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President George W. Bush Signs Secure Fence Act of 2006

Aired October 26, 2006 - 09:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Remember that as you bid on our Hummer.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Um-hmm. A good cause.

S. O'BRIEN: CNN NEWSROOM with Tony Harris and Heidi Collins begins right now.


Good morning, everyone.

I'm Tony Harris.


For the next three hours, watch events unfold live on this Thursday, the 26th day of October.

Here's what's on the run-down.

President Bush cracking down on illegal immigration, signing a bill this hour that authorizes a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexican border.

But, will it make a difference?

HARRIS: U.S. troops in Iraq working to defeat the enemy. But first, they have to know who the enemy really is.

COLLINS: And in Colorado, snow is welcome, but not when the word blizzard is used.

You are in THE NEWSROOM.

HARRIS: So, if you build it, they won't come, at least that's the idea behind building 700 miles of new fencing along the U.S.- Mexican border. President Bush signs the measure this hour.

Republicans hope it gives them an edge with voters on the immigration issue.

Kathleen Koch joins us live now from the White House with details -- Kathleen, good morning.

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Tony. Well, it may give them a political edge, but critics insist it will do nothing to stop the flood of illegal immigrants into the United States, insisting that people desperate for work will go over it, under it, go around it. And that is if this fence is built at all, because at this point, the measure that the president is going to sign this morning does not provide any money for construction of the fence, which would protect about a third of the 2,100-mile-long border between the United States and Mexico.

A homeland security bill that was signed by the president earlier this month did make a $1.2 billion down payment on the project.


KOCH: However, that bill stipulated that the money could be used for other things, other improvements, like lighting, vehicle barriers, high tech equipment to secure the border.

Now, the president signs the bill in roughly half an hour in the Roosevelt Room. At the same time, the centerpiece of his immigration policy, the guest worker program, is languishing on Capitol Hill. That measure would allow non-citizens to enter the U.S. for a limited period of time, to work in jobs that employers can't find Americans to do, before they would then eventually have to return home. And it would also give some, the roughly -- some of the roughly 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. right now a chance to eventually become U.S. citizens after they pay fines and meet a very stringent set of requirements.

So what's going on is that some House Republicans, a handful of them, are blocking, essentially, any kind of negotiation on the bill with the Senate, which did pass a bill that included the president's proposals -- Tony.

HARRIS: And, Kathleen, a little more pomp and circumstance for the signing of this bill than was originally planned.

Is this the president providing a photo opportunity for Republicans?

KOCH: Well, certainly, Tony, this is something that the president and that Republicans have campaigned on, wanting to crack down on illegal immigration. A recent survey by CNN did find that about 54 percent of Americans do support the construction of a bill along the border.

So, yes, again, this is something you will be hearing about in the less than two weeks that remain before the mid-terms.

HARRIS: Kathleen Koch at the White House for us.

Kathleen, thank you.

KOCH: You bet.

HARRIS: The border fence would stretch across parts of four states. It would extend from a California border town through areas of Arizona, New Mexico-and Texas. The bill the president signs today provides no money for the fence, but a separate bill signed earlier this month provides a $1.2 billion down payment. The fence covers one third of the roughly 2,100-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico. The bill also calls for the use of sensors, satellites, cameras and other technology.

ANNOUNCER: You're watching CNN, your severe weather headquarters.

COLLINS: Chad Myers joining us now from the Severe Weather Center.

And yesterday we talked about all of this snow in Colorado. But this is still going on. It's early and that snow is flying.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's flying. It's blowing sideways, as some of our pictures will show.


MYERS: And it's going to pile up to be a foot deep.


MYERS: Fifteen inches in Breckenridge overnight.


COLLINS: This is good because...

MYERS: That's where they want it.

COLLINS: ... that's a ski area. Right.

MYERS: Right.


MYERS: But not in some of these other places behind us, Heidi.


MYERS: The snow was from Boulder right on down I-25...


MYERS: ... to Denver, Colorado Springs. You've worked in Colorado Springs and Denver.


MYERS: I know they know how to take care of it.

COLLINS: Pretty well.

MYERS: They can do the snow thing, but there's still leaves on the trees.


MYERS: Remember that same problem in Buffalo?

And now the winds are blowing at 40.

COLLINS: Yes, the power lines...

MYERS: So...

COLLINS: ... a big deal.



MYERS: You get -- you get drifts. You get all these things.

Let's take a look at a couple of pictures that we have here. One of the reporters -- we can still take these shots. That's fine. Here's one, KUSA Denver. This looks like it's probably headed out toward maybe Vail Pass. You have to help me out on that one.


MYERS: But that's OK. Probably out toward Vail Pass.

And you know what?

We're going to see this snow all day long across these regions in Colorado. And this snow is going to -- Jonathan Freed, I hear now, is ready.

He's going to have to -- Jonathan Freed, I'm looking at you on my LCD screen here, bud, and the snow is still flying sideways. If you keep standing there, you're going to get snow in that left ear -- how are you doing over there?

JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Although I have to tell you, I have a secret weapon. And I will reveal this to America now. I'm going to turn sideways, so please brace yourselves for this moment. I have the stealth ear covering.

MYERS: Ah-ha.

FREED: And I have one on the other side of my head, as well.

MYERS: Well, you know...

FREED: So...

MYERS: ... are those the ones that just clip on?

FREED: ... I'm only pretending to be cold.

MYERS: Are they...

FREED: I'm only...

MYERS: ... those are the clip-on ones?

FREED: They are clip-ons.


FREED: They are the clip-ons.

MYERS: You know what?

They actually...

FREED: They are the clip-on...

MYERS: ... they can...

FREED: They are the clip-on ones.

MYERS: They can cut off the circulation in your ear.

FREED: That's what...

MYERS: And you even get colder.

FREED: That's right.

MYERS: I had those in Detroit.

FREED: That's right.


MYERS: What have you got out there for us, bud?

FREED: Well, it is still snowing horizontally and we've got some wind. It is starting to get a little bit lighter now. Unfortunately, though, folks, it is not helping with our ability to show you Pike's Peak, majestic as it is, 7,000 feet, rising above our location here. Still can't see it.

We've had snow for several hours now. And I'm looking around, a couple of inches have accumulated. I would say the better part of three, three-and-a-half, at this point.

It's a heavy, wet kind of snow. If you're a skier, not the light, fluffy powdery stuff. But if you want to make a snowman, it's ideal. And the crew was sort of talking about the possibility of snowballs. I'm looking at their hands. I don't see anything. So I don't think I'm in danger of that happening right now.

So far, though, the hotel here -- precautions. People were taking precautions today. Our hotel brought in the staff for today last night, you know, for example, just in case they wouldn't be able to get in here today. But local folks here, they've seen this kind of thing before. And, yes, it's snowing, but it is Colorado. They say that they usually get snow before Halloween anyway.

So folks here are just waiting to see how the day plays out.

MYERS: Jon, tell me this, Jonathan, if you do get a foot of snow and drifts to two feet and you're still there four or five hours from now, are you snowed in or can you get out? Are people going to be stuck?

FREED: Well, it's going to depend on how well they're geared up in terms of snow removal. This part of the country is usually very good at that. Of course, wind and drifts are usually the key. Total accumulation doesn't have to be that much for the drifts to become a real problem.

So that's the kind of thing that everybody is waiting and seeing, to see how this is going to play out.

Right now, it's windy, but we're not really seeing drifts yet.


FREED: You know, we're seeing some accumulation. It's slowly coming up.

MYERS: Well, if that snow is as wet as you say, if it's snowball snow, it's harder to get drifts.

FREED: Right.

MYERS: You get drifts when it's the white fluffy snow.

The problem is, Jonathan, it rained overnight and that rain is going to be freezing below that snow, so there's going to be icy patches in places that you can't see them for your drive back to the hotel. So be careful out there.

FREED: Thank you very much.

MYERS: It is going to be a mess across Colorado, guys. It is just going to be one whiteout after another, as the sun-comes up this morning -- back to you.

COLLINS: Boy, it sure does. I'm glad he's got the right gear, though.

MYERS: Yes, he looks good.

COLLINS: You know, I was concerned.

MYERS: He does.

COLLINS: Good job, Jonathan Freeze.

MYERS: Right. There you go. COLLINS: Thanks, guys.

Five more American troops killed in Iraq. That makes 96 this month alone.

Live now to Baghdad and CNN's John Roberts -- John, good morning to you.


And as those deaths were announced today, they also we're talking about the search for this missing American soldier, this specialist, this translator who has been tasked to a provincial reconstruction team, who went missing from the international, the green zone, on Monday afternoon.

Major General William Caldwell, the military spokesman for the multinational forces here in Iraq, today at his daily briefing saying they are leaving no stone unturned in their search for this missing soldier.


MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM CALDWELL, SPOKESMAN, MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE-IRAQ: We're using all assets in our arsenal to find this American soldier. And the government of Iraq is doing everything it can, also, at every level. Make no mistake, we will not stop looking for our service member. We ask you to remember him and his family in your prayers.


ROBERTS: The last time this soldier was seen was about 2:30 in the afternoon on Monday. I happened to be with elements of the 177th Stryker Brigade on patrol on Monday afternoon when they got the 911 call, went into a neighborhood where it's believed that this soldier may have been taken, if, indeed, he was kidnapped. They searched through a number of houses and buildings, including the Al Farat Television Station, owned by the largest Shiite party here in Iraq.

They didn't find anything. Early yesterday morning, a joint U.S.-Iraqi operation was launched in Sadr City. They were targeting a militia commander believed to be leading some of these death squads. But at the same time, they also got some intelligence that perhaps some people who might be associated with this kidnapping were hiding in a mosque.

They conducted -- or the Iraqi forces, at least, with the help of U.S. advisers -- conducted a raid on that mosque. Three people were arrested, at least taken into custody and had been interrogated about the soldier's whereabouts. But so far, there have been no real hard leads as to where this missing specialist might be.

But many areas of Baghdad are now cordoned off. There are roadblocks everywhere, vehicles being searched as they go in and out of neighborhoods and more searches being conducted of houses and other buildings.

Violence continues, though, Iraqi-on-Iraqi today, as well, north of Baghdad, near Baquba, which was the scene of an ambush on a convoy of police recruits on Sunday. Iraqi police came under attack again. One convoy was attacked by insurgents, killing some eight police officers. And, also, there was a police station that was attacked, killing another six.

There are still some 50 Iraqi police that are missing after those two raids -- so, Heidi, another bad day here in Iraq with the announcement of five American service member deaths, and, as well, Iraqis keep fighting and dying in this war -- Heidi.

COLLINS: John Roberts live from Baghdad this morning.

And, John, we should also let everybody know that we will be hearing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld a little bit later today. He will be holding a Pentagon briefing at 1:15 Eastern time.

HARRIS: Standing on the fence -- President Bush signs a bill to block illegal immigrants at the border.

Will the barrier give Republicans a bit of a political boost?

COLLINS: And labeled an enemy and locked away in the war on terror. A former detainee speaks out.

Is his story a cautionary tale for all of us?

The details still ahead in THE NEWSROOM.


HARRIS: Pictures just in to CNN we want to show you, get you out to California, Cabazon, California, to be a little more precise about it. And a wildfire there. This is in Riverside County.

We're going to bring Chad Myers in here for a second.

This fire has already burned about 500 acres. There is danger that the fire will only grow because of winds in the area -- Chad, you got a fix on that?


They're in trouble.



MYERS: The wind is going to blow 40 to 50 miles an hour in some of these canyons today.

HARRIS: Oh, boy. MYERS: Right now, only eight to nine miles per hour through Riverside, all the way out to about Twentynine Palms. But if this wind continues to pick up like it's forecast and they don't get a handle on this, the larger the fire gets, the more of a fire line you get, and the harder it gets to get because you've just got more...


MYERS: ... in the way of distance to get this thing knocked down. They need to get this before sunrise, and certainly before noon, because at noon, those winds are going to be howling down the canyon.

HARRIS: So you clearly get a sense of the kind of day that lies ahead for firefighters out there.

Our thanks to our affiliate in Los Angeles, KABC, for these pictures.

Some evacuations, Chad, have been ordered already in this area and...

MYERS: Yes, harder to figure out in the dark, Tony, how much, you know, where this is.


MYERS: Is this just the canyon? Is it out in the national forest? And if it's not, if this is near a residential area, folks are going to be scrambling this morning.


So what we'll do is we'll keep an eye on this and try to round up as much additional information as we can. And Chad will certainly keep an eye on it, as well.

Chad, appreciate it.


MYERS: You're welcome.

COLLINS: September 11 -- the end of innocence for many Americans, the beginning of a nightmare for one British Muslim. He was swept up in a terrorist dragnet cast by the Bush administration.

Now freed, he is among those asking, has the president's power gone too far?

CNN's national correspondent, John King, explains.


JOHN KING, CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He began on a very different course, a governor with a famous name who conveyed more West Texas than Washington. Compassionate conservative was his liberal of choice, kinder gentler his promised world view.

A crisp September morning suddenly turned from gorgeous to gruesome. A few whispered words in a Florida schoolroom transformed a presidency and a president.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our grief has turned to anger and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.


KING: Islamabad, Pakistan -- an edgy place in the weeks after September 11. Moazzam Begg among the newcomers arriving from neighboring Afghanistan after the bombs started falling. He thought he had escaped, until a midnight knock at the door introduced him to the most expansive display of presidential power in American history.

No search warrant, no arrest warrant -- enemy combatant was his designation.

MOAZZAM BEGG, FORMER DETAINEE: I tried to cross the floor, throw it onto the ground. Our clothes were ripped off with knives, with several soldiers sitting on top of us. We were being kicked, punched, beaten, sworn at, spat at. Dogs were barking around us. We were photographed naked and then dragged, naked and shivering, into interrogation rooms where the first questioning began.

KING: A president obsessed with preventing another attack and convinced people like Begg were the key.

JOHN YOO, FORMER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: The first question was really what do we do with these guys?

It wasn't like they came to us and said we want to do something, give us a justification for it. They honestly didn't know what the right thing to do was.

KING (on camera): What happens if somebody says I'm torturing these people?

YOO: What people really want to know is how much flexibility does the president have even to make those kinds of choices?

KING (voice-over): Mr. Bush argues the results justify the extraordinary steps.


BUSH: There ought to be a legal debate about whether or not they have the authority to do this. I'm absolutely convinced I do.


KING: Moazzam Begg says the president who jailed him in the name of keeping America safe will someday learn his lesson.

BEGG: Once you take this road and once you go down this road, you're actually making a world a less, much less safe place because if that's what the Americans are going to do around the world, then they must accept repercussions.


COLLINS: And John King joining us now live -- John, if Begg is a free man now, does that mean that he is innocent?

KING: Well, that is the paradox of all of this, Heidi.

Mr. Bush promised whatever it takes in the post-9/11 world. He was forced to release Mr. Begg because of pressure from the British prime minister, Tony Blair, because of all the outrage in Britain and around the world over the treatment of terror detainees.

The CIA and the FBI and people at the Pentagon swear to this day that a confession, a statement Begg signed while in custody is true. That statement said he trained at three al Qaeda terror camps, know a -- knew a bunch of al Qaeda operatives, that -- and they planned to take up arms against the United States in Afghanistan before freeing (ph).

Begg says it is not true, that he signed it after being tortured. But the CIA insists it is. He is a free man now in Birmingham, England, but he is being watched, we are told, by both British and U.S. intelligence officials.

COLLINS: Yes, lots of questions still remain.

KING: Yes.

COLLINS: All right, John King, thank you for that.

KING: Thank you.

COLLINS: This week, the best political team in television investigates broken government. Our week long coverage continues tonight with Power Play. That'll come your way at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 5:00 Pacific.

HARRIS: The power of the presidency and how the public feels about it -- this new CNN poll was conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation. It shows 39 percent of those asked say the Bush administration has gone too far in restricting civil liberties to fight terrorism. About a third say the restrictions are about right. And one in four say the administration hasn't gone far enough.

Asked if President Bush has more power than any of his predecessor, 65 percent say no, 33 percent say yes.

We are Minding Your Business this morning.

Andy Serwer is here with a preview -- Andy, good morning. ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Good morning to you, Tony.

ExxonMobil just reported its numbers and you won't believe how much money they make.

Plus, why is Starbucks in a squabble with the nation of Ethiopia?

Stay tuned.



COLLINS: Well, we've got a couple of very opposing or bipolar pictures...


COLLINS: ... you might want to see here.

Look at that. On the left of your screen, we're looking at California and a wild brush fire there that has really picked up some steam overnight, if you will, because of heavy winds there. A lot of evacuations going on.

And then, on the right-hand side of your screen, we're looking at a shot of -- I believe this is I-25 right before the -- or, I-70, I should say -- right before the tunnel in Colorado, where they are expecting to get, I don't know, about a foot of snow or so, depending upon where you are in the state.

A lot of it going to be dumped up in the ski areas, so that's what we like. But then a lot more of it down in the Colorado Springs area, Pueblo area. So people are going to be looking out for their traffic, their power lines...

HARRIS: That's right.

COLLINS: ... because of the ice and the, you know, possibility of trees falling on them.

So, you've got to be careful, boy, in both of these areas, that's for sure, today.

Fire and ice, folks.


ExxonMobil -- are you ready for this? -- already, the biggest oil company out there -- it has just reported, oh, man -- numbers that make it even larger.

Andy is here Minding Your Business this morning -- Andy, this is incredible.

SERWER: Yes, Tony. I guess the only way to describe it is staggering.


SERWER: ExxonMobil just reported earnings for the third quarter and here it is -- $10.5 billion -- $10.5 billion of profit in three months.


SERWER: And this is on sales of just under $100 billion. And get this, Tony. It's the second most profitable quarter ever for an American corruption. Guess number one was...

HARRIS: Well...

SERWER: Number one was ExxonMobil in the fourth quarter of last year, when they earned $10.7 billion. So they almost hit that mark again. Unbelievable.

HARRIS: OK, staggering, stunning, whatever the adjective.

But I have to ask you, with the price of oil as high as it's been, particularly over the summer, are these earnings really that much of a surprise?

SERWER: Well, on the one hand, no, because you could see this coming from a mile away.


SERWER: Anyone could tell you that filling up their car or their truck with gasoline over the past couple of months. But, on the other hand, just to give you an idea of how imprecise this science is on Wall Street, Tony. Analysts there were looking for a number that was $900 million less.


SERWER: So they exceeded expectations. Costs are up for oil companies because they're scrambling all of the globe, trying to drill for oil. But not as much as analysts thought. That's why profits are even bigger than they anticipated.

HARRIS: Oh, man.

Hey, Andy, we want to change gears for a moment. I heard you talking about this this morning, with Miles and Soledad.

What is going on with this Starbucks story?

SERWER: Well, this is some intriguing stuff, I think, Tony. You know, Starbucks buys coffee all over the globe, from often impoverished nations. And right now it's involved in a dustup with the East African nation of embryonic Ethiopia.

The story here is that there are several types of coffee in Ethiopia -- Sidamo, Harar, Yirgacheffe. And the nation wants to basically trademark these types of coffees.

Starbucks says no, no, no, no, no. Let's just have what's known as a geographic certification, like champagne, the Champagne region of France or Kona, Kona coffee in Hawaii.


SERWER: But it's really all about the Benjamins, Tony. I mean the nation of Ethiopia thinks it can get more money by trade marking. You know, a little pushback from Starbucks. The country says that the farmers only get pennies per pound. Starbucks say they pay more than anyone else. They're both probably right.

But, you know, it's one of these international squabbles where it's unclear which country's laws apply. And so it's going to be interesting to see how this one shakes out.


Andy Serwer with us this morning, Minding Your Business.

Andy, appreciate it.

Thank you.

SERWER: Thanks, Tony.

COLLINS: Standing on the fence -- President Bush signs a bill just moments from now to block illegal immigrants at the border, parts of the border, anyway.

Will the barrier give Republicans a political boost?

We'll have live coverage ahead, right here in THE NEWSROOM.


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: We are checking the numbers for you right now. The opening bell on this 26th day of October. HEALTHSOUTH there rang the bell a little bit earlier. Let's take a look at it now, though. I bet it's still above 12,000, though, what do you think?

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: Yeah, I'm with you. You are optimistic.

COLLINS: You're looking at the gentlemen and ladies clapping -- but --

HARRIS: Proud of their efforts this morning. COLLINS: Yes, very proud, but if we look at the board, We were at -- we were at -- we closed at 12,134 yesterday. Now we are at 12,161. So up about 26 points on the Dow there. We'll continue to watch it as always right here.

HARRIS: We have been following this story for you this morning. This is a wildfire, brush fire that -- the firefighters in Riverside County are trying to get under control, but it is going to be a battle today. Becky Luther is on the line with us from the Riverside County Fire Department.

Becky, thanks for your time.


HARRIS: Becky, what are you up against here?

LUTHER: Well, the winds have just picked up to 18 to 25 miles an hour. They are coming out of the east towards the west. We have now a road closure, Highway 243 to -- from the Banning to the Lake Fillmore area is closed. We are asking anybody that's in that particular area to go southbound towards Hemitt (ph). They have a new evacuation center set up at Hemitt (ph) High School, 41701 East Stetson.


LUTHER: We earlier had an evacuation center and it's still in effect at Banning Community Center, 789 North San Gorgonio (ph).


LUTHER: Cross from Wilson. We have the Twin Pines and Popular Flats area is all mandatory evacuations.

HARRIS: Becky, if I could, I want to bring Chad Myers in on this because he has some questions about wind conditions, the wind is picking up, and what you might be facing later today.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST, CNN NEWSROOM: Yeah, Ms. Luther, Chad Myers here in the Weather Center. Is this firestorm south of I-10 or north of?

LUTHER: South of I-10.

MYERS: South of -- so we're talking Luther and we're talking over to -- and basically down 243, you say. Is that where it's centered? It's hard to get a feel. We are getting pictures but they're dark. I can't get a feel for where this fire really is.

LUTHER: You have Highway 10 and if you go to the south of it, and then it goes up into the mountains. It is going to be heading up that hill.

MYERS: All right. That's a little bit less populated than going down the hill. LUTHER: We do have a lot of people living up in that area, in the Twin Pines and Popular Flats area.

HARRIS: Well, Becky, we want to wish you the best today in battling this thing. It sounds like you have a heck of a task on your hands.

Chad, we appreciate it, thank you.

LUTHER: Thank you.

MYERS: Winds are going to be picking up there, Tony, to 40 to 45 miles an hour. And they don't need to hear that. That's going to make those fires jump from one mountain to another.

HARRIS: We are wrapping this just in time, Heidi.

COLLINS: Yes, we think just in time, anyway. We want to go ahead and set this up now. We were going to show you some pictures of Colorado, but instead we want to get straight to the White House. Because we are looking to watch President Bush. We have, I believe, this is Dick Cheney, can't quite see yet.

Vice President Dick Cheney, there, at the podium. President Bush will be coming in a few moments to be signing this new immigration bill, which as you see on the bottom of your screen there, it will entail the idea of a 700-mile long fence, or so which will -- there he is now -- which will cover about a small portion of the 2,000 mile border. Let's go ahead and listen in to what he has to say.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Pleased that you all are here to witness the signature of the Secure Fence Act of 2006.

This bill will help protect the American people. This bill will make our borders more secure. It is an important step toward immigration reform. I want to thank the members of Congress for their work on this important piece of legislation.

I welcome you here to the White House. I'm looking forward to signing this bill.

I appreciate the vice president joining us today. I thank the Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson of the Department of Homeland Security. Rob Portman, he happens to be the director of OMB. I want to thank Ralph Bashiom (ph), who is the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border protection, David Agular (ph), is the chief of the U.S. Border Patrol.

I appreciate the fact that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has joined us, as well as House Majority Leader John Boehner. I appreciate them come in from their respective states, as I sign this piece of legislation.

I want to thank Congressman Peter King who's the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in the House of Representatives. I appreciate you being here, Peter.

Ours is a nation of immigrants. We're also a nation of law. Unfortunately, the United States has not been in complete control of its borders for decades. And, therefore, illegal immigration has been on the rise. We have a responsibility to address these challenges. We have a responsibility to enforce our laws. We have a responsibility to secure our borders. We take this responsibility seriously.

Earlier this year I addressed the nation from the Oval Office. I laid out our strategy for immigration reform. Part of that strategy begins with securing the border. Since I took office, we have more than doubled funding for border security, from $4.6 billion in 2001 to $10.4 billion this year. We've increased the number of Border Patrol agents from about 9,000 to more than 12,000; and by the end of 2008, we will have doubled the number of Border Patrol agents during my presidency.

We've deployed thousands of National Guard members to assist the Border Patrol. We've upgraded technology at our borders. We've add infrastructure, including new fencing and vehicle barriers. We're adding thousands of new beds in our detention facilities so we can continue working to end the "catch and release" at our southern border.

During the course of my administration, we have apprehended and sent home more than 6 million people entering our country illegally. And I thank the Border Patrol for their hard work.

The fence -- the Secure Fence Act builds on this progress. The bill authorizes the construction of hundreds of miles of additional fencing along our southern border. The bill authorizes more vehicle barriers, check points, and lighting to help prevent people from entering our country illegally. The bill authorizes the Department of Homeland Security to increase the use of advanced technology, like cameras and satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles to reinforce our infrastructure at the border.

We're modernizing the southern border of the United States so we can assure the American people we are doing our job of securing the border. By making wise use of physical barriers, and deploying 21st century technology, we're helping our Border Patrol agents do their job.

Secure Fence Act is part of our efforts to reform our immigration system. We have more to do. Meaningful immigration reform means that we must enforce our immigration laws in the United States. It is against the law to hire someone who is here illegally. We fully understand that most businesses want to obey that law. But they cannot verify the legal status of their employees because of widespread document fraud. So we're creating a better system for verifying documents and work eligibility and in the meantime holding people to account for breaking the law.

We must reduce pressure on or border by creating a temporary worker plan. Willing workers ought to be matched with willing employers to do jobs Americans are not doing for a temporary -- on a temporary basis. We must face the reality that millions of illegal immigrants are already here. They should not be given an automatic path to citizenship. That is amnesty. I oppose amnesty.

There is a rational middle ground between granting an automatic path to citizenship for every illegal immigrant and a program of mass deportation. And I look forward to working with Congress to find that middle ground.

The bill I'm about to sign is an important step in our nation's efforts to secure our border. And our reform our immigration system. I will thank the members of Congress for joining me, as I sign the Secure Fence Act of 2006.



COLLINS: President Bush signing the Secure Fence Act today. Lots of issues to discuss here, but just to give you sort of a background really quickly, this fence would stretch across parts of four states. It would extend from the California border town through areas of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

You are looking at a map there. You can see the little chunks of red, along the border, where this fence would be placed. The bill the president signed today, though, is not going to be providing any money for that fence. That will be a separate bill signed a little bit earlier this month. It provides $1.2 billion down payment for that fence.

We want to get to Dana Bash for a little bit more on this.

Dana, as you join us today, why is this so important for the White House on this very day, with regard to campaign trail? We know that the president is going, I guess, to Iowa and Michigan later on today?

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN NEWSROOM: That's right. He's going to make a couple of stops in races that may or may not be the most competitive races out there.

But to answer your question, why is this so important? Because yesterday you saw the president inside the White House, in the East Room, talking about an issue, Iraq, that the White House feels they have to talk about, but nobody on the campaign trail, when it comes to Republicans, wants to talk about.

Well, this is something, immigration, that Republicans are eager to talk about. As a matter of fact, the national Republican Party has sent flyers, they're airing ads in Republican -- in tough Republican races all across the country, making the point -- part of the point the president made today, which is that securing the borders is the most important thing.

But I can -- it was sort of a little bit of political bizarro world to watch that, Heidi, because the other thing the president talked about is something he did push and he did not and could not sign today, which is a temporary worker program. And the reason he couldn't sign it is because the very Republicans he's trying to help by signing this 700-mile fence adamantly opposed it and ran and campaigned against it, essentially against the president on that issue.

COLLINS: Yeah, it's fascinating. We have talked about that a little bit before when we talk about who might win the House, who might win the Senate? Whether it's going to be Republican controlled or Democratically controlled, if it would be easier to get the immigration bill through, with regard to guest worker program. If Democrats were in charge.

BASH: It very well could be much easier to do that if Democrats do take control of -- of the house and perhaps even the Senate, although that might -- that's a little bit too close -- closer to call than the House. But the bottom line is it was Republicans in the House who put their foot down and said, Mr. President, we know you gave a prime time address which is something that Mr. Bush even alluded to in the statement just now, making the case that there needs the to be comprehensive immigration reform and that includes a temporary worker program.

But the bottom line for House Republicans is their constituents, people who they were trying to -- and are -- trying to really court in some of these tough races, said no way. We call that amnesty and we oppose that. So, House Republicans stopped the president in his tracks from what had been a really -- a top issue for him and that is this temporary worker program. The president again saying today that he hopes to get that done. And you are right, ironically, it might be easier if Democrats do take control of at least one House of Congress, Heidi

COLLINS: Well, we certainly will have to see. Dana Bash, thanks for that.

We are going to be talking about it all day. I still want to know what Mexico is going to do in all this, too.

HARRIS: Ha, interesting, Miss Heidi, that you would mention that.

The immigration debate, there are strong feelings on both sides of the issue. That was very much apparent last night on CNN's America Votes special, "Broken Borders". Here's a look at what happened when our Lou Dobbs asked the president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, Heidi, about Mexico's responsibilities.


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR, LOU DOBBS TONIGHT: If I may start with you. Do you believe that Mexico is behaving responsibly as a government in this illegal immigration crises?

ROSA ROSALES, LEAGUE OF UNITED LATIN AMERICAN MORNING . CITIZENS: Before I answer that, we need to let some facts -- the myths and the lies here.

DOBBS: Sure.

ROSALES: We have to recognize, first and most important, they are not illegal aliens, they're not from outer space. They are human beings. Call them undocumented. Have respect --


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 the rights of human beings, the rights and -- 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, they were paying them 25 cents for one of those pallets? They were paying them 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 they don't want to pay them. That's another abuse. Do you want to hear some more?

DOBBS: Rosa -- yeah, Rosa.

ROSALES: I will continue to tell. There are plenty of abuses. They come here and are being abused for cheap labor. They contribute billions of dollars to the economy and they will continue to -- to give a lot of billions of dollars to the economy.

DOBBS: There's no question, Rosa -- Rosa --

ROSALES: In this decade there's going to be 33 million unskilled workers that are going to be needed.

DOBBS: Rosa, OK, Rosa.

ROSALES: Where do you think they are going to come from? And they don't take the jobs from 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: They are the cheap labor jobs. We're not being invaded.

DOBBS: Rosa --

ROSALES: We are not being invaded, you know?

DOBBS: Yeah. ROSALES: What's all this hysteria? Is it because the Latino population is growing at such great numbers that we fear, that we fear the voting power?

DOBBS: Oh, Rosa -- all right. You don't -- organizations --

ROSALES: That we fear that they'll become citizens of this country?


DOBBS: Rosa, I was so proud of you -- Rosa, I was so proud of you and then you bring up race.


ROSALES: You Reagan, President Reagan --

DOBBS: Rosa, as of now, I have no interest -- I have no interest --


ROSALES: What did President Reagan tell Gorbachev? What did he say?

DOBBS: Rosa.

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 are right.


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.


HARRIS: What more?

COLLINS: It is interesting. President Vicente Fox has compared this wall, or this fencing, to the Berlin Wall, in the past.

HARRIS: Can we see another chunk of that? That was good. Just another reminder, CNN has the best political team on television. Tune in tonight for another special, another CNN election special, "Broken Government". Tonight it's "Power Play" hosted by John King. That is at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.

COLLINS: Sticking with the issue of immigration, we are going to be telling you the story -- I have been down there, been to the area Columbus, New Mexico, which is the New Mexico-Mexico border. It's the area where this fencing will be in place so we are going to talk with a man who owns about 18 miles along there. It's a huge ranch; 500 people crossing into his land every day.

HARRIS: So, it impacts him on a daily basis.

COLLINS: It does and his family. We'll have that coming up for you.

HARRIS: I want to show you some pictures here. Snow in Colorado today, lots of it, blowing sideways. Blizzard warning is up in parts of the state. And there's the snow. Ready for the fire? Take you to Southern California now, Riverside County, firefighters. Boy, do they have their hands full today, battling this blaze.

COLLINS: It's the wind, you know.

HARRIS: It's the wind. Exactly. We will check in with Chad Myers a little later and get an update on the situation, actually the conditions fueling this brush fire in just a moment.


HARRIS: You know what dietitians say. They say, you are what you eat. And what you eat becomes even more important as you age. Today, in "30, 40, 50", Senior Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks at foods to add to your diet to age healthfully.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN NEWSROOM (voice over): Four years ago, Loretta Beggs would have never been on skates. Back then she weighed almost 200 pounds and had a tough time getting off the couch. Let alone getting on the ice. But now, after dropping 80 pounds, she's perfecting her figure 8s.

LORETTA BEGGS, DIETER: I hadn't always been fat. I gained a bunch of weight in my 20s actually.

GUPTA: Begg's dietitian, Katherine Tallmadge, says the 39-year- old is at an age that nutrition is crucial. That's because as we get older, our bodies crave certain nutrients that we didn't need when we were kids.

In our 30s, eat protein. It builds up muscle and bone mass, something we begin to lose after we hit the big 3-0. Keep the protein lean by eating fish and chicken, but not all in one sitting.

KATHERINE TALLMADGE, DIETITIAN: Because if you have too much in one meal your body can't metabolize it or use it anyway.

GUPTA: Add some high calcium and Vitamin D fortified foods, such as skim or soy milk, to boost bone structure.

In our 40s, metabolism begins to slow down, in had we need to change from junk food like chips and candy to low calorie snacks like fruits, vegetables and yogurt. Start thinking about heart health, and eat foods such as oats, small amounts of nuts, cocoa, wine or purple grape juice, even green tea. Switch from butter or margarine to healthy oils, such as olive and canola.

In our 50s, eat greens three times a week. They are good for the eyes.

TALLMADGE: Spinach, kale, they are loaded with a nutrient called lutein (ph), and studies are confirming that lutein is important for macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness as we age, but also cataracts and other eye diseases.

GUPTA: Add tomato products regularly for prostate and heart health. Snap up more fiber like whole grains and beans for healthier digestion as the digestive tract slows down.

And exercising and eating well will reduce the risk for heart disease and cancer well beyond your 50s. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.



HARRIS: Why don't we take you to Southern California again. Boy, close to first light out there. Look at what firefighters in Riverside County have to deal with today. This is a fire that started burning, oh, in the overnight hours, starting at about midnight in Riverside County, the community of Cabazon.

Do we have a name on this yet, Heidi?

COLLINS: Esperanza

HARRIS: Esperanza. That means hope, doesn't it? Let's hope they get that under control. We don't need to see him. Thanks to KABC for these pictures. About 500 acres already burned and fears of a secondary fire. Firefighters are trying to do the best they can with it.

COLLINS: Let's take you to the exact opposite of this type of weather situation. This is coming to you from Colorado. We believe this is the I-70 corridor here, right before the tunnel heading up to the ski resorts, who are just absolutely thrilled with this type of thing. But a little further south of that it's a very different story.

Very different story all across the state. Very slushy, wet, heavy snow; but in Denver it looks more like rain the way it's coming down. Colorado Springs area, even south of Denver, visibility only about two or three feet. So, they're expecting about a foot of snow along this area. So, interesting situation there that's for sure.

HARRIS: Heidi, take a look at this. New pictures just in to CNN. This is out of Iowa. We will bring you the story of this oil company on fire right now. But first a break. You are in the NEWSROOM.



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