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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT

Congress Consider Bill To Prevent Automatic Citizenship Grants To Babies Born of Illegal Immigrants; Terri Sciavo Dies; Interview with Chris Simcox

Aired March 31, 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, Terri Schiavo has died 15 years after she suffered a heart attack that left her with severe brain damage and two weeks after her feeding tube was finally removed.
The critically important ethical and legal issues surrounding this tragic case will be explored here tonight.

And the pope's condition is worsening. The pope now has a high fever. He has been given the last rites. We'll have live reports from Rome.

Also tonight the escalating scandal over anchor babies in this country, babies born to illegal aliens. Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Congress to deny those babies automatic American citizenship. My guest tonight says that would be simply un- American.

And the Minuteman Project, hundreds of volunteers preparing to patrol our border with Mexico. I'll be talking with one of the founders of the Minuteman Project who says only the deployment of thousands of National Guard troops can ultimately secure our borders.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS for news, debate and opinion, tonight.

DOBBS: Good evening.

Terri Schiavo died at a Florida hospice today after the longest right-to-die battle in this country's history. She passed away after nearly a decade of legal arguments that split her family and divided the nation. Her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, made a last-minute appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but for a sixth time, the court declined to intervene.

Bob Franken, outside Terri's hospice in Pinellas Park, has the report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mary Schindler was in tears when she arrived at the hospice. Just minutes later, there was an announcement.

BROTHER PAUL O'DONNELL, SCHINDLER SPIRITUAL ADVISOR: It is with great sadness that it's been reported to us that Terri Schiavo has passed away.

FRANKEN: More than 15 years after she suffered a heart attack and went into what doctors described as a vegetative state, nearly two weeks after her feeding tube was removed, Terri Schiavo was dead at the age of 41.

SUZANNE VITADAMO, TERRI SCHIAVO'S SISTER: She's finally at peace with God for eternity.

FRANKEN: Death came just hours after the Supreme Court rejected the Schindler family's final appeal to get her feeding tube reinserted. It was just the last skirmish in a long legal war between the Schindlers and Schiavo's husband Michael, who said his wife would have wanted the tube removed.

The bitter family fight apparently continued until the very end. A Schindler family spokesman says that they were at their daughter's bedside until 10 minutes before she died.

FATHER FRANK PAVONE, SCHINDLER FAMILY SUPPORTER: The Schindler family made it clear that they were willing to be in there with Michael at those last moments. They were willing to do that. Michael did not want that.

RANDALL TERRY, OPERATION RESCUE: The family wanted to be there and I think all of us believe that Terri wanted her family there, and so for them to have been escorted out of the room at that moment is absolutely unconscionable.

FRANKEN: Security outside the hospice was tight, but initially, at least, the announcement of Terri Schiavo's death seemed to trigger more sorrow than anger among the demonstrators. Some gasped, some cried, some prayed. Some sang hymns.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): And take me home...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): And take me home...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): And take me home...

FRANKEN: Friends of Michael Schiavo say he was with his wife when she died, and he was crying.

John Centonze's sister, Jodi is Michael Schiavo's girlfriend. Centonze says Schiavo's only thought throughout the long legal battle was allow his wife to die in dignity.

JOHN CENTONZE, MICHAEL SCHIAVO FRIEND: He loved that woman. He swore that he would follow out what she wanted, and he did it no matter what. No matter what anybody said.

FRANKEN: Terri Schiavo will undergo an autopsy. But while the results may shed more light on her condition at the time she died, it will not end the debate that has become her public legacy. That much was clear, even as a van took Terri Schiavo's body to the medical examiner's office. GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I urge all those who honor Terri Schiavo to continue to built a culture of life, where all Americans are welcomed, and valued and protected, especially those who live at the mercy of others.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FRANKEN: And while this reached the highest levels of government, this is at its heart, Lou, a bitter individual family dispute, and when the remains are turned over to Michael Schiavo tomorrow, he's going to have them cremated, if the plan holds up, and buried in Pennsylvania. That, too, just another in the disputes with the blood relatives -- Lou.

DOBBS: Bob, thank you. We'll be exploring some of those issues here this evening. Bob Franken reporting from Pinellas Park, Florida.

Politics drove much of the -- what became a national debate over Terri Schiavo. Both sides of the arguments, politically involved, and the debate extended all the way to the White House and the U.S. Congress, raising critical questions about the role of government in family life and death issues.

Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Terri Schiavo issue didn't really polarize the country. The vast majority of Americans agreed: keep politics out of this. It did create an angry and embittered constituency that sees Terri Schiavo's fate as a gross miscarriage of justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was murdered, starved to death.

SCHNEIDER: That constituency prodded Congress and President Bush to act, which made them look out of touch with most Americans.

REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: If you don't want a decision to be made politically, why in the world do you ask 535 politicians to make it?

SCHNEIDER: Political leaders quickly drew back.

G. BUSH: Now we'll watch the courts make its decisions.

GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: I've done what I can. I can't do more than what you law allows me to do.

SCHNEIDER: Which caused some of the anger and bitterness to be directed at them, here at President Bush.

O'DONNELL: If he wants to promote a culture of life, then hard times demand tough decisions and tough actions. Save Terri Schiavo.

SCHNEIDER: The issue split Republicans, many of whom saw it as government intrusion into an intensely private matter.

REP. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS (R), CONNECTICUT: How deep is this Congress going to reach into the personal lives of each and every one of us?

SCHNEIDER: The save Terri Schiavo constituency feels betrayed. They helped Republicans win control of the Congress, the White House, Florida, and the politicians didn't deliver, not even Republican- appointed judges.

TERRY: For sure, there is going to be a lot of discussion about how to reign in the judiciary. That is going to be one of the key elements that comes from this.

SCHNEIDER: When you create an angry and embittered constituency, there's one thing you can expect: retribution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It crushed my spirit, and it broke my heart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... there will probably be a payback here someday.

SCHNEIDER: That's exactly what some politicians like House Majority Leader Tom DeLay are promising: "The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior," DeLay said in a statement, "but not today."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: The fight over judicial nominations won't just be between liberals and conservatives. Angry and embittered activists will demand to know of every nominee, is this the kind of judge who would have voted to save Terri Schiavo? And if the answer is yes, the Democrats will have their issue -- Lou.

DOBBS: An intriguing quote by the minority -- the majority leader, Tom DeLay. Exactly what did he mean by those words?

SCHNEIDER: He was talking about judges, the men who made these decisions. He was talking about judges, and he said -- it's not entirely clear what he meant. He didn't elaborate at his press conference. But clearly the fights over judicial nominations are going to be ratcheted up, and the Terri Schiavo issue, this dispute, is going to hang over every one of them, including conceivably any openings on the Supreme Court.

DOBBS: Bill Schneider, thank you, sir.

Joining me for more on what turned out to be an extraordinary legal battle over Terri Schiavo, is our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

Jeff, let's start with this remarkable legal battle over Terri Schiavo's right to live or to die. What will, in your judgment, be the lasting result?

JEFF TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think it will heighten the importance of the judiciary. You know, what the politicians tried to do two weeks ago was to take the issue somehow away from them. But what the judges showed, in the incredible activity over the past two weeks is they are ultimately in charge.

You know, there's a famous Supreme Court decision in 1803, Marbury v. Madison, where it said it is our job to decide what the law is, and politicians, try as they might, they can't take that power away from the judges.

DOBBS: It seems lost, in all of the reportage, all of the media attention in this case, and in some cases even the legal and political battles that ensued, the fact is there was a determination by the courts as to what Terri Schiavo's wishes were, not predicated on any of the views of the parents nor on the views of Michael Schiavo.

TOOBIN: And that was a factual issue. That's what the courts found as a matter of fact. This is what Terri Schiavo wanted.

And that's why the appeals courts, including the Supreme Court, didn't get involved, because appeals courts decide questions of law: was the right law applied? But they don't review decisions of fact, of, you know, what someone intended, what happened.

That's why the Supreme Court six times, four times in the last month said we're not going to get involved, because ultimately this was an issue of what did Terri Schiavo want? Every court that looked at that issue said she wanted her feeding tubes removed. She wanted to die the way her husband said she wanted to die.

DOBBS: Before I turn to Tom DeLay and his statements, as Bill Schneider suggests, directed at the court system in this country, how did all of this get lost? The factual determination by courts of the facts as Terri Schiavo was determined to have her life end?

TOOBIN: Well, I think it -- a lot of it had to do simply with volume. The volume of the people who were against the decisions that the court reached was tremendous. I mean, they were the people who were active. It was the Randall Terrys, it was the Schindler family, it was the mostly right to life activists who seized on her cause that dominated the air waves.

DOBBS: Our judicial system worked and worked well?

TOOBIN: You know, it worked -- it worked better than it works in a lot of stories. I mean, I think actually in this case, a factual determination was made. And no one's ever proven that that was wrong.

DOBBS: Tom DeLay's statements that there will be issues concerning the nomination process for the judiciary, your thoughts?

TOOBIN: Well, that was as close to as outright threat as exists in political culture today. It was sort of at the outside of respectable expression. DOBBS: Some would suggest that it was rather timid by DeLay standards.

TOOBIN: Well, I don't -- even by his standards it was pretty tough. I think tensions will come. It's the Senate, not the House, that controls the judiciary. So I don't really know what DeLay can do about all of this.

DOBBS: If anything. We thank you very much, Jeffrey Toobin. Jeff, if you would, please join us. We're going to look at not only the legal issues, but the ethical and medical issues surrounding the Schiavo case here later in the broadcast.

We will turn now to the pope's worsening health. The pope tonight is suffering from a high fever. He has received the last rites of the church at the Vatican.

Officials say the fever was caused by an infection. The pope's condition worsened one day after the Vatican said doctors inserted a feeding tube. The pope is struggling to recover from a tracheotomy three weeks ago, also suffering from Parkinson's Disease and other serious ailments. Later here, we'll be going live to our Rome correspondent, Alessio Vinci, for the very latest on the pope's condition.

Also ahead, illegal alien crackdown. States increasingly frustrated with the federal government's failure or refusal to enforce our immigrations laws. We'll have that special report next from Tennessee.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: The federal government's failure to develop and to enforce a comprehensive national immigration policy has forced lawmakers at the state level to take action. In Tennessee, one state senator has proposed legislation that would revoke benefits for illegal aliens, including drivers' licenses issued to tens of thousands of illegal aliens every year.

Bill Tucker reports from Nashville.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Illegal immigration is front and center in the Volunteer State. There are at least three bills in the Tennessee legislature dealing with issues relating to illegal immigration, issues that many in the state feel have been inflicted by a cowardly federal government.

DOUG JACKSON (D), TENNESSEE STATE SENATE: By definition you're not a sovereign country unless you have defined boarders. Our borders are so porous and so easily crossed that we're just part of a much larger land mass. That's what this country has become.

TUCKER: To the detriment and the livelihood of the senator's constituents. JACKSON: When you have masons that come and see you that have done it all of their lives and they explain there's no work left for them because illegal immigrants have come into our state and devalued the labor in our state, and have displaced them from the workplace, that is a major concern.

TUCKER: Jackson has introduced legislation that would deny post- secondary education grants, public housing aid and public healthcare to anyone who cannot prove their legal status in an attempt to remove the incentive for illegals coming to Tennessee. His bill would also revoke one highly controversial benefit.

(on camera): The state of Tennessee is one of the few states which offer drivers' licenses to illegal aliens, which critics say only compound the state's problems by attracting more illegal aliens.

(voice-over): Over the past 12 months, the state has issued almost 20,000 drivers' licenses to illegal aliens. Immigration groups opposing Jackson's bill say, in addition to putting unlicensed drivers on the road, it would create bad policy.

DAVID LUBELL, TENNESSEE IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE RIGHTS COALITION: You're going to have public health risks because people are not going to get vaccinations, and people are not going to get the treatment for communicable diseases.

TUCKER: The urgency of the issue is not lost on legal immigrants who, while empathizing with the plight of the illegals, are calling on the federal government to do something.

PAUL LOPEZ, EMIGRATED FROM CUBA: The longer this happens, the more animosity and a more prejudice is going to take root in our country. And we need to end it now.

TUCKER: And on that point all sides agree.

Bill Tucker, CNN, Nashville, Tennessee.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOBBS: As we've reported, our nation's immigration laws prevent in many cases local police departments from arresting illegal aliens on immigration charges. Tonight, the Los Angeles Police Department is working to change all of that.

The LAPD is for the first time writing new guidelines for its police officers who encounter suspected illegal aliens. They would allow the department to verify a suspect's immigration status with federal officials. If the person is in the country illegally, the LAPD would then seek an arrest warrant. That move comes several months after Los Angeles County began turning over custody of illegal aliens in its jails to federal immigration officials.

In North Carolina, immigration agents arrested 11 illegal aliens who were able to board a commercial airliner using only their Mexican voter registration cards as identification. That's right, Mexican voter ID cards.

An immigration official says the illegal aliens were only discovered because an air marshal on that flight overheard them talking about their success in being smuggled into the country. Incredibly, they were able to board yet another flight, this one from Chicago to North Carolina, where immigration agents finally took them into custody. An immigration official said the men paid smugglers $1,000 each to cross the border between Mexico and, you guessed it, Arizona.

Just eight days after President Bush referred to the minutemen as vigilantes, the Border Patrol has launched a Minuteman Project of its own. The U.S. Border Patrol has posted five billboards on Tucson-area highways. The billboards asking for citizens to call in with information and comments about illegal aliens.

Officials deny that their new program has been timed to coincide with the other Minuteman Project on the Arizona Border. But while the Border Patrol calls upon citizens to help, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection told us here that he would discourage citizens from coming down to Arizona to take the law into their oin hands.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT BONNER, COMMISSIONER, CUSTOMS & BORDER PROTECTION: Our view is that it would be not a good thing if people came down to Arizona and attempted to take the law into their own hands. This is a -- essentially, it's a dangerous situation, it's something that ought to be left to the law enforcement professionals that are trained to do the job, and that is the Border Patrol is the law enforcement agency that is trained to do this job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOBBS: I'll be talking with one of the organizers of the Minuteman Project, Chris Simcox, here in this broadcast. In just a few minutes, in fact. He says the Department of Homeland Security and President Bush have contradicted themselves after asking citizens to be vigilant about terror.

Turning now to a story we've reported extensively here, U.S. and Indian officials are close to approving a deal that would transfer critical American-made underwater communication lines to an Indian company for pennies on the invested dollar. It is a fire sale that many say threatens or national security.

Christine Romans reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The global underwater cable grid is a valuable military and economics resource. And Tyco's undersea cable system is the last piece of this critical bandwidth to slip out of U.S. hands about to be sold to VSNL, an Indian company, 26 percent owned by the Indian government, whose parent, Tata, has close ties to the Indian military. FRANK GAFFNEY, CENTER FOR SECURITY POLICY: I think there's a question as to whether it's advisable for us to be selling off a national asset like this global network under any circumstances and to anybody. But I think that's particularly true when the prospective buyer is a company with close ties to a government that may or may not be friendly to us.

ROMANS: VSNL will pay $130 million for this crown jewel of the undersea cable system built by American companies at a cost of $3.4 billion and capable of carrying 90 percent of Pacific communications traffic. Bandwidth many say is crucial for U.S. military data growth and the U.S. economy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: Chief among the concerns, that India could restrict access to those cables or eavesdrop on U.S. military intelligence. Now, the FCC, Lou, could approve this as soon as April 30. There's something called the Committee on Foreign Investments. It's a real super-secret administration process. Not a lot of hope on Capitol Hill that that process would stop this.

DOBBS: Well, there has been very little in the way of government oversight or traction on this issue, despite the serious national security issues involved. The public comment period expired today. Any chance, any hope that anyone in the United States Congress will take a look at $3.4 billion in investment, see that it is being literally frittered away for a price of $130 million, 90 percent of the bandwidth in the Pacific Ocean?

ROMANS: I suspect we're going to be hearing from some congressmen next week after this period -- this comment period is closed. But remember, there were congressmen who raised concerns about that IBM- Lenovo deal, China buying some U.S. infrastructure. That didn't do any good.

DOBBS: Christine, thank you very much. Appreciate the report.

Following up now on a story that we brought you earlier this week about Delta Airlines exporting its critical maintenance work to a foreign country. In that case, Canada.

The Federal Aviation Administration now says it will delay for one year. A deadline for U.S. airlines to set standards for maintenance workers.

As we've reported, many of the nation's largest carriers are now outsourcing jobs to foreign countries in order to save money. The new FAA rules would ensure that any facility doing repairs on U.S. aircraft meets minimum safety standards. It now seems clear that that minimum standard for safety for travelers on U.S. aircraft is now at least one year away.

The European Union and Canada today said they will impose new tariffs on a range of goods made in the United States. The 15 percent duties are in retaliation, they say, for a U.S. law designed to stop foreigner from unfairly dumping low-priced imports into this country. The World Trade Organization declared that U.S. law illegal, the so- called Byrd Amendment, and authorized the European Union, Canada, Japan and several other countries to impose those tariffs.

Japan is still deciding whether to do so. The new tariffs come as the EU, Canada and Japan already enjoy large, large trade surpluses with the United States.

The U.S. trade deficit last year, $110 billion with the EU. It was almost $66 billion with Canada last year, $75 billion with Japan. It makes one wonder what those countries would like to see in the way of a surplus. But a trade war, I suspect, will not be the way to achieve it.

Coming up next here, the pope's health in decline tonight. The Vatican says the pope's condition is worsening. We will have the very latest on the pontiff's condition and a live report from the Vatican coming up next.

Also ahead here, the battle over the life of Terri Schiavo has come to a tragic end. Two leading medical ethicists, our senior legal analyst, join me next to talk about the impact of this unprecedented battle.

And a scathing report tonight on the disturbing lack, as the commission referred to it, the disturbing lack of information this country has been on the nuclear threat and ambitions posed by potential enemies of the United States.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: As we reported, the condition of Pope John Paul II has worsened tonight. The Vatican saying the pope has a very high fever and that he has received the last rites.

Alessio Vinci is live in Rome and has the very latest for us on this important story -- Alessio.

ALESSIO VINCI, CNN ROME BUREAU CHIEF: Hello, Lou.

Yes, the Vatican officials are confirming to CNN that in addition to high fever, the pope has an infection to his urinary tract. And he's being now treated with antibiotics.

However, medical sources are telling us that at this time there are no plans to bring the pope back to Gemelli hospital where he has been spending some time in recent months, including twice in February. However, one Vatican official is telling us the situation is extremely serious, of course, and that the pope has been given his last rites, a blessing, if you want, that is given to people who are really sick.

This does not mean that the pope is actually dying, that he's in his final moments. The pope has received that kind of blessing already once before back in 1981, moments after being shot in St. Peter's Square in front of a large crowd. But nevertheless, Vatican officials continue to tell us that the situation is so serious that, in fact, the pope has been administered last rites -- Lou.

DOBBS: Alessio, thank you very much. Alessio Vinci reporting from Rome.

More now on the top story of the day, the death of Terri Schiavo in a Florida hospice 14 days after a feeding tube was removed, coming a decade later after her struggle for life and death began. Joining me now for more on this tragic case, including the numerous ethical considerations that it's raised, and the few that have been resolved, Dr. Joseph Fins, the director of medical ethics at New York's Presbyterian's Weill Cornell Medical Center; Jeffrey Toobin, our senior legal analyst here at CNN; and the Reverend John Paris, professor of bioethics at Boston College.

We thank you all for being with us.

Let me turn, first, to you, Dr. Fins. This struggle that's played out in court, in the media, have we, in your judgment, come to any collective understanding or resolution of the issues that prompted the case to begin with?

DR. JOSEPH FINS, NY PRESBYTERIAN WEILL CORNELL: Well, I think you know, with the pope's illness and with Terri Schiavo, we're brushing up against our mortality, our collective mortality. Modern medicine has a way of preserving life and deluding us into thinking that we're not going to die. And I think the lesson is we all will, and we have to prepare and have discussions with our loved ones so they're prepared to make decisions for us.

DOBBS: And Father Paris, your thoughts? Because looking at a representative for several days outside the hospice, the Catholic Church, the religious organizations in support of the Schindlers, the parents of Terri Schiavo, what are the implications for -- for religion in this country and, if you will, for the ethics of what's transpired?

REV. JOHN PARIS, BIOETHICS PROFESSOR, BOSTON COLLEGE: Well, I think the American public has shown an enormous capacity for cutting through the media hype and the circus and the unfortunate politicization of this case. And they understand several things: that we are mortal, that an end time comes for us all. And When that time comes, we can learn to accept it.

And we also learned that modern medical technology can prolong that process for an incredibly long time. Some people might elect to have it, others might decide they wouldn't want their lives prolonged, either in the dying process or in an irreversible comatose situation. And it's perfectly legitimate to say I wouldn't want it, and to please stop it. And I think that when we see the polls indicating 80 percent or so would accept it, the American public understanding it.

DOBBS: Father Paris, if I may say so, every word you've just spoken is consonant with the traditional American values of individual liberty and individualism itself. But if I may quote from a Vatican statement, which I'm sure that you're familiar with concerning Terri Schiavo, "her death," said the statement, "her death was arbitrarily hastened, because feeding a person can never be considered excessive therapy." What is your reaction?

PARIS: Well, it's very difficult to understand that situation --- statement rather, because the official statement of the American Catholic bishops the National Conference of Catholic Bishops says the following in their directives to Catholic hospitals -- there should be, of course a presumption in favor of nutrition and hydration, including those who require artificial nutrition and hydration, as long as there is sufficient benefit to outweigh the burdens involved to the patient.

Here's the National Conference of Catholic Bishops telling Catholic hospitals, here's how we as Catholics understand the use of medical treatment. This is a longstanding provision. The Vatican's official declaration in 1980 on euthanasia says, of course, you can remove treatments that are excessively burdensome, and that's not suicide, but the acceptance of the human condition. And somehow in this politicization of this case, the longstanding Catholic tradition is being overshadowed and outshouted.

DOBBS: Father Paris, thank you for that. I'd like all of you, if I may ask, and our viewers, to then listen to this statement by President Bush today in reacting to Terri Schiavo's death, if we could see that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The essence of civilization is that the strong have a duty to protect the weak. In cases where there are serious doubts and questions, the presumption should be in the favor of life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOBBS: Presumption in favor of life. Jeff Toobin, we've just heard Father Paris speak eloquently about that presumption and the presumption as well in favor of an individual's rights of choice. Legally, do you think that there has been, first, the effort to preserve life as a primary value in our legal system?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think this society and the legal system is really divided about it. I think you don't have to be a code reader to know that what President Bush was really talking about in that statement was abortion. And what this controversy about has been about is abortion in great extent, which is defining life broadly. Is a fetus life? Is someone at the end of their days life?

The people on the Schindlers' side want to define life broadly. The people on the Schiavo's side want to say it's a matter of choice at the beginning and at the end of life.

DR. JOSEPH FINS, NY PRESBYTERIAN/WEILL CORNELL: And I would just add, one, we have a culture of life and care for those in the middle, there are tens of thousands of brain-injured patients in America right now lingering in nursing homes without adequate assessment who are minimally conscious, who might be helped who deserve a fair shake. So hundreds of thousands, if not millions were litigated and spent on Terri Schiavo's case, but we've abandoned a large segment of our population. And I would urge the president to do something about that?

DOBBS: Father Paris, you're thoughts?

PARIS: Well, my thoughts are there was a presumption for life. As I understand it, for seven years, Michael Schiavo sought every possible measure, including taking his wife to California to try experimental therapies. And it was only after all hope for recovery was lost in his mind that there was a decision to stop.

There was a presumption for life, but the presumption is rebuttable. And there is in this case no serious doubt, at least in the court's mind, as to what it is that Terri Schiavo wanted. If there was no hope, she did not want to be maintained this way. The court found with clear and convincing evidence, not from Michael's testimony, but the testimony of his brother and the sister in-law, the court says we believe she wouldn't want it, and therefore she has the right to stop it and therefore it ought to be stopped. And it was.

DOBBS: Reverend Paris, Jeffrey Toobin, Dr. Fins, thank you all for being here.

That brings us to the subject of our poll this evening. "Do you believe the right to die should be legislated or should it be an individual and family matter in this country?" Cast your vote as loudobbs.com. We'll have the results of that later here in the broadcast.

Coming up next, a presidential commission says straightforwardly, U.S. prewar intelligence in Iraq was dead wrong. We'll have reaction from the White House next. And a debate on whether the babies born to illegal aliens, so-called anchor babies, should automatically become U.S. citizens. I'll be talking with one official who says anything less would be un-American. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Scathing criticism today for America's intelligence agencies. A presidential commission declared that our intelligence agencies were dead wrong, their words, dead wrong about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. What is perhaps even worst, the commission also said the United States knows disturbingly little about the nuclear threat from other potential enemies.

White House correspondent Dana Bash reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president's commission says the intelligence he used to go to war was dead wrong.

LAURENCE SILBERMAN, COMMITTEE CO-CHAIRMAN: The intelligence community was absolutely uniform and uniformly wrong.

BASH: Despite what the CIA apparently dubbed a slam dunk case, the nine-member Bush-appointed panel finds even after a decade of trying, there was no good intelligence on Iraqi WMD, that intelligecne agencies relied on sources who were telling lies about an Iraqi biological weapons program touted by the administration, but still jumped to conclusions that were loosely reasoned, ill-supported and poorly communicated.

The report said the president himself saw the most exaggerated flawed assessments. His daily briefs riddled with attention grabbing headlines and questionable data.

Perhaps the most ominous finding, what is still unknown, even in North Korea and Iran.

"The intelligence community knows disturbingly little about the nuclear programs of many of the world's most dangerous actors," the report states.

BUSH: In an age in which we are at war, the consequences of underestimating a threat could be tens of thousands of innocent lives.

BASH: Even after post- post-9/11 changes, the report says intelligence-gathering and information-sharing still needs work.

The president says he's seriously considering the 74 commission recommendations to address the problems. Among them, more clearly defining a role of director of national intelligence so he can force change, encouraging dissenting views to challenge consensus, creating a national counter-proliferation center to fight the spread of WMD and creating a national security service inside the FBI.

CHARLES ROBB, COMMITTEE CO-CHAIRMAN: The United States took a hit. The community recognizes it, everyone that we've talked to recognizes it.

BASH: Commissioners predicted the biggest challenges may be turf wars and resistance to change. Some intelligence experts charge the report underestimates reforms already underway.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The sense is that they have to be slapped awake and knocked around a bit to get the point. Believe me, intelligence professionals understand that there were mistakes made here.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: The president created this panel under intense political pressure during the campaign. Commissioners said they looked into whether or not Bush officials pressured analysts to alter intelligence to support war, and they said they found no evidence of that, but they did not look into whether or not the White House exaggerated information that they had. And that, Lou, is something Democrats say still must be investigated.

DOBBS: Dana Bash, thank you very much, reporting from the White House.

This word in to CNN tonight. President Clinton's former national security adviser, Sandy Berger, will tomorrow plead guilty to improperly taking classified material. That is a misdemeanor. The case relates to Berger's removal of highly classified documents from the National Archives last year. Berger insists he inadvertently removed those documents as he reviewed materials about the Clinton administration's antiterrorism policies. Berger faces a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Coming up next here, hundreds of American citizens are ready to converge on our border with Mexico to watch for illegal aliens crossing. One of the founders of the Minuteman Project will be here to tell us what he and all of the other volunteers hope to accomplish, next.

And then, a growing movement to prevent babies born to illegal aliens in this country from becoming American citizens. I'll be talking with one official who says to disenfranchises so-called anchor babies would be un-American.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Starting tomorrow, as many as 1,500 volunteers are expected to begin patrolling the Arizona border with Mexico as part of the Minuteman Project. They'll be contacting authorities whenever they see illegal aliens trying to enter this country.

The Mexican government has already threatened legal action against the volunteers if any of its citizens are, as the Mexican government says, illegally detained.

There are reports tonight, and these reports from Capitol Hill sources, that the Mexican military is on standby, and one unit is said to have 1,000 soldiers stationed in the area in northern Mexico. We are told congressional staff from the Immigration Reform Caucus are now on their way to the border to monitor the situation.

Joining us tonight from Tombstone, Arizona, one of the founders of the Minuteman Project, Chris Simcox.

Good to have you with us.

This is...

CHRIS SIMCOX, MINUTEMAN PROJECT: Thank you, Lou.

DOBBS: This is one of the more remarkable events, in the sense that you've already achieved a remarkable success. Because of the Minuteman Project, more than 500 border patrolmen added to the area. The number of flights doubled. What are your thoughts as you're about to begin the project?

SIMCOX: Well, Lou, it's a shame that it takes this kind of activism by Americans to get the president and Congress to secure our borders. Letters, letter-writing and sending e-mails and showing up at town hall meetings didn't seem to do any good, so we decided to send the president and Congress a firm mandate from the people that, you know, we need more. It's time.

DOBBS: Well, let me ask you something, because one of the things, a number of people, and obviously they are open-border advocates and activists, for the most part, are trying to portray the Minutemen as, frankly, rednecks with racial prejudice, racists who want to arm themselves. And as President Vicente Fox himself accused the Minutemen of being migrant hunters.

Let's go through that issue. What have you done to assure that there will not be any, any negativity associated with the people who are volunteering for your project?

SIMCOX: We've been very careful, Lou, to screen the volunteers as thoroughly as we can. They go through phone interviews, personal interviews, background checks. We've made sure we have no one with a felony background. And we're looking for Americans who understand the weight of the situation and who understand they must be exemplary in their behavior to get their message through.

So many people are trying to divert your attention, and America's attention, away from the problem, and trying to create us as the problem. I wish they'd pay more attention to what we live with every day here in Cochise County.

DOBBS: And to be clear, you're not permitting any of your volunteers to be armed.

SIMCOX: No, that's not true. I can't do that. We have encouraged them, if you've read our standard operating procedure, that they are to be, again, aware of the laws of the state of Arizona. They're not to carry long arms, because that would make us an offensive -- that would give it an offensive-type attitude.

DOBBS: Well, Chris, let's...

SIMCOX: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE), but...

DOBBS: ... be straight up, 1,500 volunteers, untrained, unorganized, and without drill, that is not a reassuring statement that you just made, if you're going to have people with weapons, whether they are sidearms or not.

SIMCOX: Well, Lou, we have -- most of our volunteers are retired law enforcement officers, military veterans, and professional people who -- and not all of them are going to be armed, but the ones that want to be have that right to be.

But we have interaccountability by grouping people together in teams, so that we have people watching each other and making sure that we hold each other accountable. Because this is a political protest, no matter what. We know that. And it would be hypocritical of us to want the government to enforce the laws if we were out there to break the laws.

DOBBS: You're keenly aware, Chris...

SIMCOX: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) weight of this moment.

DOBBS: ... you're keenly aware, you're keenly aware, all of the good that you could do to bring attention to this national, national crisis on illegal immigration could be swept away with one idiotic, inhumane act by one of your volunteers.

SIMCOX: Yes. Absolutely, very keenly aware. This is -- it's a heavy weight on my shoulders, but we've been very thorough. We have upstanding members of our society, citizens who are willing to toe the line and know what the law is. That's important, we understand that.

DOBBS: Outstanding. We wish you all of the success in the world. And you know, you said it at the outset, that it's a shame that it takes activism on the part of citizens. You know, I think that we could also make a counterargument. It's kind of nice to know that Americans still have that activism in their hearts, the capacity to volunteer to do the right thing. And we thank you, Chris Simcox, for being with us.

SIMCOX: Thank you, Lou. Appreciate it.

DOBBS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), a reminder to vote in our poll tonight. The question is, Do you believe the right to die should be legislated or be an individual and family matter? Cast your vote at loudobbs.com, and we will bring you the results in just a moment.

And the quote of the day tonight is from the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection on the efforts to secure our nation's borders. (UNINTELLIGIBLE), the Department of Homeland security's prospects for success in perfect view.

Commissioner Robert Bonner says, quote, "The Department of Homeland Security is determined to gain control of our borders. And we're going to do it until we get the job done. So can I sit here and tell you that we are going to totally control the Arizona border in three or four months? No."

Mr. Bonner, that isn't overnight, and it's not very reassuring.

Still ahead, should the children born to illegal aliens in this country be entitled to become citizens automatically and receive all the benefits associated with that privilege?

I'll be talking with a leading professor who says anything else would be un-American.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: There are currently there million babies in this country born to illegal aliens. Each one of those children is instantly a citizen of the United States and, of course, eligible for public benefits and privileges. Congress will consider, this year, legislation, introduced, that would deny automatic citizenship to so- called "anchor babies." My guest tonight says it is un-American in his view to deny these children American citizenship. Leo Chavez is professor of anthropology at the University of California, Irvine, joining us tonight from Irvine.

Professor, good to have you with us.

LEO CHAVEZ, PROF. OF ANTHROPOLOGY, U.C. IRVINE: Thank you. Great pleasure to be here.

DOBBS: This legislation is designed, ostensibly, at least, to stop a huge problem, and that is the incentive for illegal aliens to enter the country, give birth to their children, and hence the name "anchor baby." Don't you think it's an appropriate concern?

CHAVEZ: No, I don't. To tell you the trust, "anchor baby" is a mistaken view of the reason why immigrants come to this country, even undocumented immigrants. They come here to work and to basically seek a better life. Having children here is what we call a secondary effect of migration; it's something that is so far down the line, the possibility of using a child to legalize your status, that it's rarely given as a reason, when we interview immigrants, for coming to this country. You have to realize it's 21 years before a child can actually immigrate their parents.

DOBBS: In the meantime, these anchor babies, 300,000 of them are born each year. The prenatal care, for example, for each of these children born to illegal immigrants, amounting to about $1,800 alone. The costs mount from there. The immigration restrictions on the entering of the country for any adult, but certainly for a pregnant adult, can be constrictive. Simply crossing a border illegally, do you think that should be permitted?

CHAVEZ: You know, this country is based upon a philosophy of inclusion, particularly including and trying to include, as much as possible, the children of those foreign-born who come to this country. For the last 200 years we've been a nation of immigrants and we've struggled -- it hasn't always been easy, but we've struggled -- to try and give the children of immigrants a life as Americans, to make sure that they're able to compete, to contribute, so that really all of us, Mr. Dobbs, you, myself and everyone here, benefits by ensuring that anybody who's a citizen of this nation and is going to live their life in this nation is able to contribute to this nation as much as possible. That means being healthy, being educated, and having a civic consciousness, that they're part of this nation. The law that you're suggesting pass, basically would stigmatize these children.

DOBBS: Whoa, whoa, whoa, I'm not suggesting the law be passed.

CHAVEZ: Excuse me. The law that's being put forward here by some members of Congress would basically stigmatize these children, create them as marginal members of our society and, really, in a sense, create a worst nightmare that none of us want: people who don't feel they have a stake in this nation. DOBBS: Here -- here...

CHAVEZ: And, you know, basically, it's really un-American, and my point in being "un-American" is, in this country we don't punish the children for the sins of their parents, and that's exactly what this law does.

DOBBS: You know, I wish that were true, but in point of fact, we are punishing children for the sins of their fathers all of the time in this country. You don't have to look beyond the budget deficit, you don't have to look beyond Social Security, you don't have to look beyond the failure to enforce immigration law and to enforce border security. I understand your point...

CHAVEZ: But can I make on point on that is? And that is that, the border, for those of us who study immigration, I see Mr. Simcox' point of view, and I sympathize with his position in Arizona. There are a lot of people crossing that border into Arizona, because we've turned that into a funnel zone. However, for those of us who study immigration, the border really is only a symptom of the problem. We ask, why are people crossing that border? That basically takes the problem away from the border and puts it squarely into the laps of Americans like me and you, who really enjoy a middle-class lifestyle.

DOBBS: Mr. Chavez, I would love to continue this, we didn't really get to a lot of the fundamental questions. I hope you'll come back, perhaps next week, and we can talk about this issue.

CHAVEZ: Very good program. Thank you very much.

DOBBS: Thank you. Professor Chavez, we'll talk to you next week.

Please stay with us, the results of our poll ahead, a preview of what's ahead tomorrow. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: The results of our poll tonight: 97 percent of you say the right to die should be an individual and family matter in this country, three percent of you say it should be legislated.

Thanks for voting; thanks for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow -- more than a thousand American volunteers preparing to monitor the Arizona border with Mexico's, part of the Minuteman Project. We'll have live reports from the border. The ACLU will be monitoring them, the Minuteman Project, as well, and the director of the ACLU of Arizona will be our guest here. And Bay Buchanan, president of American Cause: she supports the Minuteman Project, she's also our guest. We hope you'll be with us.

For all of us here, good night from New York. "ANDERSON COOPER 360" is coming up next, right here on CNN.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


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