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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Doomsday Scenario?; Drive for Democracy; Iraq's Special Forces; Illegal Immigration: Are Employers the Criminals?
Aired May 6, 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, North Korea appears to be closer to becoming the world's newest nuclear power. The United States and the international community are concerned. Are they concerned enough to take action? We'll have a special report.
ANNOUNCER: Also ahead on LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, the man in charge of protecting our homeland visits the porous border with Mexico. How the new Homeland Security secretary says he plans to stop terrorists from crossing the border.
Iraq's new Special Forces unit: the intense training program they are undergoing in order to kill the insurgency and someday replace American troops.
And "Heroes:" how Lance Corporal Thomas Adametz took the battle for Fallujah and the lives of his fellow soldiers into his own hands. His remarkable story and how the military is honoring him, tonight.
This is LOU DOBBS, for news, debate and opinion, tonight.
DOBBS: Good evening.
Tonight, the United States nuclear standoff with North Korea appears to be escalating. U.S. officials say satellites have detected rapid and suspicious movement that could indicate North Korea is preparing to test a nuclear weapon.
Kitty Pilgrim reports.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The U.S. State Department reacting to headlines that say North Korea may be preparing to test a nuclear weapon.
TOM CASEY, STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: This is something that we're following very closely. Obviously we look at both words and deeds when it comes to the North Koreans.
PILGRIM: In terms of words, six-party diplomatic talks involving North and South Korea, Russia, China, and Japan, have repeatedly failed. Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of U.N. nuclear watchdog agency IAEA, emphasized the situation may be increasingly dangerous.
MOHAMED ELBARADEI, IAEA: I would hope that every country right now, every leader, is on the phone with Kim Jong-il trying to convince him to restrain from going ahead with this reported nuclear testing.
PILGRIM: But the issue is not clear whether the reported activity in North Korea are steps to test a nuclear device or just an elaborate rouse to ratchet up the pressure on the United States. Last weekend, North Korea tested a missile over the sea of Japan on the eve of U.N. talks on nuclear disarmament, a gesture that suggests diplomatic manipulation.
Recently, experts observed that the steam which usually comes from the tower of the Pyongyang nuclear site in North Korea has stopped. It could signal that North Korea is unloading nuclear material from the site to manufacture new nuclear bombs. Most experts agree North Korea is estimated to possess some six to eight nuclear bombs.
DAVID ALBRIGHT, INSTITUTE FOR SCIENCE & INTERNATIONAL SECURITY: They probably can put a crude nuclear weapon on one of their shorter- range missiles. Perhaps it could reach Japan. I don't believe that they could put a warhead on a missile that could reach the continental United States.
PILGRIM: Many experts think if North Korea does test, it's going to be a tremendous strain on the international community because that action requires immediate response. And North Korea knows that testing is stepping over a threshold. But, Lou, the Bush administration today was stressing that it is absolutely critical to return to talks, and the six-party talks are the vehicle they choose.
DOBBS: Critical to do so. Those calls have been out to North Korea to return them. They have shown no signs. As a matter of fact, bluntly saying they will not.
What is the next step here?
PILGRIM: Well, we have seen increasingly aggressive statements from North Korea. And the next step is for the entire international community to pressure North Korea to get back to the negotiating table because the alternate scenario is not a good one.
DOBBS: Not a good one, but to put that in stark language, with ElBaradei himself saying that this requires action by the international community, China's seeming indifference here is startling. What is -- what is China's position?
PILGRIM: Well, China is, of course, as you know -- tried to broker the six-way talks. But they have not really stepped up the way the United States administration would like them to do. And I think many think that China should be more aggressive in this.
DOBBS: Kitty Pilgrim. Thank you. The concerns about North Korea's nuclear intentions come as President Bush has begun a five-day visit to Europe and Russia. President Bush is marking the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.
The president is also expected to push his drive for democracy around the world. The president has just arrived at his first stop, the former Soviet Republic of Latvia. He will visit the Netherlands tomorrow for a VE-day celebration.
Sunday, President Bush travels to Moscow for a key meeting with Russian president, Vladimir Putin. This comes at a time of tense relations between the two on the very subject of democracy.
President Bush will end his trip the same way he began it, in another former Soviet Republic, Georgia.
White House correspondent Dana Bash reports from Latvia.
DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The president is book- ending his trip to Moscow with visits to former Soviet states in order to applaud and promote their moves towards democracy. He is also starting in Latvia and ending in Georgia in order to counterbalance images that will come from the main event of this trip. And that is, standing at a parade route in Red Square to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Now, the problem is the end of Hitler meant the beginning of Stalin and Soviet domination for Baltic states like Latvia. In fact, the leaders of Estonia and Lithuania say President Putin refuses to renew his condemnation or make a statement condemning that time, and they're boycotting the Moscow celebration.
Now, President Bush, of course, has made his second-term theme promoting freedom and democracy. So he wants to show the new democracies, as he calls them, that he understands their issues and even their concerns. So he wrote a letter just prior to coming to Latvia to this country's president, one that infuriated the Russians, who are already mad about his itinerary.
Mr. Bush wrote "In Western Europe, the end of World War II meant liberation. In Central and Eastern Europe, the war also marked the Soviet occupation and annexation of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and the imposition of communism."
Now, it is that word, "occupation," that Russia considers over the line. In fact, Mr. Putin and his government deny there was an occupation at all and think that the president is meddling. Although Mr. Putin did say in an interview on Friday that that period was "tragic."
But U.S. officials say their challenge right now is to convince Vladimir Putin that just because President Bush is applauding democratic moves in these new democracies, that does not mean that their moves are anti-Russian.
Because of the differences surrounding this trip and this feeling at the White House that Vladimir Putin has been backsliding on democracy, this is perhaps the most tense time between the two presidents. But Mr. Bush says that because he considers Vladimir Putin somebody he can personally get along with, he can deal with these issues one on one. He also understands that Mr. Putin is somebody he needs right now for some hotspots like North Korea and Iran.
Dana Bash, CNN, Riga, Latvia.
DOBBS: In Iraq today, a gruesome discovery on the same day as two deadly suicide bombings. At least 16 people were killed when a suicide bomber attacked a busy marketplace in a town south of Baghdad. Forty people were also wounded in those attacks.
In Tikrit, a suicide bomber crashed his car into a bus carrying Iraqi police officers. Seven of them were killed, three others wounded.
In Baghdad itself, scavengers digging through a garbage dump discovered the bodies of 14 Iraqis. All had been shot to death. Some of the bodies were blindfolded. All had been shot in the head.
More than 300 people have been killed in Iraq since the country's elections at the end of January.
Iraq's new special forces unit is playing a greater role in helping American and Iraqi troops fight such gruesome atrocities. The troops are undergoing a rigorous training program led by American troops that they will some day replace.
Ryan Chilcote reports from Baghdad.
RYAN CHILCOTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's Iraq's elite commando school, a make-or-break course for select recruits from Iraq's 75,000-man army who want to join its 500-plus strong special force. After the U.S. military's ranger school, soldiers spend three weeks on just four hours of sleep a day, honing their combat and survival skills, keeping their heads high up on the ropes and low on the mud.
Wiping your face off here doesn't help much.
In addition to sometimes losing face, the recruits lose their names when they sign up. Instead, they're known by numbers, the mass (ph) religious or ethnic divisions.
"We want a free country," this recruit says, "that we own. Not one owned by insurgents or terrorists or Syrians that come from outside our borders." Some recruits hang in for the duration. Others don't. Some lucky ones who fail are allowed to do it all over again.
In a state-of-the-art U.S.-built shoot house, Iraq's counterterrorist force, the other wing of the elite troops, demonstrates what it looks like when the initial training is over. They've already broken down doors with American troops in Fallujah, Salman Pak and Najaf, more than 700 operations, getting more than 500 suspected insurgents.
Their Iraqi and American instructors say they're highly motivated and some of the best shots in the world. Successfully training more Iraqi troops like them, they say, is the American's best shot of getting home.
Ryan Chilcote, CNN, Baghdad.
DOBBS: The head of the so-called independent investigation into the United Nations' oil-for-food scandal now wants to make a deal with Congress, the same Congress that he has resisted. Former Federal Reserve board chairman Paul Volcker, who is leading the United Nations investigation into the oil-for-food scandal, is now offering to allow one of his former investigators, Robert Parton, to talk with congressional investigators. That is, however, conditional.
Volcker's setting the condition that congressional investigators return documents that Parton has already handed over to them. Parton resigned from the U.N. investigative panel last month in protest of its interim report, which he said went far too easy on U.N. Secretary- General Kofi Annan.
Parton handed over documents this week to the House International Relations Committee after he was subpoenaed. Volcker today said any leak of that information in the documents could, in his words, "put lives at risk" without explanation.
Coming up next, how the man charged with this country's safety plans to secure our porous southern border. We'll have that report for you.
And a Marine receives one of the military's highest honors for his truly remarkable display of bravery and valor in the face of an overwhelming enemy force.
Those stories are next.
DOBBS: Stepping up homeland security, the Coast Guard tonight says it will board and screen every ship that originates from any one of five countries that have especially lax port security. Ships that have stopped in any of those five countries, which includes Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, will not be allowed entry into a U.S. port until the Coast Guard has cleared the craft. The Coast Guard today told us that out of the 61,000 ships that entered U.S. ports last year, 19,000 of them were boarded and checked for security reasons.
The terrorist threat to this country a major issue for the Homeland Security secretary. When he was in Arizona this week, Michael Chertoff acknowledged the federal government still has a lot more to do to stop illegal aliens and potential terrorists from crossing into this country over our border from Mexico. It was Chertoff's first visit to our border to Mexico since he became Homeland Security secretary.
Jeanne Meserve reports from Douglas, Arizona.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff tries out a fiber- optic scope used by Customs to detect contraband in gas tanks. It was part of the secretary's first look at the southwest border.
MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: You can get, you know, statistics and reports and briefings, but there is nothing quite like seeing things in person.
MESERVE: There is a lot to digest. Just this week, infrared cameras detected 15 people wending across the desert. The people got away, but left this behind: 700 pounds of marijuana worth $500,000. When will this happen again?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It could be tonight.
MESERVE: Flooding in along with the drugs, people. Border Patrol trackers followed the footsteps of illegal aliens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is fairly recent. It's from some time today. As you can see, the edges are still pretty sharp.
MESERVE: They find a makeshift camp, but no aliens until they head back to the road.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He looks tired.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he does.
MESERVE: The young Mexican, scratched, thirsty, unable to open a can of food, ditched by the smuggler or coyote who brought him across the border.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guy just left him, so he was smart enough, you know, when he found the road to start walking the road.
MESERVE: He is just one of many. Close to 700,000 illegal aliens have been detained in the last seven months. Chertoff acknowledges some of the people coming across the border could be terrorists. CHERTOFF: Obviously people who are probing to get into the homeland to carry out, wage war against us here in the United States, are going to explore every possible avenue.
MESERVE: Chertoff wants to get control by using smarter strategy, more law enforcement, and more technology. Arizona's senior senator says there must be much more.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: ... for a few miles this way along the border, and a few miles that way. We have cameras and other high-tech equipment. You get past there, nothing, except a three- strand barbed-wire fence.
MESERVE (on camera): McCain says the recent Minuteman action demonstrates how frustrated some Americans are at the lack of genuine border security. Asked if Chertoff understood the dimensions of the situation, McCain said, "With determination, he will."
Jeanne Meserve, CNN, at the Arizona-Mexico border.
DOBBS: And Jeanne wearing what is simply an elegant and great hat.
Tonight's quote of the day comes from Arizona's governor, Janet Napolitano, who was at the border with Secretary Chertoff. The governor said, "Our border with Mexico is broken and needs fixing by the federal government."
Coming up next here, "Heroes," our weekly salute to the men and women who serve this country in uniform. The bravery of Lance Corporal Thomas Adametz simply amazed his fellow Marines in the battle for Fallujah. How he managed to save lives and force insurgents to retreat, next.
And then the exploitation of illegal labor in this country. Meat packing companies hiring thousands of illegal aliens for some of the country's most low-paying and dangerous jobs.
And then, my next guest will be one Latino leader who has made it his mission to have me fired. He's our guest coming right up.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: And now "Heroes," our salute to the men and women who serve this nation and all of us. Tonight, the story of Lance Corporal Thomas Adametz, honored for his tremendous strength and bravery during the pivotal battle for Fallujah. During that battle, he saved the lives of his fellow Marines just as they thought they were about to be overrun by insurgents.
Casey Wian has his remarkable story.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For a Marine, Lance Corporal Thomas Adametz is remarkably soft spoken. He's also remarkably brave, even for a Marine.
LANCE CORP. THOMAS ADAMETZ, U.S. MARINE CORPS.: Imagine going to hell and coming back.
WIAN: April 20004 in Fallujah, two squads of Marines were pinned down in a building by Iraqi insurgents. Lance Corporal John Paul Flores was there.
LANCE CORP. JOHN PAUL FLORES, U.S. MARINE CORPS.: It was the scariest day of my life.
WIAN: Ten Marines wounded, the rest outnumbered and about to be overrun by the enemy.
FLORES: They're just throwing grenades everywhere, and RPGs. And they were real close. I mean, it's a miracle he didn't get shot.
WIAN: A miracle because Lance Corporal Adametz ran into the open and began firing back. Wounded Lance Corporal Carlos Gomez saw Adametz in action.
LANCE CORP. CARLOS GOMEZ, U.S. MARINE CORPS.: I saw a crazy maniac out there firing to make sure we all came back alive.
WIAN: But Adametz' M-16 was no match for the Iraqi attackers just 25 meters away.
ADAMETZ: I handed off my M-16, and I picked up a light machinegun for more firepower. I was firing so much, I was melting the extra barrels.
FLORES: It's really hard to change barrels when you are under heavy fire. And he ended up getting burned by the barrel melting. It melted on his hand, and, like, the fingerprints are still on the barrel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lance Corporal Adametz' aggressive actions and devastating fire were critical in repelling the enemy's attack.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Based on the volume of fire he put out, his platoon, you know, the 10 wounded warriors, were able to be safely evacuated. And the enemy, the enemy who thought they had the upper hand, learned differently at that point.
WIAN: This week, Adametz received the Silver Star, the nation's third highest honor for bravery in combat.
ADAMETZ: I was just doing my job, just like all of the Marines that were with us that day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tom was always a low-key guy. You know, he never -- he's not out for glory or anything. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about joining me in a round of applause for a great warrior, one of your own, Lance Corporal Adametz.
WIAN: At 23, Adametz is uncertain about his Marine Corps future. What is certain, though, two dozen Marines have a future because of his actions.
Casey Wian, CNN, Camp Pendleton, California.
DOBBS: And an intriguing footnote to Lance Corporal Adametz' heroic story. When the lance corporal picked up that machinegun to save the lives of his fellow Marines, he had never fired a machinegun before. He had never been trained on it. It was the first time that he ever fired a machinegun.
Coming up next here, a proposal in one state that could actually encourage employers to hire illegal aliens.
Also ahead, I'll be talking with a Latino leader who says that I distort the facts on illegal immigration. Well, I'll show him the facts. He will decide who's -- who's wrong. I hope you will offer your judgment as well.
And why one leading congresswoman who strongly supports free trade has come out strongly opposed to the latest so-called free trade agreement.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: The state of South Carolina is considering legislation that would block illegal aliens from receiving worker's compensation if they are injured on the job. We on this broadcast point out all of the problems with the immigration crisis in this country, the exploitation illegal aliens, the law-breaking -- particularly in terms of crossing our borders by illegal aliens. But this proposal could actually be an incentive for employers to not only hire illegal workers because employers would no longer be responsible for medical expenses incurred by illegal aliens injured on the job, but to continue to exploit their labor while the taxpayer pays the way.
Bill Tucker reports.
BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This injury resulted from a fall off a scaffolding on a work site. The worker is an illegal alien. Until the day he was injured, he says he was welcomed on the job by his co-workers and his company. Now he feels betrayed. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): My American co-workers, my bosses all made me feel good about myself. But now I feel betrayed.
TUCKER: Because he thought his employer was paying his medical bills. They were not.
His only recourse, to seek a claim under the state's worker compensation program. That path would not be open to him under pending legislation to deny benefits to illegal aliens who lied to get work. The legislator who introduced the bills says it's a simple question of fairness.
BILL SANDIFER (R), SOUTH CAROLINA STATE HOUSE: If we reward that person who has now broken two laws, then we do it to the detriment of the people who do obey the laws.
TUCKER (on camera): The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce has yet to issue a statement on the effort to deny illegal aliens' benefits under the worker's compensation program. But the South Carolina Manufacturing Alliance is concerned about some unintended consequences.
LEWIS GOSSETT, SOUTH CAROLINA MANUFACTURERS ALLIANCE: If you remove worker's compensation protection from these employees, then you could perhaps sacrifice the immunity that employers have from being sued in court by injured employees.
TUCKER (voice-over): The bill would allow that. Yet, while the manufacturers have deep pockets, many employers are small. The lawsuits would only put them out of business with no award collected. The biggest unintended consequence, though, would have nothing to do with legal liabilities.
MARK CALHOUN, ATTORNEY: It also creates a greater incentive for American employers to hire not just Hispanics, but illegal immigrants. Because if that worker does get injured, their insurance company won't have to pay the bill. So their worker's comp premiums stay low. The American worker is essentially being left out in the cold because he's less likely to get a job if he's in competition with an illegal immigrant.
TUCKER: Now it could be argued that this bill would create a disposable worker for companies to exploit with low pay, no benefits, and who, if injured, Lou, could simply be abandoned.
DOBBS: This is a remarkable story -- the idea that these employers who are frankly in nearly -- in every instance, they are the criminals. They are exploiting illegally, they are hiring them illegally, while the taxpayer is paying for social -- the social safety net, for social services, medical and healthcare, and U.S. citizens are watching their wages be depressed by $150 to $200 billion a year. And a state has the temerity, then, to say that we will remove any liability on the part of that illegal employer for the well-being of the man or woman he had hired.
TUCKER: And if they're successful in doing it, they shift the burden from the taxpayer, because they going to go to the hospital, they are going to get treated. Someone has got to pick up that bill.
DOBBS: The young man in your report, his medical bills amounted to what?
TUCKER: Somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000. He's not finished. But he had back surgery and he's continuing doctor care.
DOBBS: Bill, thank you very much. Bill Tucker.
The vast majority of the 3,000 illegal aliens who are estimated to enter this country every day come here most of them look for work. The meat packing industry is a huge draw for poor, largely, uneducated illegal aliens. Those illegals are working grueling hours for wages far below what meat packers earned even a decade ago. Christine Romans reports.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Small meat packing towns across America have been transformed over the past two decades, bringing sharp criticism that the meat packing industry in these towns is exploited illegal labor. Human Rights Watch has interviewed dozens of these workers.
LANCE COMPA, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH CONSULTANT: A majority of these workers in this industry are immigrant workers. And of those, a majority are undocumented. They told me that they were afraid to file injury reports, to complain about injuries, to file a worker's compensation claim for an injury.
ROMANS: Meat packing is a tough job. The refrain is, Americans won't do these jobs. A generation ago, they did. But the hard work paid better.
As illegal immigration has swelled, wages have fallen. In 1980, $19 an hour. By 1995, as the industry consolidated, $12. Today, $9.
A federal immigration official estimates up to 75 percent of today's meat packers are illegal. The industry refutes that.
PATRICK BOYLE, AMERICAN MEAT INSTITUTE: Our employers are hiring workers that have appropriate documentation.
ROMANS: Working, he says, with the Social Security Administration to verify Social Security numbers and names.
BOYLE: What is still a challenge is being able to correlate 100 percent certainty that the authentic, verifiable documentation that an employee presents as part of the application process is indeed that individual's documentation.
ROMANS: He concedes a quote, "small subset" may have false documents.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a fiction that everybody recognizes is fiction. It's pretty obvious when a worker who speaks an indigenous dialogue from the Guatemalan highlands, doesn't speak Spanish, doesn't speak English but has a birth certificate showing that he was born in Texas, he gets hired. If the birth certificate on its face looks look a legitimate birth certificate.
ROMANS: No matter how they get the job, critics say they are a boom to the industry. Where majors are thin and turnover's so high, many illegal workers come and go before they're eligible for insurance or benefits.
ROMANS: Again, the industry spokesman we talked to refuted that, and claims most of its pack house workers do have benefits and insurance.
As for law enforcement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement says it periodically monitors these plant. Last summer, illegal aliens were arrested at a food processing plant in Texas where they had been hired by subcontractor for jobs filling military MREs to send overseas to our military.
DOBBS: Absolutely astounding. The idea -- I hope everyone from the Bush administration, in particular, is watching your report. And I want to hear one more time about willing workers and willing employers. Because the meat packing industry are willing employers, were wages since 1990 have declined by more than half.
ROMANS: It's been incredible what's happened in this industry since the early 1980s, in fact. And these meat packing companies, Tyson, Smithfield told us that they, have a zero tolerance for hiring illegal workers. But when they're presented with documents that look real, that's all they need.
DOBBS: That's all they need, perhaps to get away with hiring illegal aliens. They need far more I think to sleep at night for what they're doing to the country, and to those people they are exploiting.
But I think we have some good news for the meat packing industry tonight, Christine. Because the Real ID Act passed by the House moving to the Senate supported by the president is going to make it far easier for those employers to verify whether a person is illegal or not. I'm sure they're delighted at that development.
Christine, terrific report. Thank you.
That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight. "Do you think American companies are turning a blind eye to fraudulent documents because they want to hire illegal workers? Yes or no." Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results later in the broadcast. We'll send them along to the White House, the Labor Department, a few other places. My guest tonight has some very strong opinions about this broadcast and me. And particularly on the issue of our coverage of illegal immigration. He has started a new Web site, it is bluelatinos.org.
There, he has expressed many of those opinions. He says -- "I inject" -- referring to me -- "I inject hate and fear about immigrants to America."
He says, I am distorting and blurring the realities of immigrants." He says further, "I am fanning the flames of xenophobia," the fear of foreign people. And he says, I am, quote, "intent on linking immigrants to terrorist movements," end quote.
Joining me now from Washington, D.C., the founder of bluelatinos.org, Jose Quinonez, good to have you with Jose.
JOSE QUINONEZ, BLUELATINOS.ORG: Thank you for inviting me, Lou.
DOBBS: I have to say, Jose, I don't quite know how to begin with this. I have never talked to anyone who overtly and expressly suggested I be fired, but let's give it a go.
DOBBS: To my knowledge, I have never said an unkind word or a negative word about immigrants in this country. Why do you suggest I do? Well, you don't suggest it, you say it straight up.
QUINONEZ: Well, Lou, you have been very consistent in saying that you are against illegal immigration. And in fact, you know, I too am against illegal immigration.
One, because as resulting in people dying at America's door steps, and is really the consequence of our broken legal immigration system. And what I want to convey to you today is that we need to focus the debate and change the tone of the debate so we can take into account that our legal immigration system is broken. And that should be the focus of your reporting.
It is certainly part of the focus. It seems to us, at least Jose in our editorial judgment here, the fact that an estimated 3 million illegal immigrant, illegal aliens as we style them, crossed our borders last year, that our focus should be, first, on border security. 3 1/2 years after September 11 this is intolerable.
In terms of the economic impact, which -- and you are obviously watching our broadcast, which we are documenting here almost nightly, the impact on U.S. citizens. And by the way, those are Hispanic citizens as well as white citizens. And the idea that it is somehow racist or xenophobic is a bizarre one to me.
How can you suggest that we should not focus on this aspect, border security and stopping illegal immigration which is having so many significant negative impacts on frankly Hispanic workers and our lower-paid workers in this country?
QUINONEZ: Lou, you know I really appreciate the fact they are focusing a lot of your resources on this topic. As it turns out, this is turning out to be like the public forum for where America is discussing immigration. And you in a sense are becoming the moderator of this very important topic.
And I truly believe that America deserves an honest and open debate about this issue. Because we definitely do need to fix our broken immigration system. You know, we do want to see a system that is very functional. We want a comprehensive and honest system. And so I welcome the debate.
What I have issues with, Lou, is that your tone, your rhetoric is actually inciting a lot of fear in America. As a civic leader, I believe that you're using a lot of dangerous speech that can incite to violence. And let me tell you why, because many times you depict immigration, you depict immigrants as disease-carrying, criminals are invading this country. Sometimes you do talk about immigrants and terrorists in the same breath. Thereby linking America's fears and societies about terrorism to immigration. So that's really what we're having an issue with, with your coverage.
DOBBS: Let me, if I may, respond to that Jose. A couple of things. One is, the case of tuberculosis is rising dramatically, particularly in the Southwestern United States. And it is as a result of illegal immigration, people crossing our borders without going through health certification and receiving medical care.
We do not deny entry to people into this country, because they have tuberculosis, by the way. We give them an opportunity to clear up the condition and even provide them help.
In terms of the xenophobia, that you suggest. Jose, this is the most heterogeneous society on the face of the earth. This country has no apologies to make for its diversity, for its great capacity, for its magnetism for immigrants.
But at the same time, it seems to me, Jose that we are stirring fear. The fears that you would suggest we're stirring, I am not sure I quite comprehend. Because it seems to me that the open border lobbyists and organizations and some of those principally, frankly, Hispanic illegal immigrant activists advocate groups have used race as a way to dull, to blunt, and to stop discussion. The important discussion, national discussion that you've described.
We have decided we're going to deal with the facts. The American people want the facts. And those facts are going to be as you suggest, brought here as the facts warrant. And now I have to ask you this last question. You seem to embrace me as a moderator for that discussion, why do you want to fire me.
QUINONEZ: Because, Lou, you're changing your role from moderator to actually being an advocate yourself. Let me address the question about open borders. I don't support open borders nor do I support closed borders. DOBBS: Bless your heart.
QUINONEZ: What I support is a legal system, a system that is orderly, and a system that we could all be proud of. As system that could truly embrace the most America's values of, you know, justice, equality and opportunity. That's a system we need to aspire to. And I want a discussion where -- where we can be forward-thinking. We be positive about -- about -- about the future of America. Lou, let me finish with this.
DOBBS: Sure, you've got do it quickly, though, partner.
QUINONEZ: Yes. Lou, what we have in common is our future. The future belongs to us all. When we talk about immigration, we're talking about America's future.
DOBBS: Whoa, whoa, I can't let you do that. I can't let do you that, not on this broadcast. What we're talking about here is illegal immigration. Immigration and immigrants we embrace. We are bring over a million immigrants legally into this county a year. We're talking about illegal immigration here, Jose. If you would.
QUINONEZ: Lou, if I can just answer that question real quickly.
QUINONEZ: Because, you know, when you -- you have been very consistent about that point and I appreciate that. Because -- but the problem is when you inject fear in the discussion about immigration reform, what you essentially do, you're make us all illegal immigrants. Why, because fear does not distinguish between an immigrant that's here...
DOBBS: Jose, I've got to stop you one more time and ask, please one thing that I have ever said...
QUINONEZ: Let me explain.
DOBBS: Or one thing this broadcast has ever reported, that is designed in any way to incite fear. Don't estimate the audience of this broadcast or American citizen, Jose. We don't scare easy.
QUINONEZ: I don't.
DOBBS: And really -- the greatest fear we have here in and around this country is we are not getting the facts. That we're not getting honest discussion and dialogue. That's the fear that I fear, if you may. And if I may, further, because we're out of time, Jose, I'm going to ask you to come back.
We're even going to plug your Web site one more time here in the interest of a dialogue in this unreasonable, hurtful call for my firing, Jose. Maybe we can get you to New York and we could have a cup of coffee together and discuss it further.
Jose Quinonez, the Web site is bluelatinos.org. We thank you for being here. Come back.
QUINONEZ: Thank you, Lou.
DOBBS: Thank you.
Coming up next, a Congressional battle over the latest so-called free trade agreement, that the White House wants it make law. Not everyone does. Thank goodness. One congresswoman will be here to tell us why she is dead set against CAFTA.
And then, our nation's illegal cries. A renowned economics professor will be here to tell us why the government should punish companies who hire illegal aliens. We can't wait it talk with him. We hope you will wait along with us. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher says she will not support CAFTA unless it's renegotiated. She is the new chair, I should say chair, of the new Democratic coalition joining us tonight. Good to have you with us.
REP ELLEN TAUSCHER (D), CALIFORNIA: Thanks, Lou. Good to be with you.
DOBBS: Why don't you like -- why don't you like this agreement -- not that I'm encouraging you to do so.
TAUSCHER: Well, Lou, you know, over the last nine years in Congress in both administrations of President Clinton and in this president, I have supported free trade agreements because I believe in trade liberalization and opening markets. But this is just a very weak agreement. It's weak on so many different issues. It's weak for the people in the CAFTA countries. It's called the Dominican Republic Central American Free Trade Agreement, DRCAFTA.
TAUSCHER: And it is weak on protections for workers there, where, you know, frankly in those countries, one out of every five kids goes to work in the morning, not to school. Where there are no real strong protections for workers. And it's very weak on protecting American workers. And I think that's really a fundamental issue.
DOBBS: And congresswoman, every free trade agreement so-called styled by this administration, and the previous has been weak on labor protection. So weak that there is none. Weak on environmental protection. So weak that there is none. It only protects U.S. corporations who want to offshore and outsource. You've said go back to the drawing board with this. What would you like to see?
TAUSCHER: Well, first and foremost, I want to concentrate on the workers in this country. I want to be sure that American workers have the opportunity to...
DOBBS: Can I just stop and say, Hallelujah, Congresswoman? TAUSCHER: Yes, you can say that.
TAUSCHER: I wish the president was saying at this moment, the truth is he negotiated a weak agreement both for the people and CAFTA D.R. countries and for American workers. And not only has over the last five years this administration consistently cut working retraining programs, including in the budget for this year, but there's very little recognition that we have a vastly different environment in this country with global trade. If you read Tom Friedman's new book, many issues point that out and this administration has not laid the predicate for why this would not be good for American workers.
DOBBS: Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, good to have you here. We thank you.
TAUSCHER: Thank you. I appreciate it.
DOBBS: My next guest says the people who benefit the most from illegal immigration should pay the cost, how about that? I will talk with the leading economic professor from Harvard University, and expert on the subject if ever there were one. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Professor George Borjas is professor of economics/social policy at Harvard University. He says one solution to our illegal immigration crisis is to impose sanctions on employers who hire them. Professor Borjas joins us tonight from Boston.
Good to have you with us, professor.
GEORGE BORJAS, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Hi, Lou. How are you?
DOBBS: I'm very well.
And you are, as usual, bringing light and reason to the subject. Do you think there's any chance in the world that this government, the U.S. government, would actually sanction employers who are, after all, the ones who are incentivizing illegal aliens to cross our borders?
BORJAS: Well, the remarkable thing, Lou, actually is that it's in the law right now that people who hire illegal immigrants are in fact committing a crime and they should be penalized. The only problem is the government is not enforcing that particular law.
DOBBS: And the reason they're not enforcing that law -- please give us your inferences as to why they're not.
BORJAS: The reason probably is that the people who benefit from illegal immigration probably benefit quite a bit from it and have a lot of political power. You know, that's the reason that the system is the way it is right now.
DOBBS: You're talking about the employers, corporations.
BORJAS: Precisely. The way to see illegal immigration really, is that it is redistributing income from workers who are losing out from the extra competition in the labor market to employers who get low-wage labor almost -- with an almost infinite supply.
DOBBS: And when you talk about redistribute income in this economy, you actually have a number as a result of your research as to what is excessive and illegal immigration is costing American workers in depressed wages. What is that number?
BORJAS: The number I have is really for all immigration, which is around $200 billion a year. Where illegal immigration is fully responsible for a quarter of that, at least. Probably about $50 billion.
DOBBS: So -- and with that impact, can it be turned around simply by stopping illegal immigration?
BORJAS: Well, the reason you have that distribution is that you have a lot of workers coming in, really flooded the labor market for low skilled workers. So a slow (ph) than illegal (ph) immigration would obviously tend to attenuate the problem.
DOBBS: The problem, as you put, we have now voluntary patrols, the Minuteman Project Arizona, soon the Friends of the Border Patrol in California, do you support that type of activity to constrain illegal immigration, if not stop it altogether?
BORJAS: The way I think about it, Lou, is that basically we have a system here in which the federal government has given up any responsibility of protecting the border. If you recall in the 1970s, there was a lot of crime in New York City, right, a neighborhood watch sort of arose all over the place. The same kind of thing is happening now, except at federal level because we are just not protecting the border. I mean somebody has to.
DOBBS: The Guardian Angels and various other neighborhood watch groups. It turns out they were successful. I take it you hope that the Minuteman Project and the Friends of the Border Patrol are as successful?
BORJAS: Let's hope.
DOBBS: Professor George Borjas, thank you very much. Look forward to talking to you again soon.
BORJAS: Thank you very much for having me.
DOBBS: Still ahead here, the results of our poll tonight. And is President Bush's Social Security plan a bust? When we continue, we'll be talking with Ken and Daria Dolan. They're unscipted always, specifically on Saturday mornings at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DOBBS: The results are in. And I don't think we've ever seen a margin in one of our polls like this one before. 99 percent of you responding say American companies are turning a blind eye to fraudulent documents so they can hire illegal workers, only 1 percent disagree.
A new poll out today, somewhat more scientific than our own, shows a majority of people aren't happy with the way President Bush is handling Social Security. 6 out of 10 people in fact disapprove of the president's Social Security plan. Joining me now, Ken and Daria Dolan. They'll be on tomorrow morning as every Saturday, 10:00 a.m.
KEN DOLAN, UNCRIPTED CO-HOST: Unless somebody runs away some wedding or something.
DOBBS: We look forward to it.
Let me help you here.
K. DOLAN: No, I'm OK. Thank you.
I don't do too much TV.
I tell you what, did you say plan?
DOBBS: I said plan.
K. DOLAN: I don't much plan. What an awful lot of people are thinking is that the private account, the privatization is going to save Social Security. The answer is no. It's a band-aid at best. Social Security is in worst shape than that. And it's a plan that doesn't work And it's a plan that's dead. I went out to Columbus, nobody cares.
DOBBS: Nobody cares?
DARIA DOLAN, UNSCRIPTED CO-HOST: Well, no. That's not true.
K. DOLAN: Nobody cares.
D. DOLAN: The people who care are the people who are collecting it and those very close to collecting it. But the Posen Plan which is the latest offering by the president which is basically going to index who gets the most -- obviously under $25,000 a year earners would get the higher Social Security. Basically would turn it into a welfare program. So that's not going to get a lot of support from people.
K. DOLAN: You can't do it on the backs of the middle class, Lou. You know as well as anybody, the middle class is trying to hang in. The middle class is trying to get to next Friday with their paycheck. You can't do it on the backs of the middle class, period.
What the plan is a poverty plan.
DOBBS: This would be one of the few times where something wasn't put on the back of the middle class here of late. K. DOLAN: Maybe so.
DOBBS: Idea that these private accounts, personal accounts as they are suddenly styled. Any sense as to why the Bush administration wants to deal -- to play with this?
K. DOLAN: Lou, I said on the air the other day on something we were talking about, I don't know why you would make this the focal point, your primary, your primary thing in your second administration. I don't get it.
DOBBS: People forget -- you probably recall, but the fact is Dennis Hastert, the Speaker of the House, urged the administration not do it this. He wanted a two-year education plan for the public, so everybody could work through the numbers and come to some, you know, a rational approach. And instead we have this.
D. DOLAN: But the interesting thing is, the latest poll shows that 70 percent of Americans do understand that there is a problem with the funding of Social Security.
K. DOLAN: We agree with that.
D. DOLAN: And there is no support to speak of, for the president's idea.
DOBBS: Maybe because there won't be a real problem until 2052 at this rate. And even then, it is on any -- by any basis, it is a smaller problem than our budget deficit, our federal budget deficit.
K. DOLAN: Let's talk medical stuff too. Let's talk 49 percent of the budget being entitlements. Let's concentrate, Lou, on something that's really, really important.
DOBBS: And something important will occur at 10:00 am Eastern time on CNN tomorrow morning.
K. DOLAN: We're getting remarried again.
DOBBS: That is touching.
K. DOLAN: We're renewing our vows.
D. DOLAN: I thought it was divorcing.
DOBBS We will have the -- we will tell you how that poll comes out next. Daria and Ken Dolan, thanks a lot. It's the Dolan's Unscripted.
Thank you for being with us here tonight.
For all of us have a very pleasant weekend. Good night from New York. "ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts right now.
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