Close the Borders?

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," August 3, 2004, that was edited for clarity.

STUART VARNEY, GUEST HOST: Is it time to shut down our borders for good? Not too long ago U.S. officials arrested a woman of Pakistani origin who crossed into Texas from Mexico. She was carrying a South African passport and is now being investigated for possible ties to Al Qaeda.

Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo of Colorado says enough is enough, it’s time to shut down our borders now.

Congressman, welcome to the program.

REP. TOM TANCREDO, R-COLO.: Thanks very much.

VARNEY: To shut down a border that is hundreds of miles long, you’re going to have to call out the National Guard or probably move in regular troops. Are you calling for that?

TANCREDO: Yes, sir, I am. And I have been now for a long time. It did not happen as a result of this particular incident that you refer to. I have been doing this because that is the only way that we can actually secure the borders.

VARNEY: Sir, if I may just interrupt for a second...


VARNEY: Look, if you start putting lots of troops on the border, people are going to get shot.


VARNEY: Mexicans coming into this country will be killed. I suggest that that is un-American, and probably politically unacceptable.

TANCREDO: Well, it may be politically difficult to use military assets on the border, but I must tell you that the idea that if just because they are there someone will get shot, I don’t believe it’s true.


VARNEY: I believe this happened before, sir.

TANCREDO: It has happened before.

VARNEY: I believe that people have been shot by American soldiers.

TANCREDO: A person. A person.


TANCREDO: A person was shot. And it is true that if you put people on the border that are untrained and don’t know what they are doing, then the possibility exists to have something like this happen.

But what I’m suggesting to you is something — I not too long ago actually I participated in an event. It was a two-week exercise on the northern border. One hundred Marines, three UAVs, you know, unmanned aerial vehicles, and two radar stations. They worked in conjunction with the border patrol.

For two weeks, I guarantee you nothing came across that border, including, by the way, four people on ATVs carrying 400 pounds of drugs, and a small plane making it through the mountains. Nothing came through that we didn’t see.

They provided the ears. They then communicate with the border patrol and forest service personnel who take over.

That is the way it can be done. We can so it safely. We can actually secure our borders.

VARNEY: Which political party will go ahead and do this in the sure knowledge that by sealing that border with Mexico you lose the Hispanic vote in the United States of America 100 percent?

TANCREDO: The political party that cares more about the nation’s security than it does about that kind of vote. And I don’t see it out there. I’m not telling you I’m going to be able to pass it. I’m just telling you what should be done.

Let me ask you something, if I could. Can I ask you a question? Can I ask you one question?

VARNEY: I’m an immigrant. Go ahead, yes.

TANCREDO: Can I ask you one question? If we could secure the border — just let’s assume for a second that we could do it by the use of the military — would you agree it should be done? Securing the border, is that something you agree this country should do?

VARNEY: At this particular moment in time, yes, sir, I would, because the security issue trumps all other issues. Now, that is my personal opinion.

TANCREDO: Yes. Thank you.

VARNEY: But another part of your plan is that you would like — you would take illegals who are already here, round them up and send them back. I again suggest there’s a huge political price for that and an economic price for that.

TANCREDO: Here’s all we have to do. We don’t have to, "round up" millions of illegal aliens who are here already. What we have to do is enforce the laws we have on the books. That’s all.

And those laws are the following: you cannot hire people who are not here legally. If we were to aggressively enforce those laws, I assure you we don’t have to, "round people up." Millions of people will return home, on their own, voluntarily, because they don’t have a job.

VARNEY: But who is going to do the jobs which those people currently do, which other people really don’t want to do? You’d have a recession in the United States if you did that.

TANCREDO: Let me suggest that to say that they are only taking jobs that "no American wants," is to I think not tell the full story. The full story is, that they are taking jobs no American wants at a price I may be willing to pay.

VARNEY: I’m afraid they are playing the music. I’m sorry, sir.

TANCREDO: All right.

VARNEY: They are playing the music and I’ve got to go. It was a pleasure. Tom Tancredo, thanks a lot.

TANCREDO: Likewise, too.

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