Fox News host Bill O’Reilly had a heated Wednesday night confrontation with Univision anchor Jorge Ramos over illegal immigration and whether Ramos qualifies as a real journalist.
The most explosive point in the discussion came when Ramos would not embrace legislation to toughen penalties on people who cross into the US illegally after being convicted of an aggravated felony.
“It’s outrageous. It’s outrageous!” O’Reilly declared of Ramos’ position.
Ramos, often called the Walter Cronkite of Spanish-language news media, told O’Reilly he wanted to focus on a more comprehensive approach to illegal immigration. He also said he wasn’t giving the interview “to defend criminals.”
O’Reilly interrupted to say he very much disagreed.
“You are [defending criminals]! You’re an enabler!” he shouted. “Jorge, you’re enabling that guy Sanchez!”
This was a reference to Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a Mexican national who is said to have illegally crossed into the US multiple times before being charged with murder in the July killing of US citizen Kate Steinle in San Francisco. The killing was elevated to a national issue when a number of Republicans, including real-estate mogul Donald Trump, seized upon it to further denounce illegal immigration.
“Jorge, you not supporting Kate’s Law means you don’t care. Because all your theory and all your stuff isn’t going to stop them,” O’Reilly told Ramos, referring to the legislation named after Steinle.
Ramos insisted he simply had a different approach.
“I care,” he 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.”
Here’s O’Reilly confronting Ramos about Kate’s Law:
O’Reilly and Ramos also disagreed about whether the Univision anchor, who is outspoken on immigration issues, is a proper newsman or a “commentator,” as O’Reilly described himself.
Ramos was invited onto “The O’Reilly Factor” after he was kicked out of a Trump press conference in Iowa last week for interrupting the presidential candidate and demanding Trump answer his immigration question. Trump later let Ramos back into the event, where they debated the issue.
That incident caused some critics like O’Reilly to say Ramos is more of an activist than a reporter.
“You’re an anchorman. How can you possibly cover illegal immigration fairly when you’re an activist, when you’re an proponent of allowing them amnesty? How can you possibly cover the story? You should excuse yourself from it, or recuse yourself from it,” he said. “Or become like me.”
Ramos said he was just a reporter who speaks out on crucial issues like corruption and racism, which he suggested fit into a broader category that includes immigrant rights. He also fired back at O’Reilly’s credibility to question him on the topic.
“Mr. O’Reilly, I don’t think you are the right person to lecture me on advocacy in journalism when you spend most of your program giving your opinions without asking questions,” he said. “I can be tough with President Barack Obama and I can be tough with Donald Trump.”
Watch the full segment below:
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