Immigration on the Big Story

John Gibson had two guests today talking about immigration, Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO)and Jim Gilchrist, co-founder of the Minuteman Project.

The transcript follows:

Gibson: A week after Arizona declared a state of emergency along its border with Mexico, the Feds have finally stepped up and responded. The Homeland Security has promised to help the state fight illegal immigration, drug smuggling, human trafficking, and the violence that comes along with those activities. So what does this promise really mean?

Congressman Tom Tancredo joins us now. The Colorado Republican is Chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus. Congressman, Governor Napolitano in Arizona put on a lot of pressure and the Feds have said OK we’ll come help. What kind of help can she realistically expect?

Tancredo: Well that’s a great question. I don’t know what help has been promised and I don’t know what they’re actually going to do because, of course, everyone in America has been begging them to go down on the borders and do something about the fact that we have an invasion. And so far they’ve ignored it. Now I am happy that both Governor Napolitano and Governor Richardson have done a U-turn, a political U-turn on this issue. You know you do wonder I have to tell you when those two folks look in the mirror in the morning how many faces do they see? {laughs} Because, honestly, it’s just incredible to me that you can be so pro-open borders, work so hard for the ah you know to placate the immigration crowd and then the next day when you decide it’s politically, the thing to do, popular, make a big turnaround.

Gibson: But Congressman, who wouldn’t take this shot? I mean the Bush Administration, and you, yourself have been criticizing the Bush Administration for not doing enough. If you’re a Democratic governor of a border state, this is a lay-up, it’s a freebie, it’s a gimme. You’d have to be…

Tancredo: John, it’s still hard, it’s still hard to see after knowing what these people have done, signing bills to give illegal aliens driver’s licenses, higher education benefits, making sanctuary cities, allowing sanctuary cities to exist in their states. I mean these things are incredible, to then go all of a sudden, oh, you know what? Oh it’s the federal government’s fault. I tell you they share some of the blame John, they do. Because they are enticing people to come. Sanctuary cities, providing benefits, only entices illegal immigrants. They share some of the blame.

{crosstalk}

Gibson: Alright, are you blaming Governor Richardson in the same way that you’re blaming Governor Napolitano? By the way, we have asked Governor Napolitano many times to come on here, she’s ducking us, she knows we’re going to laud her for her efforts in this regard right now, I wasn’t going to criticize her like you are, but she refuses to come on here. One can only assume she’s afraid to come on FOX for some reason. But what about Governor Richardson? He says he gives them driver’s licenses because he wants to know where they are.

Tancredo: Well, you give them driver’s licenses because it makes life easy for them. You do not do things that improve the way, that make it easy for people to live in your state or your city if they’re here illegally. That only encourages them of course. It makes it an attractive place to come. And if they really wanted to do something John, if either one of them come on your show or on FOX, here’s what I’d like you to ask them. If you are really serious about trying to stop illegal immigration in your state, then why don’t you use your power as the governor to actually put the National Guard troops on the line. Or build a fence. You could actually do it. Both of them could do these things without the federal government because they could say they have walked away from us, the federal government is AWOL, they can complain all they want to and I’d be with them because they are right. But I also would tell you that if they really wanted to do something they have some options that they could take that I don’t think they are going to do. Because I don’t think they are for real. They’re just looking for a way to make a little political hay here. That’s okay, but I wish they’d do something about it.

Gibson: Congressman Tom Tancredo of Colorado, Congressman, thanks a lot. For more on the Fed’s response to the border crisis, we’re joined now by Jim Gilchrist, he is the cofounder of the Minuteman Project which organizes civilian patrols along the border. Jim is also running for congress in California. So Jim, you just heard Congressman Tancredo do you slap around Governor Napolitano and Governor Richardson the same way Congressman Tancredo does?

Gilchrist: Almost as avidly. John, I commend Governor Richardson and Governor Napolitano for finally stepping out and at least addressing this problem with their borders. I’m waiting for California Governor Schwarzenegger and Texas Governor Perry to do the same. I’ve been to the border several times. The California border, in my opinion, is even worse than the Arizona border. At least where I was on the California border we literally took gunfire, fired at us from south of the border, only 100 feet south of that border, among other challenges to our physical safety while we were down there for three weeks. What they did is a good thing, but also I was told yesterday that Governor Richardson vetoed a state police initiative to allow state police to help the border patrol. He vetoed that just eight weeks ago. Why would he do that?

Gibson: Congress… I call you Congressman already, you are running for Congress. Evidently there is political hay to be made on the border issue. Napolitano and Richardson have turned around and taken a position that’s normally thought of as the Republican or conservative position on the border crisis. You seem to think that you might be able to be elected to Congress out of it. Why do think this is the border issue has become a political springboard?

Gilchrist: John, because it’s more than just one issue. It’s not a case of someone stepping into someone else’s private property. This is when only 200 or 2,000 people are coming across that border and occupying U.S. Territory annually it’s not a big deal. When four million per year and going up do that, that’s more than the entire Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines Corps combined. We have certainly a serious problem with porous borders. We have an open invitation to anyone, any terrorist who wants to come in here, anyone with a criminal mentality, and I want to protect my country the way I protect my community and certainly my family. Mr. Tancredo is actually was an inspiration for me starting the Minuteman Project. He’s been a long time pioneer. As far as the rest of the politicians joining on this crusade, I want to know where they were, do they have any visible, historical, established, proactive support of immigration law? I don’t see that. And if they don’t have that, I’m suspect.

Gibson: But even if they don’t, I mean, anybody can have a late awakening, I mean they could wake up one morning and look at what’s going on. You don’t fault them for that do you?

Gilchrist: No, I can’t. I actually I do commend Richardson and Napolitano for coming out, but I think with less than $2 million to put for this project, to help defend the borders, it’s not very much, it’s only pennies that are needed compared to the entire budget. I think border patrol and Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement need at least a 500 percent increase in their working budgets to provide capital, manpower and equipment and resources to literally enforce the laws for which they are responsible.

Gibson: Jim Gilchrist, one of the founders of the Minutemen and running for Congress in California. Mr. Gilchrist, thank you.

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