On the May 1 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly disputed Fox News analyst Kirsten Powers' statement that the immigration bill sponsored by Sens. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and John McCain (R-AZ) in 2006 contained several provisions aimed at improving border security. Powers recalled: "I sat on this show and read a list to you of the bill of all the different things he [Kennedy] wanted to do." O'Reilly responded: "You're crazy."
Powers was right: On the May 8, 2006, edition of the program, after O'Reilly asked Powers if she still supported the Kennedy-McCain bill, "[e]ven with no securing of the border" provision, Powers noted that in fact the bill included several provisions addressing border security: "They have tons of security on the border stuff. I can read it to you right now ... double border patrol, adds 12,000 more agents ... adds new technology ... construction of fences, provides additional border."
On March 27, 2006, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved an immigration bill based on Kennedy and McCain's proposed legislation, "Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act." In addition to providing a guest worker program and a path to citizenship, the Kennedy-McCain bill, according to a fact sheet provided by Kennedy, would have:
- Double interior enforcement by adding "1,000 investigators per year for next 5 years"
- Create a "[n]ew [s]ecurity [p]erimeter" by "add[ing] new technology at the border to create [a] 'virtual fence' "
- "Tighten [c]ontrols" by "expand[ing] exit-entry security system at all land borders and airports"
- Call for the "[c]onstruction of [b]arriers" by "mandat[ing] new roads and vehicle barriers at borders"
- Call for the "[c]onstruction of [f]ences" by "provid[ing] additional border fences at specific vulnerable sectors"
- "[A]uthorize new permanent highway checkpoints near border"
- Demand a "[c]omprehensive [s]urveillance [p]lan" that would "mandate new land and water surveillance plan[s]"
- "Create new crime for construction, financing, and use of unlawful tunnels."
From the May 1 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
POWERS: I don't think that that's where the disagreement is. I think the Democrats do want to secure the border, and I think that they've been very critical about the way --
O'REILLY: You think -- whoa, whoa. You think the Democrats want to secure the border?
POWERS: -- that they want to secure the border. I think where the real disagreement was, was on the [inaudible] on the path to citizenship.
O'REILLY: You think Ted Kennedy wants this? No, wait. You got to answer these questions, Kirsten. This isn't a school class. You think Ted Kennedy, who's sponsoring the bills --
POWERS: It doesn't -- you're just picking out Ted Kennedy as one person. She just went through --
O'REILLY: He's the sponsor of the bills.
POWERS: -- a whole list of people, Blue Dog --
O'REILLY: You think he wants to secure the border?
POWERS: No, she just went through a list of Blue Dog Democrats. There are Democrats who support --
O'REILLY: They don't sponsor the bill. Kennedy does.
POWERS: And in the bill that he --
O'REILLY: It's his leadership.
POWERS: And for that matter, in the bill that he sponsored, you're saying -- you're trying to tell me there was nothing in there about securing the border?
O'REILLY: Wait a minute, hold it. You think --
POWERS: There was all sorts of stuff in that bill about securing the border.
O'REILLY: I got to get this from you. I got to get this from you. You think Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid -- the three most powerful Democrats on the hill right now -- want to secure the border?
POWERS: Yes. They do want to secure the border.
O'REILLY: You do?
POWERS: They absolutely do want to secure the border.
O'REILLY: And you're pointing to what to back that up?
POWERS: And if you look at the Kennedy bill, there was a long list of things that he wanted to do, including increasing the number of --
O'REILLY: There was one thing: add more border patrol agents.
POWERS: Adding more border -- no, and adding other security measures.
O'REILLY: Like what?
POWERS: There was different -- I can't remember the specifics right now, but there was --
O'REILLY: You can't remember? There wasn't anything.
POWERS: Yes, there was, Bill.
O'REILLY: No, there was some little -- put more water --
POWERS: I sat on this show and read a list to you.
O'REILLY: -- fountains out there.
POWERS: That's not true. I sat on this show and read a list to you of the bill of all the different things he wanted to do.
O'REILLY: You're crazy.
POWERS: I am --
O'REILLY: You're crazy.
POWERS: OK, that's good. Now you're doing the name-calling.
O'REILLY: You're so crazy.
POWERS: Yeah. OK.
O'REILLY: All right. I'm just amazed that you think Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid want to secure the border. I am just amazed.
From the May 8, 2006, edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
POWERS: Well, I don't think -- the way Michelle just couched it is not accurate, at least in terms of what the Democrats have put forward -- what Kennedy supports. It's -- they would be put at the back of the line. Nobody's getting in front of the line in front of anybody, so it's not --
MALKIN: Good God!
POWERS: -- double border patrol, adds 12,000 new agents. You know, adds new technology, create a virtual --
MALKIN: Are you kidding?
All right, ladies, thanks very much. As always, we appreciate it.