STATE SENATOR RICHARD ALARCON (D)-CALIFORNIA: Well, Joe, you know that the federal government has done a miserable job in enforcing immigration laws in this country, and the fact is, that millions of people in California are driving illegally, and this is a measure as much as it is compassionate to their ability to get to work as it is an accountability measure to hold them responsible to learn how to drive appropriately, to purchase insurance and stop victimizing hundreds of thousands of Californians.
SCARBOROUGH: Senator McClintock, you obviously are hot off of a debate tonight, so it seems to me we should ask you a political question here. Some are saying this is nothing more than recall politics for Gray Davis. Do you agree with that assessment?
STATE SENATOR TOM MCCLINTOCK ®-CALIFORNIA: I don't know what his motive is, but I will tell you this. This has nothing to do with driver training. We already accept a valid foreign driver's license as proof of competence to operate a motor vehicle in California. This bill has one purpose and one purpose alone. It is to place valid state identification documents in the hands of illegal immigrants, and the only reason to do that is to undermine the enforcement of our immigration laws.
SCARBOROUGH: And why isare there members of the Senateif you say that's the only reason, to undermine valid enforcement of illegal immigrants, why? What's the political motivation here?
MCCLINTOCK: I don't know what the political motivation is, Joe. I truly can't tell you that. I can tell you this. This is a huge mistake. It destroys the validity of the California driver's license for the millions of Californians that currently hold one as proof of residency.
SCARBOROUGH: And Senator Alarcon, this is not just a California issue. This affects all Americans, does it not, because if an illegal immigrant comes in to California, gets this I.D., then, of course, they can go to any of the 50 states. Again, this looks like a recipe for another terror attack.
ALARCON: You know, Joe, the reality is that these people are already in California. The measure 10 years ago that rescinded their opportunity to get a license really fails to address the reality that they're here, they're working, they're taking care of our kids, they're picking our food, they're providing service in our restaurants, in our clothing manufacturers. They're providing - they're an important part of our economy. And to think that this is somehow going to contribute to the immigration problemthe fact is, it's not being controlled. And so this is a measure of accountability.
SCARBOROUGH: But the bottom line, Senator - and the thing is, I've heard these arguments all before, but the bottom line is, you would agree with me, they are here illegally, and they're here only because they broke our laws.
ALARCON: Joe, I don't know.
MCCLINTOCK: Exactly. Joe, there are millions of illegal immigrants waiting in line to come to this country to obey our immigration laws and to become Americans. Illegal immigration is the process of cutting in line in front of them. Why would we give a preference to that kind of conduct?
SCARBOROUGH: And last year, Gray Davis himself vetoed this bill saying: "The tragedy of September 11th made it abundantly clear that the driver's license is more than just a license to drive. It is one of the primary documents we use to identify ourselves."
I want to ask both of you briefly, just last Saturday, Gray Davis said, you put that bill on my desk and I'm going to sign it in a heartbeat. Senator, it sounds like Gray Davis is more worried about recall politics than repeating September 11th.
MCCLINTOCK: Oh, there's no question he's done a complete 180-degree turn from his previous position. But that's normal for this governor. You see it happen all the time. Usually it's when somebody gives him a campaign contribution or when he gets into a recall and starts to get worried about losing his job.
SCARBOROUGH: Senator Alarcon, respond if you could briefly. Why has Gray Davis done a 180 on this issue?
ALARCON: Joe, this isn't about the recall. This is about turning around a miserable policy that was instituted 10 years ago. This measure today is better than the one that he vetoed.
SCARBOROUGH: But what about Gray Davis saying that this would be a repeat of September 11th if he signed the bill last year? This year, there aren't fingerprint requirements like there were last year, there aren't the background checks. This bill is even weaker, is it not?
ALARCON: Joe, there were a lot of people who didn't support the measure that he vetoed. The AFL-CIO, the many civil rights organizations, police chiefs, did not support the measure last year. They do this year. And so this is a much different measure. It's much improved. It does have accountability.
We do notdo we not want to know who these people are? The I.D. provides that. Right now they're getting illegal I.D.s, and it's absolutely ludicrous to think that we are controlling immigration by not allowing the driver's licenses. They're driving all over California. And let me tell you something.
MCCLINTOCK: And they're doing it illegally.
ALARCON: I can't tell you why others voted for this. I can tell you for me, my son died as a result of an uninsured motorist. There were two state Senators who lost dear loved ones as a result of uninsured motorists. That - if that were proportionate, that would be 500,000 victims of accidents as a result of uninsured motorists. This is a problem of victimization, and this will help alleviate the pain and suffering of all those victims who suffer the consequences of uninsured motorists.
MCCLINTOCK: No. Again, Joe, I have got to say.
SCARBOROUGH: Senator McClintock, wrap it up.
MCCLINTOCK: That's another bogus argument. A foreign national can obtain insurance in their own.
ALARCON: Tom, you didn't lose your son. It's not a bogus argument.
MCCLINTOCK: . in California. Well, it is because any foreign national can obtain extended coverage in the United States. So it has nothing to do with insurance. This has one purpose alone, and that is to undermine the enforcement of our immigration laws by placing valid state identification documents in the hands of people who are here illegally.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. I'd like to thank both of you for being with us tonight on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. And Senator Alarcon, obviously, we mourn with you for the loss of your son. It's a tragedy.
And straight ahead on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, what does America think about new FCC regulations that will change who owns their local TV? We're going to be talking to pollster Frank Luntz about that.