On Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor, FNC's Geraldo Rivera and conservative columnist Michelle Malkin sparred over controversial comments Rivera had made on the June 8 show attacking Malkin's support for enforcing immigration laws, which Rivera had called "un-American" and had compared to "pulling down the pants of Jews to see if they were circumcised." Rivera, from June 8: "If, in her America, in Michelle's America, when you look, is that Hispanic guy an illegal or is he legal? It reminds me so much of when they used to pull down the pants of Jews to see if they were circumcised or not. It is, it is so, so pathetic. It's so un-American." On the Thursday June 14 show, Rivera contended that the issue is being pushed because "wedge issues like gay marriage and abortion lost steam with the extreme right, they've now seized on this as a way to appeal to energize the base." Video of the June 8 segments can be viewed here and the June 14 segment here. (Transcripts are below)
The controversy began on the Friday June 8 show during The O'Reilly Factor's regular "Weekly Review" segment as Bill O'Reilly and Malkin discussed the debate over immigration reform. Malkin chided O'Reilly for "mischaracterizing" her position as "dragging women and children out." Malkin added: "You and Geraldo, especially, keep using this line that what we want to do is drag families apart and go in the middle of the night. It's not true." Malkin wished to concentrate on "deporting the worst elements, the criminal illegal aliens."
O'Reilly soon asked Malkin if she would turn in "an illegal alien living across the street who was working," leading to that alien's deportation. Malkin responded: "If I knew somebody was an illegal alien and I knew that their employer knew that they were illegal alien, yes, I think it's incumbent on citizens to do that."
Rivera appeared later for the show's regular "Fridays with Geraldo" segment, which began with Rivera wanting to respond to Malkin's remarks. Rivera: "I think it's outrageous, and what she said was outrageous. You know, I have two Hispanic-American sons. You know what this is going to result in? This is going to result in racial profiling. If, in her America, in Michelle's America, when you look, is that Hispanic guy an illegal or is he legal? It reminds me so much of when they used to pull down the pants of Jews to see if they were circumcised or not. It is, it is so, so pathetic. It's so un-American."
Rivera later referred to illegal immigrants facing "terror." Rivera: "So we have a situation where families are being divided, where terror will persist, where we have ICE agents raiding in New Haven even as the Senate debates the bill."
When O'Reilly brought up the issue of whether illegal aliens who have committed other crimes should be deported, Rivera seemed to oppose the concept without being willing to directly say so. He responded, "John Lennon was a criminal illegal alien," and later added, "He was here illegally because he had a deportation order because he was a drug criminal. So we would have lost all of those great 10 years of John Lennon living in New York and Los Angeles."
When O'Reilly pressed Rivera over his refusal to answer the question directly of whether criminals should be deported, Rivera responded that illegal immigration opponents want America's police to "sow horror and pain."
O'REILLY, looking into the camera: I just want everybody to know he's dodging the question.
RIVERA, looking into the camera: I want you to know, ladies and gentlemen, that what they are doing is using the police force of the United States to break up families and sow horror and pain.
O'REILLY: All right, all right. Nobody is buying this. All right.
RIVERA: Some people are. Not many, not many. Some.
On the Thursday June 14 show, O'Reilly brought Rivera and Malkin together during one segment so the two could respond to each other directly, and Malkin challenged Rivera to defend his comments comparing law enforcement to "Gestapo tactics against innocent Jews" and his reference to "terrorizing undocumented workers." Rivera contended that he was not referring specifically to Nazis, and brought up several instances of people "pulling down the pants of Jews since Hammurabi." Rivera soon made another inflammatory attack on Malkin. Rivera: "What she wants is not only the enforcement of the laws, she wants to turn every neighbor into a cop, every neighbor into a snitch, a rat, to point out whether Pablo over there is illegal or not."
Later in the segment, after O'Reilly asked Rivera if he was willing to accept the construction of a 700-mile fence on the border as part of the compromise plan, Rivera charged that the issue was being pushed because other "wedge issues like gay marriage and abortion lost steam with the extreme right." Rivera: "Listen, if they want to waste the money on that and that's the only way to regularize the lives of the more than 12 million people who are here who have been brought here, lured here by the combination of the promise of jobs and lax enforcement. They got over the border and then suddenly because wedge issues like gay marriage and abortion lost steam with the extreme right, they've now seized on this as a way to appeal to energize the base."
Below are transcripts of relevants portions from FNC's The O'Reilly Factor from the Friday June 8 and Thursday June 14 shows with critical portions in bold:
From the Friday June 8 show:
BILL O'REILLY: In the Friday "Weekly Review" segment tonight, plenty to talk about with Michelle Malkin. So let's bring her in from Washington, D.C. Okay, as you predicted by the way, this whole Senate immigration fiasco blew up. And then, of course, you were given the very brilliant O'Reilly no spin immigration plan. What say you?
MICHELLE MALKIN: Well, look, I think that this was a watershed moment. And I don't think that pro-immigration enforcement proponents should rest on their laurels. I think it's time for ordinary American citizens who are outraged at how the White House collaborating with Harry Reid and the open borders lobby on the left and right tried to ram this down our throat take action into their own hands. And there are things that they can do. We've seen ordinary citizens, who have tried to clean up their own neighborhoods, who are voting out and kicking out law enforcement officials and city council members who defy them with sanctuary policies, who are falling down on the job with deportation. And I think that's the object lesson here, is you cannot trust Washington to meet its own federal obligations to do the job.
O'REILLY: Okay, but the system kind of worked in a perverse way when the thing just blew up in the Senate, as we talked with Senator Cornyn, largely because the left just got crazy at the end and blew it. But you don't think that we should be dragging women and children out?
MALKIN: You know what, Bill? I'm sorry, but you have to stop saying that. I mean, every time we talk about what needs to be done, you mischaracterize.
O'REILLY: But that's the key.
MALKIN: That is not the key.
O'REILLY: Yeah, that's what the far right is pushing. And that's deportation.
MALKIN: That's not true! That is not true! What we need, and I've said it many times on this show, is attrition through enforcement. And we start by deporting the worst elements, the criminal illegal aliens.
O'REILLY: I'm with you on that.
MALKIN: Target the people who are fugitives. And you know what? You and-
O'REILLY: But Michelle, look, look, hold it. Michelle, calm down.
MALKIN: You and Geraldo, I am calm. You and Geraldo, especially, keep using this line that what we want the do is drag families apart and go in the middle of the night. It's not true.
O'REILLY: But I have to ask you, if you're going to take that tack, I have to ask you a very simple question.
MALKIN: Go ahead.
O'REILLY: All right. In your neighborhood, if there were an illegal alien living across the street and that person was working, would you call ICE and demand to have that person deported? Yes or no?
MALKIN: If I knew somebody was an illegal alien and I knew that their employer knew that they were illegal alien, yes, I think it's incumbent on citizens to do that. Now, here's the problem. We all know that ICE has limited resources. There are some 2,000 enforcement agents doing the job.
O'REILLY: But you would want that person across the street deported?
MALKIN: If people are breaking the law, there should be consequences for that. What I'm saying is that we're going to have to leave it in the DHS's hands to prioritize. And guess what? They have no prioritization. The basic attitude of DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff is we can't deport everyone, so we're going to deport no one. That's unacceptable. It's a violation of the oath of office.
O'REILLY: Now, look, you and I agree on criminal illegal aliens, and we agree on employers.
MALKIN: So why don't we start there?
MALKIN: Why don't we start there?
MALKIN: I think the best thing out of the debate was we saw the Coburn Amendment pass during the debate, which basically said we should enforce existing laws. There's your immigration enforcement plan right there.
O'REILLY: Okay. But you can't deport 12 million people. Every law enforcement person in the country says it.
MALKIN: Can you stop saying that? Nobody's arguing that.
MALKIN: Nobody is arguing that. It's a straw man.
O'REILLY: No, no, Michelle, here's where you're wrong. A lot of people are arguing that. I do two hours of radio every day, and I hear it every single day.
MALKIN: Well, I've followed the Senate debate closely the last couple of-
O'REILLY: And there are other, and there are kooky people on television and radio, telling these people-
MALKIN: Those people are marginal.
O'REILLY: -that we got to round them up in trucks and take them away.
O'REILLY: You want to respond to Michelle, right?
GERALDO RIVERA: I think it's outrageous, and what she said was outrageous. You know, I have two Hispanic-American sons. You know what this is going to result in? This is going to result in racial profiling. If, in her America, in Michelle's America, when you look, is that Hispanic guy an illegal or is he legal? It reminds me so much of when they used to pull down the pants of Jews to see if they were circumcised or not. It is, it is so, so pathetic. It's so un-American.
O'REILLY: You get so emotional about this. You get so emotional.
RIVERA: But you know, Bill, these are 12 million people. And Senator John Cornyn, God bless him, John McCain was right about him. He's got more beans in this than a Tex Mex burrito. This is absolutely, he's, he is not telling you square. He will not vote for any bill that normalizes the lives of those 12 million, no matter what it says.
O'REILLY: But here's the problem. Here's the problem.
RIVERA: McCain called him chicken "s," and that was so right.
O'REILLY: Look, you're on one side. Michelle Malkin and Cornyn are on the other side. But here's the problem with your analysis, that you don't break out the bad people from the good people. See, I'm trying to get across, and Cornyn was trying to get across with this safe harbor nonsense, and this is why the bill fell apart, because you cannot say, if you commit a crime, once you cross in here illegally, you're allowed to stay. You can't. Because the American people, and you got to understand it. Look at it, take yourself out of Geraldo Rivera, okay, and put yourself into Michelle Malkin's body for a second. Most Americans believe the way Michelle Malkin believes, that okay, we're going to have to do something, but these people broke the law. But okay. But if you come here and commit a crime, Geraldo, from another nation, most Americans, I would say 80 percent of them, are saying no, you can't stay here. And once Kennedy and his brigade said no, they can stay here, boom.
RIVERA: There was no way John Cornyn was going to vote for an immigration reform bill, no matter what it said.
O'REILLY: Address it. Address the criminal alien issue.
RIVERA: No matter what it said, he would have thrown amendment after amendment after amendment after it, Bill. To go back now and say this amendment was good or that amendment is bad, the fact of the matter is that that side, the Malkin-Cornyn side would not agree to any immigration reform whatsoever.
O'REILLY: Okay, but I want you to address-
RIVERA: So we have a situation where families are being divided, where terror will persist, where we have ICE agents raiding in New Haven even as the Senate debates the bill.
O'REILLY: You know who they were after? Criminal aliens.
RIVERA: And you know who they arrested? You know how many of the 30 criminal aliens they were after? They arrested four. Everyone else, they just swept up, because they were there.
O'REILLY: But they let them go.
RIVERA: They did not let them go.
O'REILLY: Yeah, they let them go. They're back. Anybody who has a dependent, anybody who was-
RIVERA: They let the women go, thank God. They learned from New Bedford. They let the women go because they had nursing children crying for milk.
O'REILLY: You're the attorney general. Oh geeze. You're the attorney general of the country.
RIVERA: Why can't people, I'm for George Bush. I'm for George Bush.
O'REILLY: Stop with the theory.
RIVERA: I'm for Trent Lott.
O'REILLY: Stop with the theory. Criminal illegal aliens, do you let them stay? Yes or no? You let them stay?
RIVERA: John Lennon was a criminal illegal alien.
O'REILLY: I'll boot him out.
RIVERA: John Lennon. That's what John what's his name, the, Mitchell tried to do, Nixon's attorney general.
O'REILLY: I would have had him and Yoko on a little, they would have been in a kayak heading toward Liverpool.
RIVERA: I testified for John Lennon. What did his long ago drug bust in UK-
O'REILLY: He was here illegally.
RIVERA: He was here illegally because he had a deportation order because he was a drug criminal. So we would have lost all of those great 10 years of John Lennon living in New York and Los Angeles.
O'REILLY: Yeah, we didn't want to do that. So you won't answer the criminal illegal alien question? You won't answer the question?
RIVERA: I will, when John Cornyn and Michelle Malkin say that, under certain circumstances, they will legalize the 12 million.
O'REILLY: I just want everybody to know he's dodging the question.
RIVERA: I want you to know, ladies and gentlemen, that what they are doing is using the police force of the United States to break up families and sow horror and pain.
O'REILLY: All right, all right. Nobody is buying this. All right.
RIVERA: Some people are. Not many, not many. Some."
From the Thursday June 14 show:
BILL O'REILLY: Now, for the top story tonight. We have massed a police presence because of what could happen during the next few minutes. They're standing outside the Fox News Channel. Fox News commentators Michelle Malkin and Geraldo Rivera have very different views on illegal immigration. Last week, I asked Michelle if she'd turn in an illegal alien living across the street from her.
MICHELLE MALKIN, from the June 8 The O'Reilly Factor: If I knew somebody was an illegal alien and I knew that their employer knew that they were illegal alien, yes, I think it's incumbent on citizens to do that.
O'REILLY: Now, Geraldo responded by saying this.
GERALDO RIVERA, from the June 8 The O'Reilly Factor: If in her America, in Michelle's America, when you look, is that Hispanic guy an illegal or is he legal? It reminds me so much of when they used to pull down the pants of Jews to see if they were circumcised or not. It is, it is so, so pathetic.
O'REILLY: All right, joining us now from Washington is Michelle Malkin, and here in the studio Geraldo Rivera. Just remember the police presence outside. And they have handcuffs. All right, Michelle. You're up first. What say you?
MALKIN: I think that what's pathetic is Geraldo's engaging in the worst kind of ignorant demagoguery of this issue. When we both spoke last week on your show, it was clear who was playing the emotion card and who was playing the race card. I never mentioned anybody's race or ethnicity. It was Geraldo who assumed that if I said that I would report somebody who was an illegal alien that it would be a Hispanic illegal alien. I think that Geraldo suffers from open borders narcissism on this issue. And I think that that kind of rhetoric likening the enforcement of immigration laws against illegal aliens to Gestapo tactics against innocent Jews is ridiculous, and I don't think it has any place in the no spin zone. It's Geraldo who's been going around on this channel for weeks and months now saying that proponents of immigration enforcement are engaging in fear mongering and demagoguery and racist tactics when that's clearly a projection.
And I would like an answer on the specific use of invoking the Gestapo tactics and Nazi history. I would like an explanation from Geraldo about whether he truly believes that because not only is he indicting millions of law-abiding and good faith Americans like me who believe we should enforce our immigration laws, he's also indicting all of the good faith people at the Department of Homeland Security who enforce those laws. And he even-
O'REILLY: All right. Let him reply.
MALKIN: Well, let me just finish. Because he referred to them as terrorizing undocumented workers. Terrorizing them because they are enforcing the laws of this country that were meant to protect American citizens and protect our sovereignty.
O'REILLY: All right. That was about 90 seconds. So you have 90 to respond.
RIVERA: I never said anything about the Gestapo.
O'REILLY: Yeah, but pulling down-
MALKIN: He mentioned Jews.
O'REILLY: Michelle, hold it. Geraldo, go ahead.
RIVERA: People have been pulling down the pants of Jews since Hammurabi. The Spanish expulsion, the French expulsion, the British expulsion, the Arab countries expelling the Jews. It is not about Nazism. This is about population transfer. What Michelle wants -- and you notice you haven't heard any commentators suggesting the kind of neighbor snitching out neighbor that Michelle has advocated now. No one advocates that kind of extremist position except the extremists on the issue. What she wants is not only the enforcement of the laws, she wants to turn every neighbor into a cop, every neighbor into a snitch, a rat, to point out whether Pablo over there is illegal or not.
O'REILLY: Hold on. Michelle, Michelle, you've got to let him finish, to be fair.
RIVERA: She says I am projecting. Overwhelmingly it is so disingenuous for her to suggest that we're talking about the Irish bartenders in Boston. This is about the huge Hispanic presence amongst the illegal aliens. And within that community, the huge Mexican presence. It is about the exceptionalism of the Mexican presence here. And what she is advocating is the population transfer of over 12 million people. We have 2 million people in American prisons. Six times more than the prison population is the illegal population. What exactly would Michelle Malkin do to enforce this vision, this grim vision of hers where one neighbor snitches out the other? This is worse than Big Brother. This is American against American. This is not solving the immigration problem.
O'REILLY: Michelle, go ahead.
MALKIN: It's not American against American. It's Americans against people who are breaking the laws. And notice again that Geraldo said "Pablo" when I never identified any ethnicity or any national origin of any illegal alien that I'm talking about. You asked me a question, Bill. If I knew somebody was an illegal alien, would I call immigration authorities and report it? Guess what? If the police who had stopped some of the 9/11 hijackers who were caught speeding before the September 11th attacks had bothered to ask what their immigration status is, there would be 3,000 people still alive in your New York City. Geraldo, you are out of touch.
RIVERA: Oh, please.
MALKIN: You are in, you live in a pre-9/11 mentality, and you suffer-
RIVERA: Don't invoke 9/11.
O'REILLY: Wait, hold it, Geraldo.
MALKIN: Oh, please, please.
O'REILLY: All right, Geraldo replies. But look, she has a legitimate point because I've raised this with you too in our big shootout. If the local authorities -- and they should be part of Homeland Security -- were to be more vigilant on criminal illegal aliens, notice the word "criminal," and track them harder, the Fort Dix thing would have been caught sooner, the deaths of the Virginia Beach thing which we talked about. And all of these guys at 9/11 were stopped by the local police.
RIVERA: What we obscure here are the realities as put forth by President George W. Bush, whose position I endorse 100 percent, also endorsed by Senator Trent Lott. Those are the radicals whose policies that I endorse. You cannot talk about illegal aliens and crime without addressing the statistics. Illegal aliens commit crimes at the same or lower rate than the population in general. They commit the second offense, if they are not deported after the first offense, at a rate half as large as we have recidivist criminals among the citizen population. Two-thirds of all illegals pay taxes, according to Tony Snow and George Bush, that withholding taxes. Two-thirds of illegals pay Social Security tax, Social Security tax that they will never redeem. When we emotionalize this issue in this way, when you make it us against them, you fail to recognize that a nation at full employment has absorbed these people in a way that is masterful.
O'REILLY: All right. Michelle, I'm going to give you, I'm going to give you 30 seconds to close it. And then we're going to bring Michelle and Geraldo back to give us their vision of what a fair immigration plan would be. All right, Michelle, go ahead.
MALKIN: There's only one radical here at the table, and it's Geraldo. He's an open borders radical who even refuses to say that he would support deporting criminal illegal aliens in this country. That's flabbergasting. And you can rattle off all the statistics you want, you know, but the fact is that illegal immigration-
RIVERA: The facts don't matter?
O'REILLY: Go ahead, Michelle.
MALKIN: It's not just about illegal alien Mexicans in this country. We didn't set up immigration policy to allow every last willing worker from Mexico to come here. That's not what our immigration policy is about. That's not what the country is about.
RIVERA: Let's seal up that border with Canada to keep those pesky Swedes out.
MALKIN: That's not why this country was founded.
O'REILLY: Continuing now with the immigration debate. We're talking with Michelle Malkin in Washington and Geraldo Rivera here in the studio. As we mentioned at the top of the broadcast, we do have a massive police presence outside Fox News Channel. But so far, so far things are all right. All right, now, you got a minute, 60 seconds. For you that is, you know, you usually take three hours.
GERALDO: That's my first sentence.
O'REILLY: Your immigration plan. Go.
RIVERA: My immigration, I endorse the President's plan completely. I think that you cannot have a compromise hammered out between Trent Lott and Ted Kennedy in this country without people feeling pain on both sides.
O'REILLY: You realize that's 700 miles of border barrier.
RIVERA: Listen, if they want to waste the money on that and that's the only way to regularize the lives of the more than 12 million people who are here who have been brought here, lured here by the combination of the promise of jobs and lax enforcement. They got over the border and then suddenly because wedge issues like gay marriage and abortion lost steam with the extreme right, they've now seized on this as a way to appeal to energize the base.
O'REILLY: I don't know, there have been a lot of social problems attached to illegal immigration. A lot.
RIVERA: But as every commentator suggests - Larry Kudlow at CNBC talking about how Hispanics are opening businesses, since 2002, at a rate 141 percent greater than the rest of the population. We are assimilating.
O'REILLY: All right, so your plan, you are straight down the line Bush plan.
RIVERA: I am straight down the line Bush plan. I think that once you start amending it-
O'REILLY: He's going to have to toughen it up now.
RIVERA: Here's the problem. Here's the problem. I believe that opponents of immigration like Michelle, Rush Limbaugh, Tancredo of Colorado, Lou Dobbs at CNN, those people would not agree to any immigration reform that allows the people who are here to remain here.
O'REILLY: All right, let's go to Michelle and see.
RIVERA: But anyone who starts with that as the central focus, the humane compassionate American thing to do, then I back that.
O'REILLY: Okay. Michelle, your immigration plan.
MALKIN: Well, first, let me respond to Geraldo because anybody who continues to insist that we view immigration policy through a narrow ethnic-centric lens like Geraldo does has nothing of value to contribute to this debate. It's not just about Hispanics. And you underscored my point again.
O'REILLY, to Rivera: Stop. Stop. You can reply at your time.
MALKIN: Excuse me. You underscored my point again by continuing to talk about Hispanics. Guess what? Immigration policy is not just about Hispanic workers. It's not just about Hispanic illegal aliens.
O'REILLY: All right. We got that point. Your plan is?
MALKIN: Well, my plan is that you start with first principles. And the first principle is that entry into this country is not a right. It is a privilege. We also have to be able to know who is in this country. And that means every guest who comes into this country legally or illegally, until you can guarantee that no guest worker plan and no enforcement provisions and triggers are going to be of use -- period.
O'REILLY: All right. So you want them all to register? You want them all to register?
MALKIN: Let me just say one last thing. If we already had implemented the databases that had been mandated in this country back as far as 1996, we'd be a lot closer to that. And so for all of the empty promises from Washington now that yeah, they'll get around to it, I think you have to deal with reality. A final thing is if we adhere to the Constitution of the United States and the Preamble which says that it is the federal government's duty to promote the general welfare, not just illegal aliens' welfare, and to provide for the common defense, and if we had federal officials from the White House on down who adhered to their oaths of office, we'd be a lot closer to the kind of immigration policy we should have in this country.
O'REILLY: I didn't get a lot of specifics from you on that, but I'll let Geraldo respond.
MALKIN: I wrote a whole book about it. It's called Invasion.
RIVERA: Since 1901, every study, every survey of undocumented workers who come here indicate that they commit crime at a rate lower than the general population. They are contributing to the American economy. They are helping drive the economy. We have an unemployment rate below five percent. We have basically full employment in this country, and yet we have managed to absorb all of these illegal aliens. How is it that they are a net negative to the United States? They are contributing to our prosperity.
MALKIN: Geraldo, we know your bottom line.
RIVERA: And it is inconceivable that but for the factor of race this issue would be nearly as emotional as it is today.
O'REILLY: All right. I'm giving Michelle the last word. Michelle-
RIVERA: You gave her the first word.
O'REILLY: I know but I'm doing the time thing here. I'm timing. You had the first, in this segment you were first.
RIVERA: Oh, thank you.
O'REILLY: Don't attack him, okay? Just say something else. Because then I have to give him a minute. Don't attack him. Go.
MALKIN: Who's attacking who, Bill? You know, Geraldo has continued to play the race card, the ethnic card. We heard it throughout this debate. I hear you groaning now, Geraldo. But, Bill, if you want to talk about specifics like I said, I wrote a book about it.
RIVERA: No, in this century-
MALKIN: Everything from sanctuary policy-
RIVERA: In the 19th century, it was the Irish or the Germans.
MALKIN: -everything from sanctuary policy, from reforming sanctuary policies, reporting deportations-
O'REILLY: What's the book, Michelle? So everybody can get it. What's the book?
RIVERA: Invasion. She calls it Invasion.
MALKIN: Have you read it, Geraldo? Maybe you should read it. I recommend that Geraldo read my book. There's my recommendation.
RIVERA (difficult to hear from crosstalk): There's not agenda in Invasion?
O'REILLY: Stop, stop, stop. I don't want to have to cut your mikes or get the cops. All right, so Michelle's book is Invasion. All right, you can read that. Geraldo, you just heard it.
RIVERA: I'm writing a book, too. It's called His Panic. His Panic.
O'REILLY: All right, the last book you were sleeping with Bette Midler or something, hey, you know. I don't want that. A no spin immigration plan which I think you like, Michelle, most of it, is on billoreilly.com.
RIVERA: Not if it normalizes the lives of the illegals who are here.
O'REILLY: Will you stop, stop, stop? All right. Michelle and Geraldo. Let the police go. We paid them overtime for being here.