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President Bush Pushes Immigration Plan in California; Bush Poll Numbers in Low 30s in New Polls

Aired April 24, 2006 - 18:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, President Bush is trying to save his so-called immigration proposals. Has the president lost his battle to give millions of illegal aliens amnesty without first securing our borders?
We'll be live in Washington with the latest for you.

Hundreds of protesters are demanding that President Bush first secure our borders. Even the president's loyalists are turning against him.

We'll have a special report.

And among our guests tonight, one of the organizers of the planned protests and boycotts on May 1st in support of illegal immigration.

Also tonight, anger and outrage at the rising price of gasoline, part of what has become an outright war on our middle class. Members of Congress are beginning to pay attention. One of them is actually proposing real solutions, Congressman Curt Weldon. He'll be among our guests here tonight.

And President Bush's poll numbers are plummeting to a new low. Can the president recover? I'll be joined tonight by three of the countries' top political commentators.

All of that and much more ahead here tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate, and opinion for Monday, April 24th.

Live in New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.

President Bush today made a determined effort to save his so- called immigration reform proposals from possible defeat in Congress. President Bush said calling for the deportation of millions of illegal aliens already in this country is simply unrealistic. And the president repeatedly asserted that illegal aliens should be allowed to work in the United States because, as he has repeatedly said, and said again, they take jobs Americans won't do.

Suzanne Malveaux reports on the president's new efforts to rebut critics of his immigration guest worker amnesty proposals. Casey Wian reports on the protests in Irvine, California, as the president made his remarks today. And Bill Schneider reports on the latest plummeting poll numbers for President Bush.

We begin with Suzanne Malveaux at the White House -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou as you know, President Bush has used much too much capital, political capital, that is, since his days as Texas governor to give up this issue so quickly. The White House strategy, of course, is to downplay any kind of burden that 11.5 million illegal immigrants would pose to this country and play up the aspects of national security. And it all, Lou, is about framing this debate here.

President Bush casting this argument as one of mass deportations versus normalization.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Massive deportation of the people here is unrealistic. It's just not going to work.

You know, you can hear people out there hollering it's going to work. It's not going to work. It's just -- it's -- and so, therefore, what do we do with people who are here? And this is one of the really important questions Congress is going to have to deal with.


MALVEAUX: Well, one member of Congress, Dana Rohrabacher, of course, of California, in the district in which the president visited today, decided not to share the stage with the president. He said it was out of respect for President Bush that he simply cannot and does not agree on this issue, but essentially saying that Mr. Bush's case, his argument that he was making today is a false one.


REP. DANA ROHRABACHER (R), CALIFORNIA: The president made the same point today, and it's all bogus. I mean, this is -- this is a bogus, false alternative. The fact is, no one I know is advocating mass deportations.


MALVEAUX: But what Rohrabacher and others are saying, concerned Republicans, is that you need to stop the benefits, whether it's free education, whether it's health care, that that will provide an incentive for illegal immigrants to go back to their own home countries. President Bush, of course, as you know, Lou, not giving up on this issue, he wants to bring both sides together. He does want legislation passed and immigration reform.

That is why we're going to see tomorrow a bipartisan group, including senators Kennedy, as well as Frist, Reid and McCain and others here with the president to see if they can get through that impasse -- Lou.

DOBBS: And indeed in terms of framing the debate, as you reported, Suzanne, the president will have a little help from Senator Arlen Specter, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, beginning an examination of the costs of the illegal immigration. It will be interesting to see how much intellectual integrity and straightforwardness results from those hearings as to -- as to how deeply they probe into the costs of illegal immigration.

Suzanne, thank you very much.

Suzanne Malveaux.

Hundreds of people protested outside the hotel where President Bush was making his comments today. Border security advocates far outnumbered the supporters of amnesty for illegal aliens.

Casey Wian has our report from Irvine, California.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Hundreds of protesters demanded that President Bush secure the nation's borders and refuse to grant amnesty to illegal aliens.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The message I would like to send to President Bush is this: no guest-worker program until the border is secure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Middle class Americans are out here standing in the street, you know, protesting the transgressions that's being perpetrated by our government in the name of corporate America and corporate greed. They are selling out the American people.

WIAN: A smaller, but vocal, group of open borders advocates also showed up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to love these people! They came! They have nowhere to go!

WIAN: In recent months, pro-amnesty groups have tried to portray those who favor strong border security as racist. Hogwash, says Minuteman Project volunteer Marvin Stewart.

MARVIN STEWART, MINUTEMAN PROJECT: There a passionate men who have a love for their nation. There are passionate people that love this nation. There are passionate black men like myself who have a love for this nation. There are passionate Hispanic -- I've served with Asians on the borders, Los Compos (ph), Sierra Vista, Pacumba (ph), various other places who have a passion for this nation.

To say we are racist, well, guess what? Get a life.

WIAN: Some protesters say a change is coming. They say there is nothing they can do now about the man in the White House, but Congress, beware. RON WELLER, PROTESTER: They are trying to bamboozle the American public, and they think we're stupid. And wait until November. They are going to see a backlash in this country, there is going to be heads rolling. There are going to be senators and congressman that will be flipping hamburgers instead of being up there in Washington.

WIAN: It's hard the believe Orange County, California, used to be Bush country.


WIAN: It's unlikely the president actually saw many of the protesters who were here today. It's also hard to believe, though, he hasn't heard their message -- Lou.

DOBBS: It's unfortunate that the president or any other elected official wouldn't hear and see those demonstrators, hear what they have to say. But it's very clear that this president, Casey Wian, is hearing a lot of things from his strategist and his pollsters that probably resonate just as strongly.

Casey Wian, from Irvine, California.

Thank you, sir.

A new CNN poll by Opinion Research Corporation puts the president's approval rating at 32 percent. That is the lowest level of his presidency.

Bill Schneider has the report -- Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Lou, as you just said, 32 percent is the lowest figure for this president ever reported. In four polls taken over the last 10 days, Bush's numbers have been dropping into the low 30s.

There's the 32 percent in our latest CNN poll. That was taken over the weekend, and there should be a graphic with four polls taken over the last 10 days. Again, all of them show -- there they are -- show them dropping, 35, 34, 33 and 32.

This is very dangerous territory. Only four presidents have dropped ever below 30 percent in the polls, at least since polling began in the 1930s.

Harry Truman, he did not run for re-election. Jimmy Carter was defeated for re-election. Bush's own father dropped briefly below 30. He was defeated for re-election. And Richard Nixon, we know what happened to him.

This president does not want to end up in their company.

DOBBS: Bill Schneider, these numbers, as you say, plummeting to dangerous levels for the president. Yet there seems to be great talk in the White House, with the appointment of Josh Bolten as chief of staff to replace Andy Card, points of approach, a discussion of strategy. All of it aimed at perception, and none of it about policy.

If this continues, what is the likelihood that this president can see any turn, and at what point does this become critical for the nation itself with an impaired chief executive?

SCHNEIDER: I'm inclined to say the answer is yes. It is a serious problem, and the numbers are bottoming out.

The -- people are saying, well, he could become a lame duck. He may already be a lame duck.


SCHNEIDER: He has spent his political capital. The problem is, in part, gas prices. But I'll tell you something interesting. Yes, gas prices are contributing to those low ratings, but even among Americans, 28 percent, who say gas prices are not causing any hardship, they are still giving -- a majority of them say they disapprove of the job President Bush is doing, which means it's Iraq, it's immigration, it's a whole list of issues.

He's got to show a radical new direction of policy if he wants a radical turnaround in those poll numbers. And that means something a lot more than musical chairs in the White House.

DOBBS: As you say, a radical change of direction. May I suggest something for you to consider even more radical, and that is absolute action and resolution of critical issues important to this country's working men and women and our middle class.

SCHNEIDER: That would be very helpful, because a lot of the Americans, the polling shows this, believe this president has lost touch with most ordinary Americans, and particularly the -- I think the problem with the gas crisis right now is that he's seen as an oil man, and that means out of touch with the very dire situation Americans are facing.

DOBBS: Right. Yes. And I -- and I think while much should be made of the crisis that is being created by those gasoline prices, with absolute intellectual integrity we have to say that whether it is the war in Iraq, whether it is energy policy and those terrible and rising gasoline prices, and this president's position on illegal immigration, and the declining real wages in this country, these are real problems for Americans, and all of us, and they are still without resolution, either by this president or this Congress, led by Republicans.

Bill, thank you very much.

Bill Schneider.


DOBBS: The U.S. Senate returned to work today after a two-week break. The House will go back to work tomorrow.

Members of Congress immediately focusing on the soaring price of gasoline. It's now $3 a gallon over most of the nation.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert are demanding an investigation into possible price gouging. Senate Minority Leader Senator Harry Reid also called for action against any price fixing. Lawmakers have all but ignored other important issues such as our immigration crisis and the war in Iraq.

Still ahead, as gasoline prices soar, one lawmaker has come up with real answers. Congressman Curt Weldon has announced a plan to help besieged middle class American families. Congressman Weldon is among our guests here tonight.

And the illegal alien lobby planning massive protests and boycotts on May 1st to support amnesty for illegal aliens, one of the organizers of those protests and boycotts is our guest here.

And the Iranian president making new threats in the nuclear showdown with the rest of the world. We'll have a special report from Tehran.

And "The New York Times" Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Thomas Friedman took me on yesterday on the issue of illegal immigration on Wolf Blitzer's show, "LATE EDITION." Tonight, I'll have a few words for the "Times" columnist who says the world is flat.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: New defiance and threats from Iran today in its escalating nuclear confrontation with the rest of the world. Iran's president predicted the United Nations would not impose any sanction against Iran. The Iranian president said sanctions would be a big mistake.

Aneesh Raman reports from Tehran.


A defiant voice coming from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today towards the West and its current nuclear dispute. The Iranian president at a press conference today, only the second time foreign journalists were allowed to attend the session, said Iran will not suspend its uranium enrichment towards what it has said all along is a peaceful civilian nuclear program.

The Iranian president also said that direct talks with the U.S. over Iraq, something that had been suggested in recent weeks, is off the table, both because of the new Iraqi government that has formed and also because of recent statements by the United States. He also warned that if sanctions were issued by the U.N. Security Council against Iran for its civilian nuclear program, those sanctions would hurt those imposing them more than it would hurt Iran.

The Iranian president also hinted at the fact that Iran could withdraw from the nuclear nonproliferation treaty depending on actions that could come from the United Nations.

Now, we went out over the past two days throughout the capital, Tehran, and spoke to Iranians. We had no minders with us. We were free essentially to talk to whoever chose to talk to us as a Western media crew, and many of them voiced support for the country's civilian nuclear program.

They've been told and are convinced that it will lead to economic progress, that with a civilian nuclear program they in turn will be able to sell uranium enrichment to others that want electricity, reduce their consumption of internal consumption of oil and sell more, and eventually get more jobs. There are some 12 percent of Iranians, conservative estimates say, that are unemployed.

But Iran does face a Friday deadline that looms as to whether it will suspend uranium enrichment. No sign it will do so -- Lou.

DOBBS: Aneesh Raman reporting from Tehran.

In Iraq, insurgents have killed nine of our troops over the weekend, eight in the Baghdad area. One in Al Anbar province.

Sixty-two of our troops have been killed so far this month. Sixty-two troops the same number killed in the entire month of January.

2,390 of our troops have been killed in Iraq since this war began, 17,648 of our troops have been wounded, 8,099 of them so seriously they cannot return to duty.

Jamie McIntyre joins me now from the Pentagon -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, Pentagon officials are expressing help that the breakthrough in a new unity government will be a turning point for that country, but so far there's no sign of it. Are. More violence across Iraq today.

In fact, seven car bombs exploded in Baghdad. Six drive-by shootings, four roadside bombs, a mortar round also killed somebody across Iraq today. And more than 24 Iraqis killed, and as you said, nine American troops killed over the last couple of days.

And, again, look at those figures again. This is looking like it's going to be -- April is going to be one of the deadliest months so far this year, with 62 Americans dying. That's up from the lull of last month of 31. And you can see, it matches the number in January of this year.

Today, Jawad al-Maliki, the new designated prime minister, told CNN in an exclusive interview that he's been told by U.S. commanders that they believe the Iraqi security forces will be able to take the lead role for most of Iraq within 18 months. Pentagon officials had no comment on that timeline today, saying it could be faster or perhaps even a little bit longer.

And Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in an interview with the U.S. government-controlled Pentagon channel, said again that the withdrawal decisions will be made by commanders on the ground.

I apologize for the audio problem there, but Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld making the point in that interview that it's too soon to say how soon major withdrawals will take place. But it would be looked at over the coming months, based on the conditions on the ground.

Now, the Pentagon did release a map today showing that a large area of Iraq's geography has been turned over to Iraqi officials, showing a wide area here in green where Iraqi police or army are taking the lead. And while they recognize that this might look impressive on a map, there's also a realization here at the Pentagon, Lou, that the real measure of success in terms of how the American people see it will be when those death numbers, the casualty numbers for U.S. troops, start coming down and U.S. troops start coming home in large numbers -- Lou.

DOBBS: Without question. Jamie McIntyre, thank you.

Jamie McIntyre from the Pentagon.

At least 25 people are dead, 150 others injured after terrorists bombed a popular resort on Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Three explosions today ripped through the center of the seaside city of Dahab at the height of the tourist season. Terrorist attacks have killed more than a hundred people at Sinai resorts over the past two years.

Coming up next here, the president of communist China couldn't wait to leave the United States and begin talks on securing more oil for communist China. We'll have a special report.

And then, a tense standoff in Los Angeles between black supporters of the Minuteman Project and illegal alien amnesty supporters.

And "New York Times" columnist Tom Friedman launched an attack against me and my position on immigration, illegal immigration, and border security on Wolf Blitzer's show this weekend. I'll have a few words for Mr. Friedman and his construction of my thoughts coming up here later.

Please stay with us.


DOBBS: Communist Chinese President Hu Jintao left the United States after visiting with the president briefly and went to Saudi Arabia, where he spent the weekend meeting with Saudi leaders, and he discussed communist China's plans to set up a strategic oil stockpile. And today the communist Chinese leader is in Africa, once again securing crude oil supplies for his nation as a top priority.

Kitty Pilgrim reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Chinese power trip. Chinese President Hu makes friend in Saudi Arabia, and the two countries sign a score of deals. It was China's friendship tour, calculated to secure strategic minerals and oil.

PETER LEITNER, CENTER FOR ADVANCED DEF. STUDIES: The Chinese want access to raw materials. And this great game, the new version of the great game that's being played, the -- what access they get to raw materials in terms of long-term contracts, which they are always trying to secure, that will also give them the ability to deny us access to those materials.

PILGRIM: China is the world's second largest consumer of oil. China accounts for 40 percent of the growth in demand for oil in the last four years. And with the growing Chinese economy, that demand is expected to double by the year 2025.

China is willing to make special deals to get that oil.

ROBERT EBEL, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: For example, they might -- China's national oil company might offer a host government, "Would you like to have a loan? I think we could loan you a $1 billion or $2 billion. Would you like to buy some military equipment?" You know, something that an international oil company could not offer.

PILGRIM: This week, the Chinese president, traveling to Africa, hitting Morocco, Nigeria and Kenya. Last week, the Chinese oil company CNOOC signed a $2 billion deal for a 45 percent stake in a Nigerian offshore oilfield.

The United States pegs deals to human rights and political conditions. The Chinese do not.

CLYDE PRESTOWITZ, "THREE BILLION NEW CAPITALISTS": They don't impose a lot of conditions on the deals, so that the Chinese are willing to deal with some players with whom we are not as willing to deal, or at least not as willing to deal without conditions.

PILGRIM: This is a long-term Chinese strategy.


PILGRIM: Now, top Chinese leaders, including President Hu Jintao, have paid many visits to Africa. President Hu's first trip as head of state was in 2004. There was an Asian-African summit last April in 2005, and then last January the Chinese government announced China's new African policy -- Lou.

DOBBS: And I'm sure that President Bush and Vice President Cheney have visited all of those countries just over the past few days that President Hu has been in. I would be correct, wouldn't I?

PILGRIM: Not exactly, Lou.

DOBBS: Oh. PILGRIM: President Bush went to Nigeria in 2003, but the other countries, no.

DOBBS: No. Well -- and I'm sure that our long-term strategy and energy globally is every bit as rock solid and farsighted as that of the communist Chinese government. I would be right there as well, of course?


DOBBS: No. Kitty, thank you very much.

Kitty Pilgrim.

Time now to take a look at your thoughts.

Jay in Pennsylvania: "Jobs Americans won't do? This is just about as out of touch as Marie Antoinette's 'Let them eat cake.' We all know how well that went over."

And Robert in Arizona, "Hey, Lou, let's change the phrase 'jobs Americans won't do' to jobs Americans can't do and replace President Bush and senators McCain and Kennedy with guest workers."

Leonard in Colorado said, "Lou, in addition to the jobs American citizens supposedly won't do, let's look at those jobs they aren't qualified to do. Let's start with the president, his cabinet, Congress, and on down the line."

There's starting to be a theme here.

And Raven in Washington, "Our president is in many cases like a deep sea diver, encased in a suit designed for many fathoms... deep, marching bravely to pull out a plug in a bath tub."

Basil in West Virginia, "Dear Lou, it seems to me the only American who has a job he won't do is George W. Bush himself."

Please send us your thoughts at We'll have more of your thoughts later here in the broadcast.

Coming up next, the IRS and the Social Security Administration could be playing a major role enforcing this nation's immigration laws. Instead, they are stonewalling. They refuse to assist each other or other government agencies.

Our special report is next.

And illegal aliens and their supporters are vowing to shut down parts of our economy one week from today. I'll be talking with one of the organizers of the May 1st demonstrations and boycott here.

And as gasoline prices soar, I'll be talking with Congressman Curt Weldon, who is taking action on behalf of this country's middle class families.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: It is clear tonight that the U.S. government has no real commitment to the enforcement of this nation's immigration laws. Internal Revenue Service and Social Security officials have massive amounts of evidence that could be used to prosecute illegal alien workers and their employers. They, however, refuse to either analyze or distribute or share that information in any way with the federal agencies responsible for immigration enforcement.

Bill Tucker reports.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The official government line is: "We don't know how many employers have hired how many illegal aliens." But what we do know is astounding."

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers are using obviously false Social Security numbers.

TUCKER: In 2004, the IRS says nearly eight million W-2s were filed where there was no name or Social Security match, and that was after the government tried to make a match. More than 50 percent of the mismatches were from just four states, California, Texas, Florida, and Illinois. With California easily topping the list at 2.3 million mismatches.

The Internal Revenue Service even knows that 75 percent of the mismatches were on wages of less than $10,000. But in testimony before Congress this past February, the head of the IRS made something else also very clear. Quote, "Our job is to make sure that everyone who earns income within our borders pays the proper amount of taxes, even if they may not be working here legally." The IRS has never fined an employer for the use of fraudulent Social Security numbers, and if it did, the fine is only $50 per employee. The IRS shared this information with Congress but it doesn't share more detailed information with the Department of Homeland Security, even though the implications are obvious.

CHERTOFF: One of the key challenges that supports illegal migration is abuse of our Social Security system and the Social Security document.

TUCKER: The problem is current law prohibits the IRS and Social Security from sharing any of this tax data with the Department of Homeland Security, unless DHS has an active, ongoing investigation into a company.


The need for Congressional action was just underlined by the investigation of the Charlotte Observer and Knight-Ridder in North Carolina, where the reporter uncovered workers that two construction companies that were using Social Security numbers belonging to other people, people who learned of the fraud only after being contacted by the reporter and not by the government.

DOBBS: And the reporter did an outstanding job on this story. Thank you very much, Bill Tucker.

Tonight, an increasing number of black Americans are coming to the realization that some illegal aliens are a threat to their economic well-being. A group called the Crispus Attucks Brigade held a rally in Los Angeles against illegal immigration yesterday, calling the illegal alien crisis, the greatest threat to black people since slavery.


TED HAYES, CRISPUS ATTUCKS BRIGADE: We're not saying don't come. We want anybody to come to America no matter color or religion or race, just come legally to the country. And as black people, we feel we have a duty and responsibility to stand up against this illegal invasion, which is ultimately destroying our people.


DOBBS: This rally turned heated when illegal alien supporters showed up. Both sides began pushing and shoving one another. Illegal alien supporters also trying to drown out the demonstration with megaphones.

Blacks at yesterday's rally said they have seen their wages plunge as more illegal immigrants join the workforce in Los Angeles.

My next guest is one of the lead organizers of the upcoming May 1 demonstrations in support of amnesty for illegal aliens and a presumed boycott. He's compared the mass protest by illegal aliens and their supporters to the American Revolution. Juan Jose Gutierrez is the National Coordinator of Latino Movement USA, joining us tonight from Los Angeles. Juan, good to have you with us.


DOBBS: Let's start with the May 1st, the plans for that are for it to be nationwide and to be significant and a lot of people to turn out. Are you satisfied with the way the preparations are going?

GUTIERREZ: Very much so. We fully expect that on that day, on May 1st, International Workers Day, millions of workers, men and women without documents and their supporters who are, in fact, legal United States citizens will heed the call to not go to work. Many hundreds of thousands of students, perhaps millions, will stay away from school and people will not shop and will not sell anything.

In other words, our call to have a day without immigrants will be a full and resounding success.

DOBBS: When you say a day without immigrants, I presume you mean a day without illegal immigrants? GUTIERREZ: Without immigrants, period.

Lou, you have to realize that in our community we have many families where you have mixed groupings of people. You have those that are citizens and undocumented illegal residents and everybody is concerned about the well-being of those with the least rights. So we fully expect that many citizens and legal residents will be out on the streets supporting the just cause for justice in this case, which means legalization and a clear path to U.S. citizenship.

DOBBS: Juan, I've talked with a number of activists in support of illegal immigration and open borders. But there is not unanimity about weather or not to support the boycott you're planning and preparing for. Is that going to diminish the impact of the boycott? How committed are you to the boycott aspect of May 1?

GUTIERREZ: One hundred percent. I am fully committed to the boycott and I can tell you that millions of people are fully committed to the boycott. And not just the undocumented. People that believe in justice, people that believe the promise of America are fully in support of this boycott.

As I said, millions of people are going to be participating and supporting and doing everything that we've asked of them because we believe that the time has come for America to unite and not to continue to be torn apart, not to continue to be polarized by the right wing in this nation, who are telling a lot of things that are not true about, you know, the cost of undocumented migration to this country. When everyone knows, every serious politician, every serious statistician knows that undocumented immigrants represent a net economic gain for the American economy.

DOBBS: Juan, without getting into the economics and the costs and the offsets, you have compared what you and those supporters, demonstrators and boycotters will do to much the same as George Washington's reaction to British rule. How is that?

GUTIERREZ: The great slogan of the American revolution was no taxation without representation. Millions of human beings today and for many years are being taxed, and they have absolutely no representation. In fact, they are being bashed every day and humiliated. They are being told that they are illegal. That they are they are taking jobs away, that they are a great harm to the American economy and the American society in general. And, you know, we're tired of it. And we're not going to take it anymore.

The time has come, this is what the people are saying on the street, where we need to stand up and make a statement. We need to do what the American people did when they pulled away from the British crown. And I am sure that back in those days many people were concerned that was radical action. And they advised against participating and taking arms against the British empire.

But, in fact, the American people have the will and they stood up and they did the right thing. We fully expect that undocumented immigrants are going to be doing precisely that on May 1 and soon thereafter we fully expect to have just, humane, and reasoned legislation that settles and fixes our broken immigration system once and for all. That's what May 1 is all about.

DOBBS: I have to believe, Juan, as you put in it those terms, comparing the United States government, our laws, the society in which these illegal aliens are working and, without question, making a great contribution to those illegal employers who exploit them, I have to believe there's going to be -- that's about as divisive a kind of demonstration or talk that could be offered.

These people, irrespective of the fact that by in large they are great and good people, are here illegally and to put a comparison between the United States government, its laws and our sovereignty and to compare yourselves to George Washington and the United States government to British rule is an extraordinary, extraordinary, reach.

GUTIERREZ: It is and it's absolutely true. Look, Lou, throughout history, things that used to be illegal needed to be done in order to move our society forward. I mean, it was illegal to rise up against the American crown, and there were those back in those days who advised against that.

Today it is illegal to be in this country without documents, working and creating wealth for society as a whole and to individual employers and the employees that survive from the labor.

I think the time has come to be honest and to say, look, if free trade, which was offered as the Panacea to solving economic problems of the less developed nations along with moving along the economic engine of American society and that has not happened in the way that it was promised and people are coming to America, following the money trail, where more jobs are created and jobs are available to people who are ready, willing and able to do them.

Why penalize them and treat them as a little less than full human beings? That's not the American way? America is a country that promises hope and opportunity to people. That's why people are here. We love this country. We want an opportunity and we feel that we have earned that opportunity to be here, become legal, and eventually become citizens, full members of this society.

DOBBS: Juan, you know, there is a very, very fundamental issue, when you talk about taxation without representation. And that is the issue of the middle-class, which is most of this country, by far the largest number of people in this country of all races and ethnicities in this country who work day in and day out. Those 280 million people have the least voice in the United States Congress today of any group, including illegal aliens, period.

Now, if they -- are you not concerned about a political reaction from our middle-class, from those who -- here you are talking about taxation without representation, talking about our government as if it's British rule and demanding rights for a people who are here unlawfully, are you concerned at all about achieving the inverse of your goals? GUTIERREZ: Look, Lou, what you just said is a mischaracterization of what's going on. Undocumented people do not hold greater sway over the American Congress than do the middle-class people. The middle-class people are citizens of the United States. They can vote. They have access to their Congress people.

DOBBS: No, no. I'm talking about their representation, Juan. I am talking about their representation.

GUTIERREZ: Who do you think our Congress is going to pay more attention to, to the middle-class who can vote and can vote them out or to the undocumented immigrants?

DOBBS: Oh, I will tell you. Since you ask, I will tell exactly who Congress is going to pay attention to. They are going to pay attention to their corporate masters, just as this administration is. You are going to watch this, and you have seen the toadies in the Senate stand before cameras and lie to the American people.

And you will see it again in all likelihood. I hope that I am only being -- I hope I'm being nothing more than skeptical, and I hope I am proved wrong.

But, Juan, I have to leave. We've gone much over our time. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. And we thank you for being here. Look forward to talking to you.

GUTIERREZ: I appreciate your inviting me. Thank you very much.

DOBBS: Juan Jose Gutierrez.

That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight, how much credibility does the president have when he says we are enforcing our borders, as he did today more than once? Would you rate that credibility of that statement 60 to 100 percent, 20 to 59 percent, zero to 19 percent or perhaps even less than zero? Cast your vote at We'll have the results coming up here later.

Next, rising fuel prices, the latest front on the war on the middle-class. Elected officials taking notice. Congressman Curt Weldon taking action. He'll be here.

And President Bush's approval rating at a new record low. I'll be talking with three of the country's leading political analysts. Please stay with us.


DOBBS: I'm joined now by Democratic political strategist Hank Sheinkopf, "Wall Street Journal" columnist John Fund and "New York Daily News" columnist Juan Gonzalez. Good to have you with us.

Let me start with you, you've got to be elated at the president's poll numbers, 32 percent in our poll. Is there anything that the Democrats are going to do here in terms of offering up new policy, doing anything constructive? HANK SHEINKOPF, DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Unfortunately, the Democrats will probably continue to watch the president fall apart. They have some problems, too, but the way they think they can win the House back is to get into the field and win it on an individual case-by-case basis.

DOBBS: Do you think they can win the House this year?

SHEINKOPF: Tough, but not impossible.

DOBBS: Do you take reassurance in that, John Fund, that Hank would suggest that it is going to be tough, but not impossible?

JOHN FUND, WALL STREET JOURNAL: I have argued for 20 years against gerrymandering of districts to benefit incumbents. Now finally we have Democratic allies in that fight.

DOBBS: Or you're like me, you have support from neither party for your views.

FUND: The incumbent party is ultimately the biggest party in the country. Incumbents care a lot more about themselves than they care about anything else. That is what we are going to see this fall. Even with all of the voter anger, we are probably going to see 97 percent, 98 percent of all incumbents return. That is why I have long abdicated term limits because you can't trust these people to have a competitive election.

DOBBS: Juan, is that the answer, term limits?

JUAN GONZALEZ, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Well, I've been a supporter of term limits, yes, although I think it depends on -- in some places the term limits have been too short. But I think generally speaking, yes, the term limits are not unnecessary.

DOBBS: Based on the reaction of our audience here, Juan, most people think that nearly everybody in Washington has been in office far too long.

GONZALEZ: Well, certainly in the Congress, yes, absolutely. But at the state level, the term limits in some cases have been a little bit too short, but I do think that it's a healthy way to get more citizen participation.

But I think to get back to what you were talking about the president. The Iraq war is number one. The Iraq war is helping to create total distrust of the presidency, from the beginning to end, and I think that it's going to -- until the war is solved, the president is going to continue to have major problems with the American people.

DOBBS: Do you agree, John?

FUND: Iraq is clearly the biggest single contributor to the president's low poll numbers. If you also chart the price of gasoline, every penny the president -- the price of gas goes up, the president's numbers go down.

GONZALEZ: It was $1.46 a gallon when he came in.

DOBBS: This president today had the temerity, the chutzpah, to say that our borders are secured. Did you just about fall off, Juan, when you heard him say that?

GONZALEZ: Well, there are problems with the borders, no doubt about it. But I think he is trying to figure out a way to deal with the huge problem, which is not -- and this immigration problem, Lou, I know you've been on it now for about three years. But the immigration problem is not...

DOBBS: We've been reporting on illegal immigration, that is correct.

GONZALEZ: Your campaign, yes. But it is not a new issue in this country. There have been numerous debates over immigration in this country historically from the time of the Irish and the Italians.


DOBBS: Between 12 and 20 million people have moved into this country, about half of them in the last five years.

SHEINKOPF: The problem here is that this administration is doing nothing about anything but talking about things that they are doing nothing about. That is the issue.

DOBBS: Hillary Clinton is doing something, John Fund. She wants a wall, a fence. She wants to control the borders before dealing with the issue of amnesty.

FUND: And two weeks ago she attacked the House Enforcement Bill. You know, it's the canoe theory of politics. You paddled a little on the left, then you paddle a little on the right. Where is the real Hillary?

DOBBS: The Jerry Brown theory?

FUND: Jerry Brown pioneered it. And Hillary is a master at it.

SHEINKOPF: I don't think that is fair. I think she has a real plan. She wants to do something about the problem, but she wants to protect the industrial jobs. And she wants to protect the people who are in this country who are working. I mean, that's reasonable.

GONZALEZ: I think the president said one thing right, which is that you can not...

DOBBS: We are taking notes right now, Juan.

GONZALEZ: cannot deport 11 million, 12 million people.

DOBBS: But naturally the one thing he says right is the one thing that no one else is saying. FUND: Lou, we're going to get an immigration bill. It is probably going to have to be after the election, because the emotions here are too high. A lame duck session...

DOBBS: A lame duck session?


DOBBS: And you are going to watch those poll numbers that are 32 percent...


SHEINKOPF: Yes, but that's the whole issue. This is a president who doesn't want to do anything about anything. And he figures if he says something, it won't sufficient.

DOBBS: I got to tell, again, we're out of time. And I hope you guys will come back quickly. We're going to be -- as a matter of fact, I know you'll come back quickly, because you are going to be back on the next break.

But the fact that this president and this Congress will not take action, real action, and solve a problem, is probably going to be to all their detriments, whether it results in a Democratic control of the House or what for this president. We'll find out. With more of your thoughts in just a moment. We'll be back with our panel.

But, first, here is Wolf Blitzer to tell us what's coming up on "THE SITUATION ROOM" -- Wolf.


President Bush, as you have been reporting, hitting a new low in a poll that has just been released. We are going to take a closer look at what keeps dragging him down, what he needs to do for a rebound, if that's possible.

Also, gas-price outrage. Are the oil companies gouging you at the pump? Find out why two top Republicans are now joining calls for a federal investigation.

Also happening now, blood shed at a beach-side resort. Is al Qaeda to blame?

And caught on tape, Cynthia McKinney lets loose while miked up. Our Jeanne Moos has a closer look at some other famous politicians who have gone off when they thought you were not listening.

All that, Lou, coming up right at the top of the hour.

DOBBS: Looking forward to it, Wolf.

And we're going to have more of our top political analysts here and I'll have a response to "The New York Times" columnist Tom Friedman's broadside against me on Wolf Blitzer's broadcast yesterday. A few choice words, kindly offered. Stay with us.


DOBBS: In talking about illegal immigration today, the president said, and I quote, "the federal government has the role to enforce our border. I understand that it is important to enforce our border and we are."

Juan, the idea that we're enforcing our border with three million illegal aliens, as many as three million aliens estimated to come across it each year. What is the president thinking about?

GONZALEZ: Well I think one of the things that's happening is that you're getting more people are coming across and staying than you had before because those who used to come and go back to their country...

DOBBS: ... But this is a discussion of amnesty by this president, the guest worker program.

GONZALEZ: But I'd like to get to, I think the crux of this whole question of what you call illegal immigration. And because I would differ on you on that, is that we have...

DOBBS: What the hell is it if its not illegal?

GONZALEZ: ... Sixty percent of the illegal immigration in this country comes from one nation, Mexico, our border. And the reality is that in the European economic union, workers can travel back and forth from one country to another freely.

In the United States -- in the market we have here, you don't have that. So until -- if you'd solve the situation with Mexico, you would solve the bulk of the illegal immigration problem like the country has.

FUND: I grew up near the border. I think we can have a balanced approach. We have to have enforcement. We have to have guest workers. The Krieble Foundation, I invite your viewers to go log onto the Krieble Foundation's Web site.

DOBBS: Spell it for me.

FUND: K-R-I-E-B-L-E. And new technology. First of all, the federal government is incompetent in this. We need to have AMEX and Mastercard do a process on the guest worker program. They have to go home and apply and then they come back.

DOBBS: Here, let me give you a great one. Because you and the president are lined up on this. The president today said, and if we've got the quote, I'd like you to put it up so the viewers can read it. The president today said he wants a temporary worker program that says to a person, quote, "here is the tamper-proof card that says you can come and do a job an American won't do." Hank?

SHEINKOPF: Why don't we just take the -- take the Midwest out of the Republican column? Why doesn't he just tell people whose jobs are now being lost forever that their work is worthless? It's ridiculous, absurd and disgraceful.

FUND: And its also Democratic governors in Wisconsin and Michigan and Illinois that are hurting us. It's bipartisanship anger at the fact that the economy and those states are not doing well.

DOBBS: You've got to believe, Juan, that if this president believes that illegal aliens are going to carry a tamper-proof card, or I guess they wouldn't be documented at that point, across the Sonora Desert and turn it into somebody, what in the world are people thinking about? Because you're right, the government of Mexico has failed its citizens, 15-to-20 percent of its population over the last 20 years is living here. And illegal aliens employers are exploiting them.

GONZALEZ: But the government of Mexico assisted by American companies who want an offshore platform of cheap labor and you've been reporting about that for years. That's a key issue, because those companies need that.

DOBBS: Gentlemen, we're out of time, I've got to break. Hank Sheinkopf, John Fund, Juan Gonzalez, we thank you all for being here. Come back soon, we've got more to talk, thanks to this president, this Congress.

FUND: This mess.

DOBBS: This mess, stay with us, we'll be right back.


DOBBS: "New York Times" columnist Tom Friedman, a Pulitzer-prize winning author, a guest on CNN's "LATE EDITION" with Wolf Blitzer this weekend launched an attack against this broadcast and my position against illegal immigration. Here's what he said.


TOM FRIEDMAN, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: I'm an opinionated guy, but my stuff goes under opinion. I turn to Lou Dobbs's show for many years to see news and what I get is an undigested, unmitigated, unbalanced rant against immigration.


DOBBS: A rant against immigration? Tom Friedman, who believes that the world is flat and likes the idea, completely misconstructed, misconstrued everything I've said on this broadcast. And I have never once, and Tom, check the record, ever once, ranted or criticized immigration.

As anyone in this audience knows, that is simply a lie. I'm strongly pro-immigration. In fact, I would like to see more legal immigration in this country. I am adamantly and absolutely opposed to illegal immigration. As I've said more than once, there can be no reform of our immigration laws without control of immigration. And we can't control immigration unless we secure the border. Mr. Friedman, I hope you were listening, and choose to correct the record.

Now, the results of our poll, 88 percent of you say the president has less than zero credibility when he says we are enforcing our border. We'll let you sort through the other increments and staggering response. Thanks for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow. For all of us, good night from New York and we thank you for watching. "THE SITUATION ROOM" begins right now with Wolf Blitzer. Wolf?


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