While discussing immigration, Bill O'Reilly claimed that Cardinal Roger Mahony opposes a recently passed House immigration bill because he “knows he'll get those people in church when he doesn't have anybody in church anymore.” O'Reilly also attacked Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, saying that “the Ted Kennedys of the world” favor immigration “because they know they'll get the lion's share of those votes.”
On the March 27 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly alleged that Cardinal Roger Mahony, Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles, opposes immigration reform because he wants to increase church attendance. O'Reilly compared Mahony's position on immigration to that of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), claiming that while “the Ted Kennedys of the world” favor more immigration “because they know they'll get the lion's share of those votes,” Mahony “knows he'll get those people in church when he doesn't have anybody in church anymore.” Mahony has said he opposes a recently passed House immigration bill because it could threaten the Catholic Church's ability to “provid[e] humanitarian assistance to those in need,” and that "[t]he church is not in a position of negotiating the spiritual and the corporal works of mercy." He has also stated that “we are called to attend the last, littlest, lowest and least in society and in the Church.”
In the same broadcast, O'Reilly described the immigration debate as a “potential civil war in the U.S.A,” and declared that Americans “all over the country” are finding that “the house next to you is turned into an illegal alien Club Med.” The next day, on the March 28 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly called the illegal immigration issue a “natural disaster.”
From the March 27 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: From the very beginning when I started covering immigration more than seven years ago, I told you this is about social engineering; and this country's whole political process is being changed by millions and millions of people pouring in here with a totally different lifestyle and a totally different frame of reference as far as America is concerned.
So, the country that you grew up in, if this isn't stopped, will change dramatically. And the Ted Kennedys of the world like that because they know they'll get the lion's share of those votes. And you can make an argument Cardinal Mahony knows he'll get those people in church when he doesn't have anybody in church anymore. Americans have bailed on the Catholic Church. That's tragic.
O'REILLY: OK. I'm doing this on TV tonight because we're going to have some interesting coverage on television as well. You'll be able to see the pictures of the demonstrations and things like that, as a potential civil war in the U.S.A. because you basically have Americans who don't have a dog in the hunt -- European Americans, black Americans -- watching a phenomenon -- and that's what it is: phenomenon -- that to them may not be serving their best interests.
So, you have millions and millions and millions of Americans saying, look, this has got to stop. This has got to stop. That's why they're doing stuff because it's critical mass right now. Critical mass. All the polls show that.
Heartland America , red-state America -- had enough. Had enough. But you've got an emotionally driven other side, Hispanic Americans -- not all of them but a lot of them -- saying, wait, what are you picking on us for? Stop picking on us. This is racism. And then you have the far left, the open border crowd, which thinks the U.S.A. is an evil nation anyway, and it's our fault that people in Mexico are poor.
O'REILLY: It doesn't matter. In this country, if you single out a group, any group, for criticism, you're going to be called a racist. I mean, that's just the way we play the game here. So, you have a potential civil war. You do.
You've got the folks who don't have emotion invested in it, other than the farmers down and the ranchers down on the border are going -- as the lady just called up, [caller] -- say, look, I got garbage in my -- on my ranch every day. I mean, I'm under siege. They have emotion invested in it. But those of us up here don't.
Unless you live in a town, like Farmingville, Long Island -- we went over this before -- where you bought a house, you spent a couple of hundred thousand dollars, you're on a nice block, your kids are happy, and then the house next to you is turned into an illegal alien Club Med. And this happens all over the country.
From the March 28 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, which featured Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY):
WEINER: You know, can I tell you something? I think you're right. I don't have any -- any, you know, gut or problem with an interagency effort to stop this, but let's not kid ourselves. You're talking about a 700-mile fence. You have 2,300 miles of just border with Mexico, and I don't know why you think Canada isn't a threat to have terrorists come in. Why do you think someone --
O'REILLY: Well, Canada's -- Canada's a terrorist threat, but it's not an illegal alien threat. There aren't hoards, millions of people coming down through Canada to work here. You don't need the fence if you use the guard.
WEINER: Well, even the guard -- listen, I can -- can I tell you -- first of all, you have to pull them back from Iraq, which I support doing.
O'REILLY: No, you don't. There's plenty of guard as you saw -- no, you don't.
WEINER: You have to pull them -- you have to pull them off of things like natural disasters and the like. I don't have any problem with doing that, but --
O'REILLY: This is a natural disaster.
Ben Fishel is an intern at Media Matters for America.