Arizona Sheriff Clarence Dupnik Explains Why He's Against New Immigration Law

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 3, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight: The sheriff of Pima County, Arizona, on the border, is on record as saying he doesn't like the new immigration law, even though his county has been severely impacted by illegal aliens. In 2008, for example, more than 300,000 people were apprehended in the Tucson sector, which includes Pima County. Also, the county's financial burden on the illegal front is around $40 million a year, money the country, county I should say, does not have.

Joining us now from Tucson is Sheriff Clarence Dupnik. Now the report, sheriff, that you say this law is stupid, is that true?

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SHERIFF CLARENCE DUPNIK, PIMA COUNTY, ARIZONA: It is stupid. Let me ask you this, Bill. Why did we need this legislation? Why did they enact this bill?

O'REILLY: To force the federal government to beef up the border with Guard and more National — more Border Patrol agents.

DUPNIK: Well, let me point out some things that haven't been pointed out that this bill does. And I think it's not only stupid; I think it's irresponsible. They have put a phrase or a couple of sentences in this bill which say that any citizen in the state of Arizona who doesn't believe that we're doing our job in reference to this bill may sue us. They've put us in a position of we're damned if we do and damned if we don't.

O'REILLY: Now let me explain that to the folks because that is a very controversial part of the law. If the municipality or the county or the town, wherever it may be, doesn't aggressively enforce the Arizona law, you can be sued by the state. The state can bring suit against you. And you may be in that position, sheriff, because you don't look like you're going to enforce this law real enthusiastically. Or am I wrong?

DUPNIK: Well, we've been enforcing the federal law, and that's my point. We, in Tucson sector, arrest, detain and hand over to the Border Patrol more illegal aliens than any other state or local law enforcement agency in this state. So, why did we need this legislation?

O'REILLY: Well, because you're overwhelmed. Even though, look, I have known you for a long time. And I know your outfit, your department. And it's excellent. It's excellent. But you know you're overwhelmed. You know you're outgunned.

DUPNIK: Of course we are overwhelmed.

O'REILLY: $40 million problem in Pima County. $40 million. Come on, you don't have — people in Pima County don't have that. So all of your other, education…


O'REILLY: …medical, everything else is impacted by this.

DUPNIK: That's a fact, Bill. But let me ask you this. Don't you think I would be irresponsible if I can now take the people and give them to the federal government? Or do I now have to charge them with a state crime, put them in the Pima County jail, put the Pima County jail into a crisis overnight, overwhelm the rest of the local criminal justice system. Does that make any sense?

O'REILLY: It doesn't make any sense, and we're hoping that ICE takes them off your hands as soon as you give them a call. Now…

DUPNIK: But if I have to enforce the law, Bill, I don't have any choice.

O'REILLY: You can't. I mean, look, if you have to round up these people and detain them, all right, for legal reasons, you have nowhere to put them. So, ICE has to take them off your hands. If President Obama and Attorney General Holder say ICE isn't going to cooperate, then the state of Arizona can't enforce the law. And that's why I say this whole thing could boomerang back on President Obama in a big-time way. You know that sheriff.

DUPNIK: Well, let me tell you. You were out here about 25 years ago. And I don't remember exactly when — when nobody else was really covering the border.

O'REILLY: Right.

DUPNIK: You were out here pointing out what was really going on on the Southwest border. You were out interviewing me regarding a group of Mexican army who had provided security for a load of drugs that came across the border.

O'REILLY: Right.

DUPNIK: And you were doing that at a time when nobody else was doing it, so you understand the border.


DUPNIK: But let me tell you, we don't have a problem turning over to the federal government the prisoners that we arrest. And when this bill first came out, I think it came out on a Tuesday, it put the Mexicans, the Hispanics in this state — and there's over two million of them — it put them in a position of humiliation, degradation, second-class citizen.

O'REILLY: I got it. And I think it should have been explained much better than it was. And I think the media is at fault and so is the government. But let me ask you one more question. Look, sheriff, you're a patriot, you're an honest man, you do a good job. I said your department is one of the best, and it's one of the most stressful places in the country. Couldn't you use the National Guard and more Border Patrol down there to help you out? Couldn't you?

DUPNIK: I, and everybody else in this state, have been screaming for years.

O'REILLY: OK. That's why…

DUPNIK: Republican or Democrat, it doesn't matter.

O'REILLY: That's why the governor signed this law to force the federal government to do its job because it hasn't been. So I think we should all get behind it.

DUPNIK: But why put us in an impossible situation if that's the real reason?

O'REILLY: That's the real reason, sheriff. Keep us posted on how it goes. We appreciate you coming on.