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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Aired October 25, 2006 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: LOU DOBBS TONIGHT presents a "CNN America Votes 2006 Special: Broken Borders".
Live from San Antonio, Texas, Lou Dobbs.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you.
DOBBS: Thank you very much.
DOBBS: You're terrific. Thank you very much.
DOBBS: A true San Antonio welcome, thank you very much. We're delighted that you're here and will have an opportunity engage in what is now a very serious national dialogue and discussion on critical issues facing this nation.
We want to welcome everyone to this very special town hall meeting. We're in San Antonio, Texas. The hospitality here could not be beat. We're here tonight to talk about one of the most important issues facing this nation as everyone in this room can attest certainly, our border security and illegal immigration crisis.
The country has a long and honorable tradition of welcoming legal immigrants to this nation, but in recent years there's been a huge influx of illegal aliens. By some estimates as many as 20 million live in the United States right now. Those illegal aliens are, among other things, depressing wages for U.S. citizens and draining local and state and federal budgets of much-needed funds for the education and the healthcare and social services of and for Americans.
The response of the Bush White House and administrations before it, and its partners in the U.S. Senate is what they call comprehensive immigration reform, but let's be clear. Their plan is to simply give illegal aliens amnesty to effectively further open our borders and not resolve the issue of law and order, legality and illegal immigration.
Tonight, we're coming to you from a historic Empire Theater here in San Antonio. San Antonio is the city at the center of our illegal immigration crisis. San Antonio is only three hours' drive from our southern border with Mexico and the city's booming economy is a huge magnet, of course, for illegal immigration. There are lies, distortions, untruths, out there about this country's border security and our illegal immigration crisis.
Tonight, we are going to do our very best to eliminate these issues, to reach some solutions, to speak honestly and forthrightly. We're going to participate in a national dialogue and we're going to do our level best to bring you as best we can determine it, truth in this hour about this crisis. In this broadcast I'll be talking with all sorts of folks.
We'll be hearing from you. We'll be hearing from lawmakers, local officials, law enforcement officials, certainly on the front lines of our border security and the illegal immigration crisis. The leaders of advocacy groups play an important role in this national discussion. They're here as well.
We'll also be hearing from you in the audience tonight right here in the Empire Theater about the impact of illegal immigration and on the quality -- its impact on the quality of life for all of us, but certainly on the impact of border life in this country and how it has changed as well, but first we're going to focus on the high cost of illegal immigration in this nation.
Illegal aliens cost the country literally billions of dollars each and every year, but incredible, no one, no one in government, no one in any industry, no one in any walk of life in the United States of America can say with certainty what the number of illegal aliens are in this country. Casey Wian has our report.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Education, healthcare, law enforcement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
WIAN: ... crowded cities, environmental damage, low wages.
DAN STEIN, FED. FOR AMERICAN IMMIG. REFORM: There's simply no way you can look at the average education of the illegal aliens in this country and say that they're anything, but a cost.
Society winds up paying more to provide basic services than they ever pay into the system. Now employers love that. Employers love the fact that they can pocket the difference in the wage differential while we, middle-class taxpayers, get stuck with the tab.
WIAN: The tab is growing. California spends half a billion dollars a year on illegal alien healthcare, only 11 percent is reimbursed by the federal government. Forty-four of California hospitals have closed since 2000. Education for the children of illegal alien costs the state $6 billion a year, California's public school system ranked 29th nationally in 2002. It's now 47th.
WIAN: In Texas, where the border is now ground zero in an all- out war among Mexican drug cartels, the governor is asking for an additional $100 million in state money for board security.
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: Border security is too important to be left to one level of government, that's why Texas has joined the fight.
WIAN: Even New York spends $5 billion a year on education, healthcare and incarceration of illegal aliens. There are also human costs. A growing number of groups are protesting the deaths of American citizens and law enforcement officers at the hands of criminal illegal aliens. The federal government is either unwilling or unable to deport.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police are being murdered at alarming rates and no one seems to care.
WIAN: Seventy-five people have been killed in the past decade on this one stretch of California highway near the border by illegal alien smugglers fleeing law enforcement.
DIANE JACOB, SAN DIEGO COUNTY SUPERVISOR: There's been no will in Washington to stop the illegal traffic across the border. As a result, you see these travesties.
WIAN: American workers, especially those at the lower end of the pay scale are also victims.
One Harvard study found illegal immigration lowered the wages of American high school dropouts by eight percent. Another released last month, now the link between the influx of low-scaled immigrants and low wages, high unemployment and high incarceration rates of African Americans.
Yet some economists continue to cling to the theory that the economic benefits of illegal immigration including cheap labor and illegal alien purchasing power outweigh those costs.
(on camera): But there's strong evidence illegal immigration is turning the United States into an hour glass society. Big business and the wealthy who benefit from cheap labor are the top. Illegal aliens and the American workers they've displaced are the bottom and the middle class continues to disappear.
Casey Wian, CNN, San Antonio, Texas.
DOBBS: Now let's bring in some members of our audience and continue this dialogue. Yes, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. What impact to our economy do you foresee 20 years from now from the illegal immigrants that are currently in our country given that the mass vast majority of them are not educated and given that our economic growth is sustained by a population capable of innovation and leadership?
DOBBS: Thank you very much. Looking out 20 years is difficult enough as we're sitting here just less than two weeks away from a midterm election, an election that's difficult to, with confidence, forecast. I'd like to turn to Robert Rector, if I may, who's seated here. He's with the Heritage Foundation and by way of introduction I should point out that Robert also did some seminal research that actually changed the direction of Senate legislation and we appreciate you being here -- Robert, your thoughts on the gentleman's question.
ROBERT RECTOR, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Well, assuming that we have about 11 million immigrants in the U.S., the net cost or the total cost of services and benefits provided to them, education, welfare, general social services would be about $90 billion a year, and they would pay very little in taxes. It's important to remember that at least half of illegal immigrants are high school dropouts.
The National Academy of Sciences told us 10 years ago that a dropout immigrant imposes net cost on the taxpayer, that's services given over the cost of taxes paid of about $100,000 over the course of his lifetime. In the last 20 years or so since through both legal and illegal immigration, we've imported about 11 million high school dropouts. The net cost of those individuals over their lifetimes to the taxpayers will be about $2 trillion. We simply cannot afford as a nation to bring in millions and millions of low-skill individuals who will eat up government services, but pay virtually nothing in taxes.
DOBBS: Robert Rector, thank you very much. Many of the burdens of illegal immigration are lost in the dialogue. There are benefits. There are benefits as well to illegal immigration, but they tend to be relatively narrow. There are other views on that and those are views that we're going to get here -- get to tonight because there are those who advocate illegal immigration, amnesty and it's important that we all understand that while this is a human problem and one in which I think all of our hearts go out to the people who are impoverished around the world. More than 5 million people living in poverty. That in and of itself is not satisfactory rationalization for illegal immigration and the continuation of policies that do little to solve the problem.
We'll hear more from this audience about this important issue throughout the broadcast. Up next, alarming new evidence of the anarchy and the rising violence along our southern border with Mexico, violence that's spreading deeper into the United States. The chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Investigations, Congressman Michael McCaul joins us here.
We'll continue with this town hall meeting from San Antonio, Texas in one minute. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Welcome back to San Antonio, Texas, our special town hall meeting, "Broken Borders".
And as we look around this room there are almost as many viewpoints on these issues as there are people in this room and certainly we can add to that if we go outside the doors of the Empire Theater here, but let's look at some facts.
Last year 1.2 million illegal aliens were stopped at our southern border with Mexico. Most of those illegal aliens were from Mexico, and according to the border patrol, for every illegal alien apprehended three successfully enter the United States. That means perhaps as many as three million illegal aliens succeed in entering the country, but also an increasing number from countries known to sponsor terrorism are making it into this country.
They're called OTMs, other than Mexico. Last year U.S. border patrol agents apprehended 155,000 people from countries other than Mexico. The general estimate is that for every person apprehended at our borders, as I said, three get through. The math on that number is particularly disturbing. The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, for example, has studied criminal illegal aliens and studied those aliens who have been deported after they had served time in the Los Angeles county jails.
That study revealed that 70 percent of those illegal aliens were re-arrested again -- arrested, in fact, four more times. The Drug Enforcement Administration says $25 billion in drug money crosses our border with Mexico each and every year. Some estimates put it as high as 40 billion. Eighty percent of the methamphetamines in this country, 70 to 90 percent of the cocaine, virtually all of the marijuana smuggled into the United States comes from across our southern border with Mexico.
Violent battles between Mexican drug cartels along our southern border are now spreading into the United States. A recent congressional report shows Mexican drug traffickers have achieved shocking levels of sophistication and effectiveness. The report, for the first time, reveals that Hezbollah terrorists have already crossed the Mexican border into the United States.
Joining me now is the congressman who authored the study, Michael McCaul. He's a member of the Homeland Security Committee. He is chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Investigations and it's his subcommittee that produced this shocking report.
Congressman, it's great to have you here.
REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R), TEXAS: Welcome (INAUDIBLE) to Texas.
DOBBS: Well thank you. I appreciate it. It's -- the difficulty with this report is to imagine that in 2006, five years after September 11, our borders are insecure. That affects, of course, our vulnerability to global terrorism. That our borders are insecure because it leaves us vulnerable to illegal immigration that runs unchecked and horrifyingly, to the drug violence and the drugs that are being imported into this country from Mexico. It's shocking. MCCAUL: You know after September the 11th, this is really a national security issue, first and foremost. We do not know who is coming into this country. As we found after a year of investigations, the drug cartels have never been more powerful or more violent and they are exporting drugs and crime and human trafficking. We know the numbers of special interest aliens, OTMs as you referred to.
MCCAUL: ... have tripled, actually over 40 percent since September the 11th, and I think the ultimate nightmare scenario that every member of Congress stays awake at night, at least I do, is God forbid a weapon of mass destruction is used to cross into our borders through these corridors that the cartels control.
DOBBS: Congressman, one question and then we're going to turn to the audience. How is it that we can be in this position, a super power, the richest country on the face of the nation, dealing with an issue or failing to deal with an issue of this magnitude.
MCCAUL: We have got to get operations.
MCCAUL: ... control these borders and we did the last week in the Congress, want to point out, did appropriate billions of dollars for border security for more agents, for fencing, for technology, but our report looked at the other side of the border and what's happening in Mexico. The cartels are out of control. They've taken over, but even more eerily is what's happening in Venezuela with Mr. Chavez and his open embracement of the Islamic, jihad world.
MCCAUL: When we look at the (INAUDIBLE) Mexican National Security adviser and ambassador to the United Nations who stated that Islamic terrorists were using Mexico as a refuge. Those are his words, not mine. FBI Director Muller testified before the House that Islamic individuals are changing their surnames and taking on false Hispanic identities with counterfeit documents.
Most importantly, five Pakistanis found at the U.S./Mexico border with fraudulent Venezuelan documents.
MCCAUL: ... if that's not a loud enough alarm to get everybody's attention, to fix this problem, I don't know what is.
DOBBS: I think your report has gained the attention of the public and I cannot wait to see the next steps in the investigation. We have questions from the audience. Yes?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Good evening my name is Chad Lopez (ph). I represent Southwest Workers Union here in San Antonio, Texas. I'm a community and labor organizer and first of all, I want to clarify that no one is an illegal alien. I feel we should change the language that we use and refrain to how we classify people.
No human is illegal and no one is an alien. One is that why do you support racist immigration laws and the construction of the death wall along the U.S./Mexico border when we should be spending the billions of dollars to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina and all the poor working class people struggling to survive here in the United States and we're also here bringing a list of people's demands. We feel that every migrant.
DOBBS: I apologize.
DOBBS: ... to take your question.
DOBBS: Sir, I apologize, but we really need to get your question in. We thank you, sir.
Congressman, your thoughts.
MCCAUL: Let me say, I think first we need to be very responsible in the rhetoric as we engage in this debate. This is not about -- it's not about race. You know we have the border share standing right here. They're on the front lines in this war on terror. This is the last line of defense. They're Hispanic. This is not about race.
This is all about security and public safety for the nation. The Fence Security Act will be signed by the president tomorrow. It is not a wall, a 2,000-mile wall. It is fencing put at strategic points along the border where the border patrol has come to the Congress and said we need these physical barricades to protect the United States. If you look at El Paso, a great example, hold the line where there are physical barricades put in El Paso, the crime rate dropped dramatically because if you don't do it in the populated areas, you have one homogeneous city on both sides of the border.
Yes, ma'am, your question.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, my name is Carla Vela (ph). I'm chair of the Bexar County (ph) Democratic Party. Other than wasting taxpayer dollars, what guarantees and in effect a fence brings to the national security that is in -- is that the real issue or is this another Berlin Wall that should not be here in the United States?
(APPLAUSE AND CHEERING)
MCCAUL: The Congress has the power to appropriate money. We have made this a priority. I think the question is can we afford not to? Can we afford not to secure our southwest border? And I think the answer to that is we have to do this, and if you again talk to the board of sheriffs who see day in and day out -- you know these cartels have military-grade weapons. They have military-style weapons. They have hand grenades. They have IEDs. We need to protect our border and we need to protect our law enforcement on the border who are getting shot at every day down there.
DOBBS: Congressman, thank you. The border fence sets off a lot of emotions and the fact is it is strange to me that a lot of emotions aren't set off because we've been fighting a war on drugs in this country, that Mexico is a documented source of all of those amphetamines and cocaine and marijuana and the source of so much illegal immigration.
It strikes me that if our partner to the south were doing more we would not have to resort to that kind of solution, but sometimes a nation is left without choices and without partnership with others as we've learned over the course of the past -- certainly through this -- beginning of this century.
Coming up next, our illegal immigration crisis is simply a failure to enforce our laws, a failure of this administration and previous administrations. It is also a failure of Congress to enforce the law. But you may be shocked to learn just how much Mexico, which is the richest country in Latin America, not the poorest is gaining through the encouragement of the invasion of illegal aliens into this country. That story is almost never reported. It will be here tonight and we'll be talking about it. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Welcome back to our town hall meeting in San Antonio. The government of Mexico and in particular, the government of President Vicente Fox has made increasing demands upon the United States for the care of millions of its citizens living in the United States and living here illegally.
For its part, Mexico denies any responsibility for America's illegal alien problem and the lives of its citizens living in the United States, but the Mexican government actively encourages its citizens to flee Mexico to America, going so far as to publish a book explaining how to enter the United States, of course, illegally.
The government calls illegal aliens who enter the United States heroes and indeed from their perspective, they are. There are as many 12 million Mexican citizens living in the United States illegally.
The Mexican Central Bank estimates that Mexican citizens in this country, legally and illegally, are sending some $24 billion a year back to Mexico in the form of remittances. That's ahead of oil revenues for Mexico, some say just about the same for the revenue for Mexico as the trafficking of illegal drugs.
But as I said, Mexico is not the poorest nation in this hemisphere and certainly not the world. Mexico, in fact, is the richest Latin American country, yet almost half of its people live in desperate poverty.
We're going to examine that part of the equation in this crisis and we're going to have the opportunity to hear from Rosa Rosales. She's the president of the LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens. John Trasvina, he is the interim president of MALDEF, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Welcome. Good to have you both here.
Dan Stein, he's the president of FAIR, the Federation of American Immigration Reform and Roy Beck, who is executive director of Numbers USA. We thank you all for being here. I guess we're going to -- Rosa, if I may start with you. Do you believe that Mexico is behaving responsibly as a government in this illegal immigration crisis?
ROSA ROSALES, PRESIDENT, LULAC: Before I answer it.
ROSALES: ... I think we need to have some facts, you know you said the myths and the lies here. You know we have to recognize, first and most important, they're not illegal aliens. They're not from outer space. They're human beings. Call them undocumented. Have respect for them.
ROSALES: Second thing that I want to clarify here is very important is the fact that the undocumented, the immigrants who come here to the United States have contributed $519 billion to Social Security and they will never.
DOBBS: In what period of time (INAUDIBLE) would you say that.
ROSALES: Five hundred and nineteen billion.
DOBBS: In what period?
ROSALES: ... Social Security.
DOBBS: In what period?
ROSALES: In what period?
ROSALES: The time they've been here. OK, $519 billion have been left in the coffers of Social Security. Now, let me ask you that they don't collect that money. Where is that money? They also over a lifetime have $80,000 that they pay in taxes. The undocumented pay local, state and federal taxes and Medicare, OK, where is that money? Every year over $80,000 they pay in taxes, more than they'll ever collect in a lifetime back in services.
DOBBS: I'm sorry, who is paying $80,000 in taxes?
ROSALES: The immigrants, the undocumented.
DOBBS: The undocumented?
DOBBS: They come in here.
DOBBS: They have no documents.
ROSALES: ... and they contribute federal taxes, state taxes, local taxes.
DOBBS: All right.
ROSALES: And that's important.
ROSALES: ... to know that there's a lot of positives, the immigrants contribute to this country. Where are those? are not lies. Those are not myths. Mexico is our friend. Mexico is not the enemy. We're not at war with Mexico.
Why should we be at war? Why do we not have comprehensive immigration reform.
ROSALES: ... that deals with these people as human beings and by the way, they contribute $10 billion a year to the economy of the United States. And they will continue and by the way.
DOBBS: Before you by the way anymore.
ROSALES: No,, OK.
DOBBS: Let me.
ROSALES: OK, let me just say that it's important to know that the contributions that the immigrants contribute to this country. We need to take that into account when we have any kind of immigration reform. We need to protect their rights as human beings, their rights, their civil rights, their labor rights.
DOBBS: Are there any victims in this?
ROSALES: There's plenty of victims. Have you not heard when they had a company here, that they were paying them 25 cents for one of those palettes? They were paying by the piece? You don't think that's slavery? There's a lot of abuse. And I get many calls where they work them and then they don't want to pay them. That's another abuse. You want to hear some more?
DOBBS: Yes, Rosa.
ROSALES: And I will continue to tell it.
There's plenty of abuses. They're coming and they're being used as cheap labor. And they contribute billions to the economy and they will continue to give a lot of billions of dollars to the economy.
DOBBS: There's no question, Rosa...
ROSALES: There's going to 33 million unskilled workers that is going to be needed. Who do you think they're going to come from?
And they don't take the jobs from the Americans.
DOBBS: Rosa, I have no...
ROSALES: It's the older Americans that don't want -- older Americans here in the United States, that they don't want to take the restaurant jobs. They don't want to take the jobs that nobody wants.
DOBBS: You don't see...
ROSALES: Those are the jobs that they're taking right now, cheap labor jobs.
DOBBS: So Mexico is doing the United States a favor and we should say thank you?
ROSALES: Mexico is not doing the United States a favor. What I'm saying, that this is a problem that we have to...
DOBBS: Rosa, I have to turn to other people. I asked a simple question.
ROSALES: We're taken advantage of for many, many years...
DOBBS: Excuse you, you said we. You need to deal with some facts. Let's go through some facts.
ROSALES: ... human resources. You mentioned that they're draining the hospitals...
DOBBS: All right, Rosa...
ROSALES: ... and that's not true, sir. You're not being fair. You're not telling the truth to the public here because they are not. They are not. They are contributing...
DOBBS: I'm sorry. Who is not?
ROSALES: ... to the stimulus of the economy of the country.
DOBBS: To the stimulus?
ROSALES: Yes. Yes. All those reports.
DOBBS: All right.
ROSALES: The Urban Institute, OK? That's one of them. The rent report (ph) that came out. That's the other one. I mean, you...
DOBBS: OK. Do you remember the question, Rosa? Do you remember the question?
ROSALES: The question.
Well, I had to get this in, because since I got here all I hear is...
DOBBS: We want to get everybody in, Rosa...
ROSALES: ... and by the way, we not being invaded.
ROSALES: We're not being invaded, you know? What's all this hysteria? Is it because the Latino population is growing in such great numbers that we fear the voting power?
DOBBS: Oh, Rosa.
ROSALES: That we fear the...
DOBBS: All right. Rosa, I was so proud of you. Rosa, I was so proud of you, and then you bring up race.
Rosa, as of now I have no interest...
ROSALES: What did President Reagan tell Gorbachev. What did he say?
ROSALES: Tear down that wall!
And now we want to build walls.
DOBBS: Rosa, what is the responsibility of the Mexican government here? That was the question.
ROSALES: I think there is a responsibility, Mexico and the United States need to work together to get meaningful immigration reform for this country. You're right.
(APPLAUSE) DOBBS: Aren't you afraid -- aren't you afraid that the government of Mexico will consider you somewhat patronizing and condescending, perhaps even racist, to suggest that Mexico cannot take responsibility for its own problems?
ROSALES: I don't think so. I don't think so. And as a matter of fact, I'm going meet with President Calderon, OK?
DOBBS: You have a hoot.
I'm going want to turn to you, John. What is your answer to the question?
JOHN TRASVINA, INTERIM PRESIDENT, MALDEF: Lou, if you had wanted the perspective of the government of Mexico, you should have brought the government of Mexico here. Soles Americanos (ph). We're Americans, just the same as everyone else on this panel.
DOBBS: I'm sorry, you're what? Say that again?
TRASVINA: We're Americans, the same as everyone else.
DOBBS: Is that in dispute?
TRASVINA: It is when you're asking us about what the government of Mexico -- you should have brought the government of Mexico here.
DOBBS: John, that is a -- wait a minute. Excuse me, John. Because I, at some point, will get unamused with rhetoric.
And the point is, we did invite the government of Mexico here. The ambassador, any representative of the Fox government, whatsoever. Would you like to know who the government of Mexico decided they could accept? Would you like to know?
TRASVINA: No, I don't know.
DOBBS: A public relations official.
TRASVINA: I'm not interested in the government of Mexico.
DOBBS: You're not?
DOBBS: What's your point, please? I've listened to...
TRASVINA: The U.S. and Mexico ought to be doing it together. You don't put up a wall and say let's discuss it.
DOBBS: Are you suggesting that the government of Mexico has no responsibility for half its people being in poverty, for 20 million people, as many as 20 million people into this country?
TRASVINA: Of course the government of Mexico has a responsibility. All nations have a responsibility.
DOBBS: Thank you.
Do we have a responsibility to secure our borders and to stop a problem that is creating victims all over this country?
TRASVINA: We have a responsibility for a system of immigration.
DOBBS: And do you have a responsibility...
TRASVINA: It's not just the border that's broken. The immigration system's broken. Families are split up...
DOBBS: And do you have a responsibility to remove race from this dialogue, because both you and Rosa have said it. It's absurd.
TRASVINA: This dialogue permeates in race, it has in our nation's history, it has on your show...
DOBBS: Yes, John, and you know what else? It is the last refuge of people without arguments. It is the last refuge of people without fact.
TRASVINA: Why don't you do the show in Buffalo?
DOBBS: I will be glad to, but in Buffalo the greater issue is a middle class that's been destroyed by absurd federal free trade policies, by corporate practices that take no regard whatsoever of American citizens who are entitled to an opportunity for a job.
TRASVINA: And our free trade policies...
DOBBS: Thank you, that's your answer to that.
DOBBS: Dan Stein, your turn.
ROSALES: The middle class is being destroyed?
ROSALES: Where's your documentation?
DOBBS: I thought we didn't need documentation, Rosa.
Oh, wait a minute. Whoa!
ROSALES: What documentation are you presenting...
DOBBS: Now you want documentation?
I'm hurt. My feelings are hurt -- Dan. DAN STEIN, PRESIDENT, FAIR: There's no question this is an emotional debate, and for our democratic system, where the people are supposed to rule, it is posing a challenge for the American people to get their will through the system. We have large corporations, major corporations. They underwrite groups like MALDEF that want to protect the supply of cheap labor, regardless of how it destroys hospitals, public old education, quality of life, small town America.
As Speaker Hastert says, every city is a border city now. Something is going get done. But you know when the first time employer sanctions were introduced in Congress, Lou? 1949. 1949 by Peter Rodino. Why won't the government enforce the laws that the American people have enacted? And...
DOBBS: And I'm asking the question of why will no one on this panel answer the question I asked?
STEIN: Mexico has a responsibility. I got into this issue 25 years ago, and I couldn't see how promoting illegal immigration helped the sending countries or the receiving countries. Twenty-five years later it is clear that Mexico's position is designed to perpetrate a corrupt government and a corrupt political system.
DOBBS: Roy Back (ph), you've been a wonderful observer of this. We're going to take a quick break. We're going to come right back and we're going to be talking with Roy. We're going to give him a chance.
And I'm remind everybody the question. What is the role of the Mexican government in this?
Can we do that? Pretty please?
Coming up next, Washington, woefully inept, at best, in protecting our borders. The American government has refused, despite a war on terror, despite the fact that Mexico is the primary source of the most deadly drugs in this country, to protect our borders.
Up next we're going to hear from Roy Back. We're going to find out about Mexico and we're going to see who is stepping in and trying to do something that the federal government has proved itself unwilling to do.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: I want to reiterate. Welcome back, first of all, to San Antonio. We did invite representatives of the Mexican government to join us here. They simply declined. They've hired a public relations firm though, Allen Company, it's right here in Texas and it's the very same firm working with the president's campaign. Apparently they didn't think their message could survive the lights or the dialogue in this room and we regret they didn't choose to join us.
Roy Beck, your thoughts on the government of Mexico and its responsibility. ROY BECK, EXEC. DIRECTOR, NUMBERSUSA: Well, of course, they have responsibility. And they've lost control of their border. If you read Congressman McCaul's report, which I only read today on the plane, it's absolutely terrifying. This is an investigation that tells us we're in such trouble.
DOBBS: Why isn't there more focus on the government of Mexico?
BECK: But I think think part of the reason is, of course, in this country it's our government that we have influence over. In the end, no matter what Mexico does, our government should exercise the role its responsibility as a sovereign government to protect its citizens and it's not doing that. So regardless of what Mexico does.
DOBBS: Few people have studied Mexico, its economy, its society and its government more than George Grayson, who is with us here tonight. Give us your thoughts, if you would.
GEORGE GRAYSON, COLLEGE OF WILLIAM & MARY: Lou, I think your comments earlier were on the mark. Mexico is an extremely wealthy country. It has everything, gold, silver, oil, natural gas. The problem is that the politicians don't pay attention to the poor.
Mexico devotes less than six percent of its budget to education, six percent to healthcare. Their tax collection level as a part of their national product is about the same level as Haiti and the corruption is ubiquitous. There is a saying in Mexico show me a politician who is poor and I will show you a poor politician. I think Mexico has ...
DOBBS: ... We've got a few in this country that work that. More than a few, actually.
GRAYSON: But let me just give you one more example. Mexico brings in 40,000 Guatemalan guest workers each year, and when you ask the big coffee growers in Chiapas why they don't hire local people because the unemployment rate is high, they say they won't work hard. They're irresponsible, you can't count on them, the same thing that growers say in this country about Americans.
DOBBS: So this is a practiced response. We're going to be back with more for you from San Antonio, Texas. We'll have more from our panelists and we'll hear what more of you in this audience has to say about these critical issues of border security and illegal immigration. Stay with us as we continue from San Antonio.
DOBBS: Hazelton, Pennsylvania, has set a standard in terms of the local governments trying to do what the federal government refuses to do and the mayor of Hazelton, Pennsylvania, Lou Barletta is with us here tonight.
Mr. Mayor, let me ask you, how is the new law working in which you are penalizing employers of illegal aliens, in which you are penalizing those who provide housing to illegal aliens in your community?
MAYOR LOU BARLETTA, HAZLETON: Actually, Lou, we are scheduled to enforce the ordinance November first. But amazingly, we have witnessed people leaving the city of Hazelton, some in the middle of the night even before we started enforcement.
DOBBS: And the reaction in the community, because what we're hearing across the community, across the country is the communities have to have illegal aliens. We heard Rosa mention they're doing jobs that Americans won't do. We hear President Bush say the same thing. How in the world will Hazelton survive?
BARLETTA: Lou, I can tell you illegal immigration is destroying small-town America. We are buckling under the strain of the costs. Our small budget simply cannot absorb it. I am no longer able to provide the level of public service that I should be providing to the legal, hard-working taxpayers of my community.
DOBBS: We're also here with Sheriff Rick Flores from Webb County, Texas. Sheriff, we've heard discussions about ordinances, local law enforcement, local communities taking up what the federal government won't do. Give us, if you will, your perspective as an important law enforcement officer in this state on the border.
RICK FLORES, SHERIFF, WEBB COUNTY: I can tell you, Lou, that Mexican people have been crossing the border since we've had a border with Mexico.
We've never had problems with Mexicans. Mexicans are not terrorists. It's the other than the Mexicans. The other people that are using Mexico as a jumping board to come into the United States who we are worried about and our Mexican border is very porous.
Now, in terms of -- and I do agree with Rosa that these are undocumented people. I don't like the word Mexican or illegal aliens.
DOBBS: You don't like the word Mexican?
FLORES: I don't like illegal aliens. Mexican is OK. Undocumented Mexicans, but see, there's a lot of people coming in through the Mexican border that are OTMs and those are the people that we're concerned about. And that's the reason why Congressman McCaul decided to investigate the Texas border sheriffs and the work that we were doing because of the violence that was escalating along the border and the potential for terrorist cells to make their way through Mexico to come into the United States. This deal about immigration, it just came post-9/11. Nobody had ever complained about illegal immigrants here.
DOBBS: I think you're exactly right.
FLORES: It was post-9/11.
DOBBS: I think you're right.
FLORES: That's when the debate started. DOBBS: And how many people started coming across? Have you noticed a slight uptick anywhere?
FLORES: Well, I'm sure that there's been people for a very long that have been living here for 20, 25, 30 years. It's an issue that has just been born because Washington has made it an issue.
DOBBS: By not enforcing the law or securing the border.
FLORES: That's exactly right.
DOBBS: Sheriff, we're going to be right back. We thank you very much. We're going to be back in just a moment with more of this town hall meeting from the empire theater here in San Antonio, Texas.
Next, the impact of illegal immigration on public education, the great equalizer in this society of ours.
We'll address that critical issue here next and I'll be talking with Sheriff Ralph Ogden, also in the border on Yuma County. Stay with us.
DOBBS: We're back San Antonio, thank you for staying with us here. I want to turn to Sheriff Ralph Ogden, Yuma County, Arizona. We heard Rick Flores, his view from his jurisdiction. How about yours?
SHERIFF RALPH OGDEN, YUMA COUNTY: I think we share similar thoughts about this, but I think the original question was what effect was it having on our communities? We're having to spend our local and state taxpayers money to perform the job of the federal government so that our programs, such as our pro-active law enforcement, have to take a second place so that those bills can be paid.
DOBBS: Sheriff, thank you very much, and I think that is something that's being felt in nearly every quarter.
Steve Levy is county executive, Suffolk County, dealing again with the issue of illegal immigration because the federal government won't. Very quickly, if I can, we just have minutes. Give us your thoughts.
STEVE LEVY, COUNTY EXEC, SUFFOLK CO: Well the federal government's avocation of its responsibility has placed a tremendous burden on local property taxpayers. Jails, schools, 63 people stuffed in a 900 square foot house.
The emergency rooms bursting at the seams and let's not forget this fact also. Businesses, Lou, that are trying to play by the rules are getting undercut by those businesses that cheat and our government is aiding and abetting those cheaters. We are talking the time of five years old to play by the rules and those who do play by the rules are suffering because our government is allowing it to happen. It's an outrage. DOBBS: Steve Levy, thank you very much.
We have time, just very quickly for a quick question for our panel. Yes, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening, I'm Daniel Reyes (ph). I have a question on public education. What do you see as some of the problems and possible solutions or the strains on the public education system in educating some of the children of immigrant workers especially in the mandate cause by no child left behind.
ROSALES: First and most important, no child left behind has not been funded completely. So that is the problem out there because there's a lot of mandates, but there's not the money to do it so it does cost a lot to the local school districts because the money is not there. So let us not put demands on the local districts when the federal government is not even giving you enough money to fund those.
DOBBS: John Trasvina?
TRASVINA: Daniel, children are an investment. We are talking about the people who are going to be able to get college degrees and fill the jobs. In the next eight years, a million jobs are going to be needed in the top 25 occupations. There are not enough workers for those jobs. The children are going to be the ones, so we need the education now to do that.
STEIN: Lou, the victims are America's young children. In 1982 the Supreme Court said it would provide education for anybody crossing the border, put their kids in school. California best school system, 30 years ago, now one of the worst. Illegal immigration is destroying public education in this country. We either need to relitigate the issue or change the Constitution because we will not restore public education if we can't control the populations coming to use it.
DOBBS: Thank you very much. We're going to be back with more from San Antonio, our town hall meeting and special report, America Votes 2006: Broken Borders. Please stay with us.
DOBBS: Welcome back to San Antonio and our town hall meeting. This gentleman here has a quick statement he wants to make. I think we ought to hear him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir, there is a problem of racism that comes along with colonialism that continues to permeate this society. The displacement of the original people of this land, that is what the problem is. And until the identity of the machica, which is the Mexicano is entered in as an indigenous person into immigration legislation, there will never be justice because we were displaced of our lands and until our proper identification is returned back us to, our lands will never be returned to us. But at least return us our identity. We are indigenous people to this land.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Captain Tony Mojadano (ph), U.S. Army, inactive reserve, and how many Congress members have their families in the U.S. armed forces as of 2001? We had 30,000 plus U.S. armed members overseas serving this nation and when they come back, will they still receive benefits under the Hazelwood Act.
DOBBS: Thank you very much. An important point to make and we appreciate it.
T.J. Bonner, we have time, 15 seconds, please, The head of the border patrol union. Please, your thoughts.
T.J. BONNER, BORDER PATROL UNION: Lou, until we crack down on the employers, take away the reason that people are coming across that border, we are going to be faced with an insecure border. Millions of people are lured here by employers who are given a free pass by this administration.
DOBBS: T.J. Bonner, thank you very much. Thank you, everybody, for participating in this meeting. A lot of different perspectives. I want to thank everybody. You've been absolutely terrific and we thank you very much for all of us here, thanks for participating in this town hall meeting from San Antonio, Texas. Good night.
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