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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT

Illegal Aliens Have Little Incentive to Enter Legally; Border Between Mexico, Texas Easy to Cross; Drug Trafficking Flourishing Despite Increase Mexican Enforcement

Aired March 11, 2005 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LOU DOBBS, HOST: Tonight, the 20 million illegal aliens living in this country have little reason to seek legal status or citizenship. They enjoy most, if not all, the same benefits as U.S. citizens and legal immigrants. And there's little or no chance that they will be caught.
Tonight we report on some of what's gone wrong with our immigration policies. I'll be joined by one congressman who's urging the White House to awaken to our illegal alien crisis.

And the deadly drug war, hundreds of bodies are now turning up along the border where Mexican drug lords are fighting a ruthless turf battle, and Mexico's government is doing almost nothing to stop it. We'll have that report.

And loom and doom, the flood of cheap Chinese clothing imports into this country is now devastating American workers. Tonight we report from one American textile shop preparing to close its doors.

And I'll be joined by the head of an American trade coalition and the ranking member of a House committee on trade on the same day that the United States posted the second highest trade deficit in our history.

ANNOUNCER: This is Lou Dobbs, for news, debate and opinion, tonight.

DOBBS: Good evening.

A massive manhunt under way tonight after a courthouse shooting in Atlanta. Police and federal law enforcement officials are trying to find a brutal killer who could be anywhere in the southeastern United States.

And in "Heroes" tonight we feature Sergeant Shawn Ferguson, who survived numerous insurgent attacks before being severely wounded in Iraq. Now he wants his doctors to help him return to combat.

And tonight, President Bush has become nothing less than a traveling salesman for his Social Security reform. But President Bush is finding that, even in the so-called red states, there's little support for any proposal to change Social Security.

But first tonight, a critical issue concerning our national security. Thousands of illegal aliens are crossing our porous borders each day. Our border and immigration officials simply don't have the resources to stop them, and many of these illegal aliens could come to this country legally. But there's little incentive to do so, and an even smaller chance of being caught.

Bill Tucker reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When it comes to immigration, there's the illegal way, and last year an estimated three million people broke the law by the way they entered the United States.

And then there's the legal way, the path followed by roughly 800,000 people every year, according to the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

For those who come here illegally, there is no shortage of work. This man has been in the country for 12 years without a visa or work papers. He picks up work in construction waiting on this street in New Jersey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Not a problem, no. No, I've worked a lot in Manhattan. Now I work here. It's not a problem. I haven't worried.

TUCKER: He's not worried, because there is little risk of him getting in trouble. State and local police aren't interested in arresting day laborers unless they break the law, other than the law they broke entering the country.

In 10 states illegal aliens even can get a driver's license.

This man also entered the country illegally. He, however, is in the middle of a process for applying for a visa. He is worried, which is why he's attempting to become legal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right here, we know papers is really dangerous, that anywhere they can grab you, and that's it, you know. You've got to go back to your country.

TUCKER: Many of the people trying to immigrate, in fact, are people who are already here, legally here, and who want to stay longer. And in order to get that green card or the legal OK, they will have to stay longer.

MATTHEW DUNN, AMERICAN IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ASSOCIATION: If you are a restaurant worker, or someone in one of these lower relegated jobs, it probably could take up to six, seven years. If you're someone who is more of a professional status, it takes about three, four years to go through the whole process.

TUCKER: The choice looks simple when looked at through a timeline: days versus years.

(END VIDEOTAPE) TUCKER: In its report on the underground economy published in January, Bear Stearns found that there are roughly 20 million people here illegally. Clearly, the system is broken, Lou. On the one hand, we stymie those who would enter this country legally, and then with the other, we accept people who enter it illegally.

DOBBS: Absolutely. Bill Tucker, thank you very much.

Well, we've reported extensively here on how easy it is for illegal aliens to cross our wide-open borders.

Just last week, our reporter Lisa Sylvester witnessed several illegal aliens sneaking across the border within less than an hour. She reports now from Webb County, Texas.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There are five bridges connecting the United States and Mexico in Webb County, Texas, but there are countless ways to sneak into the United States.

These two men swam across the Rio Grande and made a break for it, in broad daylight, right under one of the U.S. checkpoints. Twenty minutes later, three more men scale a fence to enter the United States illegally.

RAY GARDNER, DIRECTOR, LCC POLICE ACADEMY: We do have a long stretch of border with the river, and they can swim across it. Don't even have to swim. In some areas they're able to wade across it.

SYLVESTER (on camera): In Webb County, Texas alone, there are 80 miles of riverfront. Much of it is brush. And here the only thing separating the United States and Mexico is the Rio Grande River.

(voice-over): Webb County sheriff's deputies show us the paths used by human smugglers. Illegal aliens carry dry clothes in a black trash bag. Bags and inner tubes litter the riverbank on the American side.

Drug dealers also use these routes, and so could terrorists. Sheriff Rick Flores is concerned about the possibility that al Qaeda could use Mexico as a back door into the United States.

SHERIFF RICK FLORES, WEBB COUNTY, TEXAS: For a very long time, I think we've been ignored. I don't think we've been taken serious along the border of Mexico, and I think it's time that they reevaluate the potential for -- the potential threat for terrorism in this area and how they make their way through.

SYLVESTER: U.S. border patrol has only 1,000 agents in the Laredo sector that stretches 110,000 square miles and includes non- border cities like Dallas and San Antonio.

CHIEF JOHN MONTOYA, U.S. BORDER PATROL, LAREDO SECTOR: There are some areas that at this point we can't physically get to. And again, that concerns that someone might breach our security in that area, that worries me a lot.

SYLVESTER: The U.S. border patrol uses mounted cameras and motion sensors for added security, but there are still miles and miles of open territory.

Lisa Sylvester, CNN, Webb County, Texas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOBBS: Our nation's porous borders, or lack absolutely of border control, also keep open the flow of billions in illegal drugs into this country. Mexican drug runners are now fighting a violent battle to control the drug trade, and hundreds of people, including many Americans, are being murdered in the process.

Lucia Newman reports from Mexico.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LUCIA NEWMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sinaloa, Mexico, is home to Mexico's biggest drug kingpins, and to a shrine, the shrine of Jesus Malverde, a former bandit revered by drug traffickers as their patron saint. The plaques a tribute to helping to clear the way for their narcotics, a symbol of the pervasiveness of the drug culture in much of Mexico, a culture with an ugly face.

So far this year, nearly 200 bodies have appeared near the U.S./Mexican border, where the violence seems out of control. The killings are mainly among the traffickers themselves, but the economic, political and social instability this violence generates in the country is brutal, says investigative journalist Maria Ivalia (ph) Gomez.

True, the Fox government has put record numbers of traffickers behind bars and has created an elite agency called AFI, to combat organized crime and corruption.

(on camera): These agents are better educated and better paid than the rest, but even this intelligence agency, which is Mexico's version of the FBI, has not been immune to the temptation of drug money.

(voice-over): Washington's recent public demands that Mexico do more to stop organized crime along the border has further poisoned already tense relations.

ANTONIO GARZA, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO MEXICO: But where the safety and security of U.S. citizens are at stake, I will never hesitate to speak out forcefully and unequivocally.

NEWSMAN: Interior Minister Santiago Creel insists progress is being made and accuses Washington of humiliating Mexico in public.

SANTIAGO CREEL, MEXICAN INTERIOR MINISTER: That's not the way to treat a partner, a neighbor, a friend. NEWMAN: A dispute that's doing nothing to improve the cooperation needed to stop the flow and the consumption of narcotics on both sides of the border.

Lucia Newman, CNN, Mexico City.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOBBS: That brings us to the subject of tonight's poll. The question, "Do you believe the U.S. government should now demand that the Mexican government stop its campaign of encouragement for its citizens to break U.S. immigration laws?" Yes or no, cast your vote at LouDobbs.com. We'll have the results later in the broadcast.

We'll have much more ahead on the dangerous situation that is developing along our southern border with Mexico, and the urgent need to control our southern border. Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California has taken a leading role in calling upon the White House to take immediate action. He's our guest here tonight.

Coming up next, the exploding cost of so-called free trade. Cheap Chinese textile imports have caused our nation's trade deficit to surge once again. They're also putting more Americans out of work. Our special report is next.

And a massive manhunt is under way for a brutal killer in the southeastern United States. Now police in several states are now searching for a criminal.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: The U.S. trade deficit continues to widen at a staggering rate. The U.S. trade deficit in January rose to more than $58 billion. In fact, the second highest deficit in our history. Our deficit with China rose to more than $15 billion in January, driven higher by a massive influx of cheap Chinese clothing.

The American textile industry tonight is calling upon Washington to take immediate action to stop the flood of cheap Chinese clothing imports into this country. This latest trade report confirms Chinese imports have soared since the quotas limiting those imports expired just weeks ago. Textile workers say without immediate action from Washington, the American textile industry is simply dead.

Christine Romans reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since 1915, textile workers have been dyeing and finishes fabrication in this building. But Oxford Textile now sits empty, the equipment stripped away, 180 workers gone and the owner looking to sell the property.

NICK GUARRIELLO, OXFORD TEXTILE: I'll walk in here and it's just maybe a few night lights on, and you hear the humming of the transformers and stuff. Haunting? Yes, it is.

ROMANS: Seven years of struggle against low-wage countries.

GUARRIELLO: There's no way of getting around it. There's no way that we're going to compete against the cheap prices that China is able to, you know, bring in into the United States.

ROMANS: This plant couldn't survive and closed in May 2003. Oxford Textile symbolic of a crisis. Seven more textile plants have closed this year.

Four years ago, more than a million people worked in this industry. Since then, 373,000 jobs have been lost, 35 percent of America's garment makers.

In Washington today, trade and worker groups huddled in crisis mode, trying to save the jobs that remain. Now that import quotas have expired, U.S. and Chinese data show an explosion of cheap clothing imports into this country, 1,000-percent increases in T- shirts and trousers.

AUGIE TANTILLO, AMER. MFG. TRADE ACTION COALITION: They currently have the capacity to produce 20 billion garments a year. So the fact that China is up 1,000 percent in a certain category should not be startling.

ROMANS: Industry representatives are demanding the Bush administration impose emergency limits on China's textile explosion, but any measures would come too late for Oxford Textile.

GUARRIELLO: There was no help when we were crying for help toward the end. There was no help. So, you know, it's a shame. It's a real shame.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: And the response today from the Commerce Department, officials there say they are concerned about the increase and its impact on U.S. textile firms. They might consider curbs if it sees evidence of market disruption, but they won't promise any kind of action. Lou, a lot of people say by the time the Commerce Department is convinced of market disruption, it will be utterly too late.

DOBBS: The Commerce Department is concerned.

ROMANS: And they're going to continue their ongoing dialogue with the Chinese.

DOBBS: Is our government people in trade with complete and utter idiots? The pain is palpable, the evidence is absolute. It's staring everyone in the face.

It is just utterly remarkable. And to watch the textile industry, that factory, and there's no one to use the space, no one seeking that space, which tells you the level of manufacturing in this country. ROMANS: The irony there is the people seeking using to use the space, Wal-Mart, for extra storage. The very company, the very importer of all of those cheap Chinese products. That is the ultimate irony in the end.

DOBBS: The textile industry in this country being destroyed by those cheap Chinese goods that are being imported. And of course Wal- Mart now the third largest export market for China in all categories.

Christine Romans, thank you.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

DOBBS: Congressman Ben Cardin, of the House Trade Subcommittee, and Augustine Tantillo, a former Commerce Department official, will be joining us here in just a few moments. They say the Bush administration must take aggressive action now in order to save the remaining jobs in textiles.

Coming up next here, pushing Social Security reform, why President Bush is now targeting one group of Americans in his nationwide campaign to push his Social Security reform ideas.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: President Bush tonight is finishing up a two-day, four- state tour pushing his so-called Social Security reforms. President Bush today said it is time for both political parties to put aside their differences and focus on solving the problem for future generations. But the president is facing opposition from Democrats, Republicans and many senior citizens.

Senior White House correspondent John King is traveling with the president and reports from Memphis, Tennessee.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As salesmen go, this one travels in unique style and with a rather unique challenge, selling his product first to consumers who can't use it, but don't trust it and have the power to keep it off the market.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't care what the TV ads say, I don't care what the propagandists say. You're going to get your check.

KING: The president is upbeat. What good salesman isn't? But his itinerary is telling.

These past two days in Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee and Louisiana, all reliably red states in presidential politics, yet places where when it comes to Social Security, it's easy to find nervous Republicans, like Alabama Congressman Mike Rogers. REP. MIKE ROGERS (R), ALABAMA: The president hasn't developed a plan yet. But I support him coming to my district and talking about the need to do so.

KING: The president's signature second-term initiative is in early jeopardy because of the political power of voters aged 55 and older. They are the most skeptical of the Bush approach and the most reliable voters in congressional elections.

So the MBA president is changing his sales pitch. A week ago, the message was strengthening Social Security. Look again. Protecting seniors is the dominant slogan now. The congresswoman getting the hug explains why.

REP. ANNE NORTHUP (R), KENTUCKY: Because the people that oppose this are targeting today's seniors, today's retirees, and scaring them to death.

KING: The president knows he needs help convincing older Americans their benefits are safe. If you don't believe him, maybe you'll trust a grandfather like Don Farnsworth.

BUSH: No question in your mind you're going to get your check?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I get my check every month.

BUSH: That's good. Well...

KING: Protesters critical of those private accounts at nearly every stop.

BUSH: The fundamental question is, are people willing to sit down at the table in a civil way and discuss how to solve the problem?

KING: Democratic Congressman Harold Ford of Tennessee says he would sit down with Mr. Bush tomorrow. He opposes private investment accounts funded with Social Security payroll taxes and thinks Mr. Bush is losing that argument. But he says the president is making an increasingly effective case for change and that Democrats better take notice.

REP. HAROLD FORD (D), TENNESSEE: The reality is we should address the problem, address this challenge, if we have the chance to now. And the only way you're going to do it is by both parties working together.

BUSH: I do want to thank Congressman Harold Ford for being here. I'm honored you're here, Congressman.

KING: Any good salesman knows an opening when he sees one. The White House not only gave Democrat Ford a front-row seat, but also tickets so he could invite supporters to the Republican president's event.

Then, on the road again, insisting the tide is beginning to turn his way and determined that if he ultimately fails to close this sale, it won't be for lack of trying.

John King, CNN, Memphis.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOBBS: Coming up next, we'll be reporting on a deadly shooting spree in the most unlikely of places. The latest on the massive manhunt for a courtroom killer.

And one of the Republican congressmen who challenged Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to stand up to the Mexican government on the issue of illegal immigration and to stop the flood of Mexican illegal aliens into this country.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: The latest now on a developing story out of Atlanta. Three people were murdered, another critically wounded when a prisoner opened fire in an Atlanta courthouse. A regional manhunt is under way tonight.

Gary Tuchman reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a scene of chaos in downtown Atlanta.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody off the sidewalk!

TUCHMAN: It started as the work day was just beginning at the Fulton County Courthouse. On the 8th floor, 33-year-old Brian Nichols was being retried on charges of rape, false imprisonment and other allegations after a previous mistrial.

DEP. CHIEF ALAN DREHER, ATLANTA POLICE: The suspect was on his way to the courtroom. It appears that he was -- he overwhelmed a deputy sheriff on his way to court, and it appears that he took possession of her handgun. The deputy sheriff was injured as a result of that struggle.

The suspect made his way into the courtroom and held all the persons in side at bay with the handgun. He then shot and killed the judge, shot and killed the court stenographer.

TUCHMAN: The wounded deputy was rushed to a nearby hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bullet did not enter her skull. She has a small bruise on her brain and some fractures around her face. She is in critical condition, but expected to survive the injuries that she has.

TUCHMAN: Authorities say Nichols ran out of the courthouse and into the street and then shot another deputy, this one fatally. A lawyer who had just been evacuated from the courthouse saw the aftermath. RENEE ROCKWELL, WITNESSED SHOOTING: There was a deputy on the side of the street right there. And a witness said that the guy who had the other deputy's gun just shot at him a couple times. And he did not look good.

TUCHMAN: Police believe Nichols carjacked up to five vehicles while making his getaway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guy came up with a gun and pointed it at me and said, "Get out of the truck." I told him he could have the truck.

TUCHMAN: Another carjacking victim was a reporter for the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution" newspaper who happened to be parking his car in a nearby garage.

DON O'BRIANT, CARJACKING VICTIM: I gave him the keys. He opens the trunk and says, "Get in the trunk." And I said, "No." And he said, "I'm going to shoot you if you don't get in the trunk." And so I started to move away and he hits me with the gun.

TUCHMAN: Authorities believe Nichols fled downtown Atlanta in O'Briant's green Honda Accord.

SHERIFF MYRON FREEMAN, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA: Mr. Nichols is considered armed and extremely dangerous and should not be approached.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TUCHMAN: Brian Nichols is still at large 9.5 hours later. One of the most incredible parts of the story is this: we are told by law enforcement authorities that Nichols during his rape trial yesterday on his way back to the jail, they searched his shoes and they found two homemade knives, one knife in each shoe.

It appears he had those knives in court yesterday. The judge found out about that, asked that more security be placed on Nichols today. And you see what has happened.

One of the chilling parts of the story is this: Nichols, after he shot the deputy inside this new part of the courthouse right here, could have escaped right then. Instead, he made the effort to go across a pedestrian bridge, across the street to the old courthouse over there, find the courtroom where his rape trial was going on, and it was there that he shot the judge and shot the court reporter. He could have escaped, but he made the point to go there and then escape.

We talked to the prosecutor who's trying this case. And I asked her -- I said, "Do you think that he was after you?" And she said she didn't know, but she was just a few minutes away from entering the courtroom -- Lou.

DOBBS: Gary, thank you very much. Gary Tuchman, reporting from Atlanta.

CNN, of course, will be providing extensive coverage of this developing story at the top of the hour. Anderson Cooper, Paula Zahn take an in-depth look at violence against judges in this country. "Judges Under the Gun," that special report begins at 7:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN. And at 10:00 p.m., a special edition of "NANCY GRACE" on courthouse security.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice just returned from her first official visit to Mexico as secretary of state. Thirty-two House Republican congressmen had called on Secretary Rice to stand up to the Mexican government during her visit in a very strongly-worded letter. The lawmakers urged Rice to "call on the government of Mexico to cease desist from its flagrant campaign to encourage its citizens to violate the immigration laws and sovereign borders of the United States of America."

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California, was among those signing the letter. He joins us tonight from Irvine, California. Congressman, good you have to you with us.

REP. DANA ROHRABACHER, (R) CALIFORNIA: Thank you very much.

DOBBS: It is first, it strikes me, utterly astonishing that such a letter would be necessary given the facts, the evidence, the overwhelming facts that are just incontrovertible about the invasion of our country.

ROHRABACHER: Well, the fact that I signed the letters indicates that I agree with what you just said. And we have a -- you know, I think the estimates on how many illegals are pouring into our country is actually a low estimate. I believe there's as many as 20 million illegals. And in California, the main source of that illegal immigration is Mexico.

DOBBS: And the Mexican government has been absolutely arrogant in its demands that the United States take care of illegal aliens in this country, arrogant in its demands that we work, Mr. Creel referring to it as a partnership, while at the same time blatantly, flagrantly, openly encouraging its citizens to cross our border. There is no precedent anywhere in the world for this.

ROHRABACHER: Well, making it even more arrogant, when one considers the fact that Mexico has great natural resources, Mexico has every means available of having a strong economy that could have an uplifting economy for all of the standard living of their people. Instead, they have to send their people to us, because their government is so corrupt that the people cannot have a strong economy.

When you have people who have caused the poverty of their own people making demands upon us, that is the height of arrogance.

DOBBS: And there's some considerable arrogance on this side of the border as well, Congressman. The idea that this administration would push for a guest worker program that is nothing less than outright amnesty, that the United States government would defy it's laws and not enforce them, that the United States Congress, frankly, would not insist upon the enforcement of the laws, that the Homeland Security Department with that name emblazoned in its mission as well as its description, to leave these borders wide open is absolutely befuddling and outrageous.

ROHRABACHER: Well, let me note that it's not just border control that we're talking about. We're talking about ending the flood of illegals into our country. The border control is part of it, but we have to come to the realization that we can't give free education, free health care and free services to anybody who can come here if they come here illegally, and expect that we're not going to have millions of people coming here. That's part of the solution.

And what we've got now in Congress, what we have got in the administration, both the Democratic party and the Republican parties are not willing to take the tough -- make the tough decisions to protect our own people.

DOBBS: Congressman, again, I don't know how your constituents are responding, but I can tell you the audience of this broadcast, our viewers are absolutely outraged. They're outraged on everything -- the very idea that we would propose something like the Dream Act, to the Agriculture Jobs Act, to...

ROHRABACHER: I'm with you, but look those people who are outraged, they need to put their senators and Congressmen on the spot. Whenever they meet their Congressmen, they have got to check the voting records. There's only about, I would say, about one half of the Republican party in the House, and all of the Democrats are on the wrong side. And half the Republicans are on the wrong side. We're the only ones who are willing to take a stand.

Make sure your congressman steps up to the plate. Check the issues. Especially check your United States Senators. They're supporting, you're right an invasion of this country, taking wealth and services, that education away from our children health care away from our people, that should be going to our own people, but instead are being consumed by illegal immigrants. But it's up to the people to express that rage to their elected representatives, and I encourage them to do it. I'm happy you are as well.

DOBBS: Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, we thank you for that. And you just heard Congressman Rohrabacher, he said it pretty clearly, let your Congressman, let your Senator know exactly how you feel about this issue. We're getting a pretty good sense of how you feel about this issue on this broadcast. Congressman Rohrabacher, we thank you for being here. Good luck.

ROHRABACHER: Thank you.

DOBBS: A reminder now to vote in our poll. The question, "do you believe the U.S. government should demand that the Mexican government stop its campaign to encourage its citizens to break U.S. immigration laws? Yes or no?" Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results later here in the broadcast.

Taking a look now at some of your thoughts. Keith Jefferson in Memphis, Tennessee wrote to say, "since our president is interested in promoting democracy, he should give some advice to our southern neighbor, maybe then they can keep their citizens from invading our borders."

Jeff Reedstrom of Port Huron, Michigan, "as a member of the U.S. border patrol, I'm glad to see that someone is taking up the issue of illegal immigration. As a 17-year member of the U.S. Border Patrol, I've seen many changes. Each year, and with each president, we lose more authority and gain more restrictions on how we can do our job. Congress and the president need to be pushed to do the will of the people of the United States, enforce the borders and remove illegal aliens from this country."

Larry Johnson in Kokomo, Indiana, "if the constant shipping of U.S. jobs to China, illegal immigrants flooding our country and taking workers jobs and taxpayer dollars and issuing a massive drive to destroy the Social Security system for workers, old and young alike, is being conservative, perhaps being liberal isn't such a bad label after all."

Send us your thoughts at loudobbs.com. Each of you whose e-mail is read on this broadcast receives a copy of my book "Exporting America." And to sign up on our e-mail news letter, sign up on our Web site loudobbs.com.

Now, "Heroes," our weekly tribute to the men and women who serve this country. Tonight the story of Shawn Ferguson. The sergeant received two Purple Hearts after being wounded in Iraq. He's now recovering at home, but he can't wait to return to Iraq and to complete his mission.

Kitty Pilgrim has his story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's not hard to tell where Army Sergeant Shawn Ferguson lives on this quiet street in Visalia, California. He's a hero to his family and friends, a survivor of two vicious attacks in Iraq during 5 months with a striker brigade facing down insurgents in Mosul.

SGT. SHAWN FERGUSON, U.S. ARMY: Almost every time you would go out, you would expect to get blown up.

PILGRIM: In December, he nearly did. Ferguson's first brush with death came the day after his unit had disabled an Iraqi truck carrying vegetables.

FERGUSON: When we were going by it the next day, I was looking like the vegetables are still good. And when I said that, that's when -- we were going right past it and that's when it blew up again. The back of the truck blew up.

PILGRIM: Ferguson took shrapnel to his face.

FERGUSON: Went in and went through, and into the gums.

PILGRIM: The second incident happen on February 10. Looking for insurgents, Sgt. Ferguson took a bullet to the hand. FERGUSON: I was holding my weapon like that, I was looking around, and I had my hand pretty much at a perfect angle for the bullet to go in. It went in the side of my hand right there, completely across, underneath all the bones, and it came out on top, right there.

PILGRIM: Ferguson was sent home to recover, but not before receiving two Purple Hearts from visiting Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The close calls haven't deterred this determined soldier from wanting to go back.

FERGUSON: As soon as possible. As soon as possible. I might be able to talk the doctors into getting me out there a little early. We'll see.

PILGRIM: For his parents, mixed emotions.

RAELYNN FERGUSON, MOTHER: It's a difficult thing to support. But he honors his country, and I do, and so I need to honor his desire to go back and finish his mission, finish what he's been sent there to do.

PILGRIM: Ferguson plans to make a career of the Army. He hopes to go back to school and become an officer.

Kitty Pilgrim, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOBBS: The sergeant honors all of us. And we wish Sergeant Ferguson the very best of luck.

Coming up next here, hundreds of thousands of American textile workers have already lost their jobs. Next, why a million more jobs are now at risk. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: The American textile industry has been devastated. Over the past 4 years nearly 400,000 American textile and apparel jobs have been wiped out.

Joining me tonight from Baltimore, Congressman Ben Cardin of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House Trade Sub-committee who says the Bush administration has set the wrong priorities when it comes to trade policy and jobs.

And from Washington, Augie Tantillo of the American Manufacturing Trade Action coalition, who says as many a 1.7 million more American jobs will be wiped out if the textile industry collapses.

Thank you both for being here.

Congressman, the fact is we knew last year, particularly when these quotas were going to expire, what would happen. Why in the world is the United States Congress and this administration not done something about our trade policies?

REP. BEN CARDIN, (D) MARYLAND: Well, to make matters even worse, we negotiated what's known as safeguards in our agreements with China. So, we have the right to take action against China to stop this surge of product coming into the United States. We expect that if we don't do anything, China will go from about 15 percent to 16 percent of market share in the United States up to 70 percent. We have the right to take action against China, and we should take action against China in order to stop the dumping and surging of this product here in United States. For the life of me, I don't know why the administration is not taking action.

DOBBS: Do you, Augie?

AUGIE TANTILLO, AMERICAN MANUFACTURING TRADE ACTION COALITION: I have to agree with the Congressman. It is astounding that the U.S. government would delay action at this point. The facts are in. China is growing exponentially. They do have a tool available to them. And if they do not act quickly, certainly tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs are going to be lost.

DOBBS: Today the U.S. trade deficit, gentlemen, as you both know, the second highest monthly trade deficit on record. And it shows no sign of abating. The Chinese -- our deficit with China continues to skyrocket.

Our trade policies are simply out of control. We have been -- and I have been, arguing for fair, balanced, mutual, reciprocal trade for years here and no one seems to want to listen. Is there any way in the world in which you think we can reverse these idiotic trade policies before many more Americans lose their jobs? Congressman.

CARDIN: Yes, I think so. You're right, these deficits are not sustainable. Every year we're getting new record. And this last month was an incredible addition to the debt for trade.

We can't allow these deficits to continue. We need to enforce our trade laws with our partners, with China, with the European Union, with Japan. We need to enforce the lawyers. They are currently violating provisions that they've entered into, and we're just not taking action to deal with it. China, for example, their currency is manipulated in order to help their exports. And that's just wrong.

DOBBS: Congressman we just came out of a presidential election in which the Democratic candidates refused to discuss this issue, refused to put forward proposals and solutions to this so-called free trade and the devastation that it is wreaking throughout our economy and to talk about the middle class and how to preserve the standard of living in this condition. The Democrats have no standing on this issue beyond the Republicans who seem intent on destroying the middle class.

CARDIN: Under the Clinton administration, we brought 11 case under the WTO as far as claims against other countries. During the first 4 years of the Bush administration they only brought 12 claims. We need to enforce laws. One thing about entering into new free trade agreements, we should be enforcing our existing trade agreements.

We should also -- we're in a new round of world trade talks, in the Doha round, we need to make sure that we bring down the farm subsidies in Europe and Japan so our American farmers can compete. We're in danger of running deficits in all these areas.

DOBBS: Augie Tantillo, follow up on the Congressman. What the Congressman didn't say, but which is absolutely true, our trade deficit is now larger than our budget deficit. And those few who are talking about deficits don't even want to recognize that, $4 trillion in debt and we continue to eviscerate the manufacturing base of this country as well as the jobs of working men and women in this country. What are we to do?

TANTILLO: Well, we do need to begin the process of taking trade on as a priority issue. We've too long subordinated it for geopolitical reasons or in the name of good relations with the Chinese. We need to acknowledge the fact that the Chinese cheat, that they use unfair advantages to get an absolute advantage in the marketplace and that they need to be brought into the world trading system as a partner whose going to adhere to the same rules that we have to adhere to.

DOBBS: Augie, do you really believe we're talking reality here? This government and the administration before it have rolled over -- they have folded like cheap lawn chairs in every negotiation with the Chinese. We're looking at record deficit after record deficit. And I would argue that we haven't subordinated our trade for geopolitical interests. We have subordinated geopolitical interests to our trade, because we have an orthodox in this country that truly believes, truly believes that exporting this country's middle classes just fine as long as there's a lower cost product and a higher margin.

TANTILLO: Well, I would agree with you. And the people that are paying the price are the average factory workers in America who only want to do two or three things: pay their mortgages, put their children through college, retire with a little bit of dignity. It's time for our government, both the Democrats and the Republicans, to stand up for those people and to do something about our China trade problem.

DOBBS: Well, I certainly hope so. And I sure as heck hope we can put a higher standard than a little dignity whether retiring or working. Dignity, period, in this country should be the watch word.

Augie Tantillo, we thank you for being with us. Congressman Cardin, we thank you both for being with us. And I hope you get something done soon, as I'm sure everyone does watching this broadcast.

Coming up next, we'll have tonight's newsmakers, three of the best journalists in the country. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Joining me now, three of the best in journalism. From Washington, Karen Tumulty "Time" magazine, Roger Simon "U.S. News & World Report" here in New York, Jim Ellis "Businessweek."

Good to have you guys with us.

Let's start with what is an amazing trip by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice going to Mexico, and I'm not sure what in the world she said to those folks down there. Are you, Jim?

JIM ELLIS, BUSINESSWEEK: Well, I mean, there's not much we can say right now. I mean, basically...

DOBBS: Well, let me give you a couple of examples. One, quit sending your citizens and encourage them to cross our border. Take back a portion of the 20 million illegal aliens that you've sent here, and maybe get real. Those are three options.

ELLIS: Well, I understand that, but at the same time, we have to be politically real, that that's not exactly the message that a lot of Americans want to hear right now, and they think that...

(CROSSTALK)

ELLIS: ... politicians understand that there's still next year.

DOBBS: Oh, the lovely politicians.

ELLIS: Yes, that's the way the world works.

DOBBS: Karen, you got any thoughts?

KAREN TUMULTY, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Well, she might make those points if she ever goes down there as secretary of state in the Dobbs administration, but at the moment she's secretary of state in the Bush administration, and their proposal, of course, is to open up the guest worker program.

DOBBS: Roger, your turn, because we're not going to have a Dobbs administration. We're, as somebody would say, stuck with this one.

ROGER SIMON, "U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT": Well, Condi Rice said exactly what President Fox wanted to hear. She said that U.S. policy was going to reflect the economic realities of what is happening at the U.S.-Mexico border, and the economic realities are there is a lot of major U.S. corporations depend on the cheap labor of illegal aliens, and these illegal aliens send millions and millions and millions of dollars back to Mexico. And if that all ended, if we ever got serious about border patrolling, the economy of Mexico would take a serious hit.

DOBBS: The economy of Mexico would take a serious hit, so we're going to suppress working people in this country, their wages by 200 billion a year, take on $50 billion in social and benefit costs, and pay -- the taxpayers pay for the benefits that accrue to big business that wants to hire illegal aliens? What Warren Buffett is referring to as a sharecropper economy is here, isn't it?

SIMON: President Bush -- I'm sorry... DOBBS: Anybody -- go ahead, Roger.

SIMON: President Bush insists that contrary to what you say, that illegal aliens come to the United States only to take jobs that nobody else wants, even though studies show just the opposite.

DOBBS: Well, we're skeptical journalists, aren't we, Roger? I'd like to see somebody present that evidence, and secondly I'd like to find out what in the heck it means, willing worker and willing employer? Because those employers and those workers are simply willing to break the law right now. I mean, is that the right message, Karen, for America right now?

TUMULTY: Well, and public sentiment on this is about to be tested, because of course there is an immigration bill that is -- the president has promised to put his weight behind that is supposed to come up in Congress within the next few weeks. And I think that what members are hearing as they go home are more and more people expressing exactly the kind of sentiments that you have.

DOBBS: Well, let's talk about another sentiment, because Roger was so taken by what the Bush administration is saying about opening our borders and citizenship not meaning anything that I hope that we can take a look at the evidence on trade, because Jim Ellis, this president and this administration has been saying free trade is good for you. We have just posted the second largest trade deficit in our history, we're at $4 -- just about $4 trillion in external debt. It's rising faster than our fiscal budget deficit. How seriously do you take it?

ELLIS: It is a very serious problem, simply because as we...

DOBBS: Did you hear that, Roger Simon?

ELLIS: It is a serious problem.

SIMON: I agree.

ELLIS: One of the big problems here is that unfortunately the solution to this could actually be worse than the problem. I mean, to really get the trade deficit down now, we might have to let the dollar continue to slide down. What that means is, that, you know, imports will be more expensive and our exports will be more competitive. So business is happy, but most of us who shop, particularly those of us who shop at places like Wal-Mart or Target are going to have higher prices. It could fuel inflation, and it probably isn't that great for the U.S. to actually let the dollar continue to slide heavily.

DOBBS: Karen, your thoughts?

TUMULTY: Well, hey, look, trade and particularly the amount of foreign debt that the United States is piling up right now, those two things really are the trap door of this economy, so that all the other indicators that have been looking fairly positive over the last few months, I think that a lot of economists right now are warning that they could give way pretty quickly. SIMON: We're learning that free trade isn't free, Lou. One group benefits, one group loses. Right now, Chinese textile workers are benefiting, and American textile workers are losing, and American consumers are also benefiting, from cheap prices on textile goods, but it could be catastrophic for our home-grown textile industry.

DOBBS: Our textile industry, manufacturing in this country, the other -- the principal winners seem to be U.S. multinationals who can't compete, and our middle class right now that's being assaulted by low-cost labor in the form of illegal aliens, outsourcing and cheap overseas labor.

We'll talk about winners and losers next time, Roger, and you and I, we're going to have to get together in Washington next week. Roger Simon...

SIMON: We need a Dobbs administration.

DOBBS: We sure don't. The nation is safe. There won't be one. Roger Simon, Karen Tumulty, Jim Ellis, as always, good to have you with us.

Still ahead here, we say farewell to a respected colleague and friend of some 25 years, and we'll have the results of tonight's poll, next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: And finally tonight, after 25 years with this network, Myron Kandel is retiring. Myron has been with CNN from the very beginning. He and I, in point of fact, I think this is right, are the last two folks on the air from the original group. Is that right?

MYRON KANDEL, CNN FINANCIAL EDITOR: That's right, Lou. But you went away for a while; I stayed.

DOBBS: You are diligent beyond belief. And very proud of you for being so.

As you think about the past 25 years, as one of the pioneers, what are your thoughts on this day in which you wrap it up with CNN?

KANDEL: Well, we pioneered the coverage of business news on network television. We've seen the cycles, we saw the big crash in '87, we saw the biggest bull market in history, we saw...

DOBBS: We like bull markets better, as I recall.

KANDEL: Right. We saw scandals in the '80s, we've seen scandals in the new century, and you know what we're dealing with? Social Security. Remember back then?

DOBBS: Right, 1983. And Alan Greenspan playing a prominent role then and perhaps not so prominent now. What is your sense of where we are today?

KANDEL: I think this country has real problems, and hopefully we'll get out of them. We usually do.

DOBBS: You know what? I'll make you $100 bet that we will, and we've got 200 years to build on. We're just going to have to awaken to a few of them. It is great for you to be here. It's been a great 25 years, Myron. I wish you all the very best, partner.

KANDEL: OK, Lou. Thank you.

DOBBS: The results now of our poll tonight: 97 percent of you said the United States government should demand that the Mexican government stop its campaign of encouraging Mexican citizens to break U.S. immigration laws.

We thank you for being with us. For all of us, have a very pleasant weekend. Good night from New York.

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