MSNBC Hardball with Chris Matthews - Transcript
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MATTHEWS: Were less than 30 minutes away from President Bushs nationally televised address tonight where hes expected to unveil his plan to send thousands of National Guard troops to our border with Mexico.
President Bush will tour the border town of Yuma, Arizona, later this week. The governor of that state, Governor Janet Napolitano, joins us now. It is great to have you tonight. It is such a hot issue. You know all about it. What has been your experience in using National Guard troops at the border?
GOV. JANET NAPOLITANO (D), ARIZONA: Weve actually had National Guard at the border since 1988. We use them in a support capacity, for drug interdiction. We use them for engineering, building and maintaining fences, lighting and so forth. And Ive been asking for more federal funds for more guard on the border for quite some time now. Im looking very much forward to the presidents speech.
MATTHEWS: Are you looking forward to him deploying National Guardspeople across the Mexican-American border?
NAPOLITANO: Yes. I think thats what hes going to propose. I think what he is going to propose is that National Guard troops from around the country do their annual multi-week training along the U.S.-Mexican border. That they do it in a support capacity. It is important that it be mission specific. Important that it be targeted. But for a state like Arizona where over half the border patrol apprehensions in the country occur annually, this is a good addition.
MATTHEWS: Will it stop illegal immigration?
NAPOLITANO: It by itself will not stop illegal immigration. This has to be part and parcel of a whole package of reforms that include a temporary worker program that includes employer sanctions that actually are enforced on the interior of the United States. And Washington, D.C. and Mexico City must engage on an ongoing basis with respect to immigration.
MATTHEWS: Do you trust a Republican president to impose economic or criminal sanctions on Republican businesspeople who hire illegals?
NAPOLITANO: You know, I think he must. If were going to have a workable immigration law, it is a supply and demand issue as one of the former speakers on your program said. Youve got to have a law thats workable and then you have to enforce it. That means you have to have the tools and the resources and I.C.E. and the other federal agencies to go in and for those who intentionally keep avoiding the law, and avoiding the intent of the law, they have to be subject to criminal penalty.
DOBBS: How do you enforceyoure a former prosecutor. How do you bring the bear on an employer, say a guy who runs a hotel, or a woman who runs a hotel who hires people to do the lawn work and the housework and the chambermaid work and you know they are hiring people illegally. They say they gave me documents, they look good. How do you sanction those people if they say they got paper in their hands that looked good?
NAPOLITANO: Theres a number of things you can do. One of them is you can just impose a simple requirement that they have to verify that the Social Security number of the person that theyve employed is actually that persons Social Security number. There are a myriad of ways to do that. So that there are ways that you can tell whether somebody is really making a good faith effort to comply with the law and whether theyre not.
It goes to another fundamental point which is to say that most of these illegal immigrants are here working. And thats why the temporary worker program combined with the employer sanctions really need to be part of the whole bill that the Congress ultimately passes. They need to pass a bill. I think America is tired of waiting.
MATTHEWS: Some Democrats in the Senate, I get the sense, are willing to play a game of delay using parliamentary tactics to allow lots of amendments, to break apart a deal. Maybe Im wrong in that. Do you believe the Democratic party stands to gain by a bill thats passed and signed by a Republican president?
NAPOLITANO: I dont think it should be viewed that way. In my view as a border state governor, this is a problem that needs to be solved. It needs to be taken out of the partisan rhetoric of both sides. Both sides, the rhetoric has gotten overheated and inaccurate and misleading. Emotions are running too high. In my view, you need a workable border, a tough border, a secure border and then an immigration border that matches the economic reality of today.
MATTHEWS: What are you going to say to President Bush when he comes down to Arizona this week? On Wednesday, I believe.
NAPOLITANO: Im going to say its pretty hot. Dont wear wool. Im also going to welcome him to our border. Hes been here before. Hes a former border governor himself. Im glad that at long last, the White House is finally engaging. This problem has been allowed to fester for far too long.
MATTHEWS: It is great having you on the show tonight. Governor Janet Napolitano of Arizona.
Up next, were 20 minutes away from the presidents address to the country. Can he rally his Republican Party and the country at large behind his immigration ideas. This is HARDBALL only on MSNBC.
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