During Fox News Sunday's "Roundtable" segment, regular panel member Brit Hume chided the news media for spreading misinformation about the new law in Arizona aimed at enforcing federal immigration laws, as he charged that "It's turned out that a lot of the news stories simply flat had it wrong, and a lot of the critics of the bill itself have also got it wrong."
After recounting that the law requires "that there be a legitimate law enforcement incident, a stop, a detention, or arrest," and "reasonable suspicion," he concluded that "all the hysteria about it is grossly overdone, in my judgment."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the May 2 Fox News Sunday:
GLORIA ESTEFAN: We've given a lot to this country. This country has given a lot to us. And we have to defend what this country has stood for, which is freedom.
CHRIS WALLACE: Singer Arizona immigration law. ... So, Brit, is the furor over Arizona's new law much ado about something or nothing?taking part in one of many demonstrations across the country yesterday protesting the controversial
BRIT HUME: I'd say it's much ado about not very much. There's been, I sat here on this program last week and made some comments based on my reading of the news stories about the Arizona immigration law. Big mistake. It's turned out that a lot of the news stories simply flat had it wrong, and a lot of the critics of the bill itself have also got it wrong. The bill does not authorize the singling out at random of individuals to be, have their papers checked by authorities in Arizona based on, you know, skin color or whatever. It requires, even as it was originally written and now that it was amended, that there be already a law enforcement incident, a legitimate law enforcement incident, a stop, a detention, or arrest. And it requires the presence of reasonable suspicion, a term of law which is understood by authorities, and further requires that a reasonable effort be made where practicable to determine the person's immigration status if there's reasonable suspicion. That is a totally sensible and reasonable step. And all the hysteria about it is grossly overdone, in my judgment.
WALLACE: But to go back to the substance, Bill, of what was passed in Arizona, it's not just, as we saw with Marco Rubio, liberal Democrats who have come out against this bill. In fact, conservative Texas Governor Rick Perry said this week, "It would not be the right direction for Texas." Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said, "I don't think this is the proper approach."
BILL KRISTOL: We have a federal system in this country. And conservatives believe in federalism, and the problem, the situation in Arizona is different from Texas or Florida. But I think Brit is right. The Arizona law is well within the bounds of a reasonable effort to deal with something that is a real problem in Arizona. Phoenix now has one of the highest kidnapping ratios, if that's the right word, in the world. And this has something to do with these gangs that smuggle illegal immigrants across the border, the traffic in human beings. It's a terrible situation. And this relaxed attitude towards it, "Oh, come on, grow up. We're a big country. We're going to have tons of illegal immigrants," doesn't speak to the facts on the ground, I don't think, in Arizona. And then the idea that you're supposed to tell the citizens of Arizona, "Well, wait for us to deal with it at the federal level," well, they've been waiting quite a while. There is no federal bill. And the liberal, the Obama administration position is there has to be comprehensive reform. Well, why? Just secure the borders. ... But why, forget about comprehensive, why not just propose, Secretary Napolitano-
HUME: Enforce the law.
KRISTOL: -said here there's more we can do to secure the borders. Fine. Let's do more to secure the borders. And next year, we can go look at other reforms. But there are not, there's no proposal from the Obama administration to do more to secure the borders.