Wanted: 3,000 National Guard Troops to Combat Violence 'Epidemic' at the Border

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 21, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl want President Obama to send 3,000 National Guard troops to the Arizona and Mexico border immediately. Senator Jon Kyl went "On the Record."


VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, nice to see you.

SEN. JON KYL, R - ARIZ.: Thank you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's no secret there's a war going on in Mexico and people are -- Americans are being shot at and some murdered. What is Arizona doing about this? You are on the edge.

KYL: Some of that violence has spilled across the border into Arizona communities. A rancher was killed recently out on his ranch, assumed to be the result of a killing by drug cartels.

It is not just illegal immigrants coming across the border, now. It is drug cartels in charge of anything they could make money on, whether it's people, cocaine, marijuana.

And as a result, our border patrol, our local and state law enforcement folks have their hands full on the border. And it is one of the reasons that Senator McCain and I have asked for additional help by getting National Guard troops back on the border.

VAN SUSTEREN: You asked for 3,000 National Guard troops. Have you gotten a response from the White House?

KYL: No response yet.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you expect one by now?

KYL: No, but I expect one soon. I think Secretary Napolitano has indicated that she is thinking this over and is going to get a response for us in the next few days.

VAN SUSTEREN: How serious is it? We see the rancher getting murdered and we're all horrified and our heart goes out to the rancher, but is it at an epidemic level or are we taking these isolated incidents and saying we need to do something?

KYL: No, it is epidemic. One of the sheriffs, for example, was back here this week and told about all of the things that he has to deal with.

In just a very short period of time they had one week, they had 64 chases of automobiles where they try to stop the automobile to give them a traffic ticket and the people flee.

And they know if they go fast enough and they are dangerous enough in their driving that the protocol for the police is to pull back and not chase them anymore because they are probably going to kill somebody. And they have done that in Arizona cities.

And so when you get that many situations like that in a short period of time, you can see the local law enforcement really can't deal with all of that once it gets into the middle of the state. We need to try to stop it at the border if we can.

VAN SUSTEREN: Can we actually seal our border to prevent Mexico from exporting their violence? I realize the violence and drug war being exported to the United States and illegal immigration, but is it possible to seal the border?

KYL: We can do a lot more than we have done. Arizona has two border patrol sectors, the Yuma and Tucson. The Yuma sector has basically shutdown all illegal immigration. They still have the problem is some drugs, now the way they are getting drugs across is through ultra lights, these tight airplanes. But other than that, that sector is pretty well shutdown.

The Tucson sector is a warzone. What they need to do in the Tucson sector is apply a lot of the lessons they learned in the Yuma sector. It takes some additional resources, some difference in the operations. But I'm convinced if we do certain things we can stop the violence, we can secure the borders, and enforce the law.

VAN SUSTEREN: How far it is bleeding into Arizona? It is going deep in and we can expect keep going or just around the border? Not that that makes it better.

KYL: Good question. The object is to get to the interstate freeways and to Phoenix where they can warehouse the people until they can send them either east or west, same for the drugs.

So the object to get to central part of the state where Phoenix is, get into the commerce stream either over to L.A. or the points east of us, usually through the interstate highway system.

VAN SUSTEREN: The governor has a bill on her desk to sign or not sign by Saturday which goes pretty far in terms of the state of Arizona requiring police officers to stop someone who they might have reasonable suspicion to be an illegal immigrant and ask for identification. What is your position on this statute?

KYL: First of all, you can see why after years of inadequate enforcement by the federal government that states are driven to do this, because the people demand act. The political representatives of the people then decide finally to do something.

This is how the Arizona representatives and senators and potentially the governor have reacted to it. I don't know that I would write the same law, but I understand what is behind it.

And my own view is until the federal government does our part back here by providing the resources that are necessary, and that could include, by the way, the financial resources to support National Guard troops on the border, then you are going to see more of this. It won't just be the state of Arizona that passes laws like this.

VAN SUSTEREN: Does Arizona have a different situation than Texas and California, or is it the same situation? And how are your colleagues in the U.S. Senate addressing their problems?

KYL: It's both similar and different in that originally more of the illegal immigration was through California. They have built triple fencing in California and have focused law enforcement effort there to such an extent you don't have nearly as much illegal immigration south and west of San Diego. That was true partially for areas of Texas as well. There's also activity there that helped to shut it down.

So then a lot of it started coming about 1993, '94. It started coming through Arizona, and that is now where over half of the illegal immigration is coming through in that one narrow corridor, the Tucson sector.

There is an operation to put people in jail who cross the border illegally. That's been put into effect in the Del Rio, Texas area and the Yuma sector. There's virtually no illegal immigration in those two sectors because of this operation streamline. You cross the border, we catch you, you go to jail. It's 14 days the first time, maybe 30 days the second time.

When you know that about 17 percent of the people have criminal records, they don't want to cross there then. And secondly, the ones who come across to work can't make money if they are in jail, so they stay away from those sectors.

So the bottom line is if we can expand operation streamline, for example, to other parts of border, we can shutdown the illegal immigration there. Now, shutting down the illegal immigration is not the same as shutting down the drug smuggling. That is different and in some ways a more difficult proposition.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is Mexico making any inroads? I know the president has employed the military to do a lot of the police work, but are they making any progress, or is this getting worse?

KYL: The president of Mexico has tried very hard if get a handle on this. We have operations that support them, an operation that provides helicopters and other support. And at different places along the border there's good cooperation.

But there's also a lot of corruption. And the fact is the drug cartels have gotten so integrated into Mexican society that they can, frankly, put a lot of life or death pressure on people that's pretty difficult to resist. And as a result there's still a lot of Mexican cooperation in these drug operations as well.

VAN SUSTEREN: One word to describe, is this a fair word, it's a crisis or not?

KYL: It is a crisis. And unless the federal government steps up to do things that we know work that aren't that expensive in the overall scheme, we are going to see more and more reaction of the people who are fed up with it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you.

KYL: Thank you, Greta.


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