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Immigration Bill: Amnesty For Illegals?

Aired May 21, 2007 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, tempers flaring...

KING: ... passions boiling...


KING: ... and one presidential candidate reportedly dropping the "F" bomb on a fellow senator the other day.


Immigration -- the fate of millions and the future of the American dream could hang in the balance, as the Senate opens heated debate today on a very controversial bill already being blasted from the right and the left.

Is it amnesty for illegals?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A few senators and the administration have crafted a large scale get out of jail free pass.


KING: Will it destroy families and hurt American workers?


SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: We must not create a law that guarantees a permanent underclass.


KING: And will it make America more secure or less?

We're live at the U.S./Mexico border and in Washington, as both sides square off on the issue dividing the nation of immigrants.

It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

Earlier today, the Senate began work on a comprehensive and highly controversial immigration bill. The compromise was worked out between the White House and a bipartisan group of senators, including a very important senator, Ted Kennedy. So Kennedy and Bush agree on this. But the anger erupts.

Let's meet our panel.

Here in Los Angeles, Edward James Olmos, the Emmy winning and Oscar nominated actor, social and political activist. He's the son of an immigrant father and a Mexican-American mother.

In Spartansburg, South Carolina is Congressman Duncan Hunter, candidate for the GOP presidential nomination.

In Miami is Maria Elena Salinas, the Emmy winning co-anchor of "Noticiero Univision" and author of "I Am My Father's Daughter: Living A Life Without Secrets."

In Washington is Congressman Brian Bilbray. He is a Republican of California and chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus.

And in Los Angeles is Eddie Piolin Sotelo, top rated radio personality. He came to the United States illegally as a teenager. He now resides here legally and he hosts Piolin Por La Manana, which originates from Univision's Radio La Nueva here in Los Angeles.

We'll start with Mr. Olmos and go around.

And let me just give you a couple of highlights of this bill.

An illegal immigrant who arrives in the United States before January of 2007 could stay after paying a $1, 500 fee. They would also have to pay a $5,000 fine. After eight years, they could apply for a green card. A new visa category would be created. A temporary worker program is created.

What do you think of this bill, Eddie?


KING: Edward -- we'll start -- Edward, you'll be Edward, you'll be Eddie.


OLMOS: It's not going to work. I don't think either side is going to push it through, to be honest with you. It's too much. We have to really realize that this problem that we have today is something that the only way we're going to deal with it is being humanistic about it and by a lot of the things that we're talking about and you just stated right now would literally drive families apart.


KING: You don't think it's humanistic? OLMOS: No, not enough. No.

KING: Congressman Hunter, what do you think?

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R), CALIFORNIA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, OPPOSES BILL: Well, I think, Larry, that this -- this Senate bill cuts down the border fence, cuts it in half. That's the fence that I legislated through last October. And since 9/11, enforcement on the border is now primarily a national security issue.

Americans have to know two things -- who's coming into the country and what are they bringing with them.

And by cutting this thing down to 370 miles -- which is what the Senate bill does, you leave the smugglers routes of New Mexico and Texas totally exposed. That means you're going to have continued people moving people and narcotics through those smugglers' routes. That's going to be bad for this country.

So let's -- let's follow up on the law that's already been passed, that was signed by the president in October, and that is to build -- extend the San Diego border fence -- which, incidentally, saved lots of lives -- saved the lives of the people who were being preyed on by the border gangs in San Diego. We cut the crime rate by 50 percent by building that fence.

This bill that extends it 854 miles across Arizona, New Mexico and Texas needs to be implemented.

KING: All right...

HUNTER: We need to build the border fence.

KING: Maria...

HUNTER: ... have security.

KING: Maria Elena, what do you think?

MARIA ELENA SALINAS, CO-ANCHOR, "NOTICIERO UNIVISION": Well, I think that it is a step forward. I think it's important that at least we have a project that we're working on that recognizes the importance of the core issue here.

And the core issue here is what are we going to do in this country with 12 million undocumented immigrants?

I think there are provisions in this that are a little bit difficult and not too realistic.

You mentioned the amount of money that would have to be paid, the fine, $5,000, in order to be able to legalize your status, $1, 500 for the processing fees.

That is not the major issue. It is a lot of money and some people would have to work years in order to save that amount of money. But let's face it, some of them pay their smugglers that amount and even more.

This asking people to return to their home country in -- within eight years, to have the family divided so that the person can go there without any kind of guarantee that they will be able to qualify...

KING: Tom...

SALINAS: ... and, also, asking guest workers to come here two years, go back to their country of origin for one year, is something that is not realistic.

KING: Congressman Bilbray, there is no perfect bill, is there?

REP. BRIAN BILBRAY (R), CALIFORNIA, CHAIRMAN, IMMIGRATION REFORM CAUCUS, OPPOSES BILL: Well, it -- the right way to do it is actually to go back to the mistake of '86 and do the enforcement and recognize that the source of illegal employment -- I mean illegal immigration -- is illegal employers and really get serious about that.

In '86, they gave an amnesty, but they promised to do employer enforcement. We've never done that. And so -- and until -- there's one place the Democrats and Republicans can agree and that is employment and illegal employment as a source.

Let's concentrate on that and that first and get a handle on that before we start announcing to the world we're going to create a special program -- a special status for those who have broken our immigration laws and without offering it to the millions that are waiting patiently...

KING: So...

BILBRAY: ... to emigrate.

Now, what kind of -- you can't stop illegal immigration when the first thing you do is announce to everybody you're going to reward illegal immigration.

KING: Eddie, what, then, do you do about all those who are here already?

SOTELO: I believe that everybody has a chance to look for a better future. There's so many people that already have a job here, that already have a family since 10 years ago, 15 years ago. And I think they have the right to be legal in this country because most of the sons of so many families, they're already in the university.

But at the same time, they are afraid to go to work. They are afraid to go to the university, to school, because they don't know if they're going to be deported.

And then, there are so many children's right now that they don't have their parents, because they've been deported just because they don't have the commendation (ph).

So that's not fair.

KING: You can't deport 12 million people, right?

SOTELO: You can't do that.

KING: All right, earlier today on the Senate floor, Republican Arlen Specter rejected the characterization of this bill as amnesty. A lot of people are calling it that.

Let's listen to what he had to say and then we'll get a reaction of our panel.

Here's Senator Specter.


SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R-PA), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: We're accused, on the right, of amnesty. We have done everything we could to avoid that charge. And I think we succeeded. Those undocumented immigrants will have to pay a fine. They have to pay back taxes. They have to learn English. They have to fit into our culture. They have to hold jobs and be responsible and they go to the end of the line. They can't begin to qualify until eight years have passed. And it may be as long as 13 years which have passed. So it is not amnesty.


KING: We'll get the reaction of our panel right after these words.

Don't go away.



CARLOS GUTIERREZ, COMMERCE SECRETARY: It is not amnesty. We've said it's not amnesty.

For some people, the only thing that would not be amnesty is mass deportation.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's a wonderful idea, not just for the United States, but for us.




(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. PETE DOMENICI (R), NEW MEXICO: The bill says none of this bill should go into effect until the border is made secure. And then it says secure means 18,000 Border Patrol agents are hired.


KING: That was Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico.

On the -- we're checking in now at the U.S./Mexico border with Jim Gilchrist. He's the founder and president of Jim Gilchrist Minuteman Project.

Good to see you again, Jim.

Is this amnesty?

JIM GILCHRIST, PRESIDENT, JIM GILCHRIST MINUTEMAN PROJECT, AT U.S./MEXICO BORDER: Absolutely, Larry. And we have to understand, the United States of America is under an invasion. And not -- not in the sense that people are coming here with bayonets and charging our beaches. It's a covert Trojan horse invasion that's occurred for the last 30 to 40 years.

We are being colonized and we have to make...

KING: But we're...

GILCHRIST: ... a decision -- are we...

KING: You...

GILCHRIST: ... whether to accept the colonization or defer it.

KING: We're not a nation of immigrants?


GILCHRIST: Yes, we are. But we're a nation of legal immigrants, an orderly cue of a proscribed number of legal immigrants with skill sets that are necessary to maintain our prosperity.


Edward James Olmos is laughing at that thought.


OLMOS: Hi, Jimmy.

How are you?

GILCHRIST: Of course.

OLMOS: It's good to see you.

Let me tell you, if this is -- if you're here legally, Jimmy, I'd like you to go talk to the Arapahoe and the Cheyenne and the -- the Aztec and the, you know, the people who were here long before your forefathers came here and destroyed them and killed them.

Now, they're not coming over here killing anybody -- not like your forefathers did.

KING: Is this amnesty to you, James?

OLMOS: In a sense, it is. Of course it is. But at the same...

KING: So it's...

OLMOS: In the same -- in the same breath I'm going to tell you that it has to be done. There are 12 million people here and this problem is not going to be done by five of us talking about it.

KING: Congressman Hunter, isn't forgiveness one of the concepts of America?

You're not going to -- you're not going to deport 12 million people, are you?

HUNTER: Well, let me tell you, Larry, the other concept is security...


HUNTER: ... and there is absolutely nothing that has been -- has been laid down by the people that support this idea of amnesty. And it is an amnesty because the only thing people care about is can I stay?

And they can stay the instant they walk in and sign up. That nobody has been able to explain to me the difference between now and 1986, when we gave amnesty and we wrote in the fine print, now this is it, nobody else is allowed to come in illegally. People didn't even slow down. In fact, they rushed the borders. That's why there's 12 million people here now.

Now, if we pass this, why won't there be another 12 million people coming in to catch what they consider to be the third amnesty?

The answer is there won't be any difference because they will think that we've devalued our own laws by basically giving a second amnesty.

So this is an amnesty and it's going to bring on what I think will be a real stampede for America's borders for the third amnesty.

KING: Is this amnesty to you, Maria?

SALINAS: You know, I think the big problem here that we have, Larry, is that everyone is afraid of the "A" word. They treat amnesty like it's a bad thing, like it's a bad word, like it's a contagious disease.

The people who support this particular program are saying it's not amnesty. They have to pay a fine, therefore they're paying for their so-called crime, which is not really a crime. It's a misdemeanor to cross the border.

We're not talking about murders. We're not talking about burglars. We're not talking about rapists and drug dealers. We're talking about people who come here to work.

There are provisions in this law that will take care of those who do have some kind of a criminal record. Those people will not be allowed to stay.

But then you have to think of the alternative.

What -- how are you going to be able to deport 12 million people, for one?

And, also, we're going to have 12 million people not knowing whop they are or where they are.

KING: All right, Cong...

SALINAS: So basically what you're doing is the status quo. That's amnesty, too, leaving things as they are...

KING: Cong...

SALINAS: Leaving people in legal limbo.

KING: Congressman Bilbray, what's wrong with amnesty?

BILBRAY: Larry, I lived on the border and I saw what the '86 amnesty did. What it does is cause the next wave of illegals to come in quick. We had the biggest bubble of illegal immigration in the history of the Republic after '86. And I don't know about the rest of them, but I've rescued illegals when they were drowning in the Tijuana River. I recovered their bodies. And I saw them slaughtered on the freeways when they were running up the freeways because we announced to the world we're going to reward you if you come here illegally.

So the biggest problem here is the message sent around the world that it's the policy in the United States to reward illegal immigration and basically to punish those who are waiting patiently.

All I'm asking is whatever is proposed to be available to illegals be available to all of the legal immigrants that have been waiting outside this country for their time to come in legally.

KING: Eddie, do you think the illegals have a break over the legals?

SOTELO: I believe that once we cross the border, we have the chance to look for a better future, and, at the same time, is that we deserve an opportunity to be legal after we've been working, after we've already...

KING: But how about the concept that you shouldn't cross the border unless you're legal?

SOTELO: Oh, yes, but sometimes, you know, when you don't see that you can have food in your table in your country, you would do the same thing, Larry. You will go and look for a better future for your family.

If you see your son, that there's no food, you will look for another nation to find it.

KING: Jim Gilchrist, isn't that logical? If you don't have and right across the border you can have, you go?

GILCHRIST: That's correct.

But, Larry, one of the consequences of this chaotic lack of enforcement of immigration law is that on my lapel you'll see three victims of almost 48,000 people in the United States killed at the hands of illegal aliens since 9/11 through homicide and manslaughter -- 48,000.

The number is staggering.

And if there's any humane treatment being conducted here, it's not in the United States, it's in Mexico. And I think Mr. Olmos would agree with me. Very serious reforms need to be taken care of in Mexico before we can solve this problem 100 percent.


KING: Thanks, Jim.

We'll be back with lots more on this very important topic.

Coming up in our next segment, an interesting e-mail question from a viewer for our panel members.

Don't go away.


SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: We are United States senators and we represent the people. We don't represent groups. It's our responsibility to pass a bill that serves the national interests of the United States of America.



KING: That shot is of the Arizona, United States border with Mexico.

We have an e-mail question from Teresa in Tacoma, Washington: "Would you allow anyone to enter your house and demand to be treated like a family member? Isn't that what illegal immigrants do, break into the United States and demand the rights and benefits of being a citizen?"


SALINAS: Not exactly. That's not what they do.

They come into this country and they work. They want to contribute. They want to have an opportunity to be able to raise their own families. There are complete industries in this country that depend -- rely only on the work of undocumented immigrants.

So it's not that they're coming into this country and demanding any kind of right and demanding to be treated as citizens. What they are saying is give me an opportunity, an opportunity to work, an opportunity to contribute, also, to this country.

So, no, I don't think that that is -- that analogy is really functioning.

KING: Congressman Hunter, what do you think?

HUNTER: Well, I think it's pretty close. And, you know, I'm sitting here with your old friend, General Chuck Yeager, Larry, with The Right Stuff Express here...

KING: Oh...

HUNTER: ... in South Carolina. And he says hello.

And I'm reminded that...

KING: Give him my best.

HUNTER: ... that this is a -- I'll give him your best. And he's smiling right now, knowing that you remember him and -- and say hello.

KING: Can't forget Chuck.

HUNTER: You know, I'm reminded that this is a security issue. It's a security issue because we have to know who it is coming in. It's been pointed out that there's 250,000 criminal aliens. That is people who came across the border to hurt Americans and presently in our federal, state and local penitentiaries and jails.

Unless you have sides on the house, it doesn't make any difference how you adjust the front door, if you don't know who's coming through those sides on the house. And the same -- the same smugglers who will take $10,000 to smuggle cocaine across the border or smuggle people who are coming in illegally across the border, someday will take $10,000 to smuggle terrorists across the border.

That's why you have to have a secure border. That's why we need sides on the house. And if people want to come in, they're going to have to knock on the front door, Larry. It's going to have to be that way since 9/11.

KING: Edward, is there an element here of racism? SALINAS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

OLMOS: Yes. People are scared. I think the fear is -- is causing people to react off of their inner fears. And there is certainly a prejudice and a discrimination that goes along with everything that we're talking about. And it's comfortable here.

KING: But they still came illegally.

OLMOS: Of course they did. And you would, too. Anybody here would have done the same damn thing. That's the difference. That's it. I mean we've got to understand, you say -- you think anybody that's talking right now, if they were in the same position would do the same thing.

KING: Congressman...

OLMOS: Duncan would do it, everybody would do it.

KING: Congressman Bilbray...

OLMOS: Ask that question.

KING: ... would you do it?

BILBRAY: I would...

KING: Congressman...

BILBRAY: Obviously, my mother played by the rules. She emigrated legally and she recognized.

OLMOS: Now, stop for a second.

Played by the rules?

I'm saying you -- you don't have the rules. You don't -- this is a different game now.

BILBRAY: The game...

OLMOS: you have an -- you have -- right now you have in Mexico -- you have a revolution. Those people are coming over by the millions for a reason.

BILBRAY: You have...

OLMOS: Those people...

BILBRAY: Wait a minute...

OLMOS: ... are being killed. They're being killed. Have you...

BILBRAY: They are being killed at the border, sir...

OLMOS: ... been keeping up with... BILBRAY: ... crossing illegally.

OLMOS: No. They are being killed...

BILBRAY: Over 300 a year.

OLMOS: ... where they're coming from. That's why they're risking their lives...


OLMOS: ... to come across the border.

BILBRAY: Sir, I'm sorry, but there's -- since the last amnesty, there's been over 300 deaths every year because of illegal immigration. And people that are encouraging them to come here illegally, they're saying don't worry about it, you can cross over and be rewarded. They are just as responsible for the deaths of those illegals every year.

Where is the outrage at this bait and switch?

The fact is...


BILBRAY: ... we need to send a clear message.

I'm going down to El Salvador next week. I'll meet with the people down there, talk with them down there. They keep saying we're told to come up illegally now because you're going to reward us. And I'm trying to say don't, it's dangerous, it's the wrong way to do it. Play by the rules. We'll get our act together and we'll stop rewarding illegal immigration. We'll start allowing people to play by the rules.

But you don't start people playing by the rules by announcing you're going to reward the illegals. And all you're doing is...

KING: Eddie, does...

BILBRAY: ... talking like this is encouraging more people to take the risk of crossing that border illegally and being killed by coyotes, smugglers, the desert and the ocean.

OLMOS: No, what I'm saying honestly, Representative, what I'm saying is honestly, the biggest issue here -- and Jim touched it and I touched it the last time I talked about this issue -- is the government of Mexico and the governments of Latin America, who have done things to their own people and have been -- never chastised by us for what they've done to their own people.

BILBRAY: Well...

OLMOS: And so millions of people are coming this way.

And you think that we're -- we reward them? Yes.

How do we reward them?

By allowing them to stay alive.

BILBRAY: We allow -- look, we -- we subsidize those governments by taking the young unemployed males that would force social and political change. You're actually subsidizing the regimes that you say need to change.

And we need to keep the pressure up.

Actually, there is -- you -- I think you admit, there's been major changes in the last -- the last five, six, 10 years in Mexico. We've got a lot of changes we need to go across.

Central America has had major reforms. There's a lot more.

But you do not -- you do not change those corrupt regimes by becoming their safety valve and their source of revenue from...

OLMOS: I totally agree...

BILBRAY: ... from illegal activity.

OLMOS: I totally agree. And that's why I say to you, you'd better be aware that there's a major revolution going on right now in Juahaca...

KING: Eddie...

OLMOS: ... and in Chiapas. And those indigenous people are being murdered and sacrificed...

KING: Is it...

OLMOS: ... and they're all moving this way.

KING: Is it -- is this...

OLMOS: So if you think you have a lot coming in now...

KING: Does...

OLMOS: ... you just wait.

KING: Does this argument anger you, Eddie?

HUNTER: Listen -- listen, in 2000...

KING: Hold it.

Hold it, Congressman Hunter.

HUNTER: ... in 2005, a hundred and -- in 2005, 155,000 people came across the border from Mexico who were not citizens of Mexico. They came from virtually every country in the world.

Unless you have an enforceable border, you will have no way of telling who's coming across this 2,000 -- this vast 2,000 mile border between the United States and Mexico. Everybody in the world watches their television sets...

KING: All right...

HUNTER: ... they know that's how you get into America illegally.

KING: I've got to...

HUNTER: We had 1,100 people from communist China...

KING: I've got to...

HUNTER: ... come across...

OLMOS: I totally agree with you.

HUNTER: ... in 2005.

KING: I've got get...

OLMOS: I totally agree with you.

KING: I've got to get a break soon.

Eddie, does this argument anger you?

SOTELO: No, I think it's better, because there's so many people that, they don't understand why we come to the United States by crossing the border. And I think it's important that you're, you know, taking this opportunity to let the people know...

KING: But does it hurt you to hear those in opposition to it?



SOTELO: ... because I think we've been showing that -- I've been working. For example, I'm sure I can ask you, Larry, who is the people that is doing the landscaping for you? Who is the people that is building the houses of the United States? Who is the people that is going to the agriculture and working every day...

KING: Yes.

SOTELO: ... hard?

They demonstrate, too. Well, what they're looking for, it's just an opportunity to be legal in the United States.

KING: All right, I've got to get a break.

SOTELO: That's what they're looking for.

KING: Maria, thanks for being with us.

Maria has to leave us and she'll be replaced by another guest from Univision.

Up next, we go back to the U.S./Mexican border for some feedback on today's action in D.C.

Stick around.


SEN. TED KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: The agreement we just reached is the best possible chance we will have in years to secure our borders, bring millions of people out of the shadows and into the sunshine of America.



KING: Joining our panel now in Washington is Jorge Ramos, co- anchor of Noticiero Univision along with Maria Elena Salinas. He's the co-anchor of that program. It's good to have him back with us, always good to see him. And at the U.S.-Mexican border in San Sedro, California is Enrique Morones, founder and president of Border Angels. Border Angels is a non-profit, volunteer group which offers water, food and clothing to illegal immigrants.

We'll start with Enrique. What about those that say you're helping people commit a crime?

MORONES: Larry, nobody's coming here for the water. People have been coming here for hundreds of years. There's 12 million undocumented people in this country. A third came here legally. Their visas expired. So all this talk about this event which has more than 4,500 people needs to be validated. We need to tell them the truth.

I'm not out there helping anybody commit crimes. Our mission statement says is, "If I was hungry, you give me to eat, if I was thirsty, you give me to drink." If this fence had been completed on September 10, September 11 would have happened exactly the same way. We need to be building bridges of communication with Mexico not triple fences of separation.

Duncan Hunter and Brian Bilbray are very responsible for a lot of these deaths. We need to be working with our neighbors. But remember not all the people that cross the Mexican border are from Mexico. Seventy percent of undocumented people in the country right now are from other countries. So we need to talk about that as well.

KING: Well, I want Jorge to comment and then Duncan and Bilbray -- and Congressman Bilbray to respond.

But Jorge, how do you respond that the concern that these temporary guest workers are going to replace people with jobs?

JORGE RAMOS, CO-ANCHOR, "NOTICIERO UNIVISION": Well, the program with the 400,000 temporary workers that might come to this country is that I have news for you; they're not coming back to the country of origin. I mean this is one of the issues of disagreement that has to be changed.

But also we have to understand something, Larry, it has nothing to do with criminal activity, it has everything to do with economics with the law of supply of law and demand. As long as we have Mexicans making $5 a day and jobs for them in the United States in which they can make exactly the same amount of money in just a half an hour they're going to keep them coming.

Now, we have also to understand, we have to recognize the fact that they're coming to this country because millions of Americans are taking advantage of their work and thousands of American companies hire them, otherwise they simply wouldn't be here. So it has to do also with people living here in the United States not only the undocumented immigrants responsible are for this.

KING: The fault is with ourselves as some will say.

Congressman Hunter, you want to respond to Enrique's charge that you're responsible for some of the deaths?

HUNTER: Yes. Larry, first, there's one guy who's put out 10 times as much water as Mr. Morones has for people who have been dying in the desert. That's my brother, John Hunter, who does it every day every week and has done it for years, doesn't seek publicity like Mr. Morones, but he's put out a lot more water.

And secondly, when we built the border fence, you had armed gangs that robbed, raped and murdered illegal aliens so badly that Joseph Wambaugh wrote his best-selling book about the area between San Diego and Tijuana, that no man's land that they called Lines and Shadows. Those were gangs with automatic weapons. They average 10 murders a year on the border.

When I built the double border fence along the border between Tijuana and San Diego, we took those gangs out; we took the murders down from 10 a year to zero. I never got a thank you from Mr. Morones.

MORONES: You know the fence is an illusion because last year in the year 2006, 432 immigrants died in the border region. And it's really an illusion because...


RAMOS: Let me just finish, please -- because 50 percent of all immigrants coming into the United States, they come by plane. They simply overstay their visa so just to have a longer fence or just to have more walls is going to achieve absolutely nothing.

HUNTER: And Larry, let me finish my position on that. If the government would build the fence that I put into the law across Arizona and put interlocking cameras up, I timed that so they would be up before the next hot season so those 200 people would not die in the Arizona desert this year. This administration has failed to do that. The deadline was May 31, which is just a couple of weeks!

RAMOS: It will go to another route. It isn't going to work that way.

Larry, the fact that...

KING: Yes.

MORONES: ...who puts out the most water will save people's lives.


KING: One at a time. Go ahead, Enrique, what did you say?

MORONES: Well, I just want to respond to what Duncan said. There's not a contest to see who puts out the most water. We've been doing this for 21 years. We're a humanitarian organization. This is supposed to be a humanitarian country.

How is it possible that we allow more than 4,500 people to die in the last 12 years because of this wall? The minutemen, people like Bilbray and Hunter, they're very responsible for forcing people to pass out in the desert. We should be working with Mexico. We need to be working together in the spirit of brotherhood. This is supposed to be a country...

HUNTER: And the first thing you do if you...

MORONES: ... that's not respecting human rights.

KING: One at a time.

HUNTER: Now let me finish.

KING: All right.

HUNTER: If you had 200 young high school students dying because they were getting into a canal and drowning, the first thing you'd do is fence the canal. If we fence the Arizona desert with a double fence and we have those interlocking cameras, you keep the coyotes from pushing those innocent people out across the line, telling them that the road is only two miles to the north. In some cases, it's 20 miles to the north. And in July heat, 110 degree heat, at 10:00 in the morning, they start to fall off.

KING: Edward Olmos, where do you stand on the fence question?

OLMOS: I think that it's not going to work. You can build whatever you want to try to build there; it's not going to work.

KING: So are we saying nothing is going to work, no bill is going to work? We can't write a bill?

OLMOS: We cannot touch this situation until we understand what Enrique was trying to say about the humanity of our country; two, the fact that we do have to talk to the governments; and three, and the most important thing is to realize that there is a major, major problem in the government of Mexico. And there is a revolution there.

BILBRAY: Larry, the problem...

OLMOS: ... and other countries too.

KING: Congressman Bilbray, go ahead.

BILBRAY: Look, I grew up on the border. I rescued illegals as a life guard. I recovered their bodies. I've seen them slaughtered on freeways. It wasn't the fence. It was the amnesty of '86 did more to inspire this. And frankly, in our neighborhood down in San Diego, it helped reduce the violence and the attacks. So to blame it all on the fence when in fact, you're trying to encourage another role of illegal immigration, we finally got to the thing where it's backing off but the key is yes, the key is interior enforcement. And we need to crack down on illegal employers and get tough with them and not just try to say we can do it all at the border. The fence helps. It's part of our law enforcement. As somebody from that neighborhood, it has helped immeasurably. And I thank Duncan Hunter for that.

But now is the tough part, cracking down on our buddies in big business who are hiring illegals.

KING: Yes.

BILBRAY: And both sides should be brave enough to admit that's where we need to do enforcement.

KING: Let me get a break.

Thank you, Enrique Morones for joining us.

Coming up, an interesting question about immigration from north of the border. We'll also squeeze in your phone calls, possibly. Don't go away.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Legal immigration is good for our country. It brings vitality and energy and passion and culture. It's wonderful. But illegal immigration has got to end.



KING: We'll take a couple of phone calls in a moment. We have an e-mail question from Kitty in British Columbia. Maybe Eddie, you will handle it. "Would the amnesty, and that's what it is no matter what the sponsors call it, cover all people of ethnic backgrounds or only Hispanics?"

SOTELO: No, I think it's going to cover all of them because there are so many people from, you know, Asia, from Japan.

KING: So the bill doesn't say "Hispanics," right?

SOTELO: No, no.

KING: All right, so it covers all.

Let me get a call from Whittier, California.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, my name's Rosemary. I would like to ask a couple of questions.

KING: Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Number one, are we looking at Canada also? Are we going to build a wall in Canada to not let people come across because it is a fact that terrorists have come across from Canada. Number two; is this also going to be across the board, including Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese?

KING: Yes, we've answered that already. It does cover them.

But Congressman Bilbray, what about Canadians coming in?

BILBRAY: Well, Canadians are a problem too and that's why interior enforcement is absolutely essential. The fact is is that the violent activities of the cartels and the enforcement problem you have along the border of Mexico is a much bigger problem than Canada at this time.

And you know my neighborhood in down in south San Diego and then north of Tijuana, has always traditionally been a major crime problem because they can just jump across the border. Now that we have barrier, it slowed that down and it's helped law enforcement on both sides.

KING: You're not saying Mexicans are criminals and Canadians are not?

BILBRAY: No, absolutely not. But what I'm saying is that the uncontrolled situation, the mass of numbers and the massive amounts of money being made by smuggling drugs and aliens north, and it's the same group that does that, and guns south is such a revenue generator that it's caused wholesale slaughters in Mexico with deaths of their law enforcement. You know you've lost over 37 police officers, seven prosecutors in Tijuana in the last decade. I mean they're fighting for their life against the cartel down there. At the same time, they need, you know, to get investment and bring their economic standards up. KING: Jorge, does this argument on its face bother you?

RAMOS: Yes. What I think is we're not really talking about criminals or terrorists. And there's a very simple argument. There's a logic for those working in this country. First of all, I mean what we eat has been harvested by immigrants. The houses and the apartments where we live, they were built by immigrants. Undocumented immigrants are great for this country. They pay taxes. They create jobs. They maintain (UNINTELLIGIBLE) under control. They are replacing the white working age population who's diminishing.

And the most comprehensive study ever conducted by the National Academy of Scientists concluded that all immigrants both legally and undocumented contribute much more than what they take away from this country, $10 billion every single year. So it's a great business to have immigrants in this country. And many people simply do not want to recognize that fact.

KING: Congressman Hunter, do you dispute that fact?

HUNTER: Well, first, to the first point that was made by that call, Larry, I actually held a hearing on the Canadian border in Michigan last August with the Armed Services Committee and we asked our agencies what they needed in terms of increased law enforcement. They said it's not like it is on the Mexican border right now but if we have an enforcement on the Mexican border with the fence, we may well need better arrangements, including barriers, on the Canadian border if we have to in this post 9/11 world, then we have to do it. So the point is you have to have security.

And nobody here has explained how you separate, when criminals are coming in along with the good people and people coming in from virtually every country in the world, how you tell who's coming in and what they're bringing in with them unless you have a real border.

KING: What if you let no one in and then you're secure but you're alone?

HUNTER: Well, that's right, Larry. What that means is that you've got to come in through the front door. You've got to knock on the front door. You've got to give your credentials. That gives our law enforcement agencies an ability to analyze who's coming into the country. And every country post 9/11 has that right.

RAMOS: We're concentrated on the negative. Why are we always talking only the law enforcement? Why don't we talk about all the contributions that these immigrants are doing to this country? This is a much better country thanks to immigrants and to undocumented immigrants. And we have to recognize that.

What you had this morning for breakfast, what had this afternoon for lunch, where you live, everything was done by immigrants.

BILBRAY: You have to separate legal and illegal immigrants though. If you want to pull that together, it's an insult to everybody like my mother that played by the rules. You got more illegal immigrants that are serving this community, but they know that it's an honor, that it's an honored right to come into this country.

KING: Congressman Bilbray, are you saying that no illegal immigrant has done good for the country?

BILBRAY: Absolutely, they might have done good, but the fact is is that the cumulative impact is a negative just because you encourage the criminal element.

Look, Larry, there is a big reason why the National Border Patrol Council, the men and women that are actually fighting illegal immigration and trying to stop this problem, have strongly opposed this piece of legislation because they know it will make it worse.

KING: All right, I got to...

BILBRAY: And I think that when we talk about immigration let's make sure that we keep it clear.

RAMOS: It's a double standard...

KING: I've got to get a break in. Hold on, I've got to get a break. We'll come right back. When we come back, we go back to the border for yet another view on the immigration bill. We'll be back.

Tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE, Al Gore. As the global warming debate gets hotter and hotter, a lot of people see him saving the planet and now they want him to run for president again. Will he? That and a lot more. Al Gore tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: We're back. Joining us from Tucson, Arizona is Al Garza, the national executive director of Minutemen Civil Defense Corps.

What's your reaction to this argument, Al?


KING: Yes.

GARZA: Well, I'll tell you what I think our Congress has the right approach in what they're doing, but quite frankly, I think they've done this upside down. I've heard a lot of commotion and stories. And everybody has a story to tell obviously. These are sad times. But I think the bottom line is there are four components that need to be addressed here and obviously I've heard most of them. The first one obviously would be to secure the borders. I mean that's a give.

And the other thing obviously would also be to enforce our current immigration laws. It's a real simple process. Hold people that hire illegal immigrants accountable for their actions; and the fourth, would be to take away what they consider their rights to apply for public services. When you do all that in a nutshell, you solve the problem. KING: And what do you do about all those who are here already?

GARZA: Well, that would be a topic for another time. But again, I think the first full components should take place first.

KING: All right.

GARZA: You secure the borders and you go down the line.

But to try to address an issue of 12 to 40 million whatever, the numbers are immaterial. The...

KING: But what about...

GARZA: ... securing the borders is essential.

KING: Edward, what about Al's point, take care of current current?


GARZA: Who was that?

KING: It's Edward James Olmos now.

OLMOS: Yes, you should take care of current. You should try to...

KING: So Al's got a point?

OLMOS: Yes, Al has a point. And he has a point just like Duncan and the other representative, Bilbray. I can tell you this is a very complex situation and it's a not going to be solved until we solve the reasons why they're coming here.

KING: So are you saying it can't be solved legislatively?

OLMOS: It can be but it's going to have -- it's going to take letting some of these situations arise, which is giving them amnesty and allowing these people to be here and work hard. And it's also going to take an understanding that it's going to be a rush to the border and that border is going to be hit hard. It happened in '89 or -- it's true, it happened. And every time we give amnesty or anytime we give a gift to somebody, everybody wants that gift.

KING: Aren't you impressed, Congressman Hunter, that George Bush and Ted Kennedy agree on this? I mean doesn't that tell you something?



HUNTER: I think it tells me that they don't understand that border enforcement right now, this vast 2,000 mile border that's unsecured, is probably our most pressing problem with respect to homeland security. I think securing the border is more important than a thousand new shiny fire trucks for New York City or a new communication system for our police.

This is important because this is where people -- you know the 155,000 people that came from all countries in the world, Larry, to transit across Mexico, those people came because they know that that is the opening. You can't come through the airports anymore. You come across a land border between Mexico and the U.S. At some point, we're going to have people come across. They're going to put $10,000 in the hands of that smuggler who was moving cocaine and those people are going to be terrorists. This is a national security problem. You have to know who's coming into this country and you can't do that unless you have a secure border.

KING: Let's take a call from Denver -- hello.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Larry, happy 50th.

KING: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My question is I came to the U.S. in 1985 as a 9-year-old child and after 22 years, I'm still here illegally. Personally, I think the problem is part of enforcement or lack of enforcement since the '86 law. But the only way that illegals can readjust the status or one of the few ways is through marriage to a U.S. citizen. My question to both Congressman Bilbray and Hunter is, you know, people like myself who have sisters, nieces and nephews who are U.S. citizens, what do they propose to do so that families don't get separated?

KING: Who wants to take it? We're running close on time.

BILBRAY: Well, let me just say right now we have a way of immigrating based on the family relationships. Obviously, you could get a sponsor on that. The big issue here really comes down to, Larry, as you're saying, what do you do with the 12 to 20 million illegals that are in this country today. You stop paying them to stay here. And that's what every illegal's employer is doing.

I think there's one thing all of us can agree on is that the real people profiteering from this are the illegal employers who are getting around fair wages and fair relations by being able to hire illegals. And we shouldn't be subsidizing that.

KING: I got to get a break. And when we come back, one of our guests talks about and shows the fruits of some Latino laborers who have come to our country. Don't go away.


KING: The basket of bountiful fruit is before us. Eddie "Poline" Sotelo, who may be the number one radio personality in America, he's everywhere, what have you brought us?

SOTELO: This is a gift, Larry, for the people, immigration people, that has been coming to the United States to work, where so many people are not able -- they don't want the job because even the president say that. And this is the fruit that -- if we leave from this country, there's so many people that are not going to be able to taste this great fruit.

KING: You're saying Americans won't pick this fruit?

SOTELO: The president said that. There's so many jobs that the American does not want to do because it's a hard job. It's hard work to do it.

KING: So all this fruit was picked by illegal immigrants?


KING: What do you say to that, Congressman Hunter? We only have 30 seconds.

HUNTER: Well, I just say this: when the swift plants were raided in Iowa a couple of months ago, and I was up there, Larry, and about 800 folks were taken out working there illegally, the next day, I'm told, lots of native Iowans showed up to get their jobs back. So there are lots of jobs in this country, in fact, that have been taken by folks who are here illegally. I think that's very clear. I think the absolute statement that they're taking only jobs Americans don't want is not accurate. It's been proven.

KING: All right, thanks. We're out of time.

Thanks, Duncan. Thanks to all of our panelists. We appreciate it. We'll do lots more on this in nights ahead.

Tomorrow night, our special guest is environmental activist and former vice president, Al Gore. So our text vote question for the night is: Should Al Gore run for president? Text your votes from your cell phone to CNNTV, which is 26688, and text KINGA for yes and KINGB for no. And we'll reveal the results on tomorrow nights show. We'll tell Al. You also can e-mail your questions for Al Gore by going to


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