Scarborough Country - MSNBC - April 14, 2004
Host: Pat Buchanan
Guests: Rep Tom Tancredo and mass-immigration propagandist Frank Sharry
See American Patrol Feature of April 15, 2004
BUCHANAN: OK, still to come, Jeb Bush backs a plan to give Florida driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. But how will he keep them out of the hands of terrorists?
Plus, how his brother doing in his war on terror? We're going to ask the national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan, Robert McFarlane, what he thinks-coming up.
BUCHANAN: Now, I agree we need to get out to vote, but New York is taking that a little too far, pushing to let people cast a ballot even if they're not American citizens-that story coming up.
But, first, let's get the latest headlines from the MSNBC News Desk.
BUCHANAN: Governor Jeb Bush of Florida strongly supports a policy that would give illegal immigrants driver's licenses. He said it would make Florida roads safer. Critics say illegals shouldn't get the privilege of a license. And in New York City there's a movement to give illegal immigrants who are not American citizens the right to vote.
Frank Sharry, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, and Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo join me now.
Tom, this is what Governor-Tom Tancredo, thanks for coming here. And let me read you what Governor Bush, the brother of your president, had to say here.
He said-quote-"We shouldn't allow them into our country to begin with, but once they're here what do you do? It seems a policy that ignores them is a policy of denial."
So let's give them driver's licenses. Why not?
REP. TOM TANCREDO ®, COLORADO: Because, of course, the big word here is illegal. That's the one nobody wants to actually use to describe the folks who have come here and broken our laws. But that's who they are. They are illegal aliens.
And as a result of violating our laws, Governor Bush, and, in fact, several other governors around the country, are proposing to reward them for doing that by giving them driver's licenses or a variety of other options-opportunities that are only available to people who have lived here legally and are citizens of the United States. That's why it's a bad idea.
I don't care if they talk about, you know, the issue of security all day long and whether they can make them secure-that the people who are applying for it, we could determine whether or not they are terrorists. That's really not the issue. I don't care if we could do it. And in fact, we can't. So it's a very dicey thing to begin with from the issue of national security.
But beyond that, Pat, the reality is these people are here illegally.
What is so hard for people to understand?
BUCHANAN: All right, let me talk to Frank Sharry.
And, Frank, I do want to raise very briefly this issue of security; 12 of those 19 September 11 hijackers carried legal Florida driver's licenses when they came into this country or I.D. cards, and these are the same cards that Jeb Bush is going to give to folks-illegal aliens in Florida. Now, look, the American people don't want this done. Gray Davis, when he recommended it and put it through out in California, was wiped out on that, two-thirds of the Californians. It's the law of the land that they are illegal.
What is the problem, at least when it comes to illegal aliens in this country?
FRANK SHARRY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL IMMIGRATION FORUM: The problem is broken federal laws. Tom Tancredo says, oh, the laws have been violated.
The laws are out of step with reality. We have workers from south of the border filling available jobs north of the border, and we've got no legal channels. You can call them illegal or you can call them future citizens.
TANCREDO: They are illegal, Frank. What would you call them?
SHARRY: I would call them people who come here to work hard, and because of our out-of-step immigration policies....
TANCREDO: The word is illegal, Frank.
BUCHANAN: Are they breaking into the country?
TANCREDO: Right. That's right. And bootleggers are relatives, Pat.
We're breaking that law, too.
BUCHANAN: All right, when they did, they went to prison when they did that.
TANCREDO: And so we should ignore it?
SHARRY: We should deal with reality, Congressman. We should deal with reality.
TANCREDO: Here's reality.
SHARRY: There are 10 million people here doing jobs that Americans don't want to do.
TANCREDO: Closer to 15 million.
SHARRY: We have to deal with the reality. The fact is, is that our immigration laws which Congress sets are not the Bible.
They are out of step with reality. And we've got to bring them up to date with reality. President Bush wants to do it. Members of Congress from both parties want to do it. Unfortunately, people like you are standing in the way. And Governor Bush is left with a situation of people driving on his roads that are not vetted and not licensed and not insured, and he says, we've got to deal with reality.
BUCHANAN: All right, Tom Tancredo, go ahead, Tom.
TANCREDO: Listen, the reality is this, that no matter how-what tortured logic you want to try to apply to this and go, yes, yes, they're here illegally, but the law is bad. Well, you know what?
Anybody who has every broken a law in this country would probably argue that law is bad. If the law is bad, Frank, there is a way to handle that. You know, in this country, if there's something wrong with the law, you repeal it. You change it. But as long as it is the law-and it is the law of the land today that if people enter this country without our permission, that is a violation of the law. And you should never, ever reward them for that.
BUCHANAN: All right, Frank, that's my point, too. Look, you've got a law passed in 1965. Some of us might have disagreed with it. Frankly, I supported it at the time. You've got the amnesty under Ronald Reagan, OK. But now the laws of the land are being violated. You've got a million people trampling across the Southwest border into this country taking benefits, getting driver's licenses.
A lot of them are going to jail, some of them going to prison. Some of them are killing Americans. But they're here illegally. Why do you not at least say, look, while the laws are on the books, we've got to enforce the laws, but I'm going to fight to change them?
SHARRY: We are fighting to change the laws, so the laws can work.
The system is broken now, Pat. You can't enforce the law when you have...
BUCHANAN: Why not?
SHARRY: When you have hundreds of thousands of jobs being filled by hundreds of thousands of immigrants and no legal process for that.
BUCHANAN: Look, we've got 10 percent unemployment among African-American males. What do you mean? You've got high unemployment.
SHARRY: Look, in the 1990s, we had wages up. We had unemployment low. We had millions of immigrants coming into this country filling jobs.
BUCHANAN: They come here when there's high unemployment and low unemployment.
SHARRY: And 50 percent...
BUCHANAN: Do you think we ought to protect the border?
SHARRY: I do. But I think we have to change the laws in order to be effective. We need carrots and sticks.
TANCREDO: Frank, that's OK.
I mean, you think we ought to change the law. That's a debate we can have in the Congress of the United States and it's a debate we should have and in fact do quite regularly. But so far the law hasn't been changed. So your position is that we should ignore it because you don't like it and because a lot of people violate it. But I'm telling you that that is antithetical, it is absolutely opposed to everything we're supposed to believe in, in this country in terms of approving of and holding up the rule of law as something that we all believe in.
So, you know
SHARRY: If have reasonable rules, we will restore the rule of law.
BUCHANAN: Frank, isn't this about whether or not we are a country?
BUCHANAN: And you're saying it's just-look, it's a big jobs mall and everybody come pouring in.
SHARRY: No, I'm not. Pat...
BUCHANAN: And if you're here, go ahead and apply for the job. But it's a country and a homeland and you don't have people walking into it. You defend it, don't you? You put up a fence if people are squatting on your lawn or they're coming into your house. You say, look, you were not invited. You've got to go back.
SHARRY: Look, we are a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws and our current policies fail on both counts. We're not letting in enough immigrants who want to fill available laws. We don't have laws that can be effectively enforced.
BUCHANAN: Now, my guess is your ancestors and mine came here legally, right?
SHARRY: That's right, when we had legal channels for them to come.
I'll tell you, they were not rocket scientists, Pat, let's be honest.
TANCREDO: Frank, Frank, Frank, Frank, 1.3 million people come into this country legally every year on a way to be-legal immigration. It doesn't even count, as a matter of fact, all of the visa opportunities, you know, student visas, work visas; 1.3 million come in here legally every year just as immigrants. That's not enough?
SHARRY: With all due respect, the undocumented immigrants who worked on redecorating your house couldn't find a visa if their life depended on it, because there's no legal channel for them to come in.
TANCREDO: Frank, they could have absolutely come in here as an H1, an H2B, an H2A.
SHARRY: There's no H2B visas left. There's no visas for these people.
TANCREDO: There are a lot of visa applications for them.
SHARRY: It's just not true.
TANCREDO: What do you mean they're not there?
SHARRY: The fact is, is that we have a couple of hundred thousand more people coming in to fill jobs than visas.
SHARRY: We can have laws that work.
BUCHANAN: Frank, you're a good liberal fellow. What do you think about having folks up in New York who are not even American citizens voting on our leaders?
SHARRY: I'm opposed to it. I think you should become a citizen in order to have the right to vote.
BUCHANAN: We got him on one issue at least, Tom.
TANCREDO: That's the one. All right, we're on the way. We're on the way.
SHARRY: And the people who are working hard and paying taxes should get on a path to citizenship as well.
BUCHANAN: Listen, Tom, thank you both very much. It's always a pleasure, Congressman Tom Tancredo.
BUCHANAN: Frank Sharry, an old friend from radio days and TV days.
SHARRY: You bet.
BUCHANAN: Thanks for joining us, both of you.
SHARRY: Thank you.
BUCHANAN: Up next, folks, it's been a bloody few weeks in Iraq and another foreign hostage was killed today, an Italian fellow. I'm going to ask President Reagan's national security adviser, Robert McFarlane, how we got into this mess, is it a mess, and how do we get out.