down these canyons and see all the trails. They look like cobwebs, spider webs, all made by aliens over the years.
HANNITY: If you’re on foot, how easy is it to get over these canyons?
BORDER PATROL OFFICER: Pretty tough. If now they’re not in good shape, we rescue a lot of aliens, heat exhaustion, heart attacks, broken legs, broken ankles.
HANNITY: From the air, it looks like you could do it. But as soon as you start walking, it’s brutal.
BORDER PATROL OFFICER: It’s very deceiving. We have sensors in all these locations and the sensor transmits out to dispatch and dispatch sends it to the pilots or the agent. That’s where we find a lot of some bodies sometimes because the smugglers, they don’t care.
They’re out for a profit, and they can’t give up the whole group just because one person can’t keep up. There’s not enough — they don’t dress appropriately for climate. They don’t carry enough water or whatever it may be. But you can see how pretty remote this is as they go up the steep canyon. San Diego’s got probably the roughest terrain of any sector because of the mountainous areas.
HANNITY: Because you’ve secured the city part of town, it seems like more and more of the work is coming out to these remote arias.
BORDER PATROL OFFICER: It is. We’re pushing the aliens further to the east in our area, so more of our work is out of these remote locations. So we’re having to put more infrastructures out here.
HANNITY: Joining us now, California Congressman Duncan Hunter.
Congressman, it looks like the issue with the young children, by the way, over our shoulder has been resolved. And from what I understand, the border patrol actually gave the kids some stuff and — some candy and stuff and they’re on their way, which is great. But sometimes it’s used a tactic of distraction.
The problem is massive. The territory that needs to be patrolled is massive. Bill Richardson (search) talking about 1,500 new agents. Is that enough?
REP. DUNCAN HUNTER, R-CALIFORNIA: I think we need at least — they thought they were going to get 15,000 agents. I think you’ve got to get up to about 20,000, 24,000 agents.
And what we have to do, Sean, is simply extend what we’ve done here. We’ve got a 12-mile smuggling corridor between Tijuana and San Diego. There are 12 of these between here and 2,000 miles away in Brownsville, Texas, Matamoras, Mexico.
You need fences. You need roads. You need light, and you need the people to man them, the great people of the border patrol. We can do it. It would cost us about $5 billion a year, and that would include capital costs for building on the fences. This is not that difficult. And as...
HANNITY: The state of California $5 billion or along the border?
HUNTER: Along the whole border. The first bid we got on this fence, when I started funding it 10, 12 years ago, was a million bucks a mile. To do both fences and the light and the roads in between.
We’ve got National Guardsmen building this fence right now. We pull $5 million a year out of the defense budget because this is a security program, and put it into this. We’ve got people building it right now. We need to go 2,000 miles.
HANNITY: It’s unbelievable. We’re going to show you Wednesday night they actually have the two fences. You have to get over the one. And then the second one is really hard to climb. And I actually used one of the makeshift fences that they used to climb over the fence and it wasn’t pretty watching me do it.
HUNTER: I didn’t want to bet on you.
HANNITY: No, don’t. Because I would lose.
HUNTER: We used to see thousands of people crossing right here with this fence.
HANNITY: Well, this right — this is one of the points. This is one of the success areas, which proves that if you really concentrate on the area, the issue is can you concentrate on the whole border and make it impossible for people to cross? That’s what the American people want to know.
HUNTER: Here’s the answer. The answer is yes, fences work. When we started building this fence, I asked New Mexico (search) and Arizona (search), their congressional people, if they wanted to go with me and build a fence also. And the answer was generally no, we have a friendly border we are Mexico and we want to keep it that way. That’s what they’ve got.
You’ve got to build fences, roads, and lights. You’ve got to have impediments and you’ve got to have the people to man it.
We can put 20,000 new people in the U.S. Army (search); we can put 20,000 new people in the border patrol.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Congressman, it’s Alan in New York. Thank you for coming out with us. Did you say a million dollars a mile? That’s what the cost is?
HUNTER: That was the first bid. So, that was the first bid by a private fence company to build this fence that’s behind us right here, Alan. So, it’s more money now, because that was about 10 years ago.
COLMES: It seems like a lot of money.
HUNTER: But if you extrapolate that, that’s $2 billion. You’re talking about a million dollars a mile for 2,000 miles. That’s $2 billion.
We’re spending $10 billion, $15 billion a year in costs of incarcerating illegal aliens and all of the costs of apprehending them once they’re in the country, processing them, and then moving them back to their...
COLMES: What costs a million a mile? What costs a million a mile?
HUNTER: Two fences. Two fences with a road in between like the fence you’ve got behind us right here.
COLMES: Sounds like a lot of money.
HUNTER: Well, it’s $2 billion. But that’s capital cost when we’re spending $10 billion to $15 billion a year because of the cost of illegal immigration.
But Alan, it’s now a security issue. It’s no longer just an immigration issue. Through this fence that’s behind us right now, we’ve had people come in from North Korea (search), from Syria, from other places that sponsor terrorism.
And the way to get into this country illegally now if you’re a terrorist isn’t to come through LAX (search), the international airport in Los Angeles. It’s to try to come across the land border between Mexico and the U.S.
This is security issue, and if you’re the most bleeding-heart person in the United States, you’ve got to agree you can’t have vast pieces of your border open to anybody who wants to walk across.
HANNITY: The cost — health, the healthcare system, the educational system, criminal justice system, it’s enormous, isn’t it?
HUNTER: It’s huge.
HANNITY: In California alone?
HUNTER: I haven’t got the figures for California, but roughly 25 percent of the incarcerated in our federal prisons are criminal aliens.
HANNITY: Coming up right over there on the side of us here. This really is one of the biggest crossing point areas.
HUNTER: Yes. You could pay for the entire fence and the border patrol increases in one year through the savings to this country in criminal justice costs and social costs.
HANNITY: Congressman, thanks for what you’re doing on this issue. It is the biggest area of vulnerability we have, and I believe when it comes to terrorism, we’re not talking about the economic impact of people wanting hope, that can be solved on a separate side issue.
HUNTER: Yes. We build the fence; we’ll keep building.
HANNITY: Thank you, Congressman.
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