Legalizing illegal immigrants?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 25, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'BRIEN: And in the "Impact" segment tonight as we've been reporting the state of California seems to be legalizing illegal immigrants. Sacramento has passed a number of laws that will give undocumented Americans driving privileges, college educations, protect them from deportation.

Here is how extreme things are. A proposed new law in California would prevent -- prevent police from even cooperating with the federal government on illegal alien criminal cases. Democratic politicians in California obviously doing this to strengthen their base among immigrants from south of the border.

Joining us now from Washington: Julie Myers Wood, former head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. So obviously California is subverting federal law or am I wrong Ms. Wood?

JULIE MYERS WOOD, FORMER HEAD OF IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: Absolutely. California is saying we know best. We know best federal government and frankly we -- we in Sacramento know better than the California sheriffs who are down on the ground and are worried about threats to their community from unauthorized and illegal immigrants.

O'REILLY: Yes even the sheriff of Morin County just north of San Francisco perhaps the most liberal county in the nation said listen, we can't even put a hold on these criminals now because of Sacramento.

But this is all about politics. It's not about what's good for the country or what's good for the state of California this is the Democratic Party saying we want to become the party of the Hispanic people because there are so many of them in California and that's what they are doing. Am I wrong on that analysis?

WOOD: Well I'm not going to second guess why they are doing it but I'll tell you they are very frustrated.


O'REILLY: Is there any other reason -- is there any other reason to - - to do -- to institute all of these things that are costing the taxpayers of California billions of dollars? Is there any other reason other than politics to do it?

WOOD: Well, I think -- I think raising the flag and saying our federal system is a mess and we saw Arizona do it in a different way and they say we want -- we want things to be different and if you are not going to act Congress and Congress is not acting on anything as we have seen it the states say we are going to take it into our own hands. And I think in this instance --


O'REILLY: Shouldn't the Attorney General though go in and say to California you can't do this. You cannot cooperate with federal people, ICE, when you have a criminal situation and if -- and we'll sue you if you continue this policy. Shouldn't the Attorney General do that?

WOOD: They should absolutely do that. In the United States versus Arizona the Department of Justice was very, very clear that it was important to enforce federal equities in enforcing immigration law.

And in Arizona they made a different choice. The DOJ went in and sued. They should do the exact same thing here in California. We can't allow a state to say we're not going to honor you know U.S. law enforcement request. There is too much of a danger to public safety. And the fact that this could go on after 9/11 that they could discourage law enforcement to talking to each other is really appalling. And I hope very much --


O'REILLY: It really is and it's dangerous for everybody.

WOOD: Yes absolutely.

O'REILLY: Because you could have illegal aliens crossing state lines. They get them on a beef in California and ICE isn't even going to know about it and that's against federal law. And Governor Brown of California we don't care because they know -- they know that the Attorney General is a very liberal man and he is not likely to go after them. And again, we go back to politics Ms. Wood.

WOOD: Well and you know what they do take though, they take the $150 million or so a year in order to house unauthorized immigrants. You know, they take that money and so California has an obligation because it takes that scat (ph) money and the fact that they are moving forward with the Trust Act I think is very disturbing. And I hope the DOJ will come forward and say as a matter of public safety you've got to let --


O'REILLY: But what are the odd of Holder doing that, you know the game in D.C. You know the players. What are the odds of the Attorney General as you rightly pointed out did sue Arizona, same -- same issue. Your countermanding federal law, you can't do that. What are the odds of him saying the same thing to Jerry Brown and the people in California?

WOOD: Well certainly I don't think the odds are great. But if -- if they are to be consistent with their principles and if they really care about these public safety concerns they would step forward. And I know that John Morton the former head of ICE was very concerned about these kinds of things in the Obama administration.

So I hope that the administration will look seriously at the Trust Act and try to persuade Governor Brown or take legal action if they have to do that.

O'REILLY: All right. We're going to call the Attorney General's office and see when the federal lawsuit will be filed against the state of California for failing to cooperate with federal officials.

Miss Wood thank you.

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