The boss squared off against Geraldo Rivera on The O’Reilly Factor’s opening two segments tonight, on polar opposite sides of the illegal immigration question. Video is on the way–I’m editing it now. But I thought I’d toss up an open thread to let the HA regulars discuss it.

Update: A couple of points while the video file processes and uploads. One, Geraldo is only right about illegals committing crime at the same rate or less than legals, if you discount immigration law. If you keep immigration law in the equation, and you should, all illegal immigrants are by definition criminals — they have committed at least one crime, and they continue to commit that crime every day that they stay here illegally. So they would rack up quite a record of law-breaking, if we merely enforced the laws that are on the books. Two, Geraldo likes to play up twin angles that are mutually contradictory. On the one hand, he wants compassion for illegals. On the other hand, he argues that they’re a net plus by paying Social Security taxes that they’ll never get back, and that will go to citizens and legal residents. Well, is it compassionate to rake off billions in taxes from illegals, knowing that they’ll never see that money again? That sounds an awful lot like legalized theft to me.

Update: I’m also struck that Geraldo mentioned “population transfer” a couple of times, insinuating that pro-enforcment folks like us just want to bus all the illegals out and that when we say we want the law enforced, that’s really code for advocating a massive “population transfer.” Yet he kept mentioning the figure of 12,000,000 illegals being here, mostly from Mexico. Well, that’s about 9 percent of Mexico’s entire population, that’s here illegally right now. And that number is growing every day. So there is already a “population transfer” underway, and it’s coming north out of Mexico into the US.

Update: Ok, here’s the video. Note that the screenshot features both Michelle and Geraldo smiling. That’s not a Photoshop. It’s just a frame taken before the debate got underway. Note also that the debate has been edited for brevity.

Now, because I had to edit it, I ended up leaving out one of Geraldo’s most ridiculous statements. Thankfully Gateway Pundit caught it and posted it himself: Geraldo says that illegal immigration is the new gay marriage. I told you it was ridiculous.

Update: Last thoughts on this, from me anyway. It’s rare to see the difference between conservatives and liberals on such obvious display like it was in this debate. Geraldo resorted to emotional arguments throughout, and cited statistics without ever noting the source of those stats, and many of his stats aren’t even right. And he had to ignore some obvious things — such as the inherent criminality of illegal immigrants — to get anywhere near making a substantive point. Instead of making real points, he just kept ranting about “Pablo” and injecting race into the debate, and then accusing Michelle of injecting race when she clearly hadn’t.

Michelle cited facts and stats principles and rejected Geraldo’s race-based pandering and innuendo. Geraldo often seemed at a loss for arguments, resorting to sighing or filibustering. Hopefully without sounding too much like a kiss-up, I’d score this one an easy win for the boss. Geraldo needs to hit the books if he wants to sound like he knows what he’s talking about on immigration. Here’s a suggestion for him.

Just as an aside, a long time ago I used to respect Geraldo Rivera quite a bit. He was the first reporter to really make much of an impression on me, way back when he was on 20/20 working alongside the Contras in Nicaragua. But that Geraldo went on to become a daytime trashy talk show host before becoming the demagogue he is now. It’s a shame. The old Geraldo was darn near heroic at times. The new one…he’s just a bad spokesman for a racialist view of immigration policy.