Another day, another chance for Fox Noise to demagogue the issue of illegal immigration. This time it's Bill O'Reilly and Chris Wallace's turn, following the lead of their cohorts over at Fox & Friends. The Obama administration has hired former Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt to lead their outreach office at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE. Media Matters has more on the attacks made on Fox & Friends that were repeated by O'Reilly and Wallace on The Factor. Anything to attack the Obama administration and drum up fear of those evil dirty brown people who just might be turrists coming here to destroy our way of life for the "real Americans".
Fox News falsely claimed that new ICE official Harold Hurtt is "a sanctuary city supporter" who doesn't "believe in immigration enforcement," since he has expressed concerns about local police "in the field" enforcing immigration law, concerns that are widely held among law enforcement leaders. In fact, Houston under Chief Hurtt was not a "sanctuary city," according Fox's own definition, and he has reportedly said that in his role at ICE, "he will support local law enforcement agencies' decision to participate in any ICE program of their choosing, even if it involves questioning suspects on the street about their status."
Fox calls Hurtt a "supporter of sanctuary cities," which "do not check for immigration papers".
...In fact, Houston cooperated with ICE when Hurtt was serving as police chief
Hurtt said that at ICE, he will support local decisions on enforcement of immigration. The Houston Chronicle reported on June 23 that Hurtt, who served as Houston's police chief from 2004 through 2009 and was selected to be the director of the Office of State and Local Coordination at ICE, expressed "concerns" about "officers in the field" asking about immigration status, citing "resource capabilities," and concerns that fewer members of immigrant communities would "com[e] forward to report crime." The Chronicle further reported:
Hurtt said that in his new role, he will support local law enforcement agencies' decision to participate in any ICE program of their choosing, even if it involves questioning suspects on the street about their status.
"That's a decision that needs to be made at a local level," he said.
ICE official in 2006: "Houston is not a sanctuary city, by the definition." The Houston Chronicle reported on June 30, 2006, that Bob Rutt, the agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Houston, said that "Houston police notify ICE when officers arrest people wanted by ICE. He said officers also call his agency when they suspect violent criminals might be in the country illegally, and they help out on some criminal operations." Read on...
But in O'Reilly and Wallace's world, he's a "sanctuary guy". Transcript below the fold.
O'REILLY: Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight. The Obama administration is confusing me, your humble correspondent. That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo". My newspaper column this week explains why the Obama administration has reached its lowest point. I cite four critical areas where the country is now suffering. The economy, Afghanistan, the oil spill, and illegal immigration. I don't even mention the crushing deficit that is threatening the U.S. dollar.
Because this is a tough time, I have been studying hard President Obama and his policy pronouncements. As you may know, we have been fair to the president here. We don't nitpick or take things out of context. But, but, I am flat out confused by what Mr. Obama is doing.
Let me cite two examples. The president is now reversing himself in Afghanistan. He's saying we might not begin pulling out of there next summer. We'll react to the situation on the ground. Well, that's the correct policy. You do not fight a war when the enemy knows the checkout time.
But on the illegal immigration front, things are getting crazy. The Feds are now planning to sue the state of Arizona for trying to protect itself. Also, the president has appointed a sanctuary city supporter as a liaison between the Feds and the states on the immigration issue. Harold Hurrt, former police chief in both Houston and Phoenix, is outwardly sympathetic to illegal aliens. As chief, he refused to enforce federal immigration law. Now Hurrt is a federal immigration official? Come on. That's insane.
Also, there are rumors being put out by Republicans the president is exploring giving amnesty to illegal aliens without Congressional approval. "Talking Points" does not believe those rumors. Let me repeat, I do not believe them. If President Obama were to sign an executive order giving illegal aliens amnesty, his career would be over. And an impeachment movement would explode.
However, the hiring of Chief Hurrt proves that the president is extremely left on the immigration issue. So we have a better policy in Afghanistan and a worse policy in the immigration arena. Confusion is never good for any country. And all the polls say the folks are losing confidence in Mr. Obama's leadership. The president needs to become more consistent in how he wants to solve vexing problems. He needs to act quicker. He needs to show more passion. And he needs to be far less liberal. And that is as clear as can I be. And that's the Memo.
Now for the top story tonight, reaction. Joining us from Washington, the host of "FOX News Sunday" Chris Wallace.
So Chris, are you as confused as I am about this Obama administration?
CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": Yes, I can understand the confusion because I think that this is a president who absolutely makes it not only impossible to stereotype him, but impossible, really, to kind of pigeon hole him and say this is what this man believes in. This is where he wants to take the country.
Just take your two examples. Harold Hurrt, former police chief in Phoenix and Houston believed in sanctuary cities. There are a lot of local officials who believe in things like that. Rudy Giuliani, in effect did in New York. The argument being if you scare off illegal immigrants, and they're not going to report crime. They won't be there as informants.
So you can understand that in a local mayor or a local police chief, that the idea that you would put this guy in a top position in ICE. ICE is Immigration and Customs Enforcement with the emphasis on the word enforcement. And you got a sanctuary city guy doing this, that does seem more than a tad peculiar.
On the other hand, I agree with you. I think--
O'REILLY: That's a far-left move. It's a far left move. That's what it is. It's an ideological move. Chief Hurrt may be a good man. He took his position and he made it public. But it was far more than, you know, for Hurrt I t was far more than gee, we want everybody to report crimes and this might scare off illegal aliens if we report them to ICE. It was far more than that.
He basically said flat out, hey, we're just not going to enforce the law. If they're here and we find them, we're letting them go. We're not going to hold them. Even did they're criminals, even if they're criminals, Chris, in Houston and Phoenix, when he was there, as police chief, just like in San Francisco, they commit a felony, they don't inform ICE.
WALLACE: Listen, I--
O'REILLY: And now, as you pointed out, this guy is in the enforcement area?
WALLACE: I mean I was going to say, it's immigrations enforcement. No, you smack your head. I'll do the same.
WALLACE: On the other hand, I also agree with you that when it comes to Petraeus in Afghanistan, the president had a good week. You know, he took a 280 hitter off the field and put in Babe Ruth.
WALLACE: And I think the -- just the sheer fact that he has put Petraeus in there makes it much less likely. You know, if next year Petraeus comes to the president and says we need another six months or we need another year, I think it's going to be awfully hard for Barack Obama to say no.
O'REILLY: Yes. I mean, Petraeus becomes now the commander who has more powerful in Afghanistan than the president. And I'm not saying that in any demeaning way to Mr. Obama, but Obama can't afford to fire Petraeus. Can't do it.
WALLACE: It would be his third commander.
O'REILLY: Yes, Petraeus. Here's how bad it is.
WALLACE: That's a real strong statement.
O'REILLY: Yes, here's how bad it is. Petraeus could become the publisher of "Rolling Stone." And he couldn't be fired. Okay? He could--
WALLACE: But he's smart enough that he wouldn't be.
O'REILLY: I hope so, but you know, nobody thought McCrystal would be this dopey. Nobody -- I mean, my God! Let this guy -- and you know who this guy is, this Hastings? Do you know who he is?
WALLACE: Tell me.
O'REILLY: He's a guy that said publicly, my job is to "F" word the people in power. He called Giuliani a maniac. He called McCain Captain Ahab. All McCrystal's guys had to do was Google this guy Hastings. And you got five sheets of radical left stuff. Five sheets. And he lets him follow around in Paris to an Irish bar. Hey, General McCrystal, why don't you just walk in Kandahar with a big sign I'm the commander, buy yourself. Talk about committing suicide. That was -- I still can't get over it.
Now, you have Dianne Feinstein on your program. You know, I had her on one time. And she was so horrified by me, that I don't think I'll ever get back again. But I enjoyed speaking to the woman. She's actually rational.
WALLACE: Now, she's a straight shooter.
WALLACE: And she's a smart person. She's not an ideologue. Let me just say one other quick thing about Barack Obama. And I know you have seen these polls. "The Wall Street Journal" poll that came out yesterday was very damaging to the president. It showed for the first time that more people disapprove of the way this president--
WALLACE: --is handling the country than approve. More people disapprove. 62 percent, almost two-thirds of the country now thinks that the country is on the wrong track. And only one-third thinks that the economy is going to get better over the next year. People are really beginning to lose hope in the hope and change president. And--
O'REILLY: No doubt.
WALLACE: --looking forward to November and then beyond that, this guy's in some trouble.
O'REILLY: Yes, there's no doubt about it. All right, Chris, thanks for helping us out as always.
WALLACE: You bet.