Immigration Debate: Malkin & Chavez

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 10, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: The top story tonight, two other views on the debate. Joining us from Washington, FOX News analyst Michele Malkin. And from Denver, FOX News analyst Linda Chavez.

Linda, we'll begin with you. You're in Denver. The Denver Post, you know, says I'm a Nazi now or something like that. I mean, what is this all about?

LINDA CHAVEZ, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Well, Bill, you know there are extreme views on both sides of this issue. And I have to tell you, if you could read some of my hate mail, I think it would make you blush. I'm constantly being told to take my "mestizo behind" back to Mexico. Well, last time I checked, my ancestors came from Spain, England, and Ireland. I didn't know that constituted a "mestizo."

O'REILLY: What did the — all right, I'm interested in this, because I want to be fair. You — your point is what? What has raised anger against you?

CHAVEZ: Well, because I, like you, Bill, think it's extremely important to secure our borders. I don't think that we can secure our borders until we come up with a policy that also includes bringing into this country the number of workers that we need here.

I mean, you've been touting on the FOX News Channel in just the last couple of days there were 211,000 new jobs created in the month of March, there's 4.7 percent unemployment. We need more workers in the United States. We need to create a viable system for more people to come here, like your ancestors did from Ireland.


CHAVEZ: ...and mine as well from Ireland.

O'REILLY: Well, let's do the math here before we get to Michelle. You got 12 million people in the country right now, perhaps more. They will, most of them, before this debate is over, get a path to legalization, which will include bringing their relatives from abroad here, Linda.

That in my mind in the next five years will mean 25 million, primarily Hispanic, new people in the USA. That's not enough? You need more?

CHAVEZ: Well, first of all, I don't think that your math is right. Many of the 6.5 million people who have been here more than five years actually already have their families here. So it's not a question of bringing them.

And if we create a guest worker program, Bill, frankly, a lot of the Mexican and Central American men would like to come here, leave their families back at home if they could go home to visit them, if they could go home during holidays. They don't have a way of doing that now. If we give them a Green Card, and the ability to go home, many of them would in fact do so.

O'REILLY: Well, I don't object — as you know...

CHAVEZ: those who have that guest worker program do.

O'REILLY: I don't object.

CHAVEZ: So you and I are not that...

O'REILLY: I want...

CHAVEZ: ...that far apart.

O'REILLY: No, we're not, but I want to secure the border first. And so does Michelle, correct? Michelle?

MICHELLE MALKIN, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Yes, absolutely. I think it's a matter of priorities, Bill. I don't think that we can talk about administering or creating any new guest worker, amnesty type program until we clean our own house.

And our house is a mess. If you look at the Department of Homeland Security from top to bottom, and you want to talk about comprehensive immigration reform, let's talk about reforming that bureaucracy first.

The deportation system is a mess. The detention system is a mess. We can't police fraud. We can't clear the current backlog of applications at the Bureau for Immigration Services right now.

You've got a lot of cronies in that department who have no idea what they're doing. They have no experience in immigration law or immigration enforcement.

And if you listen to the people at the border, on the interior, in the deportation system, they will tell you there is no way in heck that they're going to be able to administer properly with security first in mind any kind of guest worker program that's on the table right now.

O'REILLY: But that could happen if the government would get its act together and stop...

MALKIN: Well, it shouldn't — well, you're right...

O'REILLY: And first, look, the dike has burst. First you got to rebuild the dike, because if you don't, you've got 12 million here now. In five more years, you'll have another 15 million. So that would overwhelm any system. No system could handle it. But if you stop it.

MALKIN: But this is the point.

O'REILLY: Go ahead, go ahead.

MALKIN: This is the point, Bill, of the Sensenbrenner bill and of the House Immigration Reform Caucus of the Republicans, that you cannot have any kind of new guest worker program until we see that the borders can be enforced, until interior enforcement takes place, until information sharing is actually happening between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA.

It seems that security, national security, has gotten lost in this whole entire debate. And people have forgotten that September 11th happened because of lax immigration enforcement.

CHAVEZ: But Michelle...

O'REILLY: All right, let Linda reply to that. Go ahead, Linda.

CHAVEZ: Michelle, my point is that this is like a three-legged stool. You can't fix one leg. The stool will not stand.

There are really three issues: One is border security. — It certainly is the top of the list. The second is what to do about the 12 million people who are here. And the third is, what to do about our own needs as a country for new faces, new workers. We have...

O'REILLY: OK, but Linda.

CHAVEZ: ...a need for those workers.

O'REILLY: ...the Senate bill does not address border security in any meaningful way. Neither the McCain-Kennedy, nor the Frist versions. They add 2,500 border patrol a year and that's it...

CHAVEZ: Well...

O'REILLY: That's not going to cut it when you have hundreds of thousands.

CHAVEZ: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: ...of people coming across. So the Senate, Linda, let's be honest, they don't want to secure the border, these senators.

CHAVEZ: Well, I don't think.

O'REILLY: They don't want to do it.

CHAVEZ: I think — but, Bill, I think what you're missing is that if you look at immigration — illegal immigration, the ebbs and flows, the highest point of illegal immigration was back in the late 1990's, when we had a booming economy and lots of jobs. If we give people a way to come legally, people won't be sneaking across the border.

O'REILLY: I think that's wishful thinking. I really do.

CHAVEZ: When the economic — when we had an economic downturn in 2001...


CHAVEZ: ...they actually stopped coming.

O'REILLY: I think it's wishful thinking...

CHAVEZ: They were coming in much smaller numbers.

O'REILLY: ...because of the desperation of Mexico and other Central American countries. One more question, real fast for Michelle.

What is this Nazi business? What is this demonization, Michelle? How do you read that?

MALKIN: It's pathetic, desperate smear tactics by people who can't argue the facts. And Bill, we've talked about many times the open borders lobby on the left and the right, demeaning, and degrading, and insulting people who simply believe we should enforce the laws on the books we have now.

O'REILLY: All right. Ladies, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

CHAVEZ: Thanks.

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