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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Immigration Crisis; Importing Teachers; Border Insecurity
Aired April 13, 2005 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, while this country is facing an unprecedented immigration and border security crisis, the Republican leadership is, of all things in Congress, being accused of blocking new measures that would protect this country from illegal aliens and terrorists. My guest tonight is the president of 9/11 Families for a Secure America. He says his organization will hold lawmakers accountable if they fail to support these measures.
And illegal identity crisis. The Mexican government says is prerogatives extend to this country. Mexican officials are giving Mexican government IDs to illegal aliens in this country to be used as identity cards. In our "Face Off" tonight, I'll be debating the issue with a leading U.S. congressman who supports the Mexican government's policy.
And the high cost of free trade. A secret trade agreement with Central America. Even more American jobs could be exported to cheap overseas labor markets. Will that trade agreement win congressional support? We'll have the story for you.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS, for news, debate and opinion, tonight.
DOBBS: Good evening.
Tonight, the Republican leadership and the U.S. Senate is being accused of playing political games with our national security. Bold measures to tackle the immigration and border security crisis in this country are in jeopardy in Congress. The House of Representatives have already passed the Real ID Act to prevent illegal aliens from obtaining drivers' licenses and to tighten border security. But Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is trying to block consideration of the Real ID Act in the U.S. Senate.
Kitty Pilgrim reports.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 terrorists, had a Florida driver's license. The House has already passed Congressman James Sensenbrenner's Real ID Act to tighten up the rule for drivers' licenses. But now this important piece of legislation may not make it past the Senate.
Twelve senators wrote the majority leader, Bill Frist, asking him to keep it out of a bill. Senator Bill Frist now says he wants to put off immigration and border security issues to a later time. SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TN), MAJORITY LEADER: I am encouraging my colleagues to defer, to postpone discussions of immigration and to postpone that debate.
PILGRIM: Six hundred family members of the 9/11 victims say it can't wait. They signed a letter of outrage to Senator Frist. "We will not mince words. Those murdered on September 11, 2001, will, through us, their grieving families, hold accountable to the American people each and every member of Congress who has been guilty of permitting illegal aliens and the unknown terrorists among them to benefit from the veneer of legitimacy that a driver's license creates."
Originally in the 9/11 bill the measure was stripped out on the understanding it would be attached to something else. But now, five months later, the Real ID Act is now part of the House supplemental bill that funds military spending in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the Senate is still dragging its feet.
NORM ORNSTEIN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: What a lot of Republicans leaders want to do is to leaven the difficult controversial hard-line elements like the ID with provisions to make it easier for guest workers and for illegal immigrants who have been in the country to stay and work legally.
PILGRIM: Now, the 9/11 families signed the letter to Bill Frist, "Please do not ignore us." But under the guise of taking time to consider immigration more carefully, this measure is in danger of being postponed once again -- Lou.
DOBBS: And I discussed this, this possibility with Congressman James Sensenbrenner, and the fact that the Republicans are playing games with this in the United States Senate. And, to some degree, in coordination with the House of Representatives leadership, has been anticipated for sometime. Unfortunately, it appears that the moment is with us.
Kitty, thank you. Kitty Pilgrim.
Later here in the broadcast, I'll be talking with the president of 9/11 Families for a Secure America, who says lawmakers will be held accountable if they don't support the Real ID Act.
We report here extensively about the huge number of foreigners who come to this country to work under special U.S. government visa programs. Now it turns out our public schools are hiring staff overseas. Ten thousand foreign teachers are already in this country, even more foreigners could be teaching our children in the future. More jobs apparently that Americans don't want.
Christine Romans reports.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her mother who smile and say, "Koala Lou, I do love you."
STUDENTS: "Koala Lou, I do love you."
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mrs. Carter is an Australian teacher in this elementary school in Selma, North Carolina. She is teaching on a J1 cultural exchange visa, one of 1,800 foreign K-12 teachers brought in by a company called Visiting International Faculty Program.
ALAN YOUNG, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, VIF PROGRAM: Every school should have an international teacher as part of its approach to educating children. Our children need to thrive in a global marketplace. They need to be prepared for the jobs of the future.
ROMANS: But critics say it's less about international relations and more about desperation. Each year, 150,000 new teachers graduate, but 200,000 classrooms a year need to be filled.
ANTONIA CORTESE, EXEC. VP., AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: This is not a cultural exchange program. It is an inadequate way of dealing with a problem of teacher shortage here in the United States.
ROMANS: VIF charges schools $12,000 per imported teacher. The teachers make the going salary and are placed mostly in North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, and South Carolina. Nationwide, at least 10,000 foreigners are filling teacher shortages in American classrooms with the J1 visa like Mrs. Carter, or H1B temporary worker visas. But importing teachers from other countries ignores the crisis behind the teacher shortage.
RANDY BARBER, CENTER FOR ECONOMIC ORGANIZING: The real problem, frankly, is that school districts are unable or unwilling to pay, you know, what in effect would be a market rate that would actually attract and retain the kinds of teachers they need.
ROMANS: Especially, he says, for math, science and special education teachers. With an average starting salary of under $30,000, half of all new teachers will leave the profession in the first five years.
And foreign teachers are not a solution for teacher retention. Mrs. Carter's visa allows her to teach here for only three years.
ROMANS: Those little kids really like Mrs. Carter. But even the company that hired her, imported her here, agrees that there's a problem in American education. And the teachers deserve better pay and more respect.
But, Lou, if schools can import foreign teachers -- and what is being done to pay teachers more here, and to get them the mentoring and some of the things that they really need.
DOBBS: You know, I guess this is, again, the Bush administration's idea of matching willing workers with willing employers, taking jobs American don't want. You know, these are all glib expressions on the part of this administration and, frankly, Democrats and Republicans.
But as you point out in your report, the fact that we've got teachers making under $30,000 a year, having to bring in foreign teachers to teach U.S. kids, is a shame. It's just absurd.
How are the teachers reacting themselves? I mean, there are enough pressures on them, for god's sake.
ROMANS: There's a teacher shortage. And a lot of folks say, if you pay them more, you are going to get the best quality. And you are going to get teachers who are going to stay longer than just three or five years.
DOBBS: Of course the tax base may be declining rather remarkably because of the number of jobs that are being exported overseas and an underground economy in which taxes aren't paid at all. That would have to do with illegal immigration, of course. So we don't want to step there just yet.
Christine Romans, thank you very much. A startling report.
The federal government's program to invest in technology and not people to enforce our border security has received, of course, great public relations play. But it has also now suffered a major setback.
A $240 million so-called surveillance system along our borders with Mexico and Canada is an outright failure. Cameras breaking down, sensors that don't work, because government officials failed to supervise the project's contractor.
Bill Tucker reports.
BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thousands of miles of infrequently patrolled sections of the border under the constant surveillance of unmanned camera. Cameras that are the agent's eyes in the field 24/7, warning of intruders. At least that's the way the integrated surveillance intelligence system is supposed to work.
But a recent audit found that "At three of the locations, Carrizo Springs, Detroit and Tucson, no work was evident, no equipment was delivered at the time we made our onsite visits." The General Services Administration concludes that millions of dollars were wasted on the contract awarded to the International Microwave Corporation, which was given the contract without bid. IMC is now owned by L-3.
Some Border Patrol sectors which were supposed to receive thermal imaging camera equipment didn't even though it was paid for. In Buffalo, 64 cameras were planned, 59 paid for, four delivered and installed.
Along the northern border in Washington State, this former sector chief of the Border Patrol says the equipment frequently malfunctions and just doesn't work.
CAREY JAMES, FMR. BORDER PATROL SECTOR CHIEF: The fact that that system was allowed to be put in the way that it is, it's a crime. I would love to see someone be held responsible for allowing something like that to happen.
REP. SYLVESTRE REYES (D), TEXAS: Who can argue with that?
TUCKER: It's a theme echoed by another former Border Patrol chief, now a congressman from Texas.
REYES: As an agent that did this job for 26.5 years, it's an outrage that when money is appropriated and sent to the agencies responsible for monitoring and installing this equipment, it's not done right.
TUCKER: Congressman Reyes supports border technology. His daughter works with the company that won the contracts. But the GSA found no evidence of impropriety.
Officials at Customs and Border Protection declined our request for an interview, but proudly notes that 80 percent of the cameras are now operational.
TUCKER: Of course that's just another way of saying that one- fifth of the cameras don't work. Customs and Border Protection let the contract with the original contractor expire. They no longer work for the government. The agency, though, however, has not abandoned its commitment to expanding the use of technology along both the north and south borders -- Lou.
DOBBS: I mean, let's talk straight on this broadcast, if we can talk straight nowhere else. The fact is the sensors don't work, the cameras don't work. And the fact is three million illegal aliens crossed our borders last year. And all of this is purely avail for the fact that only 210 border patrolman were added to under the Bush budget to the U.S. Border Patrol this year, when 2,000 at least are needed.
Is that a fair statement?
TUCKER: Are you trying to tell me that something is wrong? I think it's a totally fair statement, absolutely.
DOBBS: So we might ought to start with that as our lead. It is remarkable that the federal government continues to perpetuate what is, in effect, nothing less. If you are being conducted by a private sector, not just simply the contractor on that story, it would be an outright fraud.
Bill Tucker, thank you.
Coming up next here, the Bush administration's latest so-called free trade agreement. Get ready. Why some lawmakers on Capitol Hill are getting excited about that because it will slow down illegal immigration by shipping the jobs directly out of the country to Central America.
And in our "Face Off" tonight, a leading congressman will be here to debate me about the use of controversial Mexican matricula consular ID cards in this country, distributed by, of course, by the Mexican government.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: On Capitol Hill, the Senate Finance Committee today held its first hearing on CAFTA, the so-called free trade agreement with Central America. A rising number of lawmakers are now expressing concern about the high cost of what they've been told would be free trade and the exports of American jobs to cheap overseas labor markets.
Lisa Sylvester has the report.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Central American Free Trade Agreement is running into so much opposition it may have a hard time even getting out of the Senate Finance Committee. Growing concerns, the U.S. trade deficit and the record under the North American Free Trade Agreement.
SEN. OLYMPIA SNOWE (R), MAINE: While you could say, well, here are the winners, we're going to win, a lot of people have lost. We lost a million jobs since NAFTA.
SEN. KENT CONRAD (D), NORTH DAKOTA: NAFTA? We had a $2 billion trade surplus when we negotiated NAFTA. We were told this was going to be a great thing.
Now the trade deficit with Mexico is $45 billion. I don't know how anybody labels that a success.
SYLVESTER: The acting U.S. trade representative tried to defend CAFTA, arguing lower barriers means new open markets.
PETER ALGEIER, ACTING U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: I am absolutely convinced that passage of the CAFTA will make American producers and farmers and ranchers more competitive in that region.
CONRAD: You're saying again what the promotional materials say. I've read the promotional materials. Tell me, how do you come back on an agreement that makes the trade deficit worse with that region?
SYLVESTER: In a separate hearing in the House, CAFTA supporters arguing the United States and Central America need to team up to compete with China. Opponents saying CAFTA would hurt U.S. and Central American workers by further pushing down wages. REP. XAVIER BECERRA (D), CALIFORNIA: Nobody wins in a race to the bottom. The vast majority of people in the CAFTA countries, the workers, the farmers, the small merchants, would not win. And U.S. businesses certainly would not win in the long run.
SYLVESTER: U.S. wheat and barley growers say they will benefit from the agreement as part of a $1.5 billion net agricultural gain. But U.S. sugar producers say CAFTA could wipe out their industry.
SYLVESTER: And CAFTA has potential immigration consequences. Senator Orrin Hatch says CAFTA would increase jobs in Central America, reducing the number of illegal aliens looking for work here. But Senator Jeff Bingaman said that if CAFTA is anything like NAFTA, it will decimate the local agricultural industries and motivate more illegal aliens to come to the United States -- Lou.
DOBBS: And he has a pretty good set of empirical data to draw on. After 1993 and the passage of NAFTA, illegal immigration in this country has simply exploded.
Lisa, thank you very much. A terrific report.
As Lisa just reported, our nation's exploding trade deficit is, of course, a major concern to those opposed to CAFTA and all other so- called free trade agreements. The trade deficit is expected to top $700 billion this year. Today, we calculated just how long it would take for our current account deficit to surpass in point of fact our entire economy, the gross domestic product, making a couple of assumptions.
If the current account deficit grows about 30 percent each year, as it has in the past, and our growth in the economy remains at about 4 percent, we calculate that our deficit will surpass our economy at $20 trillion in 12 years, 2017. And with the same calculations, by the end of President Bush's second term, free trade and the policies that are being so aggressively pursued in your behalf, of course, in Washington, D.C., well, the current account deficit will reach nearly $2 trillion.
A group committed to reducing government spending came out today, a committee against government waste, and they support CAFTA. You will be pleased to know the Citizens Against Government Waste saying it supports all so-called free trade because free trade, in their judgment, forces American workers to compete on what they call an open basis. Lovely.
Of course it's not really fair competition when U.S. workers are up against those making a fraction of American wages since, in point of fact, against several dozen dollars. Still, the group says so- called free trade cuts government waste because it reduces subsidies that the government pays out to U.S. industries.
But once all those industries are run out of this country by cheap foreign labor, the government will be paying another way. The government -- the Citizens Against Government Waste might consider what it costs for a high unemployment in this country.
A secret U.S. government committee says the $130 million sale of critical U.S.-built infrastructure to an Indian company poses absolutely no threat to U.S. national security. Tyco International and India's VSNL said the committee would not launch a full investigation into the sale of advanced undersea fiberoptic cable networks.
We reported last week three U.S. senators had called for a full investigation into the sale of what they called a strategic asset to a company partly owned by the Indian government. The Committee on Foreign Investments, which reviews any deals that may have implications for national security, never comments publicly, of course, on its activities. According to the companies involved, however, the committee said its review uncovered no significant issues of national security with regard to this transaction, which makes you wonder what the data was.
Coming up next, the race to destroy a deadly flu virus sent to laboratories all around the country and, indeed, the world. We'll have the latest for you on this troubling story.
And then, a new effort to kill legislation designed to keep illegal aliens and terrorists out of the country. The president of the 9/11 Families for a Security America joins us with his views and reaction.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: The director of the Centers for Disease Control today said it is almost impossible to believe that an American company could distribute a deadly virus to more than 4,000 labs all around the globe as part of a test. But that is precisely what has happened.
Tonight, the CDC says labs in 16 countries are working to destroy every sample of the deadly H2N2 virus, flu virus, as quickly as possible.
Medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has the report.
Elizabeth, how in the world could something like this happen?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Lou, that's what a lot of people are asking. Let me take a step back and explain the big picture and then I'll try to explain how exactly it happened.
We're talking about the Asian Flu Virus, one of the -- which led to one of the biggest pandemics ever in the winter of 1957 and '58. Between two and four million people died worldwide.
Now, labs have to be recertified every year. And part of that recertification process is that the College of American Pathologists sends them a whole bunch of samples of things, and they're supposed to say exactly what it is. And it's a test, basically. And one of the samples that they sent them was this 1957 virus.
Now, why in the world would they send out the 1957 virus? Well, according to the CDC -- and here you see pictures of the havoc that it reeked back in the 1950s -- why would they send this out? The CDC says it appears to be a relatively simple answer, which is that it was convenient.
It's easy to grow. It's easy to replicate. And so apparently a company called Meridian Labs in Cincinnati decided to send it out. And according to the CDC, it was because it was simply an easy, convenient thing to do -- Lou.
DOBBS: So we start with pure stupidity. There is no signs here of any nefarious intent?
COHEN: No, there are no signs of nefarious intent.
And, in fact, the 4,000 labs -- or actually more than 4,000 labs -- that received this virus have already killed it or been ordered to about -- to kill it. We're talking about more than 4,000 labs in 18 countries. One of the reasons it's so important that this virus be destroyed is that no one born since 1968 would have immunity to this virus.
DOBBS: Right. And at this point do we have any -- does the CDC, and then we, have any indication as to what percentage of these samples have been destroyed?
COHEN: They said that most of them have been destroyed. Because the way that it works is that the labs received it as a test. They were supposed to do their work and then destroy it right away. There was no reason for them to keep it.
So they said most of them were destroyed quite a while ago. These started going out in September and were distributed from September until February, until two months ago. So they say most of them have been destroyed and the rest are supposed to be destroyed immediately.
DOBBS: But at this point we are not aware of any public health threat as a result of this misadventure?
COHEN: That's right. And there's a couple of reasons for that.
One, is that the virus is sort of weakened. It's not as strong as if it would have been if it was just out in the community.
And secondly, these are labs that know how to handle viruses. I mean, when they get these viruses in, they take certain precautions.
Now, could something horrible have happened? Could some lab worker have gotten it on his hands and then gone out and shaked (ph) someone's hand and spread it that way? Sure, that could have happened. But that does not appear to have happened anywhere.
DOBBS: Thank goodness. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you for that excellent report.
Coming up next here, why families of 9/11 victims say they have very low expectations when it comes to the United States Senate. They are not alone in those expectations.
And also tonight, I'll face off in a debate with a U.S. congressman who says illegal aliens in this country should be entitled to use Mexican government ID cards as valid identification throughout our economy and throughout the country.
And how the Mexican army may be helping illegal aliens cross our southern border. A former Justice Department advisor on immigration and border security joins us.
DOBBS: An Army reservist tonight is in custody in Arizona on charges of holding seven illegal aliens from Mexico at gunpoint. Sergeant Patrick Hobb (ph) is not involved with the Minuteman Project on the Arizona border with Mexico. Officials say instead, Hobb (ph) used his vehicle to stop the Mexicans from driving away at a rest stop, and then he ordered those illegal aliens to lie on the ground or be shot. Hobb (ph) is also charged with seven counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
One college near our border with Mexico has been forced to build a wall to protect its students from the invasion of illegal aliens and drug smugglers into this country. Incredibly, Laredo Community College in Texas is building a 10-foot metal fence because the college's president says that fence will help deter or at least slow down the illegal crossings and enhance campus security. Police recently apprehended smugglers on the campus and, in fact, confiscated 500 pounds of marijuana that had been left on the college's tennis courts.
As we reported, the Republican leadership in the Senate is working now to block bold efforts that would have improved national security and securing our borders. The House has already passed what's called the Real ID Act that would prevent illegal aliens from obtaining drivers' licenses in this country. The Senate's majority leader, Bill Frist, however, has said he would like to postpone debate on immigration issues on the Senate.
Peter Gadiel is the president of 9/11 Families for a Secure America. He strongly supports the Real ID Act now in Congress and has called upon Senator Frist to pass the provisions outlined in the Real ID Act. He's our guest tonight.
Good to have you with us, Peter.
PETER GADIEL, PRESIDENT, 9/11 FAMILIES FOR A SECURE AMERICA: Thank you for having me back.
DOBBS: Is there truthfully any surprise at all within you about the actions of the Senate leadership? GADIEL: Not really. We've -- members of our group have spent many days up on Capitol Hill talking to senatorial staffs. And for the most part we have been given evasions and just refusals to meet with us.
And as you know, a dozen senators just signed a letter to Senator Frist demanding that the real I.D. Act not be considered right now. It was couched in procedural terms.
But nobody should be misled, Senator Brownbeck and Lieberman and Feinstein and McCain simply want to kill the bill. They do not want to make it harder for illegal aliens to get driver's licenses and nor the illegal -- the terrorists among them.
DOBBS: It -- with the influence that you hold in your organization, with the influence and the recommendations of the 9/11 commission, how can any one who pretends, purports to represent the national interests as does each of these Senators, how can they simply decline to take the necessary measures to prevent another tragedy?
GADIEL: I think it's time for the American people to realize that many of the people who allegedly represent them in Congress do not do what they should do to protect the national interest.
I was in Senator Lieberman's office last week and a senior aide of his, Kevin Landy, said the Senator will oppose any bill that will make it more difficult for an illegal alien to get a driver's license in this country. He says he wants to focus on the terrorists.
Now, since terrorists don't come across our borders wearing T's on their forehead, there's no way to distinguish a terrorist from an ordinary illegal alien. So as far as the practical effect of Senator Lieberman's policy, he's simply is willing to allow terrorists in this country to get driver's licenses in order not to inconvenience illegal aliens.
I think it's fair to say that Senator Lieberman and the other signers of this letter consider the people who died in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the flights, the 3,000 dead are just a cost of doing business for them and their associates who exploit illegal labor.
DOBBS: Go ahead.
GADIEL: Sorry, go ahead.
DOBBS: No, please.
GADIEL: The senators promised last fall when they stripped similar language out of the 9/11 Commission Bill that they would, as they put it, revisit this issue in the spring. That is now. Now it's time to revisit. Yet in their letter to Senator Frist they say the Real I.D. Act would make major shifts in immigration and asylum policy. Somehow, to the ordinary American denying a license to an illegal alien and the unknown terrorists among them is not a major shift in immigration policy nor would it be a major shift in policy to end the legislation -- end the law which currently says that mere membership in a terrorist organization is not sufficient grounds for the State Department to deny a visa.
DOBBS: Peter, I'm going to ask we put up the names of those senators who despite the compromise that was reached between the House and the Senate leadership, in support of the Real I.D. Act to attach it not to the Intelligence Reform Act last year, the end of last year, but rather to a must-pass legislation as the supplemental, these are the senators that you are referring to. The names are: Senator Sam Brownback, senator John McCain, Lamar Alexander, John Sununu, Chuck Hagel, Richard Lugar, Joe Lieberman, Dianne Feinstein, Richard Lugar, Joe Lieberman, Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy, Richard Durbin, Edward Kennedy, Ken Salazar.
What do all of those people have in common, in your judgment, on this issue?
GADIEL: I can't look into their minds, but I can use an analogy. If you have a policeman on the beat who sees crimes being committed every day, knows they are being committed, knows even the times and places that they're going to be committed and doesn't do anything about it, doesn't make any arrests, we make an assumption about his integrity and we investigate him.
We have an entire government filled with elected officials who refuse to enforce the law. They will not prosecute employers of illegal aliens, they will not send sufficient forces down to the border to prevent people from crossing the border, they won't do any of the things that are required. They won't even deny licenses.
You know, at some point have you to say, are they on the take? And that's what -- the conclusion I am forced to draw.
DOBBS: On the take and, of course, the corruption of a government takes many forms. It does not necessarily have to be inspired by being on the take. But these are sad times in terms of enforcing laws. And the way in which people are discharging our responsibilities and representing Americans, I couldn't agree with you more on that issue more, Peter Gadiel.
We thank you for being here.
GADIEL: I would like to show you my Metricular card. And you can talk to your next guest who wants to accept these things as identification across the country. Why I have a Metricular card and if that would be acceptable.
DOBBS: OK. Peter Gadiel, I will take that up with Congressman Gutierrez next here. Thank you, sir.
That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight. "Which political party do you think is most responsible for the failure to enforce border security and our immigration laws?" We'd like to know. Do you blame the Republicans? Do you blame the Democrats? Or do you blame them both?
Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results here later in the broadcast.
We have reported extensively and continue to do so here on the millions of illegal aliens in the country. The Mexican identification card that helps many of them open up bank accounts, obtain driver's licenses and far more.
The card, as Peter Gadiel just pointed out is the Metricular Counselor Card issued by the Mexican government. And in fact, the Mexican government has set up what it calls mobile consulates to help Mexican citizens living in this country obtain one.
In our "Face-off" tonight, I'm joined by U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez who supports the use of Metricular Counselor cards as identification in this country. He is, of course, Congressman Gutierrez of Illinois. He's chair of the Immigration Task Force on both the Democratic Caucus and the Hispanic Caucus. Joining us tonight from Capital Hill. Congressman, good to have you with us.
REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ, (D) ILLINOIS: Thank you very much, Mr. Dobbs.
DOBBS: You just heard Peter Gadiel of the 9/11 families express heartfelt, sincere views about what is happening with immigration policy in the country. And Congressman, you and I have gotten to know each other I would say fairly well. I find you to be a reasonable fellow. How do you respond to him if you would wouldn't mind?
GUTIERREZ: Well the Matricular Consular has been issued since 1871. It's a registry of Mexican nationals issued by the Mexican government. You can't use it, Lou, to get a job in the United States of America. And it doesn't connote any legal status in terms of your immigration in the United States. By any form of the federal government, state government or local government. What it is a registry of Mexican nationals.
Now they use it in some states as a secondary, not a primary, form of identification, to obtain a driver's license. But it does allow undocumented workers from Mexico to enroll their kids in school, most of whom are American citizens by birth, to get the utilities put on, to use it for rent.
And, Lou, what find surprising here in this debate is that there are 1,180 police departments, people on the front line, are front line workers against crime and for security in this country who say we should accept the Matricular Consular and indeed support the use of the Matricular Consular: 33 states, 400 cities. Can all these governors and mayors and most importantly the police be wrong? I mean, we can be on the side of the vigilantes...
DOBBS: You posed a question. Let me interject, if I may.
DOBBS: The answer is yes they can be wrong. And in point of fact demonstrated themselves to be wrong. In point of fact, Police Chief Bratton in Los Angeles has just reversed a long-standing policy as you know and now will be enforcing immigration violations in that city working closely with immigration officials.
We're seeing a considerable change in attitude here. And the issue of illegal immigration is rising, as you know in critical importance. I mean, in what other country does Mexico put mobile vans to work to hand out a Metricular Conselor? Nowhere. Nowhere else.
GUTIERREZ: Let me just suggest the following to you, Lou. Let me suggest the following, president of the United States, President Bush, ran and was nominated by his party, supported by the majority voters in this country as a pro-defense kind of president, especially for security here in the United States. It's his Treasury Department that is evaluated, and this president, has evaluated the Meticular Counselor and considered it a form of identification that should be used -- it could be used in order to open up a bank account. Now, it doesn't get you a job, Lou, it doesn't get you on an airplane, it doesn't get you a driver's license. It allows you to do certain fundamental things in your life.
DOBBS: It just got -- do you remember the incident I'm about to refer to? The Metricular Counselor cards actually were used as identification for seven illegal aliens on a Southwest flight just last week.
GUTIERREZ: Let me say the following. Governor -- former Governor Ryan of the state of Illinois has been already indicted in the state of Illinois and will soon be tried. The former governor -- and I don't think he's an illegal alien -- for issuing bad driver's licenses in the state of Illinois.
Indeed, a false identifications are issued all of the time in the United States of America. And that's wrong.
But, Lou, I can agree with you that our borders are broken. But let's have a debate and a discussion on how we mend those borders. I would just like to have one day where instead of seeing people cross the border over fences and through the rivers and through the deserts, we could see them picking oranges and picking the apples in Washington state, and our grapes in California. Seeing them do all of the hard work. Lou, it's gotten to the point where you can't be appointed by the president of United States to the cabinet without having a nanny problem because, indeed millions much American workers go to work every day because they entrust their children...
DOBBS: I've got to be honest with you, (INAUDIBLE), I disagree with you. I think if you hire an illegal alien in this country, I don't care if you're an individual or corporation you ought to be fined $10,000, you ought to be convicted of the crime. And you should be in shame for doing it. Because there are American citizen whose need those jobs and who would take them if they are paid fairly. GUTIERREZ: Fine. Then, Lou, why don't we have a program on $10 an hour minimum wage in the United States, so that American workers will lineup. The fact is it's not me, Lou. It's "The Wall Street Journal" that editorializes that Mexican immigrants are essential to our agriculture. Why, because 1.8 million Mexican workers work in agricultural jobs in the United States, and if they were to disappear tomorrow, they would cripple the agricultural industry of the United States.
Now, I'm not saying that's right. I would like to follow Pope John Paul who said, you know something, in 2003, you know what he said? He said, that foreigners, especially undocumented workers are the most venerable. And as Christians, we should not be bigoted and we should not be hateful to them. That we should be accepting of them, and extend the helping hand.
And this is a man that was eulogized across the world. So, I'd rather follow him than the vigilantes out on the southwest border. I rather follow...
DOBBS: Now, you've said two things. You've adopted Pope John Paul II as the bull work of your position. Let me, if I may say, in all respect here -- one, you never heard me say anything hateful about an illegal alien in your life. You've never heard me say anything on this program. If I may finish. Those are not vigilantes on our border. I was there with the Minutemen just two days ago on the border near Bisbee, Arizona, watching those people who cared deeply about this country, who are taking every precaution to be law abiding, to be respectful of other's rights.
These are good decent Americans doing something that we need to do in my opinion in communities, in your community, your district. We need to see more citizens step up and take an active participation in our government, in our society. Those people are doing what they think is right. They are doing so out of firm conviction. And they are doing it where others are ignoring law, refusing to enforce the law that others are violating.
You have to take your hat off to them, don't you, Congressman?
DOBBS: Because that's the kind of participation you want.
GUTIERREZ: I'm very, very sorry, Lou. But here's what I think.
GUTIERREZ: I'm with the police department across this country. The first responders across this country who think the Matricula Consular is an excellent form of identification. Look, they're on the street corners every day. You want to take sides with the vigilantes and call them heroes. I say the cops, who are there to enforce the laws of our nation, who uphold our Constitution and our way of life, I'm with them. We can decide and we can differ about who's good or who is wrong, but Lou, let's figure this out together. DOBBS: OK, let me ask you this congressman, because we've taken up a lot of time here.
GUTIERREZ: Well, it's your time, thank you for having me.
DOBBS: I'm delighted -- always to talk with you.
GUTIERREZ: So, if you are saying that if you go along with whatever the police departments in this country decide, I'm going along with what the United States Congress has decided. What is U.S. law. What is provided under the Constitution for citizenship. And those are your responsibilities to enforce. The United States Constitution and the laws that you and the body you serve and the citizens you represent have -- what happened to all of that? Suddenly the police department is running the country in your view?
GUTIERREZ: Can I...
DOBBS: They are there to enforce the laws.
GUTIERREZ: Lou, I wish I could respond since -- before me and after me, we're going to have pretty clear anti-immigrant policies being proposed.
DOBBS: You are not going to hear about anti-immigrant on this broadcast. We're anti-illegal immigration on this broadcast I guarantee you. But we're not -- we're not anti-immigration. Congressman we're out of time.
GUTIERREZ: I knew it.
DOBBS: Come back, we'll pick it up. Thank you very much.
GUTIERREZ: Why did I know we'd be out of time.
DOBBS: Congressman, Luis Gutierrez, thank you.
GUTIERREZ: Thank you, Mr. Dobbs.
DOBBS: Congress takes on the violent illegal alien gangs that are spreading around the country. The chairman of a House border security subcommittee is my guest here next.
And then shocking new information about what the Mexican government is doing to help illegal aliens evade detection along our border, and in particular the Minutemen volunteers. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Well, the Minuteman Project in Arizona is now in its second week. Already volunteers have reported hundreds of illegal aliens to the Border Patrol. And in a development we are learning that the Mexican government may actually be helping those trying to cross the border from that country by diverting illegal alien traffic away from that part of the Arizona border being monitored by the Minutemen. Joining me now from Kansas City, Missouri, Kris Kobach, he's former counsel attorney general, John Ashcroft. Good to have you with us.
KRIS KOBACH, FMR. COUNSEL TO ATTORNEY GENERAL: Good to be here.
DOBBS: Lets with -- we just heard Congressman Gutierrez, who I like actually very much, refer to the Minutemen, as has President Bush as vigilante, as has Mexican President Vincente Fox. What is going on?
KOBACH: It's a really unfortunate word choice. A vigilante is someone who takes the law into his own hand, and circumvents normal law enforcement. The Minutemen are essentially like people involved in a neighborhood watch. They are helping normal law enforcement channels by reporting it to the Border Patrol. It's absolutely no comparison.
DOBBS: And as I said, I had the opportunity to spend a little time with many of the volunteers down there just a couple of days ago in Bisbee. Remarkable people, good, honest, hardworking Americans trying to do something that their government won't do.
DOBBS: Gangs, that are infiltrating, now, this country, particularly MS-13 which has received a lot of notice.
How serious is the problem, and what is the U.S. government doing about it?
KOBACH: It's a huge problem and it's particularly bad sanctuary cites, those cities that have like the -- L.A. policy you referred to of not reporting illegal aliens to the federal government. And I think you're probably aware of the situation in Los Angeles, where not only MS-13, but the other gang the 18th Street Gang which is a very big drug running gang. Sixty percent of its members are illegal aliens, and 90 percent of outstanding homicide warrants are for illegal aliens in Los Angeles.
DOBBS: Let's say that again. What's that number again?
KOBACH: Ninety percent of outstanding warrants for homicides -- for homicide suspects in Los Angeles are for illegal aliens. It's -- the gangs migrate, and they are drawn to those sanctuary cities, because they know that the cops there can't ask them about the immigration status.
DOBBS: You just heard the Congressman Gutierrez say, that he sides with the first responders, the law enforcement people, local law enforcement who say that they shouldn't be involved in "immigration issues." But when immigration issues become also, border security issues, national security issues, public safety issues, as they obviously are based just on what you said alone. What in the world is law enforcement, local law enforcement doing in this country? KOBACH: Well, you know, the congressman gave a very simplified picture. In fact, it's much more nuance than that. The most -- the major sheriff association, which is the association of the 100 largest counties an their sheriffs, they are all in favor of doing everything they can to support the federal government in immigration enforcement. As a matter of fact, there are hundreds -- every week there are hundreds of arrests made in the course of normal traffic encounters where local police do call the law enforcement support center and report these -- when they come across people who they believe -- they have probably cause are illegal aliens or immigrant smugglers, they report them to the INS.
So, actually there's a lot of cooperation. A few police chiefs in politically correct cities are saying one thing. But the vast majority of law enforcement are saying exact opposite.
DOBBS: Well, and, Kris, as I'm sitting here and we're talking, I'm thinking I've misspoke. I think I said Bill Bratton (ph) in Los Angeles when I should have been talking about the L.A. county sheriff's office.
Kris, we thank you for being here. I hope you will come back soon to talk about this incredibly important issue.
KOBACH: My pleasure.
DOBBS: Thank you, sir. Kris Kobach.
Coming up next, Congress takes on the violent illegal alien gang spreading around this country. The chairman of the House Board of Security Subcommittee will be discussing that with us next. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Congress today, holding hearings on immigration and the alien gang epidemic in this country. U.S. immigration officials today testified they've arrested 155 members of the violent street gang known as MS-13 over the past seven weeks alone. Almost all of those arrested, illegal aliens; more than half of them, violent criminal histories. MS-13 is considered to be the most violent and the fastest growing gang in the country. At least 10,000 members, in cities across the country -- some estimates run as high as 20,000. Congressman John Hostettler is the chairman of the Immigration Board of Security Committee, and led the hearings today, and joins us tonight from Capitol Hill.
Congressman, good to have you with us.
REP. JOHN HOSTETTLER (R), CHMN IMMIGRATION AND BORDER SEC. SUBCMTE.: Good to be back with you, Lou.
DOBBS: You are scaring the dickens out of a lot of people on this issue. What in the world is going on, that local law enforcement, federal immigration and border security officials have permitted this to happen? HOSTETTLER: Well, as a result of our inability to control the borders with the proper amount of resources, the inability to enforce the wide spectrum of immigration laws, we have allowed, over the last couple of decades, a rapid expansion of violent gang activity, especially violent gang activity regarding -- relating to illegal aliens.
And the problem is that in many of these cases they prey on and they gain their strength initially -- especially from the fact that they prey on the illegal alien community and that community is -- feels it is powerless and cannot do anything to stop it because they obviously don't want to be exposed for residing in the country illegally. The violence perpetuates itself.
DOBBS: So, in ignoring one problem, we continue to create others, and in this case, a deadly, deadly issue. To what degree to do you think we can deal with MS-13 and other violent gangs that are entering this country? And, to what degree are you concerned that -- because some intelligence has been reported to link MS-13 to contacts with even al-Qaeda?
HOSTETTLER: Well, we know that these gangs are wide and extensive and they need money to continue to operate the concern was voiced today by folks from ISOR (ph) that if the price is right, that in fact some of these gangs, especially MS-13, may take it upon themselves to try to get terrorists into the country, including al- Qaeda.
The issue, Lou, and I have spoken to you about it before, the issue is an issue of resources. We have got to significantly increase the manpower levels on the border through the border patrol, INS agents as well as increase the number of detention beds. Last year, the Congress did that by doubling the number of border patrol agents, tripling the number of INS agents and tripling the number of detention beds. We are working in Congress to make sure that the funds are there to allow this administration to do that.
DOBBS: Congressman, I want you to bear with us two seconds. We're almost out of time. I want you to see this -- our quote of the day -- you're familiar with that broadcast. 11 illegal aliens, including three children, were found in a van on Virginia highway. Those illegal aliens were caught and released by local law enforcement after immigration officials determined they did not, quote, unquote, "pose a threat to public safety." Our quote of the day comes from a spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Are you with me, Congressman?
DOBBS: "There were children, so it was better that we released them." When we asked them what policy that decision was based upon, the immigration spokesman said the decision was not based on any official Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy. She said it was a judgment call.
What do you think of the judgment, Congressman? HOSTETTLER: Well, the Constitution and the statute is very clear. These are violations of our immigration law, and those that violate our immigration law should be dealt with, and should be punished, and should be ultimately deported. And we intend to continue to press for this to happen.
DOBBS: Congressman John Hostettler, we thank you very much for being here tonight. We thank you for providing oversight and insight into the issue as well.
HOSTETTLER: Thank you, sir.
DOBBS: Coming up, the results of our poll, a preview of what is ahead tomorrow. Can we stand it? Stay with us.
DOBBS: Now, the results of our poll tonight: 50 percent of you say both Republicans and Democrats are responsible for the failure to enforce border security and immigration laws, 49 percent say Republicans. Democrats off the hook, 1 percent.
Thanks for being with us. Please join us here tomorrow. A proposal to legalize at least half a million illegal alien farm workers in this country. One of the sponsors of that bill joins us as our guest, and we'll have an interesting discussion.
Also tomorrow night here, should the children born to illegal aliens in this country be entitled to automatic American citizenship? One of the tougher issues in this entire debate. I'll be talking with one man who says anything else would be un-American.
And a lawmaker's fight to stop China's unfair trade practices. Maybe it isn't really free trade. We'll find out.
We're going to, if I may take one second to say, to say thank you to the Soft Element (ph) out of Fort Levenworth, a great group of guys, great Americans, great soldiers. Thank you all; a pleasure spending time with you.
For all of us here, good night in New York. "ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts right now. Anderson?
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