Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly and Univision and Fusion anchor Jorge Ramos sparred over illegal immigration, Kate’s Law, and Ramos’ confrontation with GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump in an interview aired on Wednesday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “O’Reilly Factor.”
[NOTE: In a later segment, O’Reilly said that the interview with Ramos had to be cut for time, and the entire, unedited interview would be posted on his website, and that Ramos was aware of this.]
O’Reilly began by asking, “You don’t want a border wall. You don’t want that. Okay? Why not?” Ramos answered, “It’s a complete[ly] absurd idea, why would you want to build a 1,900-mile wall between Mexico and the United States, if almost 40% of all immigrants come by plane, and they overstay their visas. So, based on some New York Times report, it would cost about $20 billion. So, clearly, Mr. Trump’s problems, and maybe yours is with Mexicans, not with Canadians. Why do you want a border with Mexico, and not with Canada? It really doesn’t make any sense.” O’Reilly cut in, “we don’t have an illegal immigration problem with Canada. Now, in Israel, they put up a wall to separate themselves from terrorists, Hamas, infiltrators, this and that. It worked. Millions of people have come across that border. Most notably recently, the man who killed Kate Steinle, who came across that border, Jorge, six times, Sanchez. So, for the benefit of all the people who would like to be safe, for Kate Steinle’s family, I think we need to put up the wall.”
Ramos responded, “Well, first of all, the problem with undocumented immigrants has been stabilized. In other words, it’s been about 11 million people for the last six years. Now, you’re talking about Kate, and let me say something first of all. I think — my condolences to Kate’s family. As a father, I cannot even imagine what they are going through, and as Kate’s brother said yesterday on this show, the system failed. Having said that, that’s why they’re suing the county and the city of San Francisco, but this is where we have a difference between you and me. I don’t think that what you are proposing is going to work. I think the only thing that will work –.”
O’Reilly then cut in to ask Ramos about Kate’s Law “which would say, if an aggravated felon, someone convicted of an aggravated felony in the United States is deported and comes back, mandatory five year prison, can get more, alright? In a federal penitentiary, you support that?” Ramos said, “No. Because I don’t think that you are approaching the problem in a global way. And this is a problem. I’m not here to defend criminals.” O’Reilly protested that Ramos’ position was “outrageous” and stated that Jorge was being an “enabler.” Ramos maintained that “all criminals, including Kate’s killer, should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. However, the way — what you are proposing, Bill, you would be putting in jail, a mother or a father, who were deported and might be coming back to see their children, and you might be putting [them] in jail.” O’Reilly responded, “Oh stop it. It clearly says aggravated felony conviction.” And “Jorge, you not supporting Kate’s Law, means that you don’t care, because all your theory, and all your stuff, isn’t going to stop them.” Ramos countered, “I don’t agree with your idea. You have to concentrate on enforcement, background checks. At the same time, you have to resolve the situation of 11 million people in this country.” O’Reilly protested that the illegal immigrants in the country is “another matter” and “You can chew gum and walk at the same time.”
O’Reilly then asked Ramos if foreign nationals “have a right to come to the United States?” Ramos responded that they do, “if they do it legally.” He continued that the reason illegal immigrants keep coming to the US because “we give them jobs. There are millions of Americans, including you and the audience, who benefit from the work. That’s why they are coming and, therefore, we are also responsible for that.”
O’Reilly then stated, “you just said, they have to come legally. They can’t come illegally. But you, Jorge Ramos, will not punish those who have come illegally.” Ramos maintained, “You want to criminalize a whole community for a crime that only one person did, and then at the same time, we are also responsible.” O’Reilly maintained that he simply wants to “hold people accountable,” and that he has pointed out that people come to the US for work.
O’Reilly continued, “But you can’t have it both ways. You can’t say, they can’t come illegally, and then when they get here say, that’s okay, you can’t do that. That’s absurd.” Ramos cut in, “you have a huge problem with 11 million undocumented immigrants, who are not criminals, who are not rapists, and, therefore, we have to find a solution.” And that what O’Reilly is proposing wouldn’t work. O’Reilly cut in, “You have to pay a price.” And said he’s not for “mass deportation.”
O’Reilly then asked, “you’re an anchorman. How you can possibly cover illegal immigration fairly when you’re an activist, when you’re a proponent of allowing them amnesty? How can you possibly cover this story? You should excuse yourself from it — or recuse yourself from it, or become like me, a commentator.” Ramos maintained that he’s “just a reporter.” To which O’Reilly protested that he isn’t, rather he’s an activist.
Ramos then stated, “Mr. O’Reilly, I don’t think you are the right person to lecture me on advocacy and journalism, when you spend most of your program giving opinions without asking questions. I can be tough with President Barack Obama, and I can be tough with Donald Trump.” O’Reilly countered that he’s a commentator and giving opinion is part of his job, “people can decide for themselves,” and that his interview with President Obama was “100 times harder” than Ramos’.
O’Reilly again asked Ramos, “why don’t you just become like me, a commentator, you’re not a newsman anymore. You’re advocate now.” After Ramos again said he’s just a reporter, and O’Reilly said he wasn’t, Ramos argued, “Sometimes, as a reporter, you have to take a stand when it comes to racism, discrimination, corruption, public lies, dictatorships, and human rights. You have to take a stand, and that’s the only thing I’m doing.” O’Reilly again argued that Ramos was “in the wrong job.”
Ramos then stated, “I think that what Donald Trump is doing is very dangerous. He’s proposing the largest mass deportation in recent history, and who’s going to challenge him? That’s our job as reporters.” O’Reilly countered that this was simply Ramos’ opinion and that a reporter reports without giving an opinion. Ramos responded, “We report, but we also have to challenge those who are in power.” And that “the most important social responsibility of a journalist is to challenge these who are in power.” O’Reilly concluded by saying that Ramos is doing exactly what he does, but without calling himself a commentator.