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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
U.S. Troops Moving to Insurgent Stronghold in Western Iraq; Senate Votes for "Common and Unifying" Language; Mexico Trying to Block U.S. Border Security Efforts; Robert Rector Interview
Aired May 19, 2006 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, the U.S. military faces a major combat escalation by the insurgency in Iraq. What the military term "significant reinforcements" are on their way to the city of Ramadi after weeks of pitched battles between our Marines and the insurgents. And tonight, there are some indications that more U.S. troops could be on their way to Iraq.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate and opinion for Friday, May 19th.
Live in New York, Lou Dobbs.
DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.
The war in Iraq is escalating and our casualties are rising. Tonight, U.S. troops in Iraq are facing one of the biggest challenges of the war. Commanders are sending what they call significant reinforcement to the city of Ramadi and Al Anbar Province after two weeks of heavy fighting with insurgents. All of this comes days after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he cannot promise to withdraw large numbers of our troops from Iraq this year.
Barbara Starr reports now from the Pentagon -- Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, it is not the first time the U.S. has had to send reinforcements as violence is again on the rise in western Iraq.
STARR (voice-over): Hundreds of U.S. troops are being sent to Ramadi in western Iraq. Senior military officials say the troops' mission will be to restore security after a jump of violence wracked the city. This follows days of running gun battles across Ramadi, with insurgents repeatedly trying to use an abandoned train station as a base to launch their attacks.
Elsewhere, in Falluja, gunmen attacked a police station with rocket-propelled grenades, killing two. And in Baghdad, the aftermath of an IED strike on a highway, while yet another bomb exploded next to a home, severely injuring a family.
U.S. commanders are pressing the new Iraqi government to finally crack down on militias which are widely seen as being behind some of the latest violence. LT. GEN. PETER CHIARELLI, COMMANDER, MULTINATIONAL CORPS, IRAQ: I think the requirement to come up with a militia policy is absolutely essential.
STARR: A major concern, sectarian violence is again on the rise.
CHIARELLI: And in the last week or two weeks, we have seen it begin to move up again. But there are accelerators to this sectarian violence. And I don't think they're always explained. And those accelerators are the actions of Zarqawi.
STARR: Lou, you'll recall back in March the U.S. sent 650 troops, reinforcements, to the Baghdad area when violence sparked upwards there. Those troops, by all accounts, have not been removed. And consider this, in last six weeks or so, 130 U.S. troops have lost their lives in Iraq -- Lou.
DOBBS: Thank you very much, Barbara.
Barbara Starr from the Pentagon.
The number of American casualties in Iraq, as Barbara just reported, has risen sharply over the past two months. Insurgents are killing our troops now at the fastest pace since last November. 2,454 of our troops have been killed, 18,088 troops wounded. Of those, 8,302 seriously wounded.
And later in the broadcast, in "Heroes," we report on the remarkable air crews and medical teams that are flying our wounded troops out of the war zone to hospitals in Germany and the United States.
Turning to our illegal immigration and border security crisis, the White House today declared that President Bush supports making English the national language of the United States. The Senate also supports the idea. But neither the White House nor the Senate is prepared to make English the official language of this country.
Suzanne Malveaux reports from the White House -- Suzanne.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow puts it this way. He says that the president endorses both of these amendments, one which calls for English to be the national language, the other one which makes it a common and unifying language.
Why? He says because both amendments essentially are consistent with the president's position that those who become American citizens should have a true command of the English language.
He also went on to say that research shows that if, in fact, people learn English, they tend to be more prosperous, they tend to perform better in their jobs. And it really is, Lou, part of the larger push that the president is making for his comprehensive immigration reform plan.
Part of the case that he is making here is that he believes it's important for immigrants to assimilate into mainstream society. It was just yesterday at Yuma, Arizona, he was making his case before the American people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you learn English and you're a hard worker and you have a dream, you have the capacity from going from picking crops to owning the store. Or from sweeping office floors to being an office manager.
That's been the greatness of America, when you think about it. People have come here with a dream and have worked hard and realized that dream.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: And Lou, as you had mentioned, of course, what the White House is not endorsing is making English the official language, which, of course, would have legal implications. It would require changes in standards and practice of the federal government. That is not what the president or this administration is endorsing.
And I should tell you, there was a little bit of confusion earlier today. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, speaking out in Houston, saying that he -- that the president never supported English as a national language. His spokesman later clarifying, saying what he meant to say was the president did not support English as an official language, that everyone is along the same page when it comes to this particular issue -- Lou.
DOBBS: We always know there's a little bit of a ripple when a spokesman has to say what the official meant to say.
Suzanne, many of the president's statements on the White House Web site are written in both English and Spanish. Why in the world is that?
MALVEAUX: Well, there are two reasons. Essentially, there is one which is -- there's an executive order by President Clinton back in 2000 that says, at least for federal Web sites, they have to be accessible for those who are not proficient in English. That is one of the reasons why.
The other one, of course, Lou, is the political one, and that is the White House outreach to the Hispanic community, making it very clear they want their message both in English and Spanish so that particular community understands what this administration has to say.
DOBBS: That particular community being whom?
MALVEAUX: The Hispanic community. Those that speak Spanish.
DOBBS: The Hispanic community. The Hispanic community in this country speaks English.
MALVEAUX: Well, there are some who speak Spanish as well, some who speak both languages. It's clearly outreach to both.
DOBBS: It clearly is also putting the lie to the requirement that one be proficient in English to be a citizen of this country, is it not?
MALVEAUX: I don't understand your question, Lou. I mean, the White House simply does two things. They put out this message in Spanish because they're required to by executive order. And secondly, they've made a real strong point of reaching out to the Hispanic community for political reasons.
DOBBS: I don't think, based on your response, you want me to restate the question. So let me put it this way. In making the English the national language, will the White House continue to put out its Web site in both English and Spanish?
MALVEAUX: Well, yes. They're required by law under executive order do just that. Secondly, they're not going to stop their outreach simply because they're making a distinction between national or official language.
DOBBS: As a point of law, by the way, President Bush is perfectly capable as president of the United States of overriding that previous executive order, we should point out.
Suzanne, thank you very much.
Suzanne Malveaux from the White House.
A leading member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Jeff Sessions, today said the Senate is likely to pass an immigration reform bill next week, and the Senate should be, as he put it, "ashamed of itself." Senator Sessions said that bill would allow millions of temporary workers to stay in this country permanently.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: I would say to the supporters of the bill, why are you afraid to tell the truth about your bill? Why are you putting on here temporary guest workers when there's nothing temporary or guest about them?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Senator Bill Frist today refused to say publicly whether or not he will vote for the immigration reform bill. Senator Frist, of course, is a leading supporter of the president's amnesty agenda for illegal aliens.
The government of President Vicente Fox in Mexico is rallying Latin American countries to attack America's border security proposals, such as they are. Foreign ministers from Mexico and four Central American nations today blasted proposals for security fences along the U.S.-Mexico border. They said, "Walls will not make a difference.
Meanwhile, President Fox is ignoring the growing violence on the border.
Casey Wian reports.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Border Patrol agents shot and killed a suspected illegal alien smuggler near the San Ysidro border crossing late Thursday after he tried to run down agents attempting to stop him. It's another grim reminder of the failure by the U.S. and Mexican governments to secure the border.
Now that the Bush administration is taking limited steps to that end, Mexican President Vicente Fox continues to protest U.S. plans to build more border fences.
VICENTE FOX, MEXICAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The building of barriers along the border does not offer an effective response for a relationship between friends, neighbors and partners.
WIAN: Fox's government also sent the State Department a formal diplomatic note protesting the construction of more physical barriers on the border and demanding the Bush administration's deployment of the National Guard to the border does not affect the rights of Mexican illegal aliens. Mexico continues to push for unconditional amnesty for millions of its citizens living illegally in the United States.
LUIS ERNESTO DERBEZ, MEXICAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): The immigration issue is (INAUDIBLE) through the creation of conditions that allow the regularization of the situation of illegality for those already living in the United States.
WIAN: While the Mexican government wasted no time condemning the U.S. border security efforts, the U.S. State Department says it hasn't had time to respond.
SEAN MCCORMACK, STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: We did get a diplomatic note. I have a note here on the -- on the 18th, yesterday. So we haven't had a real chance to go all the way through it and to -- and to react to it.
WIAN: The State Department briefing began at 12:37 Eastern Time Friday afternoon, at least 16 hours after Mexico sent the diplomatic note. We read the four-paragraph note aloud. It took 58 seconds.
MCCORMACK: I would expect in time, once we have a chance to look at the note in detail, we'll have a response for the Mexican government.
WIAN: Mexico is not alone in its criticism. Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica all condemn U.S. plans to build more border fences.
(END VIDEOTAPE) WIAN: Now, Mexico says it sent its diplomatic note to the United States with respect for the U.S.' right to safeguard its security. Apparently Mexico also believes it has the right to dictate U.S. border security policy -- Lou.
DOBBS: Casey, first of all, the State Department should be embarrassed, ashamed, even mortified that they cannot deal with a four-paragraph note, an official protest by Mexico and four other countries. Any sign of embarrassment on their part today?
WIAN: There didn't seem to be any kind of embarrassment on the part of the State Department. And what's particularly surprising about this is that Mexico tipped its hand well in advance. This note did not come as a surprise.
At least two days beforehand, Mexico was saying it was going to send this note. So they should have been prepared, you would think -- Lou.
DOBBS: In terms of preparation, the Mexican government, let's examine what they said. "Friends, neighbors, and partners," who should not have to endure the sort of inconvenience of that fence. But correct me if I'm wrong, Mexico is not only sending approximately across its northern border to this country illegally three million, most of whom are its citizens in this country illegally, they're also the principal source of heroin, cocaine, meth and marijuana into the United States.
Any suggestion that they are embarrassed as friends, neighbors and partners?
WIAN: Sure doesn't seem to be. They're also the source of the occasional Mexican military incursion into U.S. territory. They haven't done a lot to stop that either -- Lou.
DOBBS: Casey, thank you very much.
While Mexico accuses the United States of mistreating, potentially mistreating, its citizens who are in this country illegally, Mexico itself has some the harshest laws against illegal aliens in the world. Illegal immigration into Mexico is a criminal offense. It is a felony by any definition.
Illegal aliens in Mexico can be sentenced up to two years in prison and fined $28,000. Unlike the United States, Mexico uses its local police and the military to enforce its immigration laws against illegal aliens. And Mexico's own human rights commission has blasted the government of Mexico for not respecting the rights of illegal aliens.
Disturbing new evidence tonight about this government's failure to enforce our immigration laws. A leaked border patrol memo says nearly all of the illegal alien smugglers who are apprehended near San Diego are released because there are not enough immigration judges and federal attorneys. Only six percent of the smugglers caught have been prosecuted, according to that memorandum.
We received the memo from Congressman Darrell Issa, and we should note that President Bush did not talk about the overburdened court system when he made his primetime speech to the nation Monday. Those immigration courts badly overworked. The backlog reaches years.
Right now there are only 214 immigration court judges in this entire country. They are responsible for adjudicating all immigration cases.
Last year, the number of those cases rose by 31 percent to a total of 368,848. That comes out to 1,723 cases per judge. And that does not count the backlog from previous years. Neither the United States Senate nor President Bush has made any recommendation, or, for that matter, any mention of that particular problem.
Still ahead here, employers who hire illegal aliens are tax cheats. But the federal government is doing absolutely nothing to stop them or to apprehend them. We'll have a special report.
And the federal government is also failing to stop illegal aliens from stealing your identity. One congressman has had a belly full. We'll have that report.
And the president is heading for a major confrontation with the House of Representatives over our illegal immigration and border security crisis. Three of the country's best political analysts join us here tonight.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: The federal government's refusal to enforce this nation's immigration laws is forcing states to fight the growing crisis themselves. Tonight, the state of Missouri is prosecuting employers accused of hiring illegal alien workers under state tax laws. Missouri officials say it is outrageous that employers taking jobs away from American citizens and giving them to foreign citizens are also tax cheats.
Lisa Sylvester reports.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks, lots of land and beautiful scenery. Here, a new luxury condo complex called The Plaza Gardens is being built. State officials say the developer, Michael Schlup, was pumping up his profits by hiring illegal aliens, paying them cash, and avoiding state taxes.
JAY NIXON, MISSOURI ATTORNEY GENERAL: We hope it sends a strong signal to all employers that they shouldn't be bringing in undocumented workers and trying to profit off the back of those, while clearly leaving out the taxpayers, as well as protection of those people at the same time.
SYLVESTER: Schlup now faces 14 felony counts of failure to deduct, file, and pay Missouri employer with holding taxes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you (INAUDIBLE)?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fine. Wonderful.
SYLVESTER: If convicted on all counts, he could face a fine of up to $140,000 and up to 70 years in prison. Schlup's attorney says his client did nothing wrong.
DEE WAMPLER, MICHAEL SCHLUP'S ATTORNEY: So he's working very hard, as he always has, trying to make a living. So, like I say, it was a surprise to him the fact that the charges were filed. And we'll just have to wait. Right now let the case play out.
SYLVESTER: More cases like this one are coming to light. Federal prosecutors raided the IFCO pallet company last month after illegal aliens were allegedly seen ripping up W-2 forms. The federal government is in charge of enforcing immigration laws, but state governments can prosecute tax cheats.
STEVE CAMAROTA, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: There's clearly a role to play for state and local governments. One area is in tax law. If you've got people working off the books in states with income tax, you've got employers and employees explicitly avoiding their tax obligation.
SYLVESTER: The Center for Immigration Studies estimates 40 percent of illegal aliens in the United States are working off the books.
SYLVESTER: The Missouri attorney general began investigating Plaza Gardens after several serious workplace accidents. This is the first case like this that the state has brought. But Attorney General Jay Nixon is now looking at other employers -- Lou.
DOBBS: And Lisa, we're seeing a across the country more and more states and local governments taking on the responsibility of enforcing immigration law through -- whether it be through enforcement of tax laws or any -- any other number of laws in trying to deal with what is nothing less than a crisis.
Lisa, thank you very much.
Lisa Sylvester from Washington.
Tonight, the parent company of Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins ice cream has announced that it is committed to making certain that all of its employees are legally allowed to work in the United States. What a concept.
Dunkin' brand says all of its stores will sign up for the Department of Homeland Security's basic pilot program. That's the program we've already referenced that checks databases across the country to ensure that workers are in this country legally.
Amazingly, it remains a voluntary program. That should speak volume as to who is most interested in maintaining of this particular part of the status quo. Few employers choose to use it.
Theater chain AMC, whom we've reported on earlier, is another firm that is working with the government to make certain that only legal citizens and legal workers are hired by their company.
Still ahead here, the Senate moving to make English the national language of the United States or the official language or a common unifying language. Some of our nation's elected officials call it racist. We'll have a special report for you.
And illegal aliens maybe using your Social Security number tonight without you knowing about it. We continue our special reports on this nation's identity illegal alien theft crisis.
DOBBS: Last night we reported on the federal bureaucracy's failure to act even though it knows illegal aliens are routinely using stolen Social Security numbers. Now one congressman has had enough. He wants the federal government to do its job and to defend American citizens.
Kitty Pilgrim reports.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thousands, possibly millions, of illegal aliens steal Social Security numbers from U.S. citizens and use them for work papers. The government says because of tax privacy laws they can't tell you if your number has been stolen and is being used by an illegal alien.
REP. SILVESTRE REYES (D), TEXAS: It's not too hard to figure out that if a Social Security card is being used in L.A., and simultaneously in Atlanta, and maybe Miami and someplace else, that there may be something fishy there.
PILGRIM: The IRS, Social Security and the Department of Homeland Security all know about it. But nothing is done.
MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers are using obviously false Social Security numbers. We can detect those employers who are systemically employing workers despite the fact that there's an obvious mismatch between the names and the Social Security numbers in question.
PILGRIM: Employers are not required to check the numbers, and some don't want to because they benefit from hiring illegal workers. In February, in congressional testimony, the inspector general of the Social Security Administration accused, "This information is at our fingertips. We can identify the most egregious employers with respect to wage reporting irregularities, but no action is taken against them by the IRS."
As for the argument that the privacy law of the tax code prevents sharing of data between government agencies, that appears to be a false argument also. A GAO report from October last year states, "The IRS and U.S. Customs and Immigration Service shared data for about 10 years but ended this agreement in 1996." The report says it stopped because it was no longer cost-effective.
PILGRIM: Now, Congress is working on legislation to require a tamper-proof Social Security card system. And possibly added to that bill is a technical amendment which would be the requirement that the government notify a person whose number has been stolen as soon as they're aware of the problem -- Lou.
DOBBS: Point blank, the Social Security Administration has the responsibility and the Internal Revenue Service to share this data and to act on it. And if this president wanted to change that, he could do so immediately by executive order.
PILGRIM: He absolutely could. And, in fact, some suggest that even if you interpret the tax law in a little broader way, which they have done in the past, they could do it anyway.
DOBBS: As you reported both today and yesterday, the idea that bureaucrats are hiding behind this fig leaf of fiction is reprehensible. And I think it's more than a coincidence, if I may say, that this occurred in 1996, under the Clinton administration, which is the same year, of course, that the Clinton administration pushed through bilingual and multilingual ballots, and a host of other issues that favored, if you will, illegal immigration and in many ways facilitated it.
Keep digging on this one. Maybe the -- maybe you will be able to wake those -- those folks in Washington up as they sleep.
Thank you very much, Kitty Pilgrim. Excellent job.
Taking a look now at your thoughts.
Jane in California, "Recently I called my senator, only to be greeted with a 'Press 2 for Spanish' option. I guess my elected official needs a Spanish translator for his new constituents. Lou, I promise you, my vote in November won't be a guess."
Gene in West Virginia, "I followed the debate on illegal aliens closely, and my senator and congressman will not be getting amnesty from me in November."
And Melody in Illinois, "Dear Lou, the more elected officials say they can't build a wall across the border, the more I say they can find a new job in November."
Send us your thoughts at LouDobbs.com. We'll have more of your thoughts later here in the broadcast.
Coming right up, a new Senate push to making English the national language of the United States. One senator calls that measure racist. We'll be telling you about Senator Harry Reid.
And the explosive new report predicting a population explosion in this country if the Senate immigration bill were to become law.
And three of this nation's most political analysts join me to discuss the president's continued failure to present to this nation a coherent plan to secure our borders, our ports, and to resolve what is nothing less than an illegal immigration crisis.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: As we reported, President Bush supports now making English the official language of the United States. This comes after the U.S. Senate approved a similar measure. The Senate amendment to illegal immigration legislation has, however, touched off a firestorm. Critics are blasting the idea as not American, unconstitutional and, yes, even racist.
John Roberts reports.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the Senate attempts to hammer out a solution to illegal immigration, it was the conservative from Oklahoma who laid down a strict marker.
SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R), OKLAHOMA: Today the Senate is stating that there is not right entitlement or claim to services and materials in any language other than English.
ROBERTS: English is the official language of the United States. The right thing to do?
SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R), TENNESSEE: It is part of our blood. It's part of our spirit. It's part of who we are. It is our national language.
ROBERTS: Or wrong?
SEN. HARRY REID (D), MINORITY LEADER: While the intent may not be there, I really believe this amendment is racist. I think it's directed basically to people who speak Spanish.
ROBERTS: In the end, the Senate approved two amendments, one to make English the national not official language, another codifying it as America's common and unifying language. It was more symbolism than anything. Neither amendment appears to override existing protections for other languages.
But Latino civil rights groups fear some non-English speakers could lose crucial language assistance.
RAUL GONZALES, NATIONAL COUNCIL OF LA RAZA: Symbolism is important. And we agree that we should always affirm that English is the language of this country because it is. That's why 92 percent of Americans speak it. But you know what? We don't know the practical effect.
ROBERTS: That was a concern expressed by some people we talked to on the streets. How would the law be enforced? Surprisingly, though, most had no problem with the declaration of English as the national language.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this is America, country of law. And I think English is our language. No matter where we come from we need to speak English.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just from my personal experience, yes, you know you have hardship but you go through it and you learn the language as best that you can.
ROBERTS: In fact, the greatest resistance to the idea came from people whose first language is English.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's a slap in the face then to everyone who comes here from other countries.
ROBERTS: So far, 27 states have made English their official language. No one has pushed the issue harder than lobby group U.S. English, which counts on its advisory board Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charlton Heston and Arnold Palmer. Why is a national statement so important?
ROBERT TOONKEL, U.S. ENGLISH, INC.: English is what brings us together. We're a nation of many races, many religions and many nationalities, but we can speak and do business together, whether it's in a small business or in the halls of Congress because we can speak English together.
ROBERTS: Critics of the amendments argue that there is no need to declare English the official or national or unifying language of the United States. It's just accepted that it is, they say, and arguing about such a trivial matter only takes away -- attention away from the real problem at hand.
But supporters of the amendment point out that the United States is way in the minority on this, among just 8 percent of nations worldwide that haven't declared an official language -- Lou.
DOBBS: And the idea that the Senate minority leader could say that it is racist to do so is mind boggling. Any indication from his office as to what in the world Senator Reid could possibly be thinking about?
ROBERTS: We didn't check back on that, Lou. Usually whatever Senator Reid says is what he's thinking about, so we didn't see the need.
DOBBS: You didn't see the need.
Well, the fact is, I see the need to find out why people would resort to race baiting on the floor of the U.S. Senate and particularly on an issue so simple and straightforward as the official language of the United States. A remarkable performance this week on the floor of the Senate. They've done themselves proud, this great deliberative body.
John Roberts, thank you very much.
Senator Harry Reid hasn't always supported guest worker programs nor amnesty for illegal aliens as he does now and enthusiastically so. Thirteen years ago the senator said illegal aliens who receive welfare and other benefits are freeloaders and scam artists. The following year, Senator Reid said we must reduce the number of immigrants, immigrants legal as well as illegal, in order to provide for a better country. Remarkable thinking, a remarkable metamorphosis over the years.
That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight. Do you believe that English should be the official language of the United States? Yes or no. Cast your votes at LouDobbs.com. We'll have results here later in the broadcast.
This week's Heritage Foundation study blasting the so-called comprehensive immigration reform bill before the Senate seems to have struck a nerve at the White House. The White House today attacked the main points of the study, which warns of a massive population explosion in this country if the Senate bill would be passed in its current form.
The Heritage Foundation says some 66 million new immigrants would be allowed to enter this country legally over the next 20 years under this legislation, showing that the Senate bill would double the rate of legal immigration in the United States and create a seismic shift in the demographic makeup of the country. The White House say those figures are wildly overstated.
Joining me now is Robert Rector, he is author of that study, the author of the Heritage Foundation report, a senior fellow, and good to have you with us.
ROBERT RECTOR, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Thank you for having me on your show.
DOBBS: Your initial report suggested well over 100 million over the next 10 years. Could you give all of us some sense as to now with the suggestion by the White House that these numbers are wildly overstated, what you think of the reasons that the White House citing the CBO estimate suggesting that your numbers are overstated by a very large margin?
RECTOR: Well, our estimate is very simple. We simply looked at the bill and we found, although most of the public attention was focused on the issue of giving amnesty to illegals, that behind the scenes this original bill would have quintupled the rate of immigration into the U.S. from one million a year to five million a year under the attack of the revealing these facts that's been scaled back.
But they're still increasing it by at least more than two-fold with more than 66 million legal immigrants coming into the U.S. The immigration rate and the foreign born rate in the United States would be far beyond the bounds of anything that has ever happened in our history.
The White House has, I think, very feebly responded by trying to pretend that the actual numbers that are in the bill are not real. The numbers in the CBO report don't even reflect those that the White House is saying.
And we've responded by saying well, White House if you really believe that only eight million people will be coming in under this bill, then why don't we just write that into the law that the total number of additional legal immigrants under the bill will be no more than eight billion -- eight million? They haven't responded to that at all because I think they know their case is preposterous.
DOBBS: Let's go to a couple of the basic arguments here. The report overestimates -- your report -- the number of illegal immigrant, according to the White House, who will become legal immigrants and remain in the United States permanently. How do you react to that?
RECTOR: It's silly. The CBO report they're relying on simply says that they may not all get immediate amnesty. Some of them will go into the guest worker for life program and get citizenship there. It's mere a delay of a few years. We know there are 10 million illegals here. We know most of them are going to get citizenship.
DOBBS: Well, if you know there are 10 million illegals here in this country, you're doing pretty good. Because I haven't been able to find anything definitive about the number of illegal aliens in this country.
RECTOR: Right. We use very conservative assumptions in our estimate.
DOBBS: Conservative assumptions. Let's go to a couple of quick points if I may ask for a quick response here. Saying your report does not account for the many immigrants who will later choose to leave the United States. How do you respond to that?
RECTOR: Absolutely idiotic. I mean -- they're actually saying that what we're going to give these people amnesty but a third are going to leave very shortly and go back home. It is absolute dribble. And it doesn't even reflect the studies they use.
These low income immigrants coming from poor countries obviously have a very, very low return rate. I don't think we need a lot of additional social science to back that up, although the social science, in fact, shows that fact.
DOBBS: It also said that you...
RECTOR: They are getting a great benefit by citizenship in the United States, they're not going home.
DOBBS: And very quickly, the White House response suggests that you've counted some new immigrants twice, first as guest workers then as green cardholders.
RECTOR: The act is very clear that the guest worker program they get green cards and legal permanent residence without any reflection to the other caps and the builders. No mention of that. They're creating a fictitious cap in order to artificially reduce the number of the apparent number of people coming in because they are embarrassed.
DOBBS: Right. Bottom line, what is your best estimate right now as to the explosion in legal immigration under this so-called reform legislation in the Senate?
RECTOR: Even after the amendments, which pull the number down considerably, we're still talking about 66 million legal immigrants coming into the United States over the next 20 years. At the end of 20 years, close to one-quarter of the population in the United States will be foreign-born. That's a rate of immigration far beyond anything ever in our history.
DOBBS: Do you find it amazing that this Senate does not know how many illegal aliens are in this country? The estimates range from usually 11 million to 12 million to 20 million. But no one really knows. And that there are no numerical caps put on any part of that amnesty provision, none whatsoever?
And, secondly, that there is no national dialogue, no national vision of what this country should look like over the course of the next 25 years, the types and the education and the nations of origin for the people we will be bringing to this nation of immigrants.
RECTOR: Absolutely. It's even worse than that. Senator Sessions initially called attention to this issue because the Senate itself has no idea of how much it's increasing legal immigration, has no notion of these numbers. This was really a stealth open border bill. They wanted to sneak this through without anyone knowing.
DOBBS: Well, a few of us did notice. And Robert Rector, we thank you for paying close attention. We hope you come back soon, as we explore an issue that is certainly far from resolution irrespective of whether or not the Senate marches ahead with its rather arbitrary, even capricious deadline of Memorial Day to come to some sort of legislative conclusion. We thank you very much, Robert Rector.
RECTOR: Thank you.
DOBBS: Coming up next -- and I should point out, as Robert Rector said, Senator Jeff Sessions first brought attention to this issue, and today again Senator Sessions saying that his colleagues in the U.S. Senate should be ashamed.
Next, three of this country's most distinguished political analysts join me with their thoughts as the Senate readies its vote on immigration reform. And in tonight's "Heroes," the brave men and women flying our wounded troops out of harm's way in Iraq, putting their lives on the line to save lives. Stay with us.
DOBBS: The Senate debate over so-called comprehensive immigration reform -- don't you just love that expression -- takes place against a backdrop of plummeting poll numbers for the president and the Congress.
Joining me now, Hank Sheinkopf, leading Democratic strategist. Robert Zimmerman, member of the Democratic National Committee. Richard Brookhiser, columnist for "The National Review," author of "What Would The Founding Fathers Do?" Our questions and their answers.
We need, Richard, a lot of answers from founding fathers as well as those rather anemic echoes of their positions -- I shouldn't say that. I love all our senators, all our congressmen and our president. What would our founding fathers say about this situation right now?
RICHARD BROOKHISER, NATIONAL REVIEW: Well, Alexander Hamilton said, how can you have a government of laws when the laws are disregarded and disobeyed? He was saying that about the Whiskey Rebellion, but I think it's a general principle.
DOBBS: Well, we've got the Whiskey Rebellion. This president says illegal immigration is simply a parallel, that Prohibition would stand as a metaphor.
The Democrats are doing absolutely no better. They're screaming for even more amnesty, more largess on the part of the country that has been extraordinarily tolerant to this point. Hank, where are we headed here?
HANK SHEINKOPF, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: We're headed to nothing.
SHEINKOPF: No, here's where we're headed.
DOBBS: You sound like you're being hopeful.
SHEINKOPF: We're headed to Republicans being given the ability to bring back symbolic issues so they don't have to talk about anything significant, so they can get the base ginned up for these November House and Senate elections.
ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DNC: I would not underestimate the sophistication or the anger of the American people. You know, in 2004 they played this game when the Senate couldn't find time to debate funding for Homeland Security, but they put gay marriage on the floor of the Senate as a constitutional amendment.
It's a different climate right now. And the demands and the concerns of the American people are much more profound. So I think you're going to see much more demand for aggressive response. And you're seeing Democrats, I think the Bingaman-Feinstein provision on the guest worker visa, capping it at 200,000 as an example...
DOBBS: They only did so after Robert Rector's study showing the reality of what they were pushing through, Democrats and Republicans...
ZIMMERMAN: No argument for me there.
DOBBS: This would have been an explosion...
ZIMMERMAN: But President Bush ...
DOBBS: And everybody owes Senator Jeff Sessions and the Heritage Foundation a real vote of thanks here, because everyone was just trying to sneak this on by.
ZIMMERMAN: President Bush didn't even put a cap in when he proposed his immigration reform. So I think it is important.
And I'm not saying it's a Democratic or Republican issue.
DOBBS: I'm saying it's both, and I think that both are blessed with so many cowards in the Senate that it is a disgrace.
BROOKHISER: I can give you some data from doing book publicity all week on radio stations, lots of them, and every single one asked questions about immigration. I've never seen anything like it. It's wall-to-wall.
DOBBS: Let's see what -- if we have -- do we have Senator Harry Reid's comments on making English the official language today if we could? Let's share that with these folks and our audience.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: While the intent may not be there, I really believe this amendment is racist. I think it's directed basically to people who speak Spanish.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Well, Hank, you're interested in wedge issues and profound issues. What was that?
SHEINKOPF: That was dumb. All that did was give the Republicans more fire to try to make this into a symbolic argument. And Mr. Zimmerman is right, they probably won't get away with it on either side, because people are kind of angry. And we're seeing what I call the tangible voter, who wants to see real results and something happening. And they're going to throw a lot of people out, Republican and Democrat, would be my hunch.
But here's an attempt to go backwards in time. That's not what this is about.
DOBBS: That was about as disgusting as this has been to this point, at least from the Senate.
ZIMMERMAN: I'll tell you what's more disgusting to me, Lou...
DOBBS: Well, first, tell me what you think is disgusting about that. A Senate Democratic leader standing up and saying something like that. Tell me what you think about that.
ZIMMERMAN: I wouldn't use the word racist, but I would certainly say it was divisive.
DOBBS: No, but what do you think about what he said?
DOBBS: I mean, that is a disgusting...
ZIMMERMAN: I don't think it's productive to the dialogue.
DOBBS: Don't you think he ought to be embarrassed and ashamed?
ZIMMERMAN: I'm not going to dump on Harry Reid, because I think ...
DOBBS: Well, if you don't dump on a man who race baits in this country...
ZIMMERMAN: Well, I don't it's race baiting.
DOBBS: Oh, absolutely.
ZIMMERMAN: I think he's responding to a very -- you know something, Lou? I think there's a much bigger issue here.
DOBBS: Well, there are lots of bigger issue, but this is one that's occurring on the Senate floor. I think the quality of the leadership on this issue, that everyone should be watching clearly.
SHEINKOPF: Blue collar, white people, white men, white Catholics in the Midwest, without whom the Democrats cannot take back the White House or hold on to the Senate or the House, if they get within a shot, will be offended by that kind of behavior. That's why...
SHEINKOPF: It doesn't help Democrats.
(CROSSTALK) DOBBS: ... Hispanics and other minorities in this country? Senator Harry Reid is not taking note of the fact that most Hispanics in this country speak English. I mean, how in the world could he come up with that kind of patronizing, condescending and disgusting language?
ZIMMERMAN: I think there's a much -- let me tell you something, I said to you before, I think that tactic of making this symbolic gestures around English are a divisive tactic.
What's much more offensive to me is the fact that this Senate can't put funding together to put our ports and borders. This is the focus of their attention?
DOBBS: Let's find out what the founding fathers would have said about English as the official language.
BROOKHISER: Well, if you want to be in touch with their minds, you have to know English. You know? If this country down the road becomes bilingual or officially multi-lingual, someplace like Canada...
DOBBS: God save us.
BROOKHISER: Well, I'm just saying. In that case, you will still have to know English to understand what they were thinking and what they were saying. Translation always loses something. There's always something lost.
BROOKHISER: And if you read -- no, wait a second. If you read more than one language you know that. You can get a good translation, but it is never the same as the original. So if you want to know what they meant by these words that they lived and died by, you're going to have to encounter those in English.
DOBBS: All right, how about immigration itself, very quickly.
BROOKHISER: Founding fathers, some of them were very tough on it. Thomas Jefferson actually wasn't ...
DOBBS: On immigration or illegal immigration?
BROOKHISER: He was pro-alien when he ran in 1800. That's one of the reasons he beat John Adams. He played to the ethnic vote. The federalists had criticized hordes of wild Irishmen.
DOBBS: You don't think the Democrats or Republicans are doing that right now, do you, Rich?
ZIMMERMAN: Playing to the ethnic vote? I think it's the nature of politics. I think there's a much bigger concern, though, Lou.
ZIMMERMAN: If I may say, that is the fact that right now the Senate is ignoring the real crisis, which is not the English language, although the way they use it could be a crisis. It's the fact that we're not providing the proper funding for our ports and borders. That's the issue.
DOBBS: Absolutely. Oh, you're not content with 6,000 National Guardsmen -- up to 6,000 National Guardsmen, unarmed in an adjunct support role on the border?
SHEINKOPF: It gave him a two-point boost in the polls. Only the American public can force the Senate and this Congress into action. They've got to get mobilized. It's just that simple, both sides of the aisle.
DOBBS: Very quickly, if you can give me just a one word answer, Richard, do we get immigration legislation, do we get an immigration law this year?
BROOKHISER: I hope not. It would be bettor have nothing.
DOBBS: From your lips to God's ears, as the saying goes, if this is to be the construction of it. Hank, Robert, Richard, thank you very much,
Coming up next here, "Heroes," our tribute to the brave men and women who served this nation in uniform around the world. We'll be meeting the remarkable individuals risking when their troops are wounded on Iraq's battlefields. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Coming up in just about six minutes, "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer.
Wolf, tell us about it.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Lou.
Should English be the national language? There's a clash, as you know, in the Senate over a new proposal. We're covering the story.
Plus, Lou Dobbs himself and Janet Morigue (ph) from the National Council of La Raza, they'll both be here live in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thanks, Lou.
Also, John McCain plays to the left and the right, but gets booed. Can he walk down the middle and win over both sides at the same time? Plus, more on that developing story, the Guantanamo clashes, prisoners rising up during an attempted suicide. The U.S. calls for the -- the U.N. calls for the U.S. to shut down the facility.
Lou, all of that coming up.
DOBBS: Thanks, Wolf. Looking forward to it. See you then.
Now "Heroes," our weekly tribute to our brave men and women serving this nation around the world. Tonight, we meet the remarkable medics and flight crews who fly into Iraq and bring the wounded home, operating from an air base in Balad north of Baghdad.
Bill Tucker has their story.
MAJOR ANDY NETHERWOOD, R.A.F.: We'll be delivering cargo and then the return leg we expect we'll be carrying wounded soldiers back to Germany where they can get medical care here before going on to the United States.
BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The mission is flown five times a week.
MAJOR DAVID BALL, MEDICAL EVACUATION SQUADRON: When they get hurt and they need to get treatment, they need to go home, they need somebody to come and get them and we're proud, our team is proud, to go get them.
TUCKER: Team is the operative word. This C-17 belongs to the Mississippi Air National Guard. Its flight crew and medical team, a mix of Guard, reservists and active servicemen and women.
CAPTAIN SEAN FOSTER, 101ST AIRBORNE: Teamwork between all of the services, not just the Air Force and the Army but the Navy, the Marines, everybody works together.
TUCKER: That teamwork has cut the average time that it takes to get a wounded soldier back home to less than a week. During Vietnam it took 48 days. And teamwork is apparent in every moment of the mission. The first landing inside Iraq, cargo is unloaded. The second landing at Balad Air Base, the pace accelerates.
(on camera): What happens next is this C-17 is reconfigured from a plane that delivers supplies to one that picks up a cargo of a far different kind.
COLONEL TIP WIGHT, VICE-WING COMMANDER: It's an incredible team and some great Americans doing great things. It's all about saving American lives.
LT. COLONEL RUSSELL PINARD, AEROMEDICAL SQUADRON: We have a 96 percent survival rate. If you get to our theater hospital alive, you have a 96 percent chance of making it.
TUCKER (voice-over): Those critically wounded travel with a mobile ICU and a team of three doctors.
MAJOR CELIA ENTHWHISTLE, N.C. AIR NATIONAL GUARD: Sometimes things go south up at 35,000 feet. So you have to be prepared for that, and try to plan for all of the bad things and the good things that can happen.
TUCKER: The Mississippi Air National Guard has flown more than 130 missions since the start of the war.
COLONEL WILLIAM HILL, MISSISSIPPI AIR NATIONAL GUARD: We're real proud to be able to fly this mission. And, I mean, it's -- there's nothing better out there. This is great people.
TUCKER: Bill Tucker, CNN, Balad Air Base, Iraq.
DOBBS: Next week, we take you to the military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany and introduce you to the men and women who care for our wounded troops.
Coming up next, we'll have the results of our poll. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Now the results of our poll. Ninety-seven percent of you say that English should be the official language of the United States.
Thanks for being with us tonight. We hope you have a pleasant weekend, a very pleasant weekend. Please join us here Monday, and among our guests will be Congressman Darrell Issa, who is absolutely furious about the serious shortage, the critical shortage, of immigration judges and federal attorneys dealing with illegal immigration.
For all of us here, thanks for watching. Good night from New York. "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer starts right now -- Wolf.
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