Fox News host Bill O’Reilly provided a full-throated endorsement of the Senate immigration reform bill on Thursday, becoming the most prominent conservative media voice to back the bill.
It came after a day of progress in winning votes for the bill in the Senate. The office of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the Senate’s “Gang of Eight,” gleefully blasted out the news and subsequent video.
O’Reilly began the “Talking Points” commentary segment of his show with an endorsement, painting it as important for the future of the Republican Party:
“Sen. Rubio told me on the phone today that it would be at least 13 years — 13 — before people in the country illegally right now could gain full legal working status, and even longer to achieve citizenship.
“Talking Points supports immigration reform, even though I well understand the new law will be somewhat chaotic, and it will be a magnet for even more people to come here illegally, which is why we need stepped up security along the border.
“For conservative Americans, the issue is a difficult one, because immigration reform would reward bad behaviour — illegal entry into the USA. But please keep in mind that part of that illegal behaviour was actually encouraged by the federal government, which for decades did nothing to stop it. Also, some business people who make money from cheap labour aided and abetted illegal immigration. The Republican Party has a lot to lose here. If it doesn’t compromise, many Hispanic voters will reject the GOP entirely, pretty much dooming the party in the future. That’s reality. Liberals, on the other hand, are generally soft on illegal immigration because it helps the Democrats, as most new voters support the entitlement party. Also, the left likes to bill itself as the ideology of compassion.”
O’Reilly also dismissed a report from The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza, which said that he met with Republican senators who urged them to get on board with reform. O’Reilly said he “never collude[s] with anyone.”
On Thursday, senators reached a breakthrough deal on beefed-up border security measures that they think could lead to the bill passing the chamber with more than 70 votes.
“Back to reality. It is time for the USA to pass immigration reform,” O’Reilly said. “For years, I’ve called for a more secure Southern border — you know that. And now, it looks like the secure border is in reach — at least somewhat. So I hope this bill does become law.”
Here’s the clip:
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