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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Thousands March In Support Of Amnesty For Illegal Aliens; Condoleezza Rice Today Met With Mexico's Foreign Secretary In Washington; American Red Cross Investigating Allegations By Volunteers That It Mismanaged Millions Of Dollars Of Hurricane Katrina Donations; Bush Administration Cargo Screening Contract May Be Awarded To Company With Ties To China; English Becoming Dominant Global Language; Sergeant Tommy Reiman Sacrificed His Own Safety For That Of His Team In Iraq
Aired March 24, 2006 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate and opinion for Friday, March 24.
Live in New York, Lou Dobbs.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody.
As President Bush prepare force meetings next week with the leaders of Mexico and Canada, and the Senate prepares for debate on border security next week, this is what some of the streets of our major cities looked like across the country today. We'll be taking you to Phoenix, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, where tens of thousands marched in support of amnesty for illegal aliens and protesting what they call criminalization of illegal immigration.
Also tonight, two weeks after the collapse of the Dubai ports deal, the Bush administration is now apparently ready to outsource port security once again. This time to a firm that is highly suspect in terms of its relationships with communist China.
We'll have that special report.
And the widening scandal at the American Red Cross. Red Cross volunteers may have stolen millions of dollars of hurricane supplies that Americans generously contributed after the Katrina disaster.
Those reports, much more, ahead here tonight.
We begin, however, with major protests in some of this nation's largest cities in support of amnesty for illegal aliens and against so-called criminalization of illegal immigration. As the U.S. Senate prepares to begin debate on the most sweeping immigration reforms put forward in more than two decades, thousands today rallied against legislation cracking down on illegal immigration.
The protests took place in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Atlanta. In Phoenix, protesters marched to the offices of Senator Jon Kyl, a supporter of strict border security. And in Atlanta, thousands walked off their jobs to protest a state-wide illegal alien crackdown.
In Los Angeles today, hundreds of students walked out of their classrooms and marched for what they called illegal alien rights.
We begin our coverage tonight in Phoenix with CNN affiliate KTVK and reporter Mike Watkiss -- Mike.
MIKE WATKISS, REPORTER, KTVK: Well, I can tell you, Lou, greetings from America's fifth largest city. This protest now just a shadow of its former self, but at its height this overwhelmed everybody.
A river, a sea of humanity flowing down one of the major corridors here in the Valley of the Sun, bone-dry Arizona with this river of humanity flowing towards the offices of Senator Jon Kyl. Many of these people assembled.
They were expecting about 2,500, I should tell you, Lou. But they ended up with about 15,000 people heading towards the senator's office, very angry about House Resolution 4437, which has become a real rallying cry for the people in support of the immigrant population here in this state, big population in the state of Arizona.
The concern is that it would basically make it a crime to aid or abet any sort of illegal in this country, make it a felony to give any sort of assistance to an undocumented immigrant. Ramifications for employers, for people who rent housing, people who have family members who are from south of the border.
So big concerns here in the state of Arizona. And the context, of course, as I know you know, Lou, with all your coverage, the context of this is, this issue has been identified as the hottest hot- button issue among Arizona voters in this election year.
Of course, Senator Kyl up for re-election. They delivered a message to Senator Kyl's office today, hand delivered a message, a delegation of these protesters asking him to vote against that resolution, 4437. They met with some of his officials. Senator Kyl out of town today down in Tucson.
DOBBS: Mike Watkiss, we thank you very much, reporting from Phoenix.
In Georgia, illegal aliens and their supporters stayed away from work today, protesting state legislation there that was passed in the Georgia House just yesterday. That bill would deny taxpayer-funded services such as welfare benefits to illegal aliens in the state of Georgia. Another provision of that law would impose a 5 percent surcharge on overseas money transfers by illegal aliens.
The bill still must pass the state Senate. Anna Maria Luengo- Romero now reports on the protests today in Atlanta.
ANNA MARIA LUENGO-ROMERO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We talked to one of the organizers, and he said that the response was overwhelming. They received -- local media received a lot phone calls today with people protesting about the new bill. They are trying to remind local authorities about the importance of the Hispanic people to the local economy and to the nation's economy. They are planning to join -- a nationwide march is scheduled for April 10.
They say that they are not criminals. They came to this country looking for great opportunities that they don't have in their homeland. They are trying to get attention to over this issue that is dividing the nation and to try to fight for the dreams or the rights of all of these illegal immigrants that came here looking for an opportunity that they don't have at home.
Anna Maria Luengo-Romero, CNN, Atlanta.
DOBBS: And today's student protests in Los Angeles part of a series of demonstrations in that city to pressure the Senate on the issue of illegal immigration.
Chris Lawrence joins us from Los Angeles tonight -- Chris.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, the big difference here is that the protesters here are teenagers, people who you would normally think to be very disaffected, only worried about music or concerts, things like that. And granted, a lot of the kids who were out there marching today didn't have the best grasp of the real issue, but there was a core, a small core who were very well-informed on what this legislation was.
They marched through the streets. They carried the Mexican flag. Some of them chanted, "Brown pride," others held up signs that said, "Protect our rights."
A lot of students across the country learned about immigration as an abstract fact or in their history books. For the students here in southern California, it's a very real issue. It involves their friends, their families.
It's a very important issue here, even among the younger students here. And what we saw today was literally thousands of them making a concerted effort, a planned effort to walk out of class together and to march through the streets to show that they are opposing what this legislation means -- Lou.
DOBBS: Do we have a sense of just how many? Do we have a count in Los Angeles of how many students did walk out?
LAWRENCE: Right now what we're hearing from the police and from officials is, maybe between 2,500 and 3,000 students.
DOBBS: All right. We thank you very much.
Supporters of illegal alien amnesty plan to march again in Los Angeles tomorrow. That march being billed as the largest pro- immigration rally in Los Angeles ever. Tens of thousands of protesters are expected.
The Los Angeles student walkout echoes, by the way, a protest in the 1960s depicted in a film that premiered this month. The HBO film "Walkout" tells the story of a series of Hispanic student walkouts at East Los Angeles high schools back in 1968.
We're not suggesting that there is a tie in to the debut or the premiere of this film. Students today were protesting discriminatory practice, practices they say, and, of course that is precisely the subject of the film "Walkout."
The film premiered on the 18th of March on HBO Latino.
Congressman James Sensenbrenner is the author of the tough border protection legislation that has already passed the House of Representatives. He'll be our guest on this broadcast Monday.
Many of the thousands of protesters who took to the streets today claimed illegal aliens are entitled to the rights and privileges of U.S. citizenship. But as they march, many of them carried the flags of foreign countries.
Almost a century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt shared his idea of what it means to be an American. And it doesn't allow for divided loyalty.
In 1907, almost 100 years ago, Theodore Roosevelt had this to say: "In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed or birthplace or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American."
"There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American but something else also isn't an American at all."
We have room for but one flag. The American flag. But this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile."
"We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language. And we have room for but one sole loyalty, and that is a loyalty to the American people."
Wisdom that carries well into this century.
Coming up next, Mexico's constitution. It turns out it forbids Americans from meddling in Mexican politics. So why is Mexico meddling in U.S. politics?
We'll have that special report.
Also, the Bush administration is trying once again to outsource, it appears, national security. This time to a company with ties to the communist Chinese government.
We'll have that report.
And English now the official language of the European Union. When will it be the official language of the United States?
Our special report on that issue when we come back, along with a great deal more.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: As protesters rallied today in support of this nation's illegal aliens and against tough border security protections, there are rising new threats to the lives of those who enforce our laws at the border to the lives of our nation's border sheriffs and the Border Patrol, all of whom work on the front line of the illegal alien crisis in this country.
Casey Wian reports.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hudspeth County, Texas, sheriff deputies arrested Eduardo Mendoza Hernandez, a Mexican customs officer Sunday night driving through county roads in this unmarked SUV.
SHERIFF ARVIN WEST, HUDSPETH COUNTY, TEXAS: I believe he was possibly marking areas for -- to assist in narco-trafficking and human smuggling.
WIAN: Border crossing records show Hernandez entered the United States legally, saying he was taking a U.S. route to his job at a Mexican border checkpoint. But two days later he was found 15 miles east, still in the United States, near the site of a previous confrontation between Texas officers and heavily-armed Mexican drug smugglers.
Stashed inside Hernandez' unmarked SUV, a Texas map, a GPS tracking system, a sleeping bag and survival gear.
WEST: We called his comandante in Juarez that night. And the comandante verified that he was actually a Mexico customs officer. He didn't know why he was on the American side, obviously, but he -- he did verify.
WIAN: After sheriff's deputies turned Hernandez over to the Border Patrol, West says he was released back into Mexico.
WEST: Here's a prime example of a Mexican official coming over here and doing things that we believe is facilitating illegal activities without any kind of recourse or any kind of action taken against him.
WIAN: The Border Patrol did not return calls seeking comment on the incident. Neither did the Mexican embassy.
WEST: This happens pretty regular. The only thing is we're starting to document it and photograph it and holding them accountable.
WIAN: Meanwhile, border sheriffs meeting Friday in El Paso, Texas, say they've received a new warning from the Department of Homeland Security. They confirm a published report that a group of illegal aliens living in a remote area of Texas have hired Mexican hitmen to assassinate American law enforcement officers along the border.
WIAN: It's the second time this year that we know of that American law enforcement officers have been warned by the federal government about death threats from Mexico -- Lou.
DOBBS: I suppose we can expect broad public demonstrations in support of our border patrolmen and all the law enforcement officers along the border. Don't you, Casey?
WIAN: Well, actually, there is a demonstration. Probably not as big as the ones you referenced earlier. There is a demonstration scheduled this weekend in San Diego County, California, by supporters of stronger border security -- Lou.
DOBBS: Casey Wian, thank you very much, reporting tonight from Los Angeles.
And this brings us to our poll question tonight. The question tonight is: Do you believe the Bush administration and Congress are risking the lives of our Border Patrol agents and law enforcement officers by refusing to adopt a comprehensive policy or border security?
Please cast your vote at LouDobbs.com. We'll have the results later in the broadcast.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today met with Mexico's foreign secretary in Washington. Senior officials from various U.S. and Mexican agencies were also on hand. They were discussing the nation's bilateral relationship on a host of issues. One issue certain to be on the agenda next week will be U.S. immigration policy.
Lisa Sylvester reports.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A handshake and a peck on the cheek for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Mexico's foreign secretary, Luis Ernesto Derbez, is in Washington reaffirming his cozy relationship with the Bush administration.
LUIS ERNESTO DERBEZ, MEXICAN FOREIGN SECRETARY: And the relation between Mexico and the United States proves very well that no longer do we have geographical ties, but also friendship ties.
SYLVESTER: Mexico wants to use that friendship to leverage a guest worker program. The Mexican government took out full-page ads on Monday in several U.S. newspapers. In the ads, Mexico says it wants a "... safe orderly guest worker program," and it wants to participate in the "... design, management, supervision and evaluation" of the program.
Listen to what Mexican President Vicente Fox said a few months back.
VICENTE FOX, MEXICAN PRESIDENT: And what we need to do is to define and agree upon how many and which way for what sectors of the economy should Mexicans be working in the United States?
SYLVESTER: But critics say Mexico has a double standard. At the same time it wants to help decide U.S. domestic policy, its own constitution forbids meddling from outsiders. "Foreigners may not in any way participate in the political affairs of the country."
MIKE CUTLER, FMR. INS AGENT: They come here. They send members of their government here, as well as the president of Mexico, and then they go ahead and make demands on our country in terms of how they're going to treat Mexicans who are in the United States, but if anybody ever attempted to do that in Mexico, I'm certain that they'd be sent packing in short order.
SYLVESTER: Mexico has another double standard. It wants the United States to have an open southern border. But Mexico is notoriously strict about enforcing its border with its own southern neighbors.
SYLVESTER: Mexico's constitution also explicitly says Mexicans will be given preferential treatment over foreigners when it comes to granting employment, concessions and benefits. So Mexico recognizes the rights of its native-born citizens, but in many ways is asking the United States not to do the same -- Lou.
DOBBS: Perhaps we should also be paying in this country greater attention to our own Constitution.
Lisa Sylvester, thank you very much.
In a dramatic repudiation of so-called free trade policies that have been pursued by successive administrations in Washington, the state of Colorado is considering withdrawal from agreements such as CAFTA. CAFTA prohibits the federal government from passing laws to stop the off-shoring of government jobs.
But Colorado's governor is one of 19 governors who have adopted those rules for his state. Now the Colorado legislature is having some second thoughts.
A bill to rescind Colorado's participation in CAFTA passed the state assembly by a wide margin. It goes to the state Senate.
Eleven states, by the way, are also considering laws rejecting CAFTA and other free trade agreement, just as is Colorado.
Supporters of so-called free trade policies say American workers will prosper as we level the playing field with cheap overseas labor markets. Well, we saw a dramatic example of leveling today at the former Pillowtex plant in Kannapolis, North Carolina.
Pillowtex was founded back in 1887. You see it being leveled. It employed 3,700 people, making towels, bed linens under brand names such as Cannon and Fieldcrest. The company closed in 2003 citing foreign competition.
Lenovo, the computer company control by the Chinese communist government says it would welcome an investigation by the U.S. government. The State Department plans to purchase 16,000 Lenovo computers for U.S. embassies worldwide, a move that has drawn considerable criticism.
Critics saying that this creates phenomenal opportunities for Chinese espionage. A State Department spokesman says those computers represent the best value for taxpayer dollars.
Stay tuned for a special report on China's rising influence. Christine Romans reports on a no-bid contract with Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa to screen shipping containers coming to the United States for nuclear materials.
And I'll talk with former Customs investigator Robert Sheridan about the security risk that that poses.
Also ahead here, English now the official language of the European Union. Guess what? French President Chirac, he doesn't like that. We'll have a special report on the E.U. going English.
And a widening scandal at the American Red Cross. What happened to the millions, billions of dollars of relief supplies that should have gone to the victims of Hurricane Katrina? This isn't just a FEMA federal government problem. It's also that of the Red Cross.
We'll have that special report coming up.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: A widening scandal at the Red Cross. The organization investigating allegations by some of its volunteers that the relief agency mismanaged millions of dollars of donations that were supposed to be going to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Susan Roesgen reports from New Orleans.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In all, the Red Cross says it took in more than $2 billion in Hurricane Katrina donations and helped more than three million people. But some Red Cross volunteers say the organization has done a lousy job of keeping track of where exactly that help went.
This is the 300-page whistleblower report. The Red Cross says volunteers complained to an internal hotline that distribution centers lost track of donated items and that managers didn't bother to find out if people who applied for free meals or money were actual hurricane victims.
The interim head of the Red Cross, Jack McGuire, says the organization is investigating all the allegations and he says that $2 million in misspent donations has been recovered and put back into the relief effort.
JACK MCGUIRE, RED CROSS PRESIDENT: Donors have given us a lot money to help people, and if the money is going to things other than helping people, then we need to do something about it.
ROESGEN: McGuire says the Red Cross will turn over any evidence of criminal activity to law enforcement. In the meantime, Elaine Mann says every meal she serves is accounted for.
ELAINE MANN, VOLUNTEER: When I pass a meal out this window, I give people a meal, I give them one little snack pack, and if there's children, of course, I give them extra stuff. But other than that, how other vans do it, I don't know. I only know how we feel that that's the right way for it to be done.
ROESGEN: The allegations in the whistleblower report include everything from thousands of missing air mattresses to a convicted felon working as a volunteer for the Red Cross who's accused of blowing a bunch of money on ceiling fans.
Now, Lou, not only is the Red Cross investigating itself, but Senator Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee which oversees tax-exempt organizations, says he's doing his own investigation. He says when the president asks Americans to donate to the Red Cross the Red Cross better be spending that money wisely -- Lou.
DOBBS: Well, Susan, as you recall, and I'm sure most -- most everyone recalls, the Red Cross performed dismally in the weeks and months following September 11. You mentioned Senator Grassley. He was very critical of them then, and he's now threatening, in point of fact, to revoke the charter of the Red Cross for what has happened there.
At times, Susan, it seems like not a single thing has gone right in responding to the needs of fellow Americans in the Katrina disaster in New Orleans. And throughout the Gulf Coast. ROESGEN: In little ways people have been helped. But I think, Lou, in little ways people have been helped, but in the big picture it does look pretty dismal.
DOBBS: Well, hopefully we will not be called upon to do better. But if so, we will do better.
Susan Roesgen, thank you very much.
Now some of your thoughts.
Jack in Iowa saying, "Lou, I don't know why you were zeroing in on Hillary. She is probably the most competent senator in the country. Shame on you."
J. W. in Tennessee, "Lou, I've been a Democrat all my life, as has been my whole family. But after listening to Hillary and Mr. Reid about immigration reform, I see the very urgent need for at the very least a third party in this country."
And Richard in Minnesota, "After all these years, the Democrats finally get a chance to sink their teeth into something and they pick amnesty and religion? Yikes! We're doomed."
No, we're not. It just feels like that sometimes.
Deborah in California, "Lou, last night I dreamt the IRS is going to let H&R Block sell my personal tax information to marketers. Earlier, I had night terrors over the government rolling back consumer protections against identity theft. And last week I dreamed that millions of criminal illegal aliens were streaming through our border and we weren't able to imprison them or send them back to Mexico."
"Tell me it's just a dream, Lou. Please. I beg you."
We love hearing your thoughts. Send them to us at LouDobbs.com.
More of your thoughts coming up here later.
Also ahead, the Bush administration wants containers coming into this country screened for radioactive nuclear materials. But it wants a company with ties to the Chinese communist government to do the screening. We'll tell you what we think why and we'll tell you how. We'll have a special report.
And the White House fights to build support for its policies and its personnel. Tonight I'm joined by some of the nation's sharpest political analysts.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: Just two weeks after the collapse of the Dubai ports deal because of the outrage in Congress, the Bush administration apparently continues to assert its interest in outsourcing our national security. This time the Bush administration wants to award a cargo-screening contract, a no-bid contract, by the way, to a firm with ties to the government of communist China.
Christine Romans is here with the story -- Christine.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the White House is awarding that contract to a company called Hutchison Whampoa, a Hong Kong-based company. It's a contract to screen U.S.-bound cargo for nuclear material.
ROMANS (voice-over): In the Bahamas, a foreign company with close ties to the communist Chinese government will be scanning shipping containers, screening for nuclear material coming into this country.
ALBERT SANTOLI, ASIA AMERICA INITIATIVE: This issue of who controls the stevedoring and who monitors the potential for any type of nuclear weapons materials coming into our hemisphere. Because remember, Bahamas is only 65 miles from the United States. It's absolutely essential.
ROMANS: The government called the new screening contract an extra layer of security. The administration is plowing ahead, despite concerns in the past about Hutchison Whampoa and its close ties to China's government. The White House just three years ago blocked this company from buying global crossing for security concerns.
Numerous intelligence reports identify private companies as extensions of the Chinese military and political apparatus, including a declassified report from 1999, finding Hutchison Whampoa's position at both ends of the Panama Canal and in the Bahamas, quote, "could provide a conduit for illegal shipments of technology or prohibited items from the West to the PRC or facilitate the movement of arms and other prohibited items into the Americas."
ILAN BERMAN, AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY COUNCIL: China does not emerge as a key ally in the war on terror. China emerges as, at best, an undecided party, at worst, a detriment because of its proliferation activities.
ROMANS: Congressman Bennie Thompson promises we he calls energetic pressure from Congress for the White House to reconsider this deal.
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON, HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: It does make not make us any safer as a country by outsourcing the responsibility for radiological inspections.
ROMANS: But many say we have no other choice. Around the world foreign companies control the ports in foreign countries.
ROMANS: And the government says it is improving security by having those companies and those countries screen cargo before it reaches our shores. We are assured in this case that in Freeport 90 percent of cargo containers will get radiological screening under this contract. And if there was some sort of detection at any of that cargo, U.S. customs, Lou, would be notified 800 miles away in Virginia.
DOBBS: And it's -- unlike other ports, there will be no customs officials, no border patrol involved in this. I mean, what are they thinking about?
ROMANS: Some great concerns in Congress on this. I think you are going to see people start to talk about it a lot more next week, but especially so close in the wake of the Dubai Ports World deal, a lot of folks saying, another sign of tone deaf in Washington on national security and commerce.
DOBBS: Yes. My reaction to that is that when they talk about tone deaf, they're talking about political tone deafness. My God, we're talking about national security here. Forget the politics. What in the world are they thinking?
ROMANS: Congressman Bennie Thompson said, they should just all slow down. National security has to come first. We sort all of that other stuff out later.
DOBBS: I think that's one perspective. And the other is maybe they should speed up and start working a little harder, engaging their intellects and remembering their responsibilities.
Thank you. As you suggested, Christine, next week we are going to hear more about this.
Senator Norm Coleman is going to hold emergency hearings next week on the pitiful state of this nation's cargo screening operations, and this issue will surely come up. Coleman has introduced legislation that would force the Department of Homeland Security to screen 100 percent of the cargo coming into this country. What a -- that's just such a wonderful idea, just at this stage in the global war on terror.
But Senator Coleman, as he is announcing these hearings, also had this to say about our nation's port screenings. The senator saying, quote, "we must not allow an unwarranted fear of foreign ownership or involvement in offshore operations to impair our ability to protect against nuclear weapons being smuggled into this country," end quote. He goes on to say, "We must work with these foreign companies."
The Pentagon now says Russian intelligence tipped off Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi government to the U.S. military invasion plans just before the war began. A new report from the Pentagon says the Russians claimed they a mole inside U.S. central command based in Qatar. The report says the Russians gave Saddam Hussein documents that detail U.S. strategies soon after the invasion began.
But the report says Saddam ignored that intelligence, because he didn't trust the source. He only trusted one man, himself, not the man delivering the information, the Russian ambassador in Baghdad.
A reminder now to vote in our poll. Do you believe the Bush administration and Congress are risking the lives of our border patrol agents and law enforcement officers by refusing to adopt a comprehensive policy on border security? Cast your vote at LouDobbs.com. The results will be coming up here later in the broadcast.
French President Jacques Chirac left a meeting of the European Union in a huff because they had the nerve to be speaking in English. The speaker defended the act saying, English is now the language of international business. And increasingly, English is becoming the dominant global language.
Kitty Pilgrim reports.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): French President Jacques Chirac walked into the European Union summit all smiles but he stormed out because someone had the nerve to give a speech in English.
PRES. JACQUES CHIRAC, FRANCE: I have to say I was profoundly shocked to see a Frenchman express himself in English at the council. That's why the French delegation and myself walked out, and that is the only reason.
PILGRIM: At the E.U., English now prevails with the inclusion of Nordic countries and East European members. Fifty-one nations around the world now have English as their official language. Others require English training.
ROBERT TOONKEL, U.S. ENGLISH: Three years ago Germany's largest state declared that kids would begin learning English at the age of eight rather than the age of 11, because they told them, this is going to be the language these children need in the future.
PILGRIM: America's culture promotes, and the information age spreads it. It's used by the Olympics, and the World Cup requires referees to know English. At Berlitz they're deluged with people cramming English for business reasons.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of work for everybody.
RITA BERMAN, BERLITZ INSTRUCTOR: They come in and it's not an issue. Do I study English? It's look, my boss is sending me here to study English. I have got two weeks. I have to read "The Wall Street Journal." What can you do?
PILGRIM: This student has opted for private lessons.
FLAUZINO FERREIRA, ENGLISH STUDENT: First of all, because in Brazil, the commercial language is in English, right? Portuguese we speak only at the consulate, and all the companies use this as second language. English is the second language in Brazil. So for me, especially because my job, I need to understand a little bit more. (END VIDEOTAPE)
PILGRIM: Now it used to cost a couple of hundred thousand dollars to translate E.U. documents into various languages. Now with more countries, it's up to $1 billion. The great irony of all of this, English is not the official language in the United States -- Lou.
DOBBS: I wondered if were you going to take note of that.
Kitty, thank you very much.
Still ahead, I'm joined by a panel of the country's sharpest political analysts. We will be looking at the challenges facing the Bush administration and a few of the Democrats who spoke out this week on issues that some suggest they might bow to.
And our edition of "Heroes" this week, you will meet the soldier whose bravery in action made him a model for a famous action figure. That story and a great deal more still ahead. Stay with us.
DOBBS: The Bush administration proposing to have Hutchison Whampoa, a Hong Kong-based company with ties to the communist Chinese government, screen U.S.-bound shipping containers for nuclear radiation and radioactive materials.
Robert Sheridan is a former customs investigator. He specialized in smuggling cases and he says it's a mistake to allow foreign workers to know how the U.S. screens containers for nuclear materials. Bob, good to have you with us.
ROBERT SHERIDAN, FMR. CUSTOMERS INVESTIGATOR: Good evening, Lou. How are you?
DOBBS: Well, I got to be honest. I am absolutely perplexed. I cannot believe that we are into another situation which, on its face at least, makes no sense at all. What in the world is this country doing? Do we have a Homeland Security Department?
SHERIDAN: Well, I think we do, but I believe that it's the left arm doesn't know what the right hand is doing when it comes to port security. I also believe that the merger of all of those agencies into Homeland Security a couple of years ago was a big mistake which has led to a myriad of problems, which we're now dealing with.
DOBBS: Specifically, Hutchison Whampoa, which also by the way, has control of the terminals of port facilities on both ends of the Panama Canal, now would have a significant presence and responsibility. Does that -- is that sensible?
SHERIDAN: I don't think it is. I think two things. More directly to the Bahamas, it's a Chinese -- I believe it to be a People's Republic of China-controlled company. I think it's -- if I'm to understand it correctly, Hutchison Whampoa will not -- will have the contract to conduct the screening using the x-ray machines and what have you of containers bound for the United States, without any U.S. presence, any U.S. customs personnel at the site to observe how they're doing it.
DOBBS: You know, I happen to be one of those people, I think -- you know, I love the Bahamas, but the fact is, if the Bahamas were telling the United States government what it could or could not do, I could not see that as being a, if you will, an overwhelming objection to having U.S. custom, U.S. border protection officials and being responsible for that security.
There's a simple matter here. Either do business or don't do business. This is a $12 trillion economy. The Bush administration is acting like we've got to beg people to enter this economy. Does -- what in the world should we be doing here?
SHERIDAN: I think two things. First off, with this Hutchison Whampoa in the Bahamas, the fact that they don't have any U.S. customs personnel, as I'm to understand when they take this contract over, is inconsistent with the Homeland Security program where they've got customs inspectors pre-positioned in Europe, at various ports, screening cargo that's bound for New York.
DOBBS: My gosh, it's one of the things that the Homeland Security brags about, their program to have that. I mean, it's ...
SHERIDAN: That's correct. That is -- it's absolutely correct. They do brag about it under Mr. Bonner, the former commissioner. He's the one that set it up after 9/11. It was, you know -- you're absolutely right. They talk very highly of it, but, again, it's so inconsistent with what's going on here.
DOBBS: Bob Sheridan, we thank you for being here. We're out of time. I appreciate it. Come back. I'm sure we're going to focusing on this issue for some considerable time.
SHERIDAN: Yes, sir. I appreciate it, Lou. Thank you.
DOBBS: Robert Sheridan.
SHERIDAN: Thank you.
DOBBS: The U.S. Senate is still debating long overdue reforms on illegal immigration. The questions of how to address border security and illegal immigration have divided both parties. That's only intensified a war of words, if not policies, in Washington. Vice President Cheney today slammed Democrats for having what he called a "sorry record" on security issues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With that sorry record, the leaders of the Democratic Party have decided to run on the theme of competence. If their competent to fight this war then I ought to be singing on "American Idol."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Joining me now, barely recovering from their laughter at the vice president's remarks, is my colleague John King; and Michael Goodman, columnist, "New York Daily News"; and from Boston, David Gergen, professor at Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Good to have you all with us.
OK, John King, give me an "American Idol" rating. Is this an attack by the vice president on Democrats? How did it play for you?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATL. CORRESPONDENT: Well, how did it play for me? It tells me they've decided to change tactics. That's how it played for me. They've gone from just defending what they are doing -- and they're not doing well in the polls right now making the case about what they are doing in Iraq -- to saying, if you don't like us, think about what life would be under the other guy.
They're going back essentially into saying, maybe you're mad at the war on Iraq, but do you want John Kerry to be the commander in chief or George Bush to be the commander in chief? They're doing the compare and contrast in this election year. They think that will help them, even though they're struggling.
DOBBS: Michael, I used to be one of those people who took offense when we talked about an election as the lesser of evils. Now John King is telling us it's a complete strategy of governance.
MICHAEL GOODWIN, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": Right. Well, I think that Republicans have no other card to play, and that is what's really difficult for them. I mean, that was their strong suit. It is no longer, and so for the vice president to reach in that bag again, I think, is a risky gambit.
I don't think it's going to work this time around because of things like the ports and the Chinese situation in the Bahamas. I think they've given away that game now, so I'm not sure what card they do have to play.
DOBBS: David Gergen, Dick Cheney lampooning, if will you, and criticizing the Democrats back on the issue of competence at a time when this country has no border security, it has barely any port security, at time when the Iraq war is -- the issue is whether or whether this is or is not a civil war, and what the goals are and what the strategy is. This seems like a peculiar time to be talking about competency.
DAVID GERGEN, FMR. PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: I agree, Lou, and it seems to me it's a peculiar time to be engaged in a lot of rhetorical volleys back and forth. This is a time for governing. He's got a few months, they've got a few months, to get this thing straightened out in Iraq. The window's closing there.
They've got to get a government together. It ought to be an all- hands effort to push the Iraqis. And the president was talking about this, this week, but what we need is some action. We need the secretary of state over there, we need the vice president over there, knocking heads together among the Iraqis to get a government formed.
And they've got to have a strategy to begin what -- I think the only sensible strategic idea I've heard in the last few weeks came in a column by Jim Hoagland, quoting some people inside the administration. But you see no evidence of it, of an internal withdrawal within Iraq, and that is to start having U.S. troops move away from the streets, move off the streets and away from the cities into bases outside the cities.
Let the Iraqis take over. Have U.S. troops on the outskirts come in if they have to, but gradually turn over these cities to the Iraqis. And so you have an internal withdrawal. That's a sensible policy, but they ought to be stressing policy and action and personnel, not all this rhetorical stuff.
DOBBS: As we're sitting here talking about this, American troops are dying. Two more today.
DOBBS: This is not about politics, although it will be constructed that way. John King, we're -- I mean, David Gergen, a professor of government, is talking about a columnist in the "Washington Post," a discussion of strategy at a level that is deeper and more specific than anything we've heard from this administration, the State Department, the Defense Department or the White House.
KING: Well, they are discussing this within the administration.
DOBBS: No, I'm talking about with the American people, for crying out loud.
KING: With the American people the president is trying recently to be more candid about it. But he finds himself in a box, whether you agree with it or not. But what the White House would tell you is that they are making plans A, to withdraw a lot of troops by the end of the year, a significant number; and B, to do what David just talked about, to reposition them within Iraq in a more safe way.
But the president doesn't want to talk about that until it is done and ready to go. He says, on the one hand, it would encourage the enemy to tell what you you're doing, and he's also been burned before. Remember, he had hoped to already be reducing troop levels in Iraq.
Right now they're increasing the troop levels because of violence. So history has this president, I think, cautious at the moment to be more public about specifically what he plans to do a week, a month, or two months from now.
DOBBS: Michael, nothing cautious about this president when it comes to selling his so-called guest worker program, which in the artifice that seems to be the favorite approach of this White House, they address as a border protection discussion now, but still driving guest worker programs. The senate takes it up next week. What in the world is going to happen?
GOODWIN: Well, I think that the 1986 amnesty law did not work and I think anything that smacks of amnesty, which the guest workers program really does -- although it doesn't lead to citizenship, it still smacks of amnesty -- I think is not going to fly.
I think to get a consensus, I think, the only thing the Senate can do is begin to focus on the control of the borders, deal later with the 11 million who are already here. Otherwise, we're going to have 11 million more in ten more years. So I think we've got to focus on that.
DOBBS: I love the fact, Michael, you're very comfortable and confident with those numbers. The range is 11 million to 20 million, but anyway. David Gergen, you get the last word.
GERGEN: OK, Lou, these demonstrations across Phoenix, L.A., Atlanta today, large demonstrations, show this is a very hot button issue. There are a lot of people opposed to the kind of immigration bill shaping up under Republicans like Bill Frist and, over on the House side, which is only about borders. My bet is, what we're looking at is you're going to see a lot of talk, both sides, but the real action's going to be put off until after the '06 elections. This is getting too hot and it's getting really mean.
DOBBS: David Gergen, finding a reason for us to respect all the courage that can be manifested in our nation's capital. Thank you very much. David Gergen, Michael Goodwin, John King, thanks for being here. John will be anchoring Anderson Cooper 360 tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on our favorite network.
Coming up at the top of the hour, one of our favorite people, Wolf Blitzer, with "THE SITUATION ROOM" -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Lou. A story you've been talking about -- we're going to have some more details. The newest port security controversy: This one involving containers heading for the United States.
Plus -- a modern-day spy intrigue involving an old Cold War enemy. Did Russia have a mole inside the United States military headquarters just before the invasion of Iraq? We'll have a full report from the Pentagon.
And Larry King makes a special visit right here to THE SITUATION ROOM. My conversation with the king of talk -- he has a special guest tonight: Laura Bush. You'll hear from Larry and Mrs. Bush.
All of that, coming up. That's in THE SITUATION ROOM.
DOBBS: I was just noticing, Wolf, I see two pictures of you, one of Larry, and nothing of the first lady.
BLITZER: We'll see her as well.
DOBBS: OK. Thanks very much, Wolf. We look forward to it. Still ahead, more of your thoughts and you'll meet our hero this week. A Silver Star recipient immortalized in a unique way. We'll have his inspiring and terrific story. Stay with us.
DOBBS: We thought one of our viewer e-mails deserved some special attention. Deb sent in some photos that she deemed too graphic for the national media. So we're warning you. These are graphic images of our troops, and our thanks to Deb for sending them in. We'll have more of your thoughts in just a few minutes as you look at some terrific imagery of our men and women in uniform.
And it's time now for "Heroes," our weekly salute to those who serve this country around the world. Tonight, the story of Sergeant Tommy Reiman. He sacrificed his own safety for that of his team while serving in Iraq, and for his bravery, the sergeant has been honored in very different ways. Barbara Starr has the story.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sergeant Tommy Reiman's Pentagon office today is the very spot where American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the building on 9/11. His Silver Star, however, was earned in the deserts of Iraq.
Three days before the shock and awe bombing that we associate with the start of the war, Reiman's reconnaissance team was secretly dropped by helicopter 250 miles inside Iraq. They walked 12 miles with 100-pound backpacks and then hid underneath the sand watching for enemy forces, calling in air strikes.
In December, 2003, the team was sent on a mission south of Baghdad and drove straight into a firefight.
SGT. TOMMY REIMAN, SLIVER STAR RECIPIENT: We ended up being hit with a severe ambush. During this ambush, I received a bullet in the arm, the chest, and multiple shrapnel wounds while protecting my gunner.
STARR: Riding in a Humvee with no doors, no armor protection, Tommy threw himself in front of enemy fire to protect his team.
REIMAN: It's for your buddy, of course.
STARR: Tommy became the enemy's human target, suffering multiple wounds.
REIMAN: Thirteen in total: it was two gunshot wounds and ten shrapnel wounds. Or 11 shrapnel wounds.
STARR: And refusing medical care until the whole team could get to safety.
REIMAN: My wounds, doesn't count if all my guys are dead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're looking pretty good -- the ear shape.
STARR: Now Tommy Reiman and other soldiers are getting body scans at a Los Angeles studio. They will become action figures to be sold in toy stores. Tommy recently spoke to his Northern Kentucky high school. The army's hope is the soldier's real-life stories will inspire young people.
Tommy Reiman says kids need to know war is not about action figures and video games. But how many fathers can say this ...
REIMAN: I have a son, and when he's 5 years old, he'll be playing GI Joe with my action figure. That means the world to any father, and the only word I can use for is just cool.
STARR: Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
DOBBS: Cool is a pretty good word for Sergeant Reiman, who will be sharing his experiences, he says, with other soldiers headed to Iraq so they can be prepared on what to expect.
Still ahead, the results of our poll tonight. More of your thoughts. Stay with us.
DOBBS: The results of our poll -- 96 percent of you say the Bush administration and Congress are risking the lives of our Border Patrol agents and law enforcement officers by refusing to adopt a comprehensive policy on border security.
More now of your thoughts. Marion in Virginia: "Lou, do these leader we have really think that these illegals from Mexico want to be American citizens? If so, during their march, wouldn't they be waving the American flag and not the Mexican flag?"
Ron and Jen in California: "Lou, I wonder what would happen if all the thousands of illegals and their supporters marching in the streets were to stay in their own country and force their country to change for the better, rather than coming here and forcing our country to change for the worse?"
Nancy in Pennsylvania: "Lou, I think I would like to have status as a guest taxpayer. If I decide the government has not done anything to warrant 30 percent of my earnings, I could elect not to pay. If illegal aliens can ignore our laws, why not citizens?"
And T. Seiler in Florida: "Lou, where do we, the people, get a list of laws we can choose to disregard?" I don't know.
And Jerry in Illinois: "A poem for Lou -- Fix our levees, build our border fence, provide for our national defense. Stop this war on the middle class, or Capitol Hill can kiss my ..." Very lovely poetry. Thank you for sharing it.
And thank you for being with us tonight. For all of us here, have a very pleasant weekend. Good night from New York. THE SITUATION ROOM begins right now, with Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf.
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