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Geraldo vs. Tancredo On Illegal Immigration

Reported by Ellen - August 23, 2007 -

FOX News’ Geraldo Rivera duked it out with presidential candidate Tom Tancredo for two segments on last night’s (8/22/07) Hannity & Colmes. I’m not a fan of Rivera (or his moustache) but I have to admire the way he stands up to the FOX News bullies and offers real, passionate, no-holds-barred advocacy for (usually) liberal values. Why don’t the other FOX News pundits and, particularly, the Democratic guests do it, too? With video.

The discussion started out with a free airing of Mitt Romney’s ad attacking illegal immigration.

Alan Colmes noted out that Cambridge was a sanctuary city under his governorship, another Romney flip-flop.

Rivera who, inexplicably, called Giuliani “a great mayor” pointed out that New York City is the safest big city in the US, that Giuliani helped craft the NYC sanctuary laws so they must be doing something right.

Tancredo had no rebuttal to that. He and Sean Hannity repeatedly grandstanded about three dead young adults in Newark who would be alive today were it not for the illegal immigrant. In reality, the victims may well have been killed anyway, as the illegal immigrant in question, who had been out on a low bail after committing serious felonies, was only one of the six suspects in the slayings, a fact that Tancredo and Hannity conveniently ignored in their melodramatic elegies.

Even Rivera overlooked that point. He did bring up that this was the 60th homicide in Newark this year so how come Tancredo never cared about any of the others? Rivera saw it as a law enforcement issue, that the guy should not have been let out of jail on such a low bail. "It’s just being used by advocates… to make a political point.”

Tancredo then proved Rivera’s point. Tancredo made it clear he didn't care about the other crimes, just the ones committed by illegal immigrants by responding that there’s no way to know how many other crimes had been committed by them.

Rivera saw right through it. “I bet you Congressman, we would know.” He added, “The vast majority of (undocumented immigrants) who are here are hard-working, law-abiding people.”

Has Sean Hannity ever spent a moment of air time showing a scintilla of interest in the lives of inner city youths? Not that I can recall. But all of a sudden the bigoted Hannity was beside himself with Hanctimonious concern. “These lives of these college students may have been saved!”

Too bad Rivera didn’t confront Hannity on his bigotry. But he did confront Tancredo. Rivera challenged Tancredo for calling Miami “a third world country.” “It is an insult to Hispanic Americans,” Rivera said. “You also falsely claimed it was the murder capital of the country.”

“Don’t change the subject,” Tancredo lamely replied.

“It is the same subject,” an unintimidated, unapologetic Rivera told him.

Hannity, whose devotion to the rule of law waxes and wanes depending on the issue was back in “rule of law” mode for this discussion. “It’s the fact that people don’t obey the laws.” Then he repeated his phony-baloney concern for the young victims. “These three African Americans may be alive today!” And it’s a fairly safe bet that if they were, Hannity wouldn’t give a fig about them, for the conditions in which they live or the challenges they might face.

Part 1 of the discussion was ending but Rivera demanded enough time to tell an anecdote about a young girl who was kidnapped, raped and murdered in Washington State on July 4th. “All of the right wing blogs, including some of the people who are contributors on this network, said (the crime was) a consequence of America’s open door policy because it was revealed that the perpetrator of the terrible crime was an immigrant from Thailand… For 24 hours, the right wing was crazy about this case. What happened? Why aren’t you hearing about this case any more? Let me tell you. Because it turned out the guy was the stepson of an Army veteran, he was, himself, an Army veteran and a naturalized citizen who voted in 2002. I mean, so now the right wing doesn’t care about that child any more.”

In Part 2, Tancredo and Hannity repeated their one-note “Three young people are dead” argument.

Rivera asked Tancredo, “How many people enjoyed the benefit of the random act of kindness today from someone who’s here illegally? How many lives were saved? How many children were fed? How many people had their lives improved today by an undocumented worker?”

Colmes jumped in. “You’re extrapolating one horrible act out of 60 acts because the person’s illegal. You want to use it as a political bat to hit opponents over the head. That’s what you’re doing Congresman.”

Tancredo repeated, “Three kids would be alive.”

“You’re ignoring all the other murders,” Colmes said.

And the poverty, the lack of access to decent health care, the gang violence and a host of other inner city and even middle class problems, none of which will be alleviated one bit even if every illegal immigrant in Newark or the country should get deported. But who’s going to be paying attention with such loud distractions?