Perks for Illegal Immigrants in New Haven?

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 23, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight, the city of New Haven, Connecticut is very lenient as far as illegal immigrants are concerned. Tomorrow, the city will issue ID cards to illegal aliens that will allow them a library card, a beach pass, a golf course discount, and other city perks.

Joining us now from Raleigh, North Carolina, William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration. New Haven city officials would not cooperate with "The Factor." That is historical.

Now the mayor there, John Destefano, has made it very, very clear that he, his city, New Haven is a haven for illegal immigrants. It's a sanctuary city. He wants to give all the illegal aliens, you know, citizenship. This is who he is. And amazingly, I think it was 25 to 1, the city council of New Haven voted to give these cards out. They're not free. They cost $10 for adults, $5 for children. So, what's your reaction to this?

WILLIAM GHEEN, AMERICANS FOR LEGAL IMMIGRATION: Well, at a time when illegal aliens are leaving states like Georgia and parts of Massachusetts — excuse me — parts of Pennsylvania because of local efforts by cities to enforce immigration law, we know a lot of people in this country that would love to send New Haven a lot of illegal aliens. So we've created a flyer on our Web site at, which is in both Spanish and English with simple maps encouraging illegal aliens to cross the United States to take the mayor up on his opportunity.

O'REILLY: Utility New Haven.

GHEEN: Well, we figure if they get another 5,000 or 10,000 illegal aliens in New Haven, they'll be closing hospitals, begging for school bonds, and begging for federal aid to fight the gangs in their street like much of the disaster areas being created across America.

O'REILLY: Well, here's an interesting thing though. A private foundation — I wouldn't be surprised if it's George Soros but we can't find out — has provided $250,000 for these ID cards. And it seems that in New Haven, Connecticut, in that area, that's the home of Yale, you have very strong sentiment to protect illegal aliens and to give them as much accommodation as possible.

Now I find it very interesting, because as you rightly pointed out, Hazleton, Pennsylvania, Suffolk County, New York, a couple of counties in Virginia, couple of counties in Georgia, all over saying — Farmers Branch in Texas, north of Dallas, are saying hey, we as a municipality cannot afford this. We can't have the chaos. We can't have 50 people living in a house. We can't have them lined up on the streets in the morning. We just can't control it. So we're going to crack down.

But in places like New Rochelle, New York — I'm sorry, not New Rochelle — Mamaroneck, New York; in New Haven, Connecticut, you have the exact opposite. Now what do you think drives the difference of opinion here?

GHEEN: Well, I think what's driving the difference is opinion is obviously the people in New Haven are not experienced with the border disaster areas and the types of problems that illegal aliens are causing across America. The consensus in the country is America wants our existing immigration laws enforced. And since that's not really happening sufficiently on the federal level, 35 states have passed crack downs. People are saying we'll take America back town by town, city by city, state by state.

O'REILLY: OK, but not all people. The majority — the polls show the majority of people agree with you that there's got to be some supervision. And there certainly has to be secure border.

However, we as a society in America, are kind of divided here. And I'm sure the people in New Haven see themselves as very compassionate, all right, as helping the poor.

Cardinal Mahony out in Los Angeles, same deal. You know, you got to help these people. They're not bad people. We got to be compassionate. Geraldo Rivera on this network, same thing.

So I'm wondering whether the — you and me to a certain extent, we're bad because we want basically a system that holds everybody accountable in the country, whereas New Haven says ah, so they're illegal we're going to try to give them every accommodation. I'm wondering if we're the bad guys here?

GHEEN: Americans that want our border secured and immigration laws enforced are no more bad than somebody who wants burglars, shoplifters, or any other people committing crimes to face the punishment.

O'REILLY: Now wait a minute. You don't think that people trying to earn a living and sending money back to their poor children are on the same par as a burglar, do you?

GHEEN: Hey, drug dealers and prostitutes earn money for their families, too. It's still not illegal. And we still have laws to enforce.

O'REILLY: That's a pretty tough stance.

GHEEN: Well, look, an illegal alien has shown a pattern of criminality. They break the law when they break into the country. They engage in document fraud and identity theft...


GHEEN: ...which wrecks Americans lives.


GHEEN: Most. They have to have fake documents or somebody else's ID to be able to operate. Then they further break the law when they take a job that is illegal for them to have.

Now currently under federal law, it is a felony for anybody to aid and abet illegal aliens in the U.S. And I think Homeland Security should apply that to New Haven.

O'REILLY: All right. We'll see what happens. Mr. Gheen, thank you very much. We appreciate it.

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