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Lou Dobbs Tonight

GOP on Brink of Extending $70 Billion of Tax Cuts; Radical Islamists Escalate Insurgency in Afghanistan; White House Mess; U.S. Government Informing Mexican Government Of Minutemen Locations; AMC Entertainment Complies with Immigration Law; Rep. Pete King Discusses Security and Immigration; LAPD Lawsuits

Aired May 10, 2006 - 18:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, congressional Republicans on the verge of extending tax cuts for investors that many critics say escalates what is nothing less than an outright war on our middle class.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate and opinion for Wednesday, May 10th.

Live in New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.

Congressional Republicans tonight are poised to give President Bush what he's been demanding for months, a huge package of tax cuts. The House will vote this evening to extend billions of dollars in tax cuts for investors for two years. The package will also prevent millions of Americans from being hit by the alternative minimum tax.

Republicans say the tax cuts will strengthen the economy. Democrats, however, say the tax cuts will do virtually nothing to help hard-pressed middle class families.

Dana Bash reports from Capitol Hill on the political battle over those tax cuts. John Roberts reports from Washington on what, if anything, this package will mean for the majority of Americans. And Bill Schneider reports on whether or not the president's economic and tax policies can help his sagging poll numbers.

We turn first to Dana Bash -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, a recent poll showed just 10 percent of Americans called tax cuts the most important thing Congress should be dealing with. That is not something you would know if you listened to Republicans on the Hill today.


BASH (voice over): From this afternoon rally...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you ready to stop a tax increase?


BASH: ... to the House floor...

REP. DAVID DREIER (R), CALIFORNIA: By virtue of being a Republican, I was born to cut taxes. And I'm proud of the fact that I was born to cut taxes.

BASH: ... to this press conference...

REP. NANCY JOHNSON (R), CONNECTICUT: This is a very important tax bill, and their answer is, no action.

BASH: ... Republicans stepped in front of as many as microphones as they could find to trumpet GOP agreement on a $70 billion tax cut package they say will keep the economy strong. For politically wounded Republicans, any check in the win column is something to tout this election year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Republican conservatives are upset about a lot of things, including the deficit. But there are also a lot of Republicans who aren't happy about what's going on in Iraq. They are not happy about gas prices. They don't necessarily feel engaged with day-to-day back in forth in Washington.

BASH: Tax cuts are the mother's milk of the GOP, and strategists hope this will galvanize disillusioned Republican voters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It cuts across all demographics of the party. It will help with conservatives, it will help with moderates, it will help with swing voters. It's been an issue that's obviously worked for the party in the past, and we believe it will work again.

BASH: Democrats slammed the tax cuts as fiscally irresponsible at a time of war and deficits and called this is a gift for the wealthy, especially the extension of a tax break on capital gains and dividends.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: Every one of us knows that these large deficits and this increasing debt and our dependence on now not only foreign oil, but foreign capital, is a ticking timebomb.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: The Exxon boardroom is cheering that this is going to pass. The people that work for Exxon, they're not cheering.

BASH: That's why Republicans are stressing a provision they say protects the middle class from what many call a stealth tax increase, the so-called alternative minimum tax that raises taxes for millions of middle-income voters.


BASH: And just to give you a sense of how eager Republicans both here and at the White House are to celebrate a much-needed political victory, Bush aides already started yesterday planning what one described as an elaborate bill-signing ceremony planned at the White House next week -- Lou.

DOBBS: Dana, thanks.

Dana Bash, from Capitol Hill.

As Dana just reported, the tax cut package has sparked a political battle over who benefits from these tax cuts. Republicans say everyone gains, while Democrats say the tax cuts are simply a taxpayer gift to wealthy Americans.

John Roberts reports.


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SR. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Another giveaway to the rich is how Democrats put it.

REP. ALCEE HASTINGS (D), FLORIDA: That amounts to just a little bit more than a tank of gas.

ROBERTS: Just the tonic the economy needs, according to Republicans.

REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: It's something that's important to keep this economy coming.

ROBERTS: So who is right? According to the moderately liberal Tax Policy Institute, low-income earners, $20,000 to $30,000 a year, will have their taxes reduced by about $9; $50,000 to $75,000, $110; $100,000 to $200,000, just shy of $1,400. But if you make over $1 million, you'll save a whopping $42,000.

LEN BURNHAM, TAX POLICY INSTITUTE: You'd expect, of course, the tax cut to be bigger for higher income people. But even as a share of income, it grows. The higher the income is, the larger the tax cut is as a share of income.

ROBERTS: So, are tax cuts good for the economy? Congress has been slicing tax rates for five years. GDP is humming along. The Dow is flirting with record territory.

BURNHAM: Well, the stock market was last in record territory in the late 1990s, when tax rates on capital gains were higher than they are now.

ROBERTS: But what has even nonpartisan observers really ticked off is what they call a revenue-raising gimmick to keep the cost of the bill below $70 billion, a price tag Republicans could pass with a simple majority. It would allow investors to convert traditional IRAs funded with pre-tax dollars into so-called Roth IRAs by paying taxes on the account's investment gains. The bill's supporters say it will raise almost $6.5 billion over the next 10 years, but because Roth IRAs grow tax-free, in the decades after that, critic say, it will cost the government some $35 billion. STEVE ELLIS, TAXPAYERS FOR COMMON SENSE: This is all about taking care of the now and forgetting the future. This is denying future generations some of the tax revenue that they were anticipating to help pay for the cost of government then.


ROBERTS: And then there's the specter of adding another $70 billion to the deficit at a time when the debt is heading toward $9 trillion and competitive foreign governments like China hold a lot of it. That's what even nonpartisan observers say could be a looming security threat -- Lou.

DOBBS: John, thank you very much.

John Roberts from Washington.

Another American has been killed in Iraq. A U.S. Marine has died from wounds he received in combat in Al Anbar province west of Baghdad. 2,425 of our troops have now been killed in Iraq since this war began three years ago. And the war in Afghanistan is escalating.

The number of American casualties is rising. And the commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, today admitted that radical Islamist terrorists are becoming stronger in several key provinces of Afghanistan. Two hundred and thirty-four of our troops have been killed in and around Afghanistan since that war started.

And Jamie McIntyre, who has recently returned from Afghanistan, now reports from the Pentagon.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's spring. And in Afghanistan, when the weather heats up, so does the fighting.


MCINTYRE: U.S. troops are as busy as ever hunting Taliban and al Qaeda, who lately have been flooding back into rural areas, flush with money and new weapons.

LT. GEN. KARL EIKENBERRY, COMBINED FORCES COMMANDER: We are winning, but the war is not yet won.

MCINTYRE: These cockpit videos from last week show U.S. Air Force F-15s destroying a cave carved in the side of a 7,000-foot mountain used by the Taliban to store weapons. But increasingly, this is the threat the U.S. and Afghan forces are facing. A video posted on the Internet shows what is said to be a man and a child making an Iraqi-style IED, or roadside bomb.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've seen that the enemy has shifted to increasing use of improvised explosive devices. There's been an increase in suicide bombings.

MCINTYRE: The death toll for U.S. troops in Afghanistan is at 36 so far this year, up from 29 at this time last year. But 10 of this year's deaths came in a weekend helicopter accident.

On a recent trip to Afghanistan, U.S. commanders confirmed to CNN that hundreds of Taliban fighters have moved into three southern provinces: Uruzgan, Helmand, and Kandahar, where they are planning to challenge NATO forces when they arrive in July.

(on camera): These NATO troops are from Romania, one of the nations taking on the new dangerous missions in the south. They will be joined by other NATO troops from Australia, Canada, Great Britain and the Netherlands.

(voice over): In an interview with CNN, NATO's top commander insists NATO troops will vastly bolster the security presence in the south and be armed with robust rules of engagement.

GEN. JAMES JONES, SUPREME NATO COMMANDER: As we will see in the next few months, it will be absolutely wrong to think that NATO is only sending forces there to sit in the enclaves and not do anything.


MCINTYRE: The infusion of some 6,000 NATO troops into Afghanistan over the summer will allow a modest reduction in U.S. forces, but nothing more than a few thousand troops. About 23,000 there now. There will still be over 16,000 troops in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future -- U.S. troops, that is.

DOBBS: And is there is a draw-down, Jamie, we are reporting tonight an escalating insurgency.

MCINTYRE: Well, the hope is that those NATO troops will step up to the -- to the plate, but it should be understood that the United States will still be the largest presence in Afghanistan, including the largest number of NATO troops.

DOBBS: Jamie, thank you very much.

Jamie McIntyre from the Pentagon.

The president's nominee to be the next director of the CIA, General Michael Hayden, today made a new effort to answer his congressional critics. General Hayden went to Capitol Hill for a second day, there trying to win support for his nomination.

Many lawmakers are expressing concern about General Hayden's role in the controversy over warrantless wiretaps and whether he can be independent of the Pentagon. One of those critics is House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Today, Speaker Hastert led a ceremony to honor outgoing CIA Director Porter Goss. That ceremony came just days after Goss suddenly resigned from the CIA. The war in Iraq is the biggest concern for voters in this country. Voters are so concerned about the war, that it's overshadowing the president's economic policies.

Bill Schneider reports.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice over): President Bush is trying hard to be upbeat.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One hundred and thirty-eight thousand additional Americans found jobs over the last month, which is good. The national unemployment rate is 4.7 percent. This economy is strong.

SCHNEIDER: Is anybody listening? Yes. Most Americans say economic conditions are good. But is it doing the president any good? No.

Our poll of polls has five polls taken so far this month. Four of them show Bush's rating in the low 30s. In "The New York Times"- CBS News poll, 53 percent say the economy is good, but only 28 percent approve of the way President Bush is handling the economy. There's gratitude for you.

Why are Americans so grumpy? Well, one thing, they fear the economy is bound to get worse, what with gas prices and all.

SEN. FRANK LAUTENBERG (D), NEW JERSEY: How it is that the inflation index is so modest when everything costs more, whether it's milk, whether it's electric, whether it's housing...

SCHNEIDER: Almost half the public say they are very concerned about inflation. Even more than interest rates.

But the main reason Americans are grumpy isn't the economy. It's Iraq. Bad news from Iraq trumps any good news about the economy.

Here's some proof. Right now, Democrats have a 14-point lead over Republicans when registered voters are asked how they would vote for Congress this year.

Among voters who think the economy's in good shape, Republicans have a 28-point lead. But, among voters who think the economy's in good shape, but who disapprove of the decision to go to war in Iraq, Democrats are 21 points ahead.


SCHNEIDER: Why does Iraq overwhelm the economy? People are apprehensive about the economy. But, Lou, they are angry about Iraq.

DOBBS: Bill, thank you very much.

Bill Schneider, taking us behind those poll numbers. Still ahead here, the Minutemen volunteers are under siege from the illegal alien open borders lobby, and even from our own Border Patrol. We'll have that special report for you.

And Mexican government officials apparently believe our southern border doesn't exist, not for them, at least. An attorney who is trying to defend Arizona's state sovereignty from a legal assault by the government of Mexico is among our guests here tonight.

And I'll be talking with the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Congressman Pete King, who says we can't control illegal immigration unless we secure our borders first.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: Outrage is rising tonight over what many call the U.S. government's betrayal of the Minutemen volunteers working on the Mexican border. As we reported here last night, the U.S. government is now accused of tipping off Mexican government officials to the whereabouts of Minutemen volunteers on the border with Mexico. Word of what is called a betrayal comes as the Minutemen face new resistance across the country from illegal alien amnesty supporters and advocates of open borders.

Casey Wian reports.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The Minuteman caravan rolled into Atlanta, greeted by Americans demanding border security.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Secure our borders!

WIAN: They were also met with amnesty and open borders advocates.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Fascists go home! Fascists go home!

WIAN: Minuteman co-founder Jim Gilchrist was having none of that.

JIM GILCHRIST, MINUTEMAN PROJECT: Get out of my country, you racist scum.

WIAN: While the political wing of the Minuteman continues its cross-country journey to Washington, D.C., Minutemen border watchers are still fuming over allegations that the Border Patrol tipped off the Mexican government to their locations on the border.

CHRIS SIMCOX, MINUTEMAN CIVIL DEFENSE: I think it's disturbing. And I think it's exposed how our federal government would rather appease the government of a foreign country and not hurt their feelings rather than doing their job in securing our borders. WIAN: The Department of Homeland Security says Border Patrol does not report activity by civilian, non-law enforcement group to the government of Mexico. The Mexican Embassy also denies that it received intelligence on the minutemen from the Border Patrol.

Both say the Border Patrol only provides information when illegal aliens are apprehended. But neither would address the specific allegation that some civilian locations were tipped off in advance.

T. J. BONNER, NATIONAL BORDER PATROL COUNCIL: For obvious reasons, we are going to have this information from the minutemen as to their location. That information has, in turn, in some instances been shared with the government of Mexico.

WIAN: Border Patrol agents often bristle at Mexico's influence over U.S. border security efforts. Last summer, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert Bonner suggested the Border Patrol should work with civilian volunteers. The Mexican government immediately complained. Bonner was publicly rebuked by superiors at the Department of Homeland Security and resigned two months later.

Even President Bush took a shot at civilian patrols on the border.

BUSH: I'm against vigilantes in the United States of America.

WIAN: But now the administration's tone is changing.


WIAN: The Department of Homeland Security's statement went on to say, "The Border Patrol continues to appreciate the efforts of civilians who contact law enforcement authorities regarding suspicious activity." It's the first example we can find, Lou, of the Bush administration actually seeming to praise the minutemen and other volunteers on the border.

DOBBS: Absolutely. It's taken a long time for them to at least accept the idea that -- of men and women who are actually concerned about an issue that this administration has refused to deal with. That is, to secure our border with Mexico.

It is a travesty, and it is a -- it is, to me, just so personally disgusting that this Congress has permitted this administration to, in my judgment, unlawfully permit this president to not enforce the laws. And the idea that the government of Mexico could hold sway over the U.S. Border Patrol and the security -- and the Homeland Security Department at a time when the government of Mexico is the one absolutely enabling its citizens, encouraging its citizens, and expediting their -- what the Mexican calls migration across our borders, it is -- it is time for a change.

WIAN: It's a clear double standard, and Border Patrol agents will tell it happens all the time -- Lou.

DOBBS: And one can only imagine their frustration. WIAN: Right.

DOBBS: Thank you very much very much.

Casey Wian.

Tonight an Arizona prosecutor charges the government of Mexico with interfering with Arizona's laws tries to combat illegal immigration. We have reported here that the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, has arrested more than 100 illegal aliens under a human trafficking statute. Now the government of Mexico is challenging that law in our courts.

Peter Viles reports.


PETER VILES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Cupertino Salazar (ph), an illegal alien arrested in the Arizona desert. But now he's being represented by a prominent Los Angeles attorney who has been working with Mexican officials, using the case to try to put a stop to the crackdown on illegal immigration in Maricopa County.

ANDREW THOMAS, MARICOPA COUNTY ATTORNEY: It's clear what's going on. The Mexican government is trying to invalidate our state law against human smuggling, and they are trying to basically deny any state in the United States the ability to defend themselves against illegal immigration.

VILES: Thomas fired off this letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, asking her to lodge a formal protest against Mexico for its "covert attempt to dismantle a new law in Arizona designed to combat illegal immigration." Maricopa County is using the anti- smuggling law not just to arrest smugglers, but the illegal aliens they transport. More than 100 have been arrested this spring.

Salazar's lawyer, Peter Schey, of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law in Los Angeles, acknowledges he has worked with the Mexican consulate on the case.

PETER SCHEY, CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS & CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: We have turned to them for some help, just as we've turned to many others for help in -- in -- in becoming involved in the case and, also, in presenting the claims of the defendants.

VILES: Schey said he took the case for free and, contrary to this report in the "The New York Times," was not hired by the Mexican consulate.

SCHEY: That is simply not true. That's information that we believe is being disseminated by the county attorney's office, and it's simply inaccurate, any more than he's being hired by President Bush to run this case.

VILES: The Mexican Consulate in Phoenix is not commenting, and the State Department did not appear eager to get involved. SEAN MCCORMACK, STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: I'm not sure that she has -- she has, in fact, received the letter. She gets a lot of correspondence in the course of a week. In terms of activity that relates to the control of the border, I think that that's really an issue for the Department of Homeland Security.


VILES: And that prosecutor in Phoenix says he has been pressured directly by the Mexican government. He was contacted by a Mexican official, he says, who questioned whether these cases should be prosecuted, suggested he bring certain evidence before a grand jury in Phoenix.

He did not, the prosecutor did not. He told the Mexican government and tells us he does not need the government of Mexico to tell him how to do his job -- Lou.

DOBBS: Unlike some officials in Washington, D.C.

Peter Viles, thank you very much.

In Maricopa County tonight, the all-volunteer posse patrol begins its work in enforcing the strict new Arizona illegal alien smuggling law. Sheriff Joe Arpaio says these volunteer units will patrol Maricopa County streets and deserts areas. Some posse patrol volunteers will be riding on horseback.

Sheriff Arpaio set up this volunteer patrol because his full-time deputies are being overwhelmed by the waves of illegal aliens crossing from Mexico into Maricopa County.

Later in this broadcast, I'll be talking with Chris Kovak (ph), who is the attorney fighting the Mexican government's efforts to strike down Arizona's human-smuggling law.

And still ahead here, the Bush administration still pushing for policies that would undermine our nation's security. A special report on a new great American giveaway coming up.

Also, we'll introduce you to a company that's following the letter of the law and checking, imagine this, the legal status of all of its employees. A company that complies with our immigration laws, what a deal.

And how times have changed. Democratic Senator Clinton now out with kind words for the nation's top Republican.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: The Bush administration is not only placing business interests ahead of the national interests, but also bypassing Congress in its efforts to conduct another great American giveaway. This time, the airlines. Kitty Pilgrim reports.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The Department of Transportation is trying to change the law to allow substantial foreign investment in U.S. airlines. Their only stipulation, that U.S. citizens retain actual control of the carrier. But in a Senate hearing, critics of the rule argue, that is too vague. Foreign investors could end up making serious decisions about the operation and safety of U.S. airlines.

LAUTENBERG: Domestic airlines, obviously, play a significant role in our national defense. And in times of war or national emergency, the Department of Defense might need the airlines to transport materials or even personnel.

PILGRIM: Critics say the United States is bowing to European pressure. An open skies agreement with Europe is pending. That agreement would remove almost all restrictions on U.S. airlines flying to 25 European countries, something the U.S. wants badly. But many in Congress say to trade away national security by putting U.S. carriers under the jurisdiction of foreign investors, possibly foreign governments who act as investors, is too high a price to pay.

CAPT. DUANE WOERTH, AIRLINE PILOTS ASSN.: The United States is kind of being blackmailed into doing on the side just to get a vote on a treaty we had both initialed and agreed to, at least our negotiating teams did, I don't think that's right either.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every other country wants to get into our market to deal here.

PILGRIM: Many industry leaders say foreign investment rules should be changed only by Congress.

REP. JAMES OBERSTAR (D), MINNESOTA: If you let DOT start changing the laws, there's no end to that rule. They will just run with it as fast as they can, as far as they can.

PILGRIM: U.S. and European officials are currently meeting in Brussels, trying to move the open skies agreement forward.


PILGRIM: European officials are pushing for more ownership in the U.S. airlines. There's a 60-day waiting period before the new rules on foreign ownership of U.S. airlines can go through. Many in Congress object, but the final decision is up to the White House, as it stands now.

DOBBS: Well, it actually turns out it may not be. The administration pushing ahead with another free trade agreement. This Congress has a responsibility here, clear-cut. This administration is basically telling Congress, once again, you are not an equal branch of government. Secondly, disregarding all of these interests is just -- it is amazing to me that it continues. The drumbeat rolls on. And meanwhile, national security be damned by this administration, we're going to do what we please.

PILGRIM: It is truly unbelievable, Lou.

DOBBS: Kitty, thank you very much. Open skies, they call it. Another brilliant treaty brought to you by this faith-based economic policy called free trade, as this administration styles it.

Open skies, they believe in open borders. Terrific. Thanks.

Well, it's time now to take a look at some of your thoughts.

Geoffrey in New Jersey wrote in to say, "Lou, let me get this right. A foreign country (Mexico) is trying to stop a law put into effect by a U.S. state (Arizona) to stop illegal immigrants smuggling from their country to ours? The audacity boggles the mind."

You couldn't be more right.

Heather in Colorado, "We have a Constitution, but we're not enforcing our laws or securing the border. I'm scared for this country, or lack of one."

It's still a country. We're going to hang on.

Jim in California, "Thank you for holding both Democrats and Republicans equally responsible for the mess and direction our once great nation is taking. It's time once again to throw our problems into the Boston Harbor. But instead of tea, because of unfair taxation, may I suggest politicians for a lack of representation?"

An intriguing idea.

And Alejandro in Maryland, "I'm a 22-year-old Hispanic male. My parents came to America for a better life. They always taught me one thing, I am an American, 100 percent. They made sure I knew English as my first language, and they made it a point to become fluent in it. Lou, I stand behind you all the way."

And I thank you.

We'll have more of your thoughts coming up in just a moment. Sends your thoughts at

Many U.S. corporations willingly use illegal aliens as cheap labor, actively opposing measures to crack down on employers that hire illegal aliens. But one large corporation is doing something now to ensure that its employees are legal citizens or legal residents.

Lisa Sylvester reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): AMC Entertainment is known for showing blockbusters in its 415 movie theaters across the country. But it's also at the forefront complying with U.S. immigration and tax law. AMC employ 24,000 people. At least once a month, the entertainment company sends the Social Security Administration payroll data. The agency then reports back if any employees' social security numbers do not match those on file.

AMC says, "We require the worker to provide their original Social Security card within three days or to immediately contact the local SSA office. Failure to do so will result in removal from the work schedule."

At a Gaithersburg, Maryland theater, 11 employees resigned last month after not being able to explain Social Security number discrepancies. But AMC is the exception rather than the rule. Legally, employers do not have to check their workers Social Security numbers against the national database. Immigration reform groups say, AMC's example should be duplicated.

JIM EDWARDS, NUMBERSUSA: That shows their good intentions to be honest, law-abiding employers, and we should applaud those efforts.

SYLVESTER: The Centers for Immigration Studies questions if AMC has this policy, why is not a requirement for all companies to ensure only legal workers are hired?

MARK KRIKORIAN, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: Illegal aliens can't get Social Security numbers. They have to either steal someone else's or make up a fake one. And if businesses, as a matter of course, verify whether the numbers that the people give them are real, then it makes it much more difficult for an illegal alien to get a job.

SYLVESTER: Now with the public demanding immigration reform, some argue that AMC's policy should become national policy.


SYLVESTER: The government does not know how many workers are using fraudulent Social Security numbers. But one indicator shows that it is a growing problem. When there are mismatched numbers, the earnings are noted in what's called the earning suspense file, and that file has grown from about $30 billion in 1998 to more than $57 billion in 2003.

And, by the way, Lou, even if the Social Security Administration sees that someone else is using your Social Security number, the agency cannot tell you, because of a tax privacy law. Lou?

DOBBS: A tax privacy law. Oh, man, you've got to love this government. Lisa, thank you very much. Lisa Sylvester, reporting from Washington.

Well, just minutes ago, the House of Representatives voted to extend the $70 billion of President Bush's tax cuts. Congressmen voting along party lines to support the tax cuts, 244-185. The Senate expected to vote on the legislation tomorrow. The White House hoping the president will be able to sign the bill next week. Again, the House has just voted 244-185 to extend $70 billion of tax cuts.

Coming up next here, violent, deadly storms sweeping across much of the nation tonight. Stunning video coming up here. And Congressman Pete King, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, joins me to discuss port security, border security, and the illegal immigration crisis.

And the Mexican government is fighting Arizona's state law against illegal alien smuggling. I'll be talking with Kris Kobach, the attorney fighting against the representatives of the Mexican government in court. Stay with us.


DOBBS: The border protection anti-terrorism and illegal immigration control act requires all employers to verify employees Social Security numbers. Congressman Pete King co-authored the legislation with Congressman James Sensenbrenner. And Congressman King joins us now from Capitol Hill. Mr. Chairman, good to have you with us.

REP. PETE KING (R), NEW YORK: Lou, good to be with you, as always.

DOBBS: The idea that we must secure the borders, is it taking hold in Congress, or give us some sense of the games being played on Capitol Hill?

KING: Well, there's a lot of games being played, and I still don't think it's caught hold in the Senate. They want to use this term, you know, immigration reform. And their idea of immigration reform is to, you know, throw a few faints or a few nods toward border security, but they're not really serious about it.

At the same time, the way we get rid of 10 or 11 million illegal immigrants is to declare temperature legal, and that is considered a reform. And I'm not really being sarcastic when I say that, I mean that.

What they're going to do is basically 10 of the 11 million illegal immigrants, I think the Senate is going to come up with legislation which is going to legalize them and it's going to lead towards citizenship.

And if that's not amnesty, I don't what else you would call it. So I think there's a real disconnect between the American people on the one hand and the mainstream media and the senators on the other.

DOBBS: But there's a real connect for the Democratic Party and the Republican Party from corporate America, who desperately wants the cheap labor, isn't there?

KING: Absolutely. The Democrats in particular are appealing to special interests. The Republicans in many cases are caving into corporate America. They want the cheap labor. I see it, I get letters and notices from business associations all over the country. And they -- they want that cheap labor.

And not only is it cheap labor for the people that they are hiring, that also, then, brings down the wages of legal employees that are here, so it's a big plus, a big plus in the short term for corporate America. In the end, all of us pay when you get away with something cheaply.

DOBBS: And we're all paying. Taxpayers, hard-working men and women in this country and their families are paying right now for so much of illegal immigration. Employers are benefiting through profits by exploiting that cheap labor. But the pain is significant. The frustration is high.

Congressman, what would you say if I said to you that if Hastert, Sensenbrenner, King, the leadership of the House don't have the guts to put border security ahead of this weak-kneed Senate which has got the audacity to stand up in front of the American people and lie to them about comprehensive, as they style it -- that the White House and in the Senate, comprehensive immigration reform.

What would you say, if based on our response to this broadcast, and our series of broadcasts on illegal immigration, that House Republicans are the ones who are going to pay the price for their gamesmanship?

KING: If we went that route, we should pay the price. I have made an absolute commitment. I will never support any legislation, and I would not sign my name to any conference report which calls for legalizing in any way, any of those 11 or 12 million that are here now illegally.

If we do that, it's just going to be a magnet for more illegal immigrants to come across the border and we can have all the border security we want. But if people think, if illegals think they are going to get amnesty ultimately by coming here, they are going to get across that border one way or the other.

So to me, it would be absolutely wrong and we should pay the price for that. There's no excuse. If the Republican Party doesn't stand up for controlling the borders, I don't know what we're here in Congress to be.

DOBBS: Congressman Pete King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, good to have you with us.

KING: Lou, thank you, it's always a pleasure.

DOBBS: That brings us to our poll question tonight. Before even discussing so-called comprehensive immigration reform, do you believe the president and Congress should first be required to uphold the current laws of the United States which compel them to enforce our borders and uphold our existing immigration laws? Yes or no. Cast your vote at We'll have the results here later in the broadcast.

Senator Hillary Clinton praising President Bush. The senator and the potential presidential candidate asked to say something nice about President Bush and she did so. She said, "He is someone who has a lot of charm and charisma." And that wasn't all. Senator Clinton went on to say, "He's been very willing to talk. He's been affable. He's been good company."

And of all this coming as the senator defends her latest relationship with conservative media magnate, Rupert Murdoch, the owner of FOX News Channel, "The New York Post," and a lot of other profits has agreed to host a fundraiser for Senator Clinton's re- election. She says Murdoch is a constituent. She's gratified that he thinks she's doing a great job in the U.S. Senate.

Just ahead, they're at it again. The Mexican government once again trying to influence U.S. policy on illegal immigration. I'll be joined by attorney Kris Kobach, defending the rights of one Arizona county to enforce that state's human smuggling law.

And then I'll talk with Tom Fitton, the head of Judicial Watch. His watchdog group is suing the Los Angeles Police Department to stop its hands off policies towards illegal aliens.

And violent weather warnings in effect across much of the southern states tonight. We'll have a great deal for you in what has turned out to be a series of deadly storms and more violent weather in store. Stay with us.


DOBBS: The Mexican government tonight is making one of its, what most would say, outrageous attempts to influence United States policy on illegal immigration yet.

Mexico is challenging a new Arizona law that gives police the power to arrest illegal aliens and to charge them with conspiracy along with their smugglers. This law has already shown great success in apprehending illegal aliens and smugglers, but the government of Mexico argues only the U.S. government has the right to pass and enforce immigration laws.

Joining me tonight is Kris Kobach, he's the attorney representing Maricopa County, Arizona, which is vigorously enforcing the new state law. His legal team has sent a letter to the State Department, protesting the government of Mexico's meddling in this case. It's good to have you here.


DOBBS: Now, this is a remarkable situation. On what basis would there be a complaint on the part of -- legal basis on the part of the government of Mexico?

KOBACH: Well, they're making what's called a preemption argument, and they are trying to say that the state of Arizona has somehow interfered with congressional objectives or interfered with Congress's broader immigration policy by passing this law criminalizing human smuggling at the state level. The problem ...

DOBBS: I'm sorry, but in a way, what you're saying is the government of Mexico is more than concerned about the constitutional power of the United States Congress than, say, the Bush White House?

KOBACH: Well, that's the theory. The theory is that the U.S. Constitution is offended when a state passes a law criminalizing alien smuggling. But it's going to be a real tall order for them to win in court because in order to prevail they will have to show that it goes against the objectives of Congress. And the problem is the Congress has criminalized the exact same conduct. There are criminal laws on the federal books against alien smuggling and entering the country without an inspection.

DOBBS: Well, we invited Peter Schey, the attorney representing the illegal aliens and the government of Mexico, and this is what he had to say about the actions of Sheriff Arpaio and the county attorney. He said, "I do not believe that they have the right to take the law into their own hands.

To violate state law and to violate the United States constitution because of the frustration with the federal government's inability or its ineffectiveness to properly enforce federal immigration laws." I mean, what is your response to that?

KOBACH: That's a ridiculous assertion. The county of Arizona has -- implementing a law that the legislature of Arizona passed and the governor of Arizona signed that makes the crime of human smuggling a state crime as well as a federal crime. And that occurs all across the books in America. There are lots of crimes that are both state and federal crimes and the federal government can still, if it chooses to do so, can either prosecute or deport the people after they've served time in a state incarceration facility.

So, clearly, there's no conflict with the Constitution or with the U.S. government.

DOBBS: Clearly no conflict. It's not being attempted in other states, however. Let's go to another reference, this from Mr. Shay. This is what he says about working for the Mexican government, if we could. Let's listen to that.


PETER SHAY, ATTORNEY: That is simply not true. That's information that we believe is being disseminated by the county attorney's office, and it's simply inaccurate any more than he's being hired by President Bush to run this case.


DOBBS: Well, I think it's probably safe to say that you've certainly, since you're trying to enforce laws against illegal immigration, you're certainly not in the pay of the Bush administration. I think that's a safe statement. What about his absolute denial that the Mexican government is playing no part in his representation in this case?

KOBACH: You know, I don't know the exact facts of how his center, which is in theory representing these aliens, how his center gets money. My understanding is that they have received some money from the Mexico government, so while he's not being directly hired by the government of Mexico, it appears that money from the government of Mexico is going to his center, which in turn pays his bills.

DOBBS: When do we have a decision?

KOBACH: Well, we'll have a hearing on Tuesday the 23rd in a week and a half.

DOBBS: And, Mr. Shay, as well as you, Kris, have agreed to be here on the 23rd. We look forward to talking with you at that time.

KOBACH: I'll plan on doing it.

DOBBS: Thank you very much.

Well, violent weather, the watchword tonight, tornado watches and warnings in effect in parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. These new severe weather warnings are coming just after a night of severe storms, deadly storms and tornadoes, in rural North Texas.

Tornadoes sweeping through towns near Dallas late last night. Three people were killed, dozens of people were injured. More than 25 homes destroyed. Some homes were literally blown away. So the only thing left, concrete slabs and foundations.

Coming up next here, I'll be joined by the head of Judicial Watch. Tom Fitton. His watchdog group is suing the Los Angeles Police Department, trying to overturn an order that he says places everyone at risk from criminal illegal aliens. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Coming up at the top hour, "THE SITUATION ROOM" and Wolf Blitzer. Wolf, tell us all about it.


Happening now, a win for President Bush on Capitol Hill, at least in the House of Representatives on the tax-cut bill. Will it be a big win for middle-class families and their wallets if it gets into action? We're following all of it live for you.

Plus, Hillary Clinton moves right. She's making some friends in unexpected places. We'll tell you what's going on.

And is it time for the United States to respond to that letter from the president of Iran? I'll ask the former secretary of state, Lawrence Eagleburger. All that, Lou, coming up right here at the top of the hour.

DOBBS: Thank you very much, Wolf.

A reminder now to vote in our poll tonight. Before even discussing so-called immigration reform, do you believe the president and Congress should first be required to uphold the laws of the United States, which compel them to enforce our borders and uphold our existing immigration laws? Yes or no. Please cast your vote at We'll have the results coming up in a matter of moments.

The Los Angeles Police Department is being sued for openly violating our immigration laws. An LAPD special order passed more than 25 years ago forbids L.A. police from asking the immigration status of criminal suspects. Under this law, Los Angeles police also cannot turn illegal aliens over to immigration authorities.

The group, the watchdog group, Judicial Watch, says it is outrageous that taxpayer funds are being used to carry out this dangerous violation of U.S. immigration policy. Tom Fitton is the executive director of Judicial Watch, and he joins us here tonight. Good to have you with us.

TOM FITTON, PRESIDENT, JUDICIAL WATCH: Thanks for having me on, Lou.

DOBBS: Tom, this order has been long-standing. What prompted you to bring the action?

FITTON: Well, Special Order 40 was implemented back in 1979 by then police chief Daryl Gates, and, you know, recently Judicial Watch decided that we cannot let local governments, in addition to the federal government, shirk its -- shirk their duties and otherwise undermine immigration law.

And in this case, the LAPD, through the Special Order 40 and the way it's implemented prevents every police officer from asking anyone, let alone an arrestee, whether they are here illegally or not and then cooperating with Immigrations Customs Enforcement.

DOBBS: That's outrageous, in and of itself.

FITTON: It is.

DOBBS: Let me do this, Tom. I want to show our viewers the reaction of the Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to this. Quote, "Every police chief since Daryl Gates has said Special Order 40 is an important tool to fight crime. It's the federal government's responsibilities to enforce immigration laws. I believe Special Order 40, and the changes we made, will hold up in any court of law." What's your response?

FITTON: Well, it's not only the federal government's responsibility to enforce immigration laws. You know, bank robbing is a federal crime. Kidnapping's a federal crime. A lot of drug trafficking impacts at the federal level. And no one would suggest that local police authorities not cooperate with federal authorities on matters related to smuggling, drug smuggling or kidnapping or bank robbery.

But immigration's been carved out by the Los Angeles Police Department, which is a big deal, because L.A. is real close to Mexico, and in it resides a lot illegal immigrants. This is, in effect, a sanctuary policy which tells illegal immigrants, come here, and you'll be unmolested by the police.

DOBBS: Tom, quickly, a Los Angeles councilman had this to say: "If we repeal Special Order 40, it will lead, in Los Angeles, to an increase in crime."

FITTON: It will lead to a decrease in crime, because the illegal aliens who are also violent felons that the police know about, who are on the street that they can't talk to, because they know them to be illegal, can be gone after.

DOBBS: There was some symmetry, I guess people could say, to the fact that you filed the suit on the 1st of May. When do you expect to move towards some resolution?

FITTON: Well, it was a happy coincidence we filed it on the 1st of May. And the fact is the courts -- under the court process, the LAPD have about 30 days or so to respond. So it will be several months before the courts get a hold of this and decide it in the end.

DOBBS: Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch, we thank you for being here.

FITTON: Thank you.

DOBBS: Still ahead, the results of tonight's poll, a final look at your thoughts and more. Stay with us.


DOBBS: The results now of our poll. Ninety-eight percent of you say the president and Congress should first be required to uphold the laws of the United States, which compel them to enforce our borders and uphold our existing immigration laws before even discussing so- called immigration reform.

Taking a look at more of your thoughts, Jim in Illinois saying, "I am outraged that our border agents would pass information on the Minutemen to the Mexican government. Are they insane to give potentially life threatening data to Mexico? Isn't this treasonous? I find it unbelievable that our inept government not only won't protect our borders, but actually contributes to illegal activity. Insanity."

Jim in Florida: "I am for the illegals marching -- marching south right over the border back into Mexico and staying there."

And Cathy in Michigan: "I will vote for anyone at this point that brings back our jobs. I am still unemployed after one-and-a-half years. There are few jobs I won't do for a real wage. The illegals are stealing benefits. Shame on Bush for allowing it."

And John in North Carolina: "Lou, I bet if we put this Congress on minimum wage with no healthcare benefits and the Medicare prescription system, we'd see some action on all of these issues." And I'll bet you're right.

And finally Max in Ohio saying: "Is CNN afraid to speak the truth? They are illegal aliens, not immigrants. Why doesn't the media call it as it really is?"

DOBBS: Well, Max, I can only speak for this broadcast. And we're the ones who started calling it like it is. They are illegal aliens in this country. Here illegally, they're not documented, at least, not legally, and so I'm not too thrilled with undocumented worker, either. We'll stick with illegal alien. Send us your thoughts at

Each of you whose e-mail is read here receives a copy of my book, "Exporting America" and a copy of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, as well. And you can sign up for our e-mail newsletter on the site,

We thank you for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow. Thanks for watching. Good night from New York. "THE SITUATION ROOM" begins right now with Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf.