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FOX's John gibson concerned more about cost of his ranch-hands than with larger immigration issues

Reported by Chrish - December 15, 2005

On the Big Story 12/14/05, John Gibson seemed impatient with the explanations and reasoning behind a pending House bill that would address illegal immigration and steered the interview towards how it would affect him personally at his weekend cowboy getaway. His guest was Republican Congressman Daniel Lungren of California.

He kept up the pressure today 12/15/05 with another segment on the subject, this time with Republican Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas.

A new bill in the US House will make millions of illegal immigrants into felons, and the people who employ them could be subject to prison. Gibson had on Congressman Dan Lungren (R-CA) to discuss it on 12/14.

Lungren explained that the greatest part of the bill deals specifically with border control , and it also makes mandatory a voluntary program (we have now) dealing with the identification of people as they seek employment. As he put it, the employers are the magnets that draw people to the US. Gibson replied that "someone"writing in the Wall Street Journal said 'only Republicans could criminalize their own people (my emphasis) by making them into felons for hiring illegals. What is the point of jumping on the people doing the hiring here?" Lungren was very straightforward and said if we're going to get serious about illegal imigration we need to eliminate the "magnet" that draws them into this country, otherwise we should throw up our hands and say we're not going to deal with it.

Gibson interrupted and overtalked, saying "Here I'm a guy in Texas, and I am a guy in Texas, I've got a ranch, and I need to hire somebody at under $10 an hour, guess who it is. Is someone going to come arrest me for hiring that guy?

Lingren explained the proviisions of the bill a little (2 year grace period for new hires, 6 years for employers to verify current employees) and reiterated that we're either serious about this, or we're not.

He was cut off in true Gibson style, thanked and dismissed, and Gibson asked the question that really concerns him and other employers: What about the people who hire illegals? He brings in regular guest host and contributor Judge Andrew Napolitano and poses the question: "I'm the guy in Texas who needs to hire someone for under ten bucks an hour, guess who it is? I mean, there's no mystery about it. It's somebody who is not here legally. So what happens to me?"

Napolitano answers that "in two years you'd be prosecuted..." and Gibson interrupts: "Didn't he say six?" Napolitano says "it depends on how you read it...it also depends on how it's enforced. It gives tremendous discretion to the Attorney General." He goes on to say that, using Gibson as the example, the AG acting through local federal authorities in Texas, would determine if Gibson was a magnet hiring hundreds of illegals , or does he just have one or two ranch hands? "In your case, they probably wouldn't pursue you, unless you were operating a major business. But pursue you, they could, depending on who the Attorney General was."

Comment; How disconcerting to hear it put so bluntly by a judge - that charges could/would/will be pressed based on personalities and/or politics, not the law.

Gibson, apparently eager to clear up for himself this detail right now asks "Did I hear in that that you have six years to report you've had somebody working, I think he's legal but I don't really know, doesn't that amount to a six year amnesty?" (Comment: He "thinks" they're legal? He JUST said that there's no mystery - they're illegal. He's playing games. Why, that could even be obstruction of justice.)

Napolitano confirms that it does essentially equate to an amnesty but again, it depends on how the officers of the court want to "exercise their discretion" . Too much "discretion exercising" would clog the courts.

Today another Republican Congressman, Lamar Smith of Texas, also treated the subject seriously, but Gibson wanted to know immediately what would happen to him. Misconstruing what was said yesterday (the greatest part of the bill deals specifically with border control , and it also makes mandatory a voluntary program (we have now) dealing with the identification of people as they seek employment) , Gibson said that "there seems to be an emphasis on going after the people who hire illegals - where's this all stand right now?"

Smith replied that this bill allows employers to check into the legal status of prospective employees, makes it harder to smuggle humans in and easier to deport criminals out, and it holds people more accountable if they have violated illegal immigration laws.

Gibson asked if the bill was going to emphasize stopping people at the border or targeting the "magnets", the employers who draw people in? (Apparently he wasn't paying attention yesterday when Lungren said the bill was mostly about border control.) Smith confirmed that and said that at least 90% of the provisions address border security. The provision that requires employers to check on their applicants' legal status will be phased in over six years.

Gibson then stated "There's a big argument about whether "these people" should be here at all , whether they're legal or illegal, should we allow them in. Do_we_need_these_laborers? (Comment: Next book will be "The War on These People" Smith replied that in some exceptional circumstances we do but he is more concerned about displacing Americans, and there's no doubt thatillegals depress wages for Americans and legal immigrants alike.

Gibson cut him off, rudely, and said that as a Texan Smith surely understands - an illegal immigrant will work for six, seven, eight dollars an hour compared to twelve, fiftenn, eighteen bucks for someone legal - does Smith really think that, "if we do not have access to that cheap labor, people are going to pony up that huge difference? Smith, to his credit, said he believes Americans will get behind raising wages to make the jobs more desireable for Americans and legal immigrants.

omment: Of course there's a possibility Gibson was speaking hypothetically but his expression and demeanor were quite concerned. There was virtually no discussion of terrorism, strains on social programs, and the other issues associated with the larger immigration issue - just what's it going to cost Gibson and how long does he have to make things legal.

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