Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: IMMIGRATION REFORM — Rick Moran @ 7:12 am

The left is all atwitter this morning about the shouting match broadcast last night on Bill O’Reilly’s show between the host and Geraldo Rivera. The issue was an incendiary one alright - an illegal alien named Albert Ramos, arrested several times previously for alcohol related crimes, murdered two teenagers when he slammed into their car while driving drunk.

It is a shame that both men couldn’t have kept a lid on their emotions because there are serious issues involved here. Should Ramos have been identified as an illegal alien and deported following his previous arrests? Is it the job of state and local officials to enforce immigration laws? Is there anything that could have been done to avoid this tragedy?

Here’s the video, courtesy of You Tube:

Then there is the question of whether immigration issues should even be raised in response to the tragedy:

O’Reilly told Allison Kuhndhart’s father and sister during his show, “The authorities in your town would not obey the law, defied the law of the land and somebody needs to be held accountable sir. I want you to keep in touch with us. We’re gonna get the mayor, Oberndorf and the judge, Whitehurst, because they’re the villains.”

During the news conference, Mayor Meyera Oberndorf said she has never even O’Reilly’s show and did not mention him by name throughout the conference.

The mayor and Tessa Tranchant’s father both said that making an issue out of immigration loses the focus that the girls were killed by a man that police said was driving drunk.

Ray Tranchant said, “We need to heal, and to bring immigration, that’s disrespectful to a family who’s just mourning.”

Hard to argue with that sentiment. The problem is that this is not the first time an illegal alien has committed murder and brought tragedy to a family - not by a long shot. There have been dozens of cases across the country where it is more than likely that some innocent would be alive today if we took border security seriously. And in each case, local and state authorities take the cop out position that it is the job of the federal government to enforce immigration laws, not theirs.

I disagree strongly with that excuse. The state or local authorities are well within their rights to hand over an illegal alien to USCIS for committing a felony. The problem, of course, is that the Feds don’t want to deal with the problem either. So in a bizarre echo of “don’t ask don’t tell,” illegal aliens are allowed to continue their criminal activities, safe in the knowledge that they can prey upon American citizens and not worry about having their criminal careers in the US interrupted by a stricter enforcement of the law.

This is an indefensible position so Rivera ignored the immigration aspect of the case and tried to point out that it was a question of drunk driving, nothing more. I know what Rivera was trying to say - that it was wrong to bring “politics” into the case - and in a perfect world, at some other time in American history, he would probably be absolutely correct.

But how can one ignore the singular fact that this tragedy need not have happened? If we had a rational immigration and border policy, it is more than likely that Mr. Ramos would not have been on American soil to kill those two teenagers. This uncomfortable fact was not addressed by Mr. Rivera nor anyone in the open borders crowd. Instead, we get platitudes about how vital immigrants are to this country and how much they have contributed to the richness of our culture and our economy.

I do not begrudge legal immigrants these marvelous accomplishments. And I would strongly support - as part of a rational immigration policy - a tripling of legal immigration. It seems to me that if we can dramatically reduce border incursions by illegals we can certainly massively increase the number of people who want to go through the legal process of immigration and make an orderly entry into America. While there are no reliable statistics to prove it, anecdotal evidence from immigration attorneys would suggest that people who go through that process are much more motivated to make a living, learn English, and eventually become citizens.

But as the shouting match between O’Reilly and Rivera showed in microcosm, it is much easier for people to talk past each other rather than come to some kind of meeting of the minds on a rational borders and immigration policy. The time and place for that debate can be questioned in this case. But the issues raised cannot be.


My brother Jim, a folksinger who has performed with some of the legends in that genre, sent me an interesting email the other day with a link to a funny song by Bob Haworth about immigration.

“Can You Get Me In?” Here are some of the lyrics:

Words & Music by Bob Haworth
Copyright 2006 - Three Cats Music, BMI
All Rights Reserved




And the video. Go ahead and sing along. You know you want to. (Additional lyrics here at the bottom of the page.)

I’ve never really felt my classically liberal brother out about immigration. But he lives in southern California and taught “English as a second language” classes for many years at a local Junior College at night. I daresay he probably doesn’t agree with the sentiments expressed by Mr. Haworth in his little ditty. But he knew that I would so I have to express my appreciation for his passing it along.


  1. A complete tragedy. O’Reilly went to far this time. He’s going off the deep end more and more lately - I really think he needs a vacation. His message is getting obscured by the actions of the messenger - the conduct on his show will do nothing to further the cause he supports.

    Even so, I though both Geraldo and O’Reilly had points. The thing is, why is someone who is obviously a serial drunk driver not in jail? If this person had been an American it still would be a failure of law enforcement, imo.

    Comment by Andy — 4/6/2007 @ 8:31 am

  2. I have to correct something that I think you misinterperate here. Geraldo was arguing that this guy had not PREVIOUSLY committed a felony, and that is why he was not turned in on prior arrests. Not that that really changes your argument much.

    I would also like to say that I side with local law enforcement that state it is not their jobs to be immigration agents. You will get no argument from me that they federal system is in shambles, but that supports the notion that the locals should not take the lead. I am sure that they would get the run-around, or endless red tape and wasted time from the feds if they started turning in random illegal immigrants, so they eventually choose to avoid the hassle, especially when they see no results from it anyway. It is not their fault that the federal system is not in position to enforce its laws; they don’t have the time or money to start doing the job of the feds in their absence.

    Comment by JAW — 4/6/2007 @ 9:00 am

  3. This is a debate that is very clouded by emotion, on both sides.

    But I know ugliness when I see it, and I only see it on one side of this debate.

    On the other side I see compassion and understanding.

    I mean, just look at that song you posted… immigrants don’t pay taxes? not true. In fact, many pay social security but will never collect, so this is really a bogus argument….Same deal here as they get there? Why don’t you go without a job for six months and live in a tin shack, with excrement lining your streets. Then you could go to a nice place in Mexico…now THAT would be the ’same deal’.

    Other arguments stem from the fact that immigrants are poor, not that they are immigrants:
    they get free public schools (immigrants don’t pay rent? their landlords don’t pay property taxes? this is stupid as well)
    they might commit crimes (not as many crimes per capita as the average american)

    Then finally, the more directly related, yet still stupid:
    They won’t learn the language!!! (who cares? their kids will)
    They’ll “dilute” the population (what are you, a Nazi who believes in racial purity? no? just a republican? get rid of this argument…it’s a stinker)

    So really, I don’t think the right has the right to be that mad about this. The ugly nativism driving much of this is really the worst of human nature at work. We should be appealing to the best of human nature.

    As for the drunk driver… this is one of the most politicically correct, sanctimonious issues out there…it’s also a crime that almost everyone has committed, and one that many people commit on a regular basis.

    And you want to send immigrants back to their tin-shacks-in-shit over that? (not really, you want to send them back because they are illegal) I’ve got no problem deporting them if they’ve committed a violent crime, for example, but what you’re really saying is that the illegals here should be deported as soon as they are noticed…so this really isn’t about drunk driving (other than a dramatic example of cause-and-effect…anectodal nonetheless).

    And my point is: we let them in. We did, our corporations did, our government did. You might not want to admit it, and I’ll certainly admit myself that it’s not technically legal, but we let them in, and we have to accept the consequences of that. It’s not their fault….you would have done exactly what they did (you would have been stupid not to, really, and if you love America as much as I do, you know this).

    So this problem is of our making, and we have a choice to be decent, compassionate people, or ugly nativists, angry about something that we barely notice day-to-day.

    Comment by ME — 4/6/2007 @ 9:24 am

  4. Rivera was trying to say – that it was wrong to bring “politics” into the case

    The role of government, even the most libertarian would agree, is to protect citizens from internal and external violence. In this incident the state, at several levels, failed. How is this not a political issue?

    Comment by dj hancock — 4/6/2007 @ 10:42 am

  5. I agree with ME. Yes, illegals are breaking the law. But as long as we were getting our lawns mowed, our kids taken care of, and our fruit picked, we were really good with that.

    I am sure we will still be wanting cheap fruit and someone to watch our kids and clean our houses.

    But right now, “kickin out the Mexicans” is paramount. I guess we think that the “Third-World-Hired-Help Fairy” will find someone else to do that shit for us.

    Comment by Lisa — 4/6/2007 @ 10:46 am

  6. It’s a scary place when a bottom-feeder of a “journalist” like Geraldo is the sane one.

    Comment by I'm terrified — 4/6/2007 @ 11:12 am

  7. It’s a scarier place when borders are not protected and laws are ignored.

    Comment by Bob — 4/6/2007 @ 11:31 am

  8. Nice emotional demonstration of the complexities of ‘Just how Illegal is Illegal?’


    Missing the good old days when the amount of illegal was simply the sum of its parts.

    Comment by americafirst — 4/6/2007 @ 12:31 pm

  9. Lisa is spot on; the most influential constituency that wants to keep current immigration policy and loves open borders is the large corporation-Wall Street crowd. They feel that illegal aliens and H1-B visa immigrants hold down wages and by extension, inflation. Don’t believe me? Read the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal or listen to Larry Kudlow on CNBC.

    Comment by Johnny Tremaine — 4/6/2007 @ 12:36 pm

  10. Enforcement of immigration laws is a federal responsibility. This said, Bill O’Reilly made an ass of himself. The issue was drunk-driving, not illegal immigration. I do not like Geraldo either, but at least, he has a brain. O’Reilly is just a loud-mouthed moron.

    Comment by Devil's Advocate — 4/6/2007 @ 3:43 pm

  11. Ramos’ immigration status isn’t really relevant to this tragedy. If he had been a legal citizen, would it have made the tragedy less so? I don’t think so. What’s important here is that two girls were killed by a drunk driver. This isn’t an immigration issue by a long shot. Plenty of God-fearing, flag waving folks drive while drunk and commit similar offenses. Milking this emotionally charged and very sad event as an immigration issue is dishonest. (Though, for O’Rielly, no big surprise.) Is it a more serious offense to drive under the influence if you are a citizen or if you aren’t? His argument is terribly flawed and needlessly emotionally charged.

    Comment by Peter — 4/6/2007 @ 4:35 pm

  12. It’s a scarier place when borders are not protected and laws are ignored.

    Another super job of protecting the US, from the folks who brought you the Iraq debacle, Katrina failure, out of control Justice dept, etc…

    Comment by Tom — 4/6/2007 @ 5:15 pm

  13. Sorry but look at it this way If he would not have been here in the USA he would not have been drinking and driving with the end result of a death. I am a firm believer that if you want to live in the US or any other country for that matter you need to do it the right and legal way. If I am expected to follow the laws in other countries then the laws should be followed here in the States. I grew up in So, California it was a wonderful time and probably would not have moved if it would not have been for being carjacked and stabed in the stomach by 3 illegals. They were speaking in spanish I could not understand anything. Ever since that day i got very scared everytime i heard spanish. I have been in therpy for years just dealing with it. I am not against hispanics i have many friends. The law many years ago had rules about becoming a US citizen 1) you had to read and write english
    2) you had to know the constitution 3) you had to know the basic laws. I still believe legal is legal and illegal is illegal. If I went to Germany to live or to Spain I WOULD LEARN THE LANGUGE. This is just my opinion. Rules are rules and they need to be followed.

    Comment by Veronica — 4/6/2007 @ 6:27 pm

  14. It takes a real major league asshole to make Geraldo look good.

    Comment by Sirkowski — 4/6/2007 @ 7:13 pm

  15. I’m completely with Geraldo on this. Immigration is not the issue - Drunk Driving is. If an illegal immigrant had saved someone from drowing that would not be a reason to be pro illegal immigration. Each act needs to be judged on it’s own merits.

    Comment by dong — 4/6/2007 @ 7:21 pm

  16. Why can’t there be two issues? No one is FOR drunk driving so this actually is the secondary issue. Drunk driving is the proximate cause to these deaths, but lack of law enforcement on all levels is the precipitating cause. I’m surprised so many people here are angry at someone raising the larger, unsettled real issue as opposed to the intellectually lazy “drunk driving is bad” position.

    Comment by Joe C. — 4/7/2007 @ 8:47 am

  17. I think a lassez faire attitude towards illegal immigration does attract a more aggressive, criminal element than we would have with legal immigration increases. They are already a self-selected subset of the population - those that are willing to ignore inconvenient laws. I also don’t see why immigration issues are required to be bound to bailing out Mexico with it’s dysfunctional institutions. If we tripled legal immigration with some sort of rational priorities, i.e., English language proficiency or education requirements or willingness to return to the home country after two years, the current tidal wave of Hispanics would be replaced by Indians or Bangladeshis willing to follow our rules for a lower rate of pay — they would also want to come because young men outnumber women 3 to 1 [due to gender selective abortions] in the home country.

    Comment by Wayne S. — 4/7/2007 @ 1:10 pm

  18. 13Veronica Said:
    6:27 pm

    Sorry but look at it this way If he would not have been here in the USA he would not have been drinking and driving with the end result of a death. I am a firm believer that if you want to live in the US or any other country for that matter you need to do it the right and legal way.

    Since Bill is so hyped up about the “larger issue”, I think I’ll introduce the vast concept that “we” never arrived here legally either. Ask any descendant of the continental natives either exterminated or subsumed by the European conquest how their culture perceives our wonderful tradition of legality in emigration.

    This is not an issue about illegal immigration except in some much larger context which must certainly include such “causes” as the pull factors of our demand for cheap manual labor and our high standards of living (relative to most of the world).

    If Ramos’s status as an illegal immigrant is the real crime here, should the folks who employed him, housed him, gave him that alcohol, etc. be held as accomplices to vehicular manslaughter?

    I think Bill’s argument is a specious and opportunistic attempt to prop up his pet social theories in a field of contrary evidence so well laid out by commentor ME above.

    Comment by jlo — 4/7/2007 @ 5:05 pm

  19. Speaking as someone who has investigated emigrating to the USA - The policies don’t make sense to me.

    From what I can understand you have an issue of large numbers of illegal immigrants, with no strong willed action either way from government on what they want to do about it, and yet at the same time, people who are willing to go through the work of meeting all the requirements and are highly skilled and experienced, have a lot of hoops put up for them to jump through. I could understand if I was coming from a country that has, shall we say, issues with the US at the moment - I hardly think New Zealand is a hotbed of terrorism though :)

    Nevertheless, I am still working moving to the USA, and becoming an American citizen.
    Sorry for going off-topic for a bit.

    Comment by James — 4/8/2007 @ 4:40 am

  20. If Alberto Gonzales’ grandparents had been repatriated after entering the US illegaly the DOJ scandal would not have happened.

    Comment by Mark — 4/8/2007 @ 4:53 pm

  21. Funny, those who are siding with Geraldo are saying “this isn’t about immigration, it’s about drunk driving”. All this says to me is that you don’t mind importing more criminals. Do any of you even realize that it IS about illegal immigration and the crimes they commit? Geraldo said the illegals from Mexico don’t drink and drive any more than anyone else. But how does he know that? Are there any statistics on how many drunk drivers arrested are illegal immigrants? Can you provide those statistics for me? In santuary cities like Austin and Houston, if someone is arrested for drunk driving the police are NOT ALLOWED TO ASK THEIR IMMIGRATION STATUS. So Geraldo cannot back up that statement.

    Lisa said as long as we are getting our lawns mowed, our kids taken care of and our friut picked, we are OK with that. How many on this site have hired illegals to mow your lawn and would you really trust your children to someone whose backgroud you do not know? Good luck trying to do a background check on someone from another nation and if you do leave your kids with someone whose background you don’t know, in my opinion that makes you a piss poor parent. So now we have eliminate two of the three reasons leaving only our fruit. Is a nice juicy apple from Washington, picked by illegals, really worth the price we pay?

    ME talks about the illegal’s tin-shacks-in-shit. Obviously ME has never read the Pew Hispanic Research Center study that shows that most who enter our nation illegally had jobs in their native lands. People who live in tin-shacks-in-shit can’t afford the $2,000.00 that it costs for the cayote to bring them here.

    Here is a thought for you: illegal immigrants contribute to the state of Texas $1.3 Billion a year in taxes. BUT THEY COST THE STATE OVER $5 BILLION FOR JUST EDUCATION, MEDICAL TREATMENT AND INCARCERATION. Just those three things; and it doesn’t include the cost for WIC, AFDC, TANF, public housing or any other social welfare program.

    How much are you willing to pay in taxes to support the services required by illegals; special translators for medical facilities, English as a second language teachers, the cost to utility companies to print their bills in Spanish? To support your “I’m such a compassionate person” feelings, how much in extra taxes a year are you willing to cough up? $2,000? $3,000? $4,000? Or you willing to take that much money away from your own family so that you can support your “compasionate” feelings? And what if every ethnic group that has illegals in our nation started demanding the same benefits as those who speak Spanish? Can you see your telephone bill now? It would come in a box because it would include a copy in Gaelic, Farsi, Italian, Polish, German and Cantonese. Think your phone bill might go up just a tad? And every school would have to staff someone who spoke those languages along with all hospitals, doctor’s offices and municipal offices.

    It is all well and good to be sympathetic to someone’s plight. But it really isn’t our problem, now is it? Their plight is really the problem of their native nation. We cannot bring all the poor people here. How many in Nigera are much worse off than say, those from Mexico? Are you willing to send 747’s to Nigera and bring all those poor people here and support them until they are assimilated enought to earn a living and not require social services?

    Why should any illegal respect our laws? They broke them (according to the Pew Hispanic Research Center, knowingly) when they came. Do you think that we they got on this side of the borders they all of a sudden got a sudden twinge to start honoring our laws?

    We have enough drunk drivers that are Americans (I know, my father was killed by one). We don’t need to be importing them.

    Comment by retire05 — 4/8/2007 @ 8:36 pm

  22. If an illegal alien were to come to America and kill one American, that’s a tragedy.

    If MILLIONS of invading illegal aliens come here to soak off of our welfare, commit identity theft, cause whole sectors of our economy to become pay and benefit depressed by cheap labor so Americans become increasingly disinterested in these sectors, cause huge amounts of environmental damage, cause the closings of score of hospitals and emergency rooms across the nation, cause overcrowding at scores of schools around the country, cause overcrowding in jails and prisons across the U.S., funnel untold millions of dollars worth of hard drugs into the U.S., and want to form something called Aztlan in the same areas where the U.S. gained land from Mexico in the war we had with them, then we have a spectacular national crises on our hands.

    It seems as though enforcing the LAW is not good for the Bushites, who want cheap labor for their multinational big business interests who back them. Their vision for America is now being put into place at the foundational level through the creation of a new political configuration called the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP). It will broaden and deepen the three nations through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in dramatic ways.

    If we actually enforced the law and had all illegal immigrants return to their original countries to wait in line and apply for LEGAL enterence into the United States, we would undermine the whole reason why they come here: once they break the law and are inside the U.S., they are immune from immigration laws and are able to recieve vast amounts of benefits.

    Go Mitt Go!

    Comment by Denny — 4/9/2007 @ 2:50 am

  23. However it pains this liberal dem i have to agree with O’Reilly largely on this issue. With one correction.. I’m a local law enforcement officer in a major city..my area being a HUGE hispanic population along with other minorities and some whites. Hispanic illegal immigrants are impossible to track.. a DUI on a friday simply means a bail will be posted by the weekend and that same person will be driving on monday. First the person isn’t legal to drive in the first instant.. so a DUI doens’t stop him. I’ve seen completely illogical steps taken such as after a quinciencira (spelling) the mother strapping her children into a car seat carefully and then giving the keys over to a father who is completely half in a bag to drive home. SOmetimes its a purely macho idealism that won’t allow the woman to drive his vehicle, or having to admit to his friends that he’s had too much. Decry my comments all you want.. all i have to do is go to work everyday and my point is proven. When i arrest Illegal immigrants ICE refuses to come pick them up no matter what the charges are.. so we notify and just move on. If people realized just how bad it really was..

    Comment by Chicagojeff — 4/9/2007 @ 6:53 am

  24. The lefty’s on this site are right. We should just open up the borders and let the immigrants flow. I mean hell, since we need that cheap labor, I guess it make it all ok. Don’t it? So let ‘em come and we’ll end up with the same conditions in this country that they are trying to escape in thier own country. We’ll have the same corruption in government that they have because they will vote illegally on the democrat ticket and the democrats will encourage it. We will slowly creep into a socialist government, which the democrats have wanted all along, and we will begin to have a poor class that we have never had in this country, because there will be a huge dependent class that does nothing but wait for thier handouts every month. They will start puting up cardboard box houses like over in Mexico and hanging thier dirty laundry from the trees in the park. Then they’ll have thier 15 kids running the streets stealing from the working classes. Taxes will get so high in this country that any business that can afford it will leave and then unemployment will skyrocket, more cardboard box shanties will go up. Young people who have any sense at all and who want to work and have a good life will leave the country for places like Australia. AMerica will become a nation of the backward and “entitled”. Then the Constitution and the BIll of Rights will go in the toilet because the democrats have already proved it is a “living document” worthy of being trashed in the name of progressivness. The new Religion in America, Islam, will decide to make it’s move and take over and the purge of the infidel will begin. Anyone who is not a believer will be killed in the most horrific and brutal of ways, women will be wearing the black sack and no longer will they be allowed to speak or go to school. Men will finally be the masters of the home as they were meant to be. And the liberal, democrats will finally reach nirvana.

    Comment by Arfinator — 4/10/2007 @ 1:52 pm

  25. Well said, Arfinator.

    I do believe that through your satire to show the insanity of open border anarchism, you showed us some things that could become frighteningly prophetic if we don’t get informed, enraged and ACT!

    Go Mitt Go!

    Comment by Denny — 4/11/2007 @ 1:53 am

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