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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Most of Baghdad Still Not Secure; Terror Plot: Suspects Fight Extradition to U.S.; New Cold War?
Aired June 4, 2007 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, HOST: Is Senator McCain engaging in fear mongering over the immigration debate? He says if the Senate's grand compromise doesn't pass we could see riots on our streets.
We'll also report on the rest of the Senate today dealing with amendments to that legislation. More than 100 amendments.
Republican Senator Jon Kyl, one of the architects of the grand compromise, joins us.
Church leaders around the country are accused of blurring the line between church and state. The head of the Family Research Council says the church should be more involved in our politics. Reverend Barry Lynn says churches are going too far.
They'll join us for a spirited debate.
We'll have all of that, all the day's news, and tell you exactly who won last night's Democratic presidential debate, straight ahead here tonight.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate and opinion for Monday, June 4th.
Live from New York, Lou Dobbs.
DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.
New evidence tonight the troop surge to secure Baghdad is meeting top resistance. Three-quarters of that city remains not secure. Insurgents have turned to a new weapon as well to kill our troops.
And terror at home. Two suspects in the plot to blow up New York's JFK airport fighting extradition to the United States.
Barbara Starr tonight reports on disturbing new information from Iraq and the latest deadly threat to our troops.
Susan Candiotti reporting tonight from Trinidad with the latest on the investigation into the JFK airport terrorist plot.
Ed Henry reporting from Prague tonight on the latest threat to U.S. national security from Russia's president.
We begin our coverage tonight with Barbara Starr at the Pentagon -- Barbara. BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Lou, plain and simple, it is a grim assessment from a top U.S. commander.
STARR (voice over): A top U.S. commander tells CNN that three- quarters of Baghdad simply is not under the control of U.S. or Iraqi security forces. Brigadier General Vincent Brooks says just "... one quarter of Baghdad is in a controlled state." Brooks said control means U.S. and Iraqi forces are able to maintain physical influence over a specific area, preventing its use by the enemy.
It's been three months since the security crackdown began. More than 20,000 U.S. troops have poured into the city, but Brooks says there is still a crucial problem -- the lack of qualified Iraqi police.
In some areas, they are still loyal to death squads and militias. In other areas, there just aren't enough police. In neighborhoods such as Amaria (ph) in west Rashid (ph), U.S. troops are still having to go back into those areas that they had cleared.
Attacks against U.S. troops in Baghdad are on the rise. Military intelligence officials are analyzing this video from the Islamic State of Iraq claiming to show Russian grenades being thrown at U.S. troops. Analysts say these grenades may be designed to burst into high- temperature fires on impact. One official calls it a new threat.
Another Islamic State of Iraq video emerged showing the I.D. cards of two U.S. soldiers missing since last month after an attack. Family members were warned by the Pentagon several days ago this might be posted on the Internet after U.S. troops captured a similar video.
STARR: Now, Lou, the posting on the Web site also includes a claim by the insurgents, but with no proof, a claim that they did kill the two U.S. soldiers, Private Byron Fouty an Specialist Alex Jimenez. The U.S. military says they will continue to search for the two men -- Lou.
DOBBS: Turning if we can to the -- the fact that three-quarters of Baghdad is still not secure, what is the U.S. military saying? It is obviously a setback to the benchmark set for the surge. What does the next few weeks and months hold?
STARR: Well, you know, it's still the case that there is that September time frame, the mark on the wall when the U.S. military is supposed make its best assessment, some 90 days from now, about whether this troop buildup is working. But it clearly appears over the last several days that top commanders are trying to lower expectations about all of this.
General Brooks is a very experienced commander. And just last week, of course, General Odierno, the second top commander for all of Iraq, was lowering expectations saying he might need more time. So far, we aren't seeing anybody step forward and appear to be very optimistic about it all -- Lou.
DOBBS: Barbara, thank you very much.
Barbara Starr from the Pentagon.
The news from Iraq doesn't get any better. Seventeen more of our troops have been killed in Iraq, most killed during operations in and around Baghdad.
Last month, 127 of our troops were killed. The third deadliest month of this war. So far in June, 15 of our troops killed.
3,493 of our troops killed since the beginning of the war. 25,681 wounded, 11,526 of them seriously.
One suspect remains at large tonight in the plot to blow up a fuel pipeline at New York's JFK airport. Two suspects are in custody in Trinidad tonight. They're facing extradition to the United States. A fourth suspect is in custody in the United States.
Susan Candiotti is in Trinidad and she has our report.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lou, it is a question that is on nearly everyone's mind here in Trinidad: Is it possible -- is it possible that this island could be linked to an alleged terror plot in the United States? There are people that feel strongly about it on both sides of the fence.
The courtroom was packed this day as two suspects that are charged in that alleged plot made their first appearance. These people were arrested over the weekend.
The two are both imams. One is Kareem Ibrahim. He is an imam of a mosque outside of Trinidad. And Abdul Kadir, another imam of Guyana. Both men stood silently before the judge, for the most part, as the charges were read against them.
Representing the United States, someone from the attorney general's office here who was presenting evidence on behalf of the United States. Attorneys for both of the suspects tell CNN that they are innocent, that they will fight extradition, that they are "far removed," as they put it, from the criminal charges filed against them in the United States.
However, according to that criminal complaint, discussions did take place here in Trinidad between these men and a confidential informant, as well as another suspect from the United States. Discussions that took place at a very well-known mosque here in Trinidad that was tied to an attempted bloody coup back in 1990.
Now a fourth suspect, Abdel Nur, is still believed to be in hiding somewhere on the island. FBI agents are here and are helping local authorities to try to locate him.
Lou, back to you.
DOBBS: Susan Candiotti reporting from Trinidad.
Federal authorities today said an informant was crucial in preparing the case against the four men accused in that terrorist conspiracy. He was able to convince the suspects he had been sent by god to help them plan the bombing. Authorities said that plot demonstrated the need for informants to combat terrorists, and especially terrorists in small homegrown groups.
Well, there are new global threats facing the president, as he is now in Prague for the G8 summit, arriving there just a few hours ago. Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, warned that Russia could take what he called retaliatory steps if the United States were to go forward with its missile shield plan in Europe. The president will meet with the Russian president later this week.
Ed Henry has our report from Prague.
ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Russian president Vladimir Putin is talking tough, warning he may aim nuclear weapons at targets in Europe unless the U.S. stops plans for a missile defense system in the region.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): If this does not happen, then we will withdraw any responsible for our retaliatory measures because it wasn't us who initinated a new round of arms race development in Europe.
HENRY: That rhetorical blast came even before President Bush left the U.S. for the G8 summit, with a stop first in the Czech Republic, where the White House wants to place a radar system for the missile shield. The White House insists this will be no threat to Russia and is merely designed to protect Europe from Iran and other rogue nations that may launch attacks from the Mideast.
STEPHEN HADLEY, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: They should view missile defense as an element of long-term security for Russia, and that it is in a very productive area for cooperations between the United States and Russia.
HENRY: Putin isn't buying it, expressing fear the defensive missiles could be used as offensive weapons against Russia.
PUTIN (through translator): We think that there is no reason for placing an anti-missile system in Europe, and our military experts believe that this system will cover the territory of the Russian federation up to the (INAUDIBLE).
HENRY: Kremlin watchers say the White House appears to have misjudged the fury that the missile defense system would spark. PETER BAKER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Really provoked a genuine and deep anger in Moscow. A sense that, here was America coming up to its own back door in a very provocative way.
HENRY: There was at least one anti-missile defense protest here in Prague today. A sign that Mr. Bush will have an uphill battle trying to convince the Czech public to go along with having the radar for this defense system right here.
Later in the week, Mr. Bush going to Poland. That's where he wants to keep the interceptor missiles for that system. Also an uphill battle there. And both of those stops on this tour could further anger Mr. Putin, which means the Bush-Putin meeting at the G8 summit could end up overshadowing the rest of the agenda -- Lou.
DOBBS: An agenda that is already in trouble.
Ed, the president wanting to put the missile shield in Europe for the protection of Europe against principally Iranian missiles. Why in the world should the United States insist so aggressively that that missile shield be moved to Europe if there is resistance to it within Europe itself?
HENRY: That's certainly a question the president is going to have to confront at the G8 summit. The White House is feeling that they believe it would bring more security to the entire region, and they believe it would be a positive step forward.
Obviously, Mr. Putin disagrees, and obviously that has caused a lot of consternation. And now, someone who six years ago was seen as an ally of Mr. Bush -- and you'll remember Mr. Bush saying he had looked into Mr. Putin's eye, had seen into his soul and could trust him, that relationship now damaged. It gives you an idea of how difficult the Bush foreign policy is doing right now -- Lou.
DOBBS: Almost just about four years ago, the end of that deep look into one another's eyes, I believe.
Thank you very much.
Ed Henry from Prague with the president.
Up next, Senator John McCain's latest attempt to sell amnesty for millions of illegal aliens. Is there no limit to what Senator McCain will say or do?
We'll have the story.
And the Senate is back, tackling more than 100 amendments to that comprehensive immigration reform bill, so-called.
We'll have the report.
And Senator Jon Kyl, one of the architects of the legislation and one of the so-called masters of the universe in the grand bargain, joins us. We'll be talking about what we can expect from the Senate.
And Democratic Congressman William Jefferson is indicted. It only took two years after that investigation began. What took so long?
What does the congressman face now?
Stay with us for all of that. More news straight ahead.
DOBBS: The Democratic leadership of the Senate wants a vote on the grand compromise on illegal immigration as early as the end of this week. Today, senators back from a week recess, resumed their debate on the amnesty legislation, and senators adding amendments to the so-called comprehensive immigration -- I can barely say it -- comprehensive immigration reform bill. More than a hundred amendments have already been added.
Louise Schiavone tonight reports on the debate in the Senate on the grand bargain, as it is now called.
Christine Romans has more on the amendments, which are to improve it -- which are to kill it.
And why don't those senators want their votes recorded?
We'll began with Louise Schiavone in Washington -- Louise.
LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, as you said, the Senate did get back to work on immigration legislation today. But leaders may be overly optimistic in their goal of completing the bill this week.
SCHIAVONE (voice over): The Senate immigration bill remains dogged by concerns that this latest measure is nothing more than a prescription for an alien overrun.
Senate leaders know that.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: There are people who think it's the best thing in the world and there are people who think it's the worst thing in the world.
SCHIAVONE: Among the latter, members on both sides who challenge the bill's mechanism to legalize millions who slipped into the country illegally before the first day of this year.
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: This provision in the bill does not restore respect for the rule of law. It really erodes it.
SEN. BYRON DORGAN (D), NORTH DAKOTA: If we don't do border security, and do it right, this is just another way to say let's provide amnesty this time for 12 million people. We did it for three million people 20 years ago. And by the way, let's meet again.
In fact, let's set a date. Let's set a date right now. We'll meet again in 10 years.
SCHIAVONE: At home during the congressional Memorial Day recess, on the presidential campaign trail, immigration is the issue that won't go away.
JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.
Amnesty is what we gave in 1986. And it didn't work. It was unconditional forgiveinous for breaking our laws. Illegal immigrants broke our laws, and they should pay a penalty for doing so.
SCHIAVONE: But GOP presidential candidate John McCain was one of the original architects of the Senate bill, something he's had to explain everywhere. On a golf course in Iowa, explaining his opposition to deportations, telling an audience, "... the thousands of people who have been relegated to ghettos have risen up and burned cars in France. I don't want that in the suburbs of America."
While the cultural challenges facing the United States and France are quite different, both nations are facing profound financial pressures from illegal immigration.
SCHIAVONE: Lou, pricing out its effects and costs, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Senate bill could increase the federal deficit by $14 billion by 2012, and by much more after that -- Lou.
DOBBS: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
More than 100 amendments, as I said, included in this so-called legislation. Critics say the amendments only make an already flawed bill worse and make it less likely to pass, in fact.
Christine Romans has our report.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Senators are piling amendments on the immigration reform proposal. One would prohibit gang members from getting a Z visa. Another makes English the official language. Yet another would close a loophole allowing Z visas to be processes ahead of some already waiting legally in line.
CAROL SWAIN, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: The unprecedented number of amendments goes to the heart of the issue that this bill is something that no one is really satisfied with.
ROMANS: Senators are preparing dozens more as the bill barrels ahead on the Senate floor. BRIAN DARLING, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: To have over 100 amendments filed already, and only a handful voted on, shows that this is a complicated and controversial process, and it really needs to be extended longer.
ROMANS: Of the handful voted on, one measure cut the proposed guest worker program in half to 200,000. Sponsored by New Mexico Democrat Jeff Bingaman, it passed.
A successful amendment from Bernie Sanders raised the fee companies must pay for an H1B visa, with the proceeds going to scholarships for Americans. Hawaii Democrat Daniel Akaka won passage of his amendment granting visas to the children of Filipino World War II veterans.
Defeated, a Republican-led amendment to strike the entire Z visa category; Senator Byron Dorgan's measures to kill the guest worker program or phase it out; and a move from Republican Norm Coleman for local law enforcement to ask and relay immigration status to federal authorities when appropriate.
JENNIFER DUFFY, THE COOK POLITICAL REPORT: If senators want to put their imprints on this bill, they have to do it through amendments and they have to do it now.
ROMANS: Dozens of amendments, only a few likely to make it, grafted on to a 600-plus page immigration overhaul.
ROMANS: Jennifer Duffy at The Cook Political Report says big legislation like this always carries lots and lots of amendments. Some of them, Lou, are meant to crack the fragile coalition holding it all together and just be a poison pill for this whole thing. Some, she says, are legitimate efforts to make a bill better -- Lou.
DOBBS: Well, that would -- it seems very difficult to imagine this bill being much better. It's so perfect in nearly every respect, it seems, to so many.
Christine, thank you very much.
Time now for some of your thoughts.
Maria in California said, "You are the only voice of reason out there who stands for the American citizen. Keep up the good work. You're pretty much the only one I trust out there."
We appreciate that.
Abe in Texas said, "As a legal immigrant who knocked on the front door and waited in line to enter legally, I feel my commitment and respect to laws were absolutely unnecessary. We have to start embracing legality and discouraging illegality." I couldn't agree with you more.
And Ed in Florida said, "Lou, why aren't you running for public office? Everyone else is. Keep up the good work."
We'll have more of your thoughts coming up here later in the broadcast.
Up next, violent crime on the rise in some of the country's largest cities. We'll tell you what's behind this increase in crime.
Democratic Congressman William Jefferson is finally indicted two years after authorities found $90,000 in cold cash in his freezer. Why did the investigation take so long? Why did it take so long to reach an indictment?
That special report from Washington next.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: Congressman William Jefferson maintaining his innocence today despite the fact he has been now indicted in a long-running federal investigation. The Democratic congressman whose district includes New Orleans faces now 16 charges, including racketeering, soliciting bribes, money laundering, and obstruction of justice. Today's indictment comes almost two years after federal agents found $90,000 in cash in Jefferson's freezer.
Kelli Arena reports.
KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It looked bad. Ninety thousand dollars allegedly stashed in a freezer at his D.C. home. And according to federal prosecutors, it was.
Democratic Congressman William Jefferson faces charges including racketeering, soliciting bribes, and money laundering. The cold cash was alleged found by the feds more than two years ago.
So why did it take so long to indict?
CHUCK ROSENBERG, U.S. ATTORNEY: I think if you look at this 94- page indictment, and the number and complexity of schemes that are alleged, actually I would argue that we moved pretty quickly here.
ARENA: Jefferson allegedly asked for millions in bribe money and assets, once even asking for a bribe in a congressional dining room. The government says he scored more than $500,000.
He's also accused of bribing a Nigerian official to help broker business deals in Africa. The counts carry a penalty of more than 200 years in prison.
JOSEPH PERSICHINI, FBI ASST. DIRECTOR: This case is about greed, power and arrogance.
ARENA: The probe has already led to guilty pleas by a Kentucky businessman and a former aide to the congressman. Both men are cooperating. The congressman maintains his innocence.
ROBERT TROUT, JEFFERSON'S ATTORNEY: Congressman Jefferson is innocent. He plans to fight this indictment and clear his name.
ARENA: The probe was hardly a secret. A search of his congressional office sparked an all-out constitutional consversy over whether federal agents could legally raid the offices of a sitting congressman.
REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R), ILLINOIS: There's ways to do it, and my opinion is that they took the wrong path.
ARENA: Now, that raid remains controversial to this day, and prosecutors still don't have all of the documents that were seized. But they think what they do have is more than enough to lock Congressman Jefferson up for a very long time -- Lou.
DOBBS: And of course, as you reported, the congressman maintaining hiss innocence, Kelli. And we should point out Congressman Jefferson was reelected last year despite the...
ARENA: Yes, he was.
DOBBS: ... despite the prospect of those charges hanging over him.
Kelli, thank you very much.
ARENA: You're welcome.
DOBBS: Kelli Arena from Washington.
Our poll question tonight is: Should the congressional Democratic leadership demand the resignation of their fellow lawmaker, William Jefferson, after his indictment on 16 criminal counts, from bribery to obstruction of justice?
Yes or no? Let us know what you think. LouDobbs.com for your vote. We'll bring you the results here later.
New information tonight shows a rise in violent crime in this country. Murders in the nation's large cities rising by nearly 7 percent last year. Among the cities with the largest increases, Miami, San Diego, Phoenix, and Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Nationwide, robberies rose 6 percent. But the number of rapes declined by 2 percent.
Overall, violent crime up more than 1 percent last year. The second year of an increase in the crime rate. The Federal Bureau of Investigation blames the rise in violence on gangs, youth violence, and fewer police patrolling our nation's streets.
Up next, Senator Jon Kyl, Republican, architect of the Senate's immigration compromise, joins us. He's threatening to withdraw his support of the compromise bill if certain amendments pass.
And Senator Jon McCain lashing out at opponents of the Senate's plan. We'll have that report on his elevating rhetoric.
The debate over church leaders crossing a line between church and state continues here tonight. We'll be joined by the president of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, the executive director of Americans United for Separation for church and state. They'll be here to debate the issue.
And Border Patrol agents condemn the Senate's immigration legislation. Some calling it an outright sellout.
We'll have the report. Stay with us.
DOBBS: The Republican Party in this country is in a lot of trouble. The Republican National Committee is in trouble of its own, having fired 60 fundraising solicitors, claiming its outdated phone bank technology was too costly to maintain. But National Republican fundraising is off and off sharply. Federal records show that RNC receipts fell by 25 percent this past spring over the past several months versus 2005. The last non-election year.
It is too early for campaign financial records to fully show the impact of the president's so-called grand compromise on the party, but state party directors that we talked with say that President Bush's support for the grand compromise is enflaming the Republican base and could indeed be hurting national fundraising efforts.
Republicans are clearly divided on the issue of so-called comprehensive immigration reform. Tonight, presidential candidate Senator John McCain, one of the key senators behind the comprehensive immigration reform legislation, is on the offensive. Strongly so. On the eve of Republican presidential debates, the Arizona Republican attacking opponents of the amnesty bill. Candy Crowley has our report.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In truth, John McCain has to defend the immigration bill he helped put together. But today was about more than defense. The Arizona senator ripped into unnamed presidential candidates who read polls, take, quote, "cheap shots," and offer no alternatives.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Pandering for votes on this issue while offering no solution to the problem amounts to doing nothing and doing nothing is silent amnesty.
CROWLEY: A source confirms McCain's target is Mitt Romney who today called his criticism of the immigration bill a principled disagreement. Romney has repeatedly been critical of the bill, always careful to link McCain with the legislation's chief sponsor.
MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: McCain-Kennedy, what it did was it said that people are here illegally and get a special pathway. They're not like all the other immigrants in the world that want to come to this great country.
MCCAIN: We impose fines, fees and other requirements as punishment. And if the path to citizenship we offer them is special, it's because it's harder, longer, and more expensive than the path offered to those immigrants who come here legally.
CROWLEY: To understate the problem, McCain's immigration views are a bit of a barrier along the road to the white house.
DANTE SCALIA, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, SAINT ANSELM COLLEGE: It's a marker for a lot -- or a flash point for a lot of Republican voters. I think it's just one more thing where conservatives saw, that's the real John McCain. That's what we were worried about.
CROWLEY: His speech today was part of a full-court press. McCain has talked to reporters and taken his cause to conservative voters via bloggers and talk TV and radio.
MIKE GALLAGHER, TALK RADIO HOST: This is a dumb question, but do you hear the anger in peoples' voices around the country?
MCCAIN: Oh, yeah. My friend Jon Kyl and I, you know, are feeling that very intensely.
CROWLEY: Defense of the immigration bill is pretty much a solo mission for the senator. As one campaign source put it, we knew we weren't going to get a substantial level of air cover, we figured we'd do it ourselves.
MCCAIN: I'm not running to do the easy things, so I defend with no reservation our proposal to offer the people who harvest our crops, tend our gardens, work in our restaurants, care for our children and clean our homes a chance to be legal citizens of this country.
CROWLEY (on camera): Say this for John McCain. If the immigration issue does take down his campaign, it won't go down without a fight. Lou?
DOBBS: And Candy, he's also quoted as saying that he doesn't want the immigration riots that occurred in France to happen here. Strong stuff.
CROWLEY: Very strong stuff. I think what it tells you, the intensity of it tells you the intensity of the pressure that he's getting out there. You've talked about that before. Senator Kyl and Senator McCain's phones have been ringing off the hook. So as you know, Senator McCain is out and about the country and I can tell you from having been to town hall meetings with him that one does not go by without an immigration of some sort and they're not friendly questions.
DOBBS: Not friendly, and there's almost a tone on the part of Senator McCain, in my opinion, that he should not have to be subjected to something called the view and the voice of the people. But perhaps that's just my interpretation. Candy, thank you very much for your report. Candy Crowley in Manchester, New Hampshire. She'll be covering the Republican candidates as they debate here on CNN tomorrow evening. WMUR and the "New Hampshire Union Leader" will be presenting the second in our series of debates. Republicans facing off at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. And we'll have a special edition of this broadcast beginning at 6:00 p.m. Eastern.
Border Patrol agents are condemning this so-called grand compromise in the harshest language. The Border Patrol agents say they've been sold out by a federal government more interested in appeasing Mexico than protecting American citizens. Casey Wian has our report.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former high ranking Border Patrol officials are furious over the Senate's immigration reform compromise. Hugh Brien was Border Patrol chief during the 1986 amnesty.
HUGH BRIEN, FORMER BORDER PATROL CHIEF: It's a sell-out in my view. It's a complete betrayal of the nation. As I speak, there are presently hundreds of thousands of folks from Latin America, from China, from the Middle East, you name it, waiting to enter the U.S. illegally. They're just waiting for the word amnesty.
WIAN: The former agents scoff at claims the Senate bill offers border security without amnesty.
JIM DORCY, FORMER BORDER PATROL SUPERVISOR: I like to call the bill that's before Congress the al Qaeda dream bill. We're going to have -- we're going to have thousands of people coming to this country who would destroy it if they had the opportunity and they're going to get the opportunity.
WIAN: They offered a six-step alternative plan. Security the border, enforce immigration laws to pressure illegal aliens to believe, no amnesty in any form, vigorous employer sanctions, jock programs for American workers, only then guest workers and only if there's a labor shortage.
Current Border Patrol agents are angry as well. The Border Patrol Union's Tucson local wrote Senator Jon Kyl, an architect of the amnesty compromise. It calls the bill "a tremendous morale breaker for Border Patrol agents." And asks, "we would like any politician just once to explain to us why we risk our lives to keep people out of this country when the same people we are trying to keep out will be legalized anyway after they get by us."
A related question is posed by this new television ad from the conservative group Grassfire.
ANNOUNCER: Last year, Congress authorized 700 miles of fence along the southern border.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where's the fence?
ANNOUNCER: So far, just a few miles have been built. Now Congress and the president want to give amnesty to millions of illegal aliens instead of securing the border. Call the president and Congress today and give them a message.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where's the fence?
WIAN (on camera): The absence of a fence just one reason the Arizona Border Patrol agents say the southern border is under only marginally better control than it was during the last amnesty in 1986.
The agents say this new amnesty scheme simply will not work. Lou?
DOBBS: Casey, thank you very much. And the organization behind that -- the three ladies at the border ...
WIAN: The television ad, grassfire.org.
DOBBS: Thank you very much, Casey. Casey Wian.
Up next here, one of the architects of the so-called grand compromise, Senator Jon Kyl join us.
And God and politics and the blurred line between the two. Tony Perkins, Family Research Council, Reverend Barry Lynn, Americans United for Separation of Church and State join me for a debate, discussion, face-off. A spirited exchange in whatever form we might want to describe it. Stay where us. We'll be right back.
DOBBS: Senator Jon Kyl, one of the architects of the Senate's grand compromise on immigration legislation says he may withdraw support if certain amendments were to pass. Senator Kyl joins us tonight from Capitol Hill. Senator, good to see you.
SENATOR JON KYL, (R) AZ: Thank you, Lou. Good to be with you.
DOBBS: Well, you know, you and I couldn't disagree more about this legislation. You're quoted in the "Washington Post," though, as saying you think it's going to go through. That you're seeing complaints about it received from your constituency. You've got to be feeling pretty good. KYL: I have seen complaints from my constituents decrease in number and also in emotional intensity, but there's still a strong feeling out there, Lou, as you know. And you're speaking to the issues that I think are right on target. How do folks know that this new law is going to be enforced if the law currently isn't being enforced?
We've tried to address that here in this legislation. But that's the main thing on peoples' minds.
DOBBS: Yeah. You know, if you don't mind, senator, you -- you know, I've got great respect for you. I think you and I can talk frankly to one another. You know, I can't imagine a reason in the world that any American would trust the United States Senate or the House of Representatives for that matter, on an immigration legislation after witnessing what happened in 1986, after witnessing what has transpired with laws that have been passed and have not been executed.
This Senate, this Congress, this president and previous congresses and presidents as well, I'm not certainly putting it only on this group, have failed to enforce immigration laws, have failed to uphold what I consider to be a constitutional duty in their oath to enforce those laws.
How can any American citizen who really cares about this country and is watching the facts and watching what's really happening trust a single one of you to do the honorable, right, and lawful, constitutional thing?
KYL: Lou, I wish you would have just run a clip on the speech that I gave on the senate floor about an hour ago in which I said exactly what you just said. That's the question the American people are asking. One thing is clear. It's not working today. So doing nothing is really a very poor option.
KYL: You've indicted to status quo. I have, too. It's not working. So you get in there and you try to write it the very best that you can, learning the lessons from 1986. And what we did in this legislation was to provide numerous things that will enable us to enforce the next law and, in fact, in some areas require it. The trigger aspects of the law that you've talked about before must occur before even a temporary status is granted to the illegal immigrants.
For example, we have a new employee verification system that will replace the broken system that we have today. And we have -- we really do believe that that will, in fact, work. And, again, the guest status is not provided to the illegal immigrants until that system is up and ready to go. So we tried to learn the lessons. We'll see how it's implemented, but it's the right question to ask.
DOBBS: Let's -- Just a few examples. The Menendez amendment. The Cornyn amendment. A number of these amendments, which all raise a number of -- of green cards, of -- which will, in the case of the Cornyn amendment actually expand the number of people who would not be allowed amnesty. That would include in interpretation, terrorists, those with multiple felony counts, serious felonies.
And people of - as the wording currently is of -- of good moral character would be -- it would be a requisite. Are you going to support those amendments?
KYL: First of all, some of the amendments that you mentioned, the Menendez amendment and there are others that deal with the elimination of chain migration. Those are amendments that have to be defeated. If they're not defeated, then I'm going to leave this coalition because it's no longer the bill that I helped to write. And one of the things that we -- we committed to here was that we would end chain migration forever and we're not going to let it come in through the back door.
Senator Cornyn' amendment on the other hand has several features about it that I think are very good and depending upon the exact form of that amendment that comes to the floor, I hope that I'm able to support it. Let's put it that way.
DOBBS: Let me ask you this, because it is a question on my mind and I know it's on the minds of the audience of this broadcast. With all of the time that this Senate has spent on this issue, last year and this, why is it that there has not been an emphatically rigorous study of both fiscal and economic and direct costs of the immigration plan that is proposed so that, you know, as the president said, he wanted to tone down the rhetoric. I'm all for that.
I'd like to look at the impact of this legislation as it's currently constructed. So would the American people. But the Senate hasn't done, the House hasn't done that and the president of the United States has not done that. And, you know, that looks like snake oil when people don't demand the facts, doesn't it?
KYL: Lou, there have been several studies done. First of all ...
DOBBS: I know, but I mean at the direction of the president.
KYL: Well, the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, for example, has done a study about certain elements of the bill that raise revenue versus those that spend revenue and so on. So those studies have been done. In this case, for example, because of the fines and the penalties, it is just about a wash. But there are some other costs and Heritage Foundation, for example, has done a good study with respect to the costs of lower-skilled workers and they are substantial. So the more lower-skilled workers that you bring into the country, the more the cost of the taxpayers of the country.
DOBBS: But don't you find it confounding that the president would say something like, as he did, Americans should not be afraid of diversity? We're talking about the president of the United States, senator. In the most diverse nation, socially and ethnically racially diverse nation on the face of the earth saying Americans must not be afraid of diversity and that's the reason to support legislation. And yet he will not deal with the fact that the Heritage Foundation has said we're talking about trillions of dollars in terms of costs over 30 years. That the -- the ...
KYL: Lou, let me get a word in here.
KYL: Because I don't totally disagree with what you're saying here. Let me put it a little bit different way. The question that I posed in the beginning is a question that Americans have a right to ask. And they are not restrictionists because they are asking the question. How do we know this new law is going to be enforced? Our government has let them down in the past, but I don't think the answer is to keep letting them down by doing nothing. I've tried my best to help write a bill that will work and be enforced. I hope you've got it right, but I'm certainly open to criticism by folks like yourself that can improve it.
DOBBS: As I've said before, senator, I've got the greatest respect for you. Your legislation scares the dickens out of me. In part because on the face, on the merits, but also because I know what your colleagues in the Senate and the House are capable of, what the Democrats are planning to do once this moves to conference and what this president ...
KYL: Well, it might not even move to conference, Lou.
DOBBS: I'm sorry.
KYL: It may not even move to conference. In other words, I have my own plans. We may make sure that -- if, in fact, it passes the Senate, that something in the form of a killer version does not pass the House or at least if it does, it's not taken up by the Senate. So we have some procedural ways of keeping this thing as close to the basic agreement that was reached as possible.
DOBBS: All right. Well, senator.
KYL: Trust but verify.
DOBBS: I'm going to start with verify and then I'll trust. How's that?
KYL: Watch us like a hawk. That's fair.
DOBBS: Don't you worry. Senator Kyl, thank you very much.
KYL: You bet, Lou.
DOBBS: Appreciate it.
Coming up at the top of the hour, Wolf Blitzer. Wolf?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Thanks very much, Lou. Can faith, values, and politics co-exist? Tonight in only a few minutes, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, they're all standing by live to discuss where they stand on these issues. Soledad O'Brien will join us for a special SITUATION ROOM forum on faith and politics. All of that, Lou, coming up right at the top of the hour. Only here on CNN. Back to you.
DOBBS: That's why we love CNN, right, Wolf? Thank you very much.
BLITZER: That's right.
DOBBS: The blurring of the line between church and state. We'll be talking about that with the head of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins and executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, there's a mouthful, Barry Lynn. Stay with us.
DOBBS: More and more, religious organizations seem to be encroaching on the division between church and state, but not all church leaders agreed that those lines should be crossed or narrowed. Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council. He says the church should be encouraged and actively involved in politics and he joins us here in New York. Tony, good to have you with us.
TONY PERKINS, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Lou, good to be with you.
DOBBS: And Reverend Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. He says some leaders are simply going too far. Reverend Lynn is in Washington. Good to have you with us, Barry.
REVEREND BARRY LYNN, AMERICANS UNITED FOR SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE: Nice to be back.
DOBBS: Let's start with this -- this issue of everybody getting involved in politics from the pulpit, from coalitions of churches and organizations. Do you think we're at risk, Barry?
LYNN: Well, I certainly do. There is no doubt that the tax laws do permit people to talk from the pulpit about the great moral issues of the day. That's pretty much been happening for a very long time in the United States. Almost from the beginning of the founding of the country. However, now we've got people including Mr. Perkins there, who would like to make tax exempt organizations able to literally endorse candidates from the pulpit and use the powerful resources of the church not just to talk about moral issues, but actually to endorse candidates.
That would be a terrible idea. We've already seen the Internal Revenue Service investigating and hearing about more and more of these intrusions by religious groups into the promotion of partisan political candidates. It's got to stop.
PERKINS: Barry, that would be great if you'd draw the line and saw churches can talk about the issues, but I've seen the scare tactics that you've -- in sending out these letters intimidating churching and pastors where they feel like they can't speak to the issues. We've never advocated churches violating the law. The law is very clear about that, but they can speak to the issues without hesitance.
And we have spoken out in defense of even liberal churches and liberal pastors that have been against this administration and the war, been against the tax cuts. Because we believe that people of faith have something to add to the public discussions.
LYNN: They do have something to add to the public discussion, but the one thing they shouldn't add under the tax laws if they want to keep their tax exemption is the endorsement of candidates. And again, Tony, you've got to realize we never tell people they can't talk about global warming or they can't talk about abortion or they can't talk about the great moral issues.
We just say draw the line when it comes to the endorsement of candidates.
PERKINS: That's not happening, Barry. Churches are not endorsing candidates.
LYNN: Of course. We just had a gentleman named Bill Keller with a ministry in Florida who put out a statement last week where he said if you voted for Mitt Romney, you'd be voting for Satan. Now, tell me that's not an anti-endorsement of Mitt Romney.
PERKINS: You said they were endorsing candidates. That's not endorsing a candidate.
LYNN: The law says, and you know this, the law says endorsing candidates or opposing candidates and frankly you know that. Although it's a clever line. You know, you can't endorse or oppose.
DOBBS: Barry, I think we've got to give Tony some very great credit. That was a very good line.
LYNN: I certainly give him that. But I don't give him credit for understanding that in America, the Constitution provides the values that we all share. We don't go to someone's sacred text and someone's interpretation of that sacred text and decide what the policy of the United States should be.
DOBBS: OK. Let's get to this. Tony, do you believe that -- Keller's statements about Romney and Satan go too far?
PERKINS: Well, would I make those statements? Probably not. But you've had -- you've had others ...
DOBBS: Do you think that's a protected free speech?
PERKINS: I do.
DOBBS: Do you think it's also within the -- within the interpretation of the 501c(3)?
PERKINS: Well, I think -- I think the language of the 501c(3), we talked about this last week. It was put in there by Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1950s. Prior to that, people were free to speak. Pastors were free to speak on candidates right before an election. I think when someone compares their policies. A church got in trouble and lost their tax exemption, for one day, the only church to have that happen, when they criticized Bill Clinton for his support of abortion.
PERKINS: I think pastors should be free to speak to the issues as they see fit.
LYNN: Wait a minute. Criticize the president about abortion, they took out a $40,000 add in "USA Today" that said that Bill Clinton is a sinner. It gave a whole bunch of scriptural references. It said if you vote for a sinner you're a sinner, too. Let's explain how far and how deep people are getting into this.
DOBBS: Reverend, Barry, I thought we were all sinners.
LYNN: Yeah. Well, that's not what the ad said. It just suggested that there were other candidates who weren't as great a sinner as Bill Clinton.
PERKINS: That's the only case where churches lost their tax exemption. And believe me, the IRS is very thorough about looking at ...
DOBBS: Let's talk about practical terms.
DOBBS: One of the things that annoys the dickens out of me is the Catholic Church goes out and basically said, you know, against U.S. law that they're going to support illegal immigration in this country no matter what the U.S. government decides. If this government is capable of deciding.
That annoys the dickens out of me. Then at the same time, I see a group of people say, you know, kids are not permitted to celebrate Christmas or any other holiday that could have religious overtones in schools or in their town squares or municipal buildings. That drives me nuts. So how do we come to some sort of abiding reconciliation of these contests?
PERKINS: Well, Lou, this has been an ongoing tension. If you look, Barry's group and those guys got started before we did because they were the common civil ethic religious ideology, a Christian orientation, if you will, in this country. I mean, six out of 10 Americans say that religion is very important to them. They should not have to leave that at the door of government.
DOBBS: Barry, you're going to get the last word here. We're in a real time crunch.
LYNN: I mean, the problem is that when people make these arguments from the pulpit, sometimes they say because we're religious people, don't dare to criticize us. If you put those messages out from the pulpit, you have to answer the hard questions from people on the other side and frankly I don't think Tony appreciates that aspect of the debate either.
PERKINS: I'll answer your questions anytime.
LYNN: Thank you.
DOBBS: Neither one of you look overly excited about the critique of the other and we appreciate you both taking time to express your views here with us and appreciate your sharing your views with our audience.
Come back soon, gentlemen.
PERKINS: Thank you.
DOBBS: Still ahead, the results of our poll. We'll be right back.
DOBBS: The results of our poll. Ninety-two percent of you say the Democratic leadership should demand the resignation of William Jefferson. Thanks for being with us tonight. Good night from New York. Now a special edition of THE SITUATION ROOM with Wolf Blitzer. Wolf?
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