Saturday, April 7, 2007

Geraldo v. O'Reilly

It's come to this..."intelligent" debate on immigration policy between Geraldo Rivera and Bill O'Reilly?

It felt as if you had wandered into a barroom brawl, people were cowering under their tables, and the only question was when someone would get smashed with a broken beer bottle.

It was the battle of cable goliaths, Geraldo Rivera vs. Bill O'Reilly, a trash-talking, vein-popping, finger-thrusting shoutfest complete with cries of "Cool your jets!" and "That's bull!"

The rising decibel level Thursday night on "The O'Reilly Factor," an arena not exactly renowned for delicate discussion, was an instant YouTube classic as the two Fox fighters went at it on the subject of undocumented immigration.

Rivera did what few guests dare in the "No-Spin Zone" -- accuse the host of making "a cheap political point." O'Reilly, undeterred, said Rivera wanted "open-border anarchy." And although Rivera didn't get his nose broken, as happened during a 1988 scuffle with a neo-Nazi guest on his old syndicated talk show, both men were clearly fuming. Click here.


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It was quite a show, more like something I would have expected in a class room of high school kids. The statement that Geraldo made about illegal aliens committing crimes at a lower rate than the citizen population is manifestly untrue. The study that he's referring to states that immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate. There's a difference. Immigrants, people who've applied for and have been accepted for legal residency have been screened for criminal records. We also know how many have committed crimes and how many are present. It's a simple division of the former by the latter to give us rate. On the other hand, we really have no idea of how many illegal aliens are in this country, and since states don't consistently ask the citizenship status of incarcerated persons, we can hardly be in the position to determine an accurate crime rate for illegal aliens. However, we can make a qualitative statement by noting that our federal prisions are filled with illegal aliens, and that nationwide, we are having problems with illegal alien criminals. A week doesn't go by without an ICE raid report on the arrest of illegal alien identity thieves, and what they are finding isf apparently just the tip of the iceberg. Judging by what is likely only a sampling of the vast number of illegal aliens who are using false or stolen Social Security Numbers, a reasonable person can only conclude that Geraldo's assertion is preposterous.

Posted by: George | Apr 7, 2007 5:32:22 PM

A link to the Geraldo Rivera/Bill O'Reilly exchange on immigration can be found at

Posted by: KJ | Apr 8, 2007 10:01:16 AM

Geraldo's argument is a red herring. Even if he was right about the crime rate of illegal aliens, the fact is that if our borders had been secure all along, crimes committed by Mexicans or Latin Americans against U.S. citizens who already had criminal records would never have been present in this country to harm U.S. citizens. They would have been screened from the candidate pool and denied visas. Any positive behavior by illegal aliens does not mitigate the fact that a great number are clients of forgers and that many commit identity theft, a source of grief for millions of Americans. While their relatives, friends, and unscrupulous employers may forgive them, our justice system that represents the citizens does not.

Posted by: Horace | Apr 8, 2007 3:25:52 PM

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