Laura Ingraham Squares Off With Immigration Activist

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 19, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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LAURA INGRAHAM, GUEST HOST: In the "Factor Follow-up" segment tonight: Immigration officials tell FOX News that workplace raids, which have targeted illegals on the job, are being suspended until further review. This must make House Speaker Nancy Pelosi very, very happy. You may remember, she was caught on tape talking to a bunch of legal and illegal immigrants recently:


NANCY PELOSI, HOUSE SPEAKER: Who in our country would not want to change the policy of kicking in doors in the middle of the night and sending a parent away from their families? It must be stopped. What value system is that? I think it's un-American.


INGRAHAM: Apparently Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, a big supporter of so-called comprehensive immigration reform, will now focus on criminal illegals and employers who hire undocumented workers.

So is this the sort of change that we can believe in? Joining us now from Washington, immigration activist Caroline Murray.

Now, Caroline, I was looking at the report that William Lajeunesse of FOX News did. I mean, he's done a lot of investigation into what's happening with these raids on workplaces, and he said that the immigration customs enforcement officials are "paralyzed with fear, fear of enforcing the immigration laws for fear that they're going to get retribution against them on the job." In other words, get fired for enforcing the laws. Do you think that's a good thing?

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CAROLINE MURRAY, IMMIGRATION ACTIVIST: Well, I don't know who you're speaking to who works for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but it seems to me that we have a problem with our borders. There's a lot of violence going on in the borders of Mexico, and people need real help. Workplace raids might make good TV, but it certainly isn't good policy. So I applaud the Obama administration because, you know, he's following through on what he said that Tuesday night in front of Congress. Act boldly, act wisely. We have hard work ahead of us. And I thank him for taking this on in a thoughtful way.

INGRAHAM: So, right…

MURRAY: We need comprehensive immigration reform.

INGRAHAM: So acting boldly is not enforcing current immigration laws that are on the books? It's just — in other words, it's giving the ICE officials, the immigration officials the implicit message ut-uh, knock off that law enforcement thing. That's acting boldly? To me, it's acting in contravention to duly passed laws.

MURRAY: Well, what do you suggest they do, Laura?

INGRAHAM: I suggest…

MURRAY: There's 12 million people who are here…


MURRAY: …as part of our failed immigration policy.

INGRAHAM: Right, that's an old red herring, Caroline.

MURRAY: There is no way for people to be across our borders legally...


MURRAY: ...and become citizens.

INGRAHAM: Yeah, right.

MURRAY: There are people here just like there have always been. My ancestors came here and they helped build this country.


MURRAY: This is the next wave of immigration. People are here to make a better life for their families.

INGRAHAM: The old canard about we can't, 12 million illegals, that is such an old line. I mean, that's older than the tactics that we're seeing in Washington today…

MURRAY: Oh, you think?

INGRAHAM: …with the feigned indignation about AIG. Because what we've seen is that workplace raids go to the heart of the problem. Employers who willfully hire illegal aliens or look the other way because they didn't bother to do the check that for measure, like E-Verify, makes so easy. So you would then be in favor of E-Verify? Would you not be in favor of that, Caroline?

MURRAY: We need to have a way for all workers to be legal in this country, and that's the kind of immigration reform we do.

INGRAHAM: So you're not in favor of E-Verify.

MURRAY: Well, first of all, everybody know the E-Verify program is completely flawed.


MURRAY: If you enter an 8 and that looks like a zero because some person wrote it down in a messy way, it's not going to show up. But the point is is that as long as there is one group of workers who can be preyed upon by unscrupulous employers…

INGRAHAM: Preyed upon?

MURRAY: …that it's going to drag down wages for everyone.

INGRAHAM: Wait, wait, wait.

MURRAY: These employers are choosing to hire people who are undocumented…

INGRAHAM: Right. That's the point.

MURRAY: …so they cannot pay them. That's exactly right.

INGRAHAM: That's the point.

MURRAY: And that's why we need immigration reform.

INGRAHAM: They're choosing — talking over me doesn't make your points any more persuasive. All — when employers hire people, E-Verify allows them to put their Social Security numbers into the computer and presto, maybe there will be a couple mistakes made here and there, which could be quickly corrected.

MURRAY: A couple mistakes?

INGRAHAM: Let me finish.

MURRAY: It's actually far more than a couple mistakes.

INGRAHAM: La, la, la, la, I can't hear you. What happens is they put their names into the computer…

MURRAY: That's great.

INGRAHAM: ...and are able to find out whether these match up. That is an instant check. You do instant background checks at gun shows. Everyone's in favor of that, right? But what I think we find is that…

MURRAY: Look, Laura, would you like me to respond?

INGRAHAM: Hold on a second. Immigration activists like yourself don't really want any enforcement on the books, do you? What enforcement are you actually in favor of? Why don't you tick that off? That would be easier than telling us what you're against.

MURRAY: Well, why don't we start with the failed — we can start with the failed policies of the Bush administration that led to this entire crisis.

INGRAHAM: OK, I just asked you a question.

MURRAY: This is leading to our economic crisis.


MURRAY: The economic crisis is tied to the crisis of immigration.

INGRAHAM: The economic crisis is an immigration problem?


INGRAHAM: Are you kidding me?

MURRAY: I mean, obviously, they are linked.

INGRAHAM: They're linked?

MURRAY: Because it's long…


MURRAY: Wages are dropping and employers are preying upon people who have no rights on the books.

INGRAHAM: Illegal immigrants are a total drag on the economy. Absolutely, you're right. We actually agree on that. But you basically can't name…

MURRAY: If we provide legalization…

INGRAHAM: No, no, no.

MURRAY: …for 12 billion (sic) people we will increase our tax revenues by $60 billion.

INGRAHAM: You can't name…

MURRAY: $60 billion in taxes.

INGRAHAM: …one law on the books, enforcement provision on the books that you're in favor of, can you?

MURRAY: Laura, we need comprehensive immigration reform citizenship.

INGRAHAM: That's where the crickets come in. Yeah.

MURRAY: So people can become legal and cross the borders legally.

INGRAHAM: Yeah, so…

MURRAY: We need to secure our borders…

INGRAHAM: Why have a border?

MURRAY: …humanely. And we need to enforce…

INGRAHAM: Why have a border?

MURRAY: …wage and hour laws and standards on the job.

INGRAHAM: You're not in favor of a single enforcement provision that you can name. Why have a border? Why have a border?

MURRAY: Well, Laura, no one here is talking about open borders except for you. We have borders.

INGRAHAM: No, I have asked you now four times.

MURRAY: We have passports. We have citizenship.

INGRAHAM: What provision…

MURRAY: We have citizenship.

INGRAHAM: …of the immigration law do you favor? What enforcement mechanisms do you favor to stem the tide of illegal immigration in the United States? Which one?

MURRAY: Well, we all know the immigration law is completely broken. There's a backlog for people to become citizens.


MURRAY: Ricardo Serno (ph) from Springfield.


MURRAY: He was in line for 28 years to become a citizen.

INGRAHAM: Your answer to the problem is legalize everybody.

MURRAY: 28 years.

INGRAHAM: OK, we clarified that. I appreciate it.

MURRAY: And then…

INGRAHAM: We appreciate your time.

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