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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Immigration Battle Heats Up; Vicente Fox's Amnesty Junket; New Attempts To Diffuse Constitutional Confrontation Between Lawmakers And FBI; Senate Majority Bill Frist and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Meet; Bush And Blair Acknowledge Difficulties And Mistakes In Iraq War; Kay Bailey Hutchison Interview

Aired May 26, 2006 - 17:59   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, House leaders confront the Senate over our illegal immigration and border security crisis. Leading House Republican Congressman James Sensenbrenner says the Senate's pro-amnesty legislation is unacceptable.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate and opinion for Friday, May 26th.

Live in New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.

Tonight, one of the most powerful members of Congress is blasting the U.S. Senate for its passage of an immigration bill that amounts to amnesty for millions of illegal aliens. Congressman James Sensenbrenner, the chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee and author of the House immigration legislation said amnesty is simply wrong. Sensenbrenner said it will be very difficult for the House and Senate to reach any kind of deal on our illegal immigration and border security crisis as a result.

Meanwhile, senators who support the Senate's amnesty bill are calling on the House to compromise. Few of those senators, however, are talking about a last-minute amendment that requires the United States to consult with Mexico before building a new fence on our border.

Louise Schiavone reports --Louise.

LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, a huge battle is looming over the Senate immigration bill, and lawmakers today fired the opening shots.


SCHIAVONE (voice-over): In a sweeping amnesty bill granting eventual citizenship to millions of illegal aliens who slipped across the border there is a separate volume of changes to the bill that Senate leaders themselves slipped across the finish line.

ROSEMARY JENKS, NUMBERSUSA: This thing was 115 pages, I believe, provided to members of the Senate an hour or so before they had to vote on it. And it includes several really substantive provisions that are incredible.

SCHIAVONE: Take the bill's provision requiring construction of 370 miles of high-tech border fencing, endorsed by 83 senators. But an 11th-hour amendment requires, "Federal, state and local representatives in the United States shall consult with their counterparts in Mexico concerning the construction of additional fencing and related border security structures before the commencement of any such construction."

The stealth amendment was offered by Senator Chris Dodd, who was one of only 16 in the Senate to oppose the fence.

DAN STEIN, FED. FOR AMER. IMMIGRATION REFORM: Why are we going to delegate to Mexico the right to have a veto over what we do on the border. The amendment makes it clear that it's going to hamstring DHS in putting those physical structures on the border. This consultation could take years.

SCHIAVONE: Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona was one of many outraged by the last-minute change, stating, "I do not think it is necessary for us to put as a precondition into the building of any fencing structures the requirement that the U.S. government consult with the government of Mexico."

This and other surprises like it are making a House-Senate immigration conference all the more difficult.

REP. JAMES SENSENBRENNER (R), CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Given the fact that Senate and the House started miles apart, and as a result of some amendments that were offered in the Senate, miles have become moons apart or oceans apart. This has made a difficult task even more so.


SCHIAVONE: Lou, over the last hour we heard from a top aide to Senator Dodd who said this about the latest border fence change, "Nothing in that amendment would impede the ability of the U.S. government to construct a fence in the manner of our choosing" -- Lou.

DOBBS: Louise, thank you very much. I love listening to people. People are absolutely incredulous at what the United States Senate has done, whether it be this amendment or the broad substance of this legislation. I mean, it's funny watching people struggle for words to describe their reaction to it.

SCHIAVONE: Lou, what's interesting about this is, at the end of big bills like this there are often packages of technical amendments. And they are technical amendments. They are not substantial policy amendments like the ones that are included in this. And here it is. Imagine asking someone to go through this one hour before a vote.

DOBBS: Especially a U.S. senator. Thank you very much.

Louise Schiavone, from Washington. Well, as Louise just reported, senators added the proposal to allow Mexico to have a say over border security, adding it in to that huge 115-page so-called manager's amendment to the Senate's immigration bill. Thirty-five Democrats, 20 Republicans, and one Independent voted in favor of the manager's amendment. Thirty-five Republicans and six Democrats voted against it. As you can see, it was a clear victory for Senate Democrats, President Bush and the Republican leadership -- the Republican leadership of the Senate, putting clearly the minority party in charge, along with, of course, the government of Mexico.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman James Sensenbrenner, today said he is determined to block any amnesty for illegal aliens in this country. Congressman Sensenbrenner also said top White House political advisor Karl Rove failed to convince House Republicans to support that Senate legislation.


SENSENBRENNER: The president dispatched Karl Rove, guru-in-chief up there, to the Republican conference both this week and last week. And I didn't attend either of those conferences, because I didn't want to be accused of putting my colleagues up to asking very pointed questions in a loud voice to the president's chief political adviser.

That's what they did. And they jumped all over Rove. And they said the president is not where the American people are at. The Senate is also not where the American people are at.


DOBBS: Congressman Sensenbrenner said he's prepared to consider some form of guest worker program in this country, but only after the federal government has first secured our borders and begun finally to enforce our immigration laws.

Democrats are the minority party in the Senate, but last night's vote for amnesty proves they are in control of the Senate, at least on this issue. Thirty-two Republicans, a majority of the Senate Republicans, oppose so-called comprehensive immigration reform. They were joined by four Democrats. Only 23 Republicans voted for that legislation, but 38 Democrats and one Independent supported the legislation and dictated the outcome.

The Senate gave President Bush the sweeping immigration legislation that he asked for. The president achieved that goal, his goal, and turned the Senate over to the Democrats in so doing.

Please take a look at how your senators voted. You can go to our Web site, It's all broken down for you.

Mexico's president, Vicente Fox, couldn't, of course, be happier with the Senate's vote to give millions of his citizens citizenship in this country. Fox lobbied hard for this amnesty vote during his four- day trip to the United States this week. He returns to Mexico tonight with his mission accomplished. Casey Wian reports.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Los Angeles political leaders welcomed Mexican President Vicente Fox. The mayor even promised to focus on trade, not the unpleasant topic of illegal immigration.

MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA (D), LOS ANGELES: Today I am honored to be saying I will be meeting with the president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, to talk about something other than immigration.

WIAN: Villaraigosa and Fox say they share a commitment to border security, yet both support amnesty for illegal aliens and both oppose more fences along the southern border.

Fox also met with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who told the president he will comply with the White House request to deploy National Guard troops to the border.

And Fox addressed California's legislature just hours after the U.S. Senate voted for amnesty.

VICENTE FOX, MEXICAN PRESIDENT: This is the moment that millions of people have been working for. This will have a strong impact on the destiny and the lives of millions of peoples and family.

WIAN: But nearly a dozen state lawmakers boycotted Fox's speech, including Assemblyman Mark Wyland.

MARK WYLAND (R), CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY: We thought it was wrong for Vicente Fox, who encourages illegal immigration which costs this state so much, to actually speak to us in really a hypocritical way about trying to work together on the border.

WIAN: The lawmakers wrote Fox a letter saying, "President Fox, we call upon you to deal with Mexico's issues before you deign to tell us how to reform our own laws."

Fox was also met by protesters who allege his government brutally repressed Mexican citizens during a riot earlier this month near Mexico City. The bloody battle took place two days after hundreds of thousands of Mexican citizens participated in pro-amnesty rallies in the United States, with no interference from law enforcement.


WIAN: But to many Mexicans, Fox will return home tonight a hero. It's a remarkable and perhaps unlikely coincidence that during his visit the Senate voted for amnesty and voted to require the U.S. government to consult with the Mexican government before building anymore border fences -- Lou.

DOBBS: That is an incredible display, to see the president of Mexico -- Mexico, the principal source of meth, marijuana, heroin, cocaine, three million illegal aliens crossing our borders -- to see him the standing there applauding the U.S. Senate him for actions that affect his citizens in this country while he has a 50 percent poverty rate. What is in the world is going on?

WIAN: Well, what's going on, and equally stunning, to me, at least, is the fact that so many U.S. politicians, governors of western states, mayors of the city of Los Angeles and others, have welcomed him with open arms -- Lou.

DOBBS: Opened arms, and we have apparently in our reporting offended the governor of Utah, Governor Huntsman. We've invited him to be here to discuss immigration, church policy, or whatever he wants to talk about, but he has declined our offer. The other governors, no reason really to talk to them at this point, at least.

Casey, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

Casey Wian, from Los Angeles.

Mexico's foreign minister was also in this country today lobbying for amnesty for illegal aliens. He went to Washington to meet with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Rice and the Mexican foreign minister posed for cameras at the State Department but they did not answer any questions at all from any reporters.

The State Department told us the two officials agreed the United States and Mexico share a common goal to ensure what they call safe, legal and orderly migration -- migration, not immigration -- into the United States. Migration!

Thank you, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Now for our poll tonight, the question: On which issue do you believe the United States government should be required to consult with Mexico, border security, illegal immigration, drug and human trafficking, trade, or perhaps none of the above?

Cast your vote at We'll have the results later here.

Still ahead, outrage on Capitol Hill and across much of this country over a Senate amendment that requires U.S. officials to first consult with Mexico about border security. A powerful Republican from a border state, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, joins me.

And Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist meets the attorney general in a confrontation over the FBI's raid on a congressman's office. We'll be going live to Capitol Hill.

And three of the country's best political analysts join me to talk about illegal immigration, the border security crisis, and the conduct of the war in Iraq. And oh, yes, the idea that the FBI could investigate crime in Congress.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: There was much ado about nothing on Capitol Hill today. That happens quite frequently. It may sound like business as usual, but there was a difference today. Capital Police locked down the Raybun congressional office for four hours after someone told them that they thought they heard gunshots inside a parking garage.


SGT. KIMBERLY SCHNEIDER, CAPITOL HILL POLICE: The explanation is that there were some workers who were working in the area of the Raybun garage, in the elevator area. And in doing their routine duties, they made some sort of a noise that sounded like shots fired. So it was a valid call. Unfortunately, it was just routine duties being performed by some construction workers in the area.


DOBBS: It turned -- those workers were using a pneumatic hammer, it turns out. And it also turns out it was Congressman Jim Saxton who thought he heard gunshots. He told a staff member to call the police, the Capitol Hill Police. And they did, and the result was about four hours of utter nonsense.

Also on Capitol Hill today, new attempts to diffuse the constitutional confrontation between lawmakers and the Bush administration over Saturday's unprecedented FBI raid on Capitol Hill. Senate Majority Bill Frist and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, they got together today to talk about this important confrontation.

Dana Bash has the report from Capitol Hill -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, the two met for about 45 minutes, we are told, and it was essentially for the attorney generals to talk face to face with the Senate majority leader about the facts, about why he still believes that what they, the raid on Congressman's Jefferson's office, was the right thing to do. Also, we are told that they discussed any potential process or procedure for if this happens any time in the future.

Now, Senator Frist said from the very beginning that he was concerned about the constitutional issues raised by having the first- ever raid on a lawmaker's office. But it was really the House speaker who took the lead on this, citing his real problem with separation of powers being breached.

A number of Republicans certainly support Speaker Hastert, but we're told more and more Republicans are saying that they don't agree with him. In fact, we are told that he actually got an earful in a meeting with some of the rank and file yesterday afternoon, some saying that they think this looks like members of Congress want to be -- or want to look like they are above the law.

Now, we talked to Senator David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana. Here's how he said Americans will react to this story.


SEN. DAVID VITTER (R), LOUISIANA: I can tell you exactly how they are going to react, that Congress is protecting itself, that Congress is hiding something. I think that is enormously destructive, particularly as we try to cope with these very real scandals that have been coming up in the last couple of years.


BASH: Now, a spokesman for the speaker said that he is mostly trying to act as an officer of the House of Representatives to try to protect the institution, but the spokesman also said that they are eager to move past this story now -- Lou.

DOBBS: So let's see if I've got this right. They are all concerned about the Constitution for Congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana, found with $90,000 in cold, hard cash in his freezer, and they want to turn this into a constitutional crisis? Is that -- is that pretty much where they were headed?

BASH: That's what we saw all week long. And I can tell you, Lou, in talking -- or looking, I should say, at conservative blogs, knowing what was going on in conservative radio, there were a lot of Republicans who are not very happy about the fact that they think their Republican leaders had an opportunity just from what you were saying, that there was a Democrat allegedly who did have $90,000 in his -- in his freezer, part of a big potential corruption scandal, and they were focused on the Constitution.

DOBBS: Well, either that, or they were worried about the amount of traffic that might result from the FBI being allowed on to Capitol Hill to investigate corruption. That could be also possibility, I suppose.

BASH: Well, certainly, there is -- there is more than one investigation, I should say, going on. And it was certain not just Democratic Congressmen William Jefferson. There are Republican lawmakers definitely under investigation.

DOBBS: And all of this, with Dennis Hastert coming out to support Congressman Jefferson, a Democrat. At the same time, Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democrats in the House, calling on him to get -- to get off the -- get off the Ways and Means Committee.

You know, there's one fellow that made sense on this whole issue to me, the fellow who often makes sense. And that's Congressman Barney Frank, Dana, who said, "What in the world are you people doing? This is appropriate."

BASH: I think it's fair to sum up this work -- this week up here, Lou, as bizarre.

DOBBS: Unlike any other week, I'm sure, Dana.

BASH: Yes.

DOBBS: Dana, thank you.

Dana Bash.

The Senate today confirmed General Michael Hayden to be the new director of the CIA. The Senate voted to confirm General Hayden by 78 votes to 15. During his confirmation hearings, General Hayden assured senators he will be Independent of the Pentagon, also addressed concerns about his role in warrantless wiretaps by the National Security Agency.

A federal judge ordered a "TIME" magazine journalist to surrender his notes to Scooter Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. Libby is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice. He's accused of lying about his role in revealing the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame.

Libby discussed Valerie Plame with reporters from "TIME" magazine and other media outlets, including "The New York Times". The judge ruled the First Amendment does not protect journalists from providing documents in a criminal case, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, of course, affirming his -- his intent to enforce the law, at least when it comes to the issue of leaking information to journalists.

President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair today met at the White House after they publicly acknowledged difficulties and mistakes in their conduct of the war in Iraq. At a news conference last night, President Bush said he regrets using what he called tough talk about the enemy in the war on terror.

Suzanne Malveaux now reports from the White House -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, today the two leaders wrapped up their summit, and many saw it as a swan song for these two men, side by side, of course both of them weakened substantially politically by the Iraq war, both of them, of course, seemingly a little bit more contrite. We saw that last night in the joint news conference.

President Bush making a point that he regretted kind of his cowboy swagger, some of the statements he made, "Bring it on," in challenging al Qaeda, or pronouncing he wanted Osama bin Laden "dead or alive." Many people looking at these comments, trying to make sense of all of this. And it's really part of a strategy here to convince those critics that he has not been living in a bubble, to try to regain some of the trust and confidence of the American people.


DAVID GERGEN, FMR. PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: He had to change the tone to give people the sense that he was living in the real world and that he was -- he understood people's concerns. And you can only lead people when they believe that you share their sense of reality, so I think a change of tone was required. He has done it well, he's shifted.

But the problem he's got now is that tone alone, words alone are not enough anymore. People are looking for an end to the violence, a new dawn in Iraq, and a chance for American troops to start coming home in large numbers.


MALVEAUX: And, Lou, of course, make no mistake, David Gergen, a professor and political analyst, makes a very good point here, that it may be a change in tone, but it is not a change in policy here. What the president is trying to do is not only win over the American people, but essentially buy time.

He knows, this administration knows there are many situations on the ground in Iraq, namely the violence that is out of their control. They are certainly hoping this new permanent Iraqi government can get itself together to try to turn that around. So, of course, that is also what he's trying to do, is get the American people, at least convince them to be patient -- Lou.

DOBBS: Suzanne, thank you. As you say, the causal relationship between poll approval ratings and policy, the preeminent relationship the White House will be examining, I would suspect, in the weeks and months ahead.

Suzanne, thank you.

Suzanne Malveaux, from the White House.

Insurgents have killed two more of our troops in Iraq. The soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad. 2,462 of our troops have been killed in Iraq, 18,184 of our troops have been wounded. Of those, 8,344 seriously wounded.

Insurgents also exploded two car bombs in Baghdad markets today. Twelve Iraqis at least were killed, more than 30 others wounded.

Coming up next here, illegal aliens stealing Americans' Social Security numbers. The federal government knows who they are, even who is paying them. A special report next.

And Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison joins me. We'll be talking about the future, the president's so-called immigration reform legislation. She voted against it.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: Congress is outraged over the growing number of illegal aliens stealing Social Security numbers of American citizens. That's where they get them. Amazingly, those identity thieves can collect Social Security benefits and, believe it or not, the way this government is run, that's perfectly legal.

Kitty Pilgrim has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Illegal aliens steal Social Security numbers from American citizens and then want to claim Social Security benefits.

REP. CLAY SHAW (R), FLORIDA: Right now people don't realize, but under existing law -- which should be changed, by the way -- that the money is paid into a fraudulent number. Once the worker becomes legally here in the United States, if he or she ever becomes legal, that money can be claimed as a contribution to their Social Security earnings.

PILGRIM: In other words, fraud pays.

Some in Congress are outraged the Senate bill would also provide this benefit to illegal workers.

SEN. JOHN ENSIGN (R), NEVADA: The promise of Social Security is for citizens and legal residents of the United States. Social Security was not intended for individuals who enter our country illegally, purchase fraudulent green cards and documentations on the black market, and use them to get jobs.

PILGRIM: Congressman Ensign points out one U.S. citizen had her Social Security number stolen by 218 different illegal immigrants in Texas who used them for work papers. He displayed the fraudulent W-2 forms on the Senate floor.

ENSIGN: It is wrong to allow people who have broken our laws to receive such a reward.


PILGRIM: Now, despite the fact there is rampant fraud, the Senate version of the bill would allow illegal aliens to collect back Social Security benefits if they become legal. That will be one of the biggest debates, Lou, in upcoming sessions, for sure.

DOBBS: Absolute lunacy. Bizarre. It's madness upon madness.

Kitty, thank you very much.

Kitty Pilgrim.

Taking a look now at your thoughts.

John in North Carolina, "What is the White House going to call the new comprehensive immigration bill, No Illegal Aliens Left Behind"?

And James in Michigan, "Ken Lay and his buddy were found guilty of fraud and other crimes. Good job, jury. Now, can they work on Congress?"

And Tom in Arizona, "Lou, the cowards in the Senate by spoken of passage of the bill 2611. They have told the American citizens who put them in office to go to hell, in favor of non-voting illegal aliens."

And Anne in Ohio, "Lou, the elected officials are telling us to go to hell today, but come election time, we're going to send them the same message."

And Chuck in Oregon, "Lou, this latest Senate vote is really good news. Now we know which 62 senators to vote out next time."

And Christina in Nevada, "If ignorance is bliss, there must be an overwhelming state of euphoria in Washington, D.C."

Send us your thoughts at

Coming up here next, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison will be my guest. She says she can't believe her Senate colleagues voted to give Mexico a say in border security.

And three of the country's best political analysts join me to give us their thoughts on amnesty, border security, and what is passing four a constitutional confrontation over what seems to be a relatively trivial matter.

And in tonight's "Heroes," the medical team working tirelessly to save the lives of our troops seriously wounded in Iraq.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison from the border state of Texas one of only 36 senators who voted against the illegal amnesty bill yesterday. Senator Hutchison is also outraged by the last minute tactics of her colleagues who voted to consult with Mexico before beginning construction of a new border fence.

Senator Hutchison joins me tonight from Dallas, Texas. Senator, good to have you with us.


DOBBS: Well, congratulations on being in the minority, although you are in the majority Republicans. What kind of madness has gripped the Senate?

HUTCHISON: Well, Lou, I thought that this week we had a civilized debate, but there was no give and no movement toward the middle in this debate. I think everyone wants to have real immigration reform, and we want to have a guest worker program that can work. But this bill went so far beyond fairness and balance.

DOBBS: Senator Specter, the chairman of judiciary, in his manager's amendment throws together a package of 115 pages including the dot amendment to require consultation by the United States government and state and local governments as well before implementing security on our border, consultation with the government of Mexico, a requirement. That's just insane. HUTCHISON: I know. We didn't know everything that was in the manager's package because, of course, I didn't think there was balance in looking at the manager's package. We couldn't see it until about an hour before it was to be voted on, and as you said, it was 115 pages. It was quite long.

So, we're very disappointed in some of these additions that we never really got -- well, we did get to vote on it, and we were able to try to defeat it, but we couldn't.

DOBBS: And senator, Senator McCain is saying you are doing the will of the American people. Where in the world -- what planet is he on?

HUTCHISON: Well, Lou, I think that he's very sincere, and I think that...

DOBBS: Well, I am not talking about his sincerity. I am sure he is sincere. I am just asking where in the world is his attachment to reality?

HUTCHISON: Well, it's not what I am hearing from my constituents. I have been doing phone tallies, of course, to know where people are, e-mails, faxes and phone tallies. And this week I had 1,578 call in against the bill and 12 called in for it. That's what I'm hearing everywhere I go.

DOBBS: I would say that ratio would conform to pretty much what we hear on this broadcast, a ratio similar to that, maybe the ratio would be a little higher, I think. This bill, this president, Karl Rove overriding the majority of Republicans in the United States Senate. You all work as the Republican Party work pretty hard to take control of that Senate.

Then the Senate leadership absolutely reversed itself, saying it would have border security. Senator Bill Frist said straightforwardly, speaking to me as a matter of fact on the Larry King show that there's going to be border security, first. The president of the United States made the Democratic minority the majority on this issue. Why?

HUTCHISON: Well, we are of one mind on border security first. That is the good part of this bill. I think everyone agrees that we must secure our borders after 9/11. But I think it's the rest of the bill that really goes out of balance. I think it discriminates against the American worker.

I think that he doesn't have a balance that says -- in fact, in the bill, if you don't go into the citizenship track within six years and you are one of the 11 million illegal aliens, you have to go home. So you are forcing people into the citizenship track rather than offering an alternative for people who don't want to be citizens of our country. They shouldn't be forced to go into that track or go home.

It's -- that's -- that was the part of the bill that I thought and tried to change. I thought it was wrong. I tried to give an alternative for people who want to work but don't want to become citizens and get into that track.

DOBBS: Senator, there was so much in -- there is so much in this legislation. I have to say I am not exactly a Pollyanna on the workings of the United States Senate or the Congress or Washington, but this is breathtaking in its contrivance, its superficiality and it is just pure failure as public policy.

HUTCHISON: Well, I don't know of another country in the world that just offers citizenship. If you don't apply for citizenship in six years, you are deported. Most countries make it very hard for you to even work in their country. And I think that was the part that just amazed me because there will be huge costs to that. And down the road it's going to mushroom.

DOBBS: Yes, and those costs each time will be falling on American men and women working each and every day, supporting their families, legal citizens. And it's the last group of people, it seems, that either party, Republicans or Democrats, are concerned about. Then this legislation, if I may say in conclusion, is just another example of it.

I congratulate you for voting against it. You joined -- in my opinion, you should be proud of being in the minority on this one.

HUTCHISON: Well, I hope we can get a much better, more balanced bill that will have a temporary worker program that allows people to come in and work and go home and keep their families and help their countries. It's just...

DOBBS: I have to cut you off, senator. We are out of time. I hope that everything works out. As you know, Washington isn't giving American citizens right now much home for any kind of rational or effective public policy.

HUTCHISON: I think it's going to be a hard road, Lou. I do.

DOBBS: All right. Well, senator, we thank you for your candor. We appreciate you being here.

HUTCHISON: Thank you.

DOBBS: Now that the Senate has voted in favor of amnesty for millions of illegal aliens, it's crucial to write to your elected officials to tell them how you feel, as this immigration reform legislation moves into Congress. Apparently, that is where it is headed. Write your senators and congressman, go to We have provided links to all of our nation's lawmakers.

Still ahead, three of the country's best political analysts will be here to discuss comprehensive immigration reform, a constitutional battle between Congress and Justice Department and a lot more.

And in "Heroes," our weekly tribute to our men and women serving this nation in uniform around the world, we will meet the extraordinary doctors and nurses caring for our wounded from Iraq. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Ed Rollins, Republican strategist, a former White House political director, joins me now. As does, Michael Goodwin, columnist with "The New York Daily News," and so does Miguel Perez, syndicated columnist with "The Record" in New Jersey. Gentlemen, good to have you here.

You just heard Senator Hutchison say in so many words she's a little embarrassed to be a part in this process coming off the immigration legislation.

ED ROLLINS, FMR. WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIR.: Well, I think justifiably so. I think the president clearly tipped the balance of Kennedy-McCain, if he wants to be a part of that.

DOBBS: Oh, he does. He does.

ROLLINS: And I think he will pay a price for that. I think the bottom line here is this is a bill that -- there's no room for the House to negotiate and I think they're going to draw the line in the sand and I think it's going to be all-out war and I don't think you're going to get anything done this session.

DOBBS: Sensenbrenner looked like he -- Michael, like he wanted to sort of slap Karl Rove straight to the ground.

MICHAEL GOODWIN, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": Well, Rove is making his life very difficult. And I do think there's one possible way out of this that the House might be tempted to take, and that is if there is a guest worker program -- border enforcement, guest worker, but no path to citizenship. I think geographically that's kind of the center of this argument, and I think ...

DOBBS: Guest worker?

GOODWIN: Guest worker but no citizenship. And I think if the Senate would go along with that, I think you might get a bill there. Otherwise I think it's going to be a really bloody fight in the House.


MIGUEL PEREZ, "THE RECORD": It has to have a path to citizenship. You have to deal with the reality of 12 million people still in the country. If you don't do that ...

DOBBS: Maybe more.

PEREZ: ... you're never going to have the problem solved. I mean, we do need to know who those people are for the interests of national security. And you see all this emphasis on the Mexican border, the Mexican border. What about the Canadian border. What about the people -- almost half of the people ...

DOBBS: Let me explain to you -- let me answer that question. The Canadian border, we work hand and glove with the government of Canada across that entire 5,000-mile border. With the Mexican government, Mexico remains the principal source of heroine, marijuana, cocaine, meth and three million illegal aliens. Which border would you look at, Miguel?

PEREZ: We still have the threat of terrorism coming through the Canadian border, just like we do with -- almost half of the illegal immigrants coming in are people who violate their visas. They come in legally and they stay.


DOBBS: But I'm saying to you it's not a politically correct issue. You know, we want to do Canada, we want to do Mexico. The fact is, the problem is at the southern border and I don't see any reason to get carried away about Canada. I want both borders secure. I want every port secure.

PEREZ: So do I.

DOBBS: Why can't the Senate of the United States understand that and so do the American people? They're going to light this Senate up.

PEREZ: It has to be comprehensive. And this is what the president -- even the president has been saying that. It has to be comprehensive. We have to do with the whole problem.


DOBBS: Let's put up the requirement. Thank you Senator Dodd for putting in this amendment and Senator Specter for managing this amendment, "consultations between the United States and Mexican authorities at federal, state and local levels concerning the construction of additional fencing and related border security structures along the United States and Mexico border shall be undertaken prior to commencing any new construction." What a genius.

ROLLINS: If they started that process right today, in about 25 years they couldn't get an agreement on any two city councilmen in Texas or any three governors Mexico. It's absurd and it's almost a game killer.

And I think -- you know, I think it's just the last straw that -- I think it was the arrogance of the Democrats. This clearly was a Democrat bill and the fact they got McCain and the president -- it's Kennedy's bill. If there were 65 Democrats.

DOBBS: Well, Kennedy and McCain. Don't leave out John McCain.

ROLLINS: I am not leaving John out. I think John has made a very big mistake. And he's going to find that out in the ...

DOBBS: Well, he made another mistake. He said that Rush Limbaugh and I and Michael Savage were fueling the problem. He made a mistake with me, I'll guarantee you.

ROLLINS: Well, John got a free ride being the chaser in 2000.

DOBBS: Well, he's a pandering ...

ROLLINS: He's going to have an interesting session. I don't care where he is in the polls today. There's only place for him to go and measures like this are going to bring him down.

DOBBS: This is just unconscionable.

GOODWIN: Well, and I think the politics of this is fascinating, because if you go back to when the marches began, I think everyone thought, you know, that the House bill was going to lose the House for the Republicans, and that the real energy and momentum was on with the marchers.

And I think that's changed dramatically. It's gone back and forth several times, but right now I think the country is clearly more against citizenship than it is for it, and more against anything that can be labeled amnesty than it is for it. So I think the House has regained the momentum in a way, although nobody wants the felony provisions.

DOBBS: I am one of those people who has been saying all along you can't reform immigration if you can't control it. You can't control immigration unless you control the borders. Absolutely. I am also for raising legal immigration if we do it by some statement of fact, require that.

GOODWIN: We obviously need the workers.

DOBBS: Well, we don't, obviously, because in point of fact, wages at the lowest quintile of wage earners in this country are declining, not rising. That says we have a surplus of labor. Do you agree, Miguel?

PEREZ: I think we do need the labor. I think the agricultural industry would just collapse without them.

DOBBS: They have lasted for 30 years.

PEREZ: With illegal immigrants they've lasted.

DOBBS: They've lasted -- why not have them join a guest worker program.

PEREZ: A guest worker program is servitude.

DOBBS: Oh ...

PEREZ: If you are just going to bring these people in and exploit them, and then send them back home without any protection, they are going to have to work for one single employer. That employer can do whatever he wants with these people and then eventually just send him back. We're basically just using them.

DOBBS: Well, that's what a guest worker program is, it's temporary. Why not put in labor standards that say that you have to pay a migrant worker $20 an hour, not $9 or $10.


DOBBS: The costs -- by the way, we did some research on this, so anybody paying attention to this argument the facts are these. If you double the price of labor in this country for produce, in particular, because that's where the study is, it raises the cost of a head of lettuce by 10 to 15 cents.

We can handle that for the dignity of people who are picking that lettuce and picking that produce, and we can have it for our own -- to rid ourselves of the shame of exploitation by these growers and corporate American.

PEREZ: You still have to deal with the people who are going to mow your lawn, take care of your children and wash your dishes.

DOBBS: By God, you know what? This is America, mow your own lawn.



DOBBS: You know, I am sorry, wash your own car.

ROLLINS: Well, the reality here is this bill is not going anywhere. I mean, I think Michael's solution is probably the only one that would have any ability to move, but it's not going to move this session, I think the Republicans in the House have now got a backbone. They're going to draw the line.

This president might as well go home. I mean, he might as well -- I mean, we talk about having a third term. I am now believing a six-year term, because it's time for this president -- he's given ...

DOBBS: You want a six year-term?

GOODWIN: Just one.

ROLLINS: Just one. And it would be ...


DOBBS: OK, we've joined that in progress. All right. I wasn't clear about that.

ROLLINS: The reality is he has given them no flag to carry into probably the most important election and he most difficult election since probably '72, or '74.

DOBBS: Well, a constitutional crisis because the FBI, with Congressman William Jefferson not responding to a subpoena for eight months from the U.S. Justice Department? Miguel, do you think we have a constitutional confrontation or a Congressman who thinks he's above the law, by the way, with the senators and the House leadership, in particular, thinking that ...

PEREZ: He does think he's above the law. That's the problem here, cold cash.

DOBBS: $90,000.

GOODWIN: It's in the freezer, very cold.


ROLLINS: It's even bigger though. You know, they are trying to get the records of the Defense Subcommittee and Appropriations, whether there was other criminal activity with Mike Cunningham and others. And the bottom line, if these guys are going to commit criminal acts they can't hide in their congressional office.

DOBBS: Amen, brother.

GOODWIN: That's where I would hide the cash.

DOBBS: And the fact that Hastert and Frist comes out sputtering in his, you know, we're going to really -- you know, nonsense. This man is being investigated for a crime and it's about time these legislators understand they are working for the American people.

ROLLINS: Lawmakers cannot be lawbreakers, and at the end of the day ...

DOBBS: I think it's a little late to let them know that.

ROLLINS: But it's true and the only way you are going to let them know is that they have to live by the same rules everybody else does.

GOODWIN: And I think one of the things that's going on, as your correspondent said, about, you know, a bizarre week on Capitol Hill, I think it's a very strange situation now. The whole Congress looks like it's just spinning like a top and no one quite knows what's going on down there. It's a very mysterious time.

DOBBS: Why in the world should the American people put up with either of these parties? I mean, it's an absurdity what's going on. This government isn't working.

PEREZ: They're not -- they don't seem to be able to agree on any major issue that the American people are really depending on them for.

DOBBS: They are not even thinking.

PEREZ: They're not even coming to a middle.

DOBBS: I don't want them to agree until they think, until they understand what the facts are.

GOODWIN: And I think immigration is all about politics. I think everybody has made a political calculation. DOBBS: You know, thank you very much for being here. We appreciate it. Michael ...

GOODWIN: Thank you.

DOBBS: Ed, thank you as always.

ROLLINS: Thank you.

DOBBS: And on Memorial Day, we wish you the very best. Thank you, gentlemen.

Up next, "Heroes." We will meet the dedicated men and women working day in and day out to save the lives of our troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Stay with us for "Heroes."


DOBBS: In "Heroes" tonight, the medical teams that treat our wounded at the military's hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.

Bill Tucker has their story.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Landstuhl Regional Medical Center is virtually unknown to most Americans. To our wounded soldiers, it's a critical part of their lifesaving journey on their way home.

LT. COL. GINA DORLAC, U.S. AIR FORCE: The analogy I have heard is the neck of an hour gas. Every patient that is injured in Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, wherever, they all come to Landstuhl, anywhere in Europe. We see them all. We send them out to a bunch of other places, but we see everybody.

TUCKER (on-camera): Landstuhl Regional Medical Center is special for a number of reasons. It not only treats members of the American military but members of the coalition forces as well. And in the past four years, 31,000 servicemen and women have found treatment here.

(voice-over): It's a demanding mission responded to with grace.

DIDI PRICE, CIVILIAN NURSE: I love my work. I wouldn't change it.

TUCKER (on-camera): Why?

PRICE: I love taking care of the soldiers. I feel, you know, safe for what they are doing for me, and I give them 150 percent every day. And it's just -- I go home smiling, feeling like I have done something for them.

LT. COL. CATHY MARTIN, INTENSIVE CARE UNIT: We average about 120 to 150 patients per month through this unit. The main types of patients that we've been taking care of for the last three years are the IED blast-patients, as well as RPGS.

MAJOR KENDRA WHYTT, HEAD NURSE LANDSTUHL MED. CTR.: It's a trip. That's the best way to call it. It's a trip. The trip starts in Afghanistan, Iraq. We are just a layover. We are just a three-day layover for some patients. And then they catch the next plane out three days later.

TUCKER (voice-over): They are able to make it work because of tremendous teamwork, teamwork supported with constant communication between all points and what they call the continuum of medical care.

MAJOR TIM WOODS, GEN. SURGEON, INTENSIVE CARE UNIT: We get Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas on the phone all at the same time, almost a video-teleconference. We get daily feedback from our people from Walter Reed in Bethesda and Brooke Army Medical Center on the patients that we took care of.

TUCKER: That feedback crucial to the dedicated medical team whose single goal is improving the care given America's wounded warriors.

Bill Tucker, CNN, Landstuhl, Germany.


DOBBS: And we want, as well, on this Memorial Day weekend to salute the thousands of sailors and Marines in New York City for the 19th annual Fleet Week celebration. The UHS Anzio in that fleet of course, leading a parade of Navy and Coast Guard ships through New York Harbor, veterans and active duty personnel from all branches of the services.

Join the visiting sailors and Marines for celebration of our Memorial Day weekend.

Still ahead, the results of our poll and more of your thoughts, stay with us.


DOBBS: The results of our poll tonight, the questions which we asked, what issues should we be required to consult with the government of Mexico, border security, illegal immigration, drugs and human trafficking, trade. Eighty-three percent of you said none of the above.

Take a look at more of your thoughts now.

Phyllis in Oregon said, "After watching the news, I had no idea so many idiots could be assembled in one place. All in the district of confusion. What a record."

And Gerald in Illinois, "Lour, in regards to the lady who was a Democrat, was going to vote Republican, I am a Republican and I am not going to vote Democrat, rather I am going to vote for an independent if he has the right message." And Kyra in North Carolina, "Lou, so they raided a congressman's office. Only one?."

And Doug in Washington, "Lou: Most of the Senate sold their soul to corporate America. However, one very honest man shone through the corruption like a bright light of hope, and I for one want to thank Senator Jeff Sessions for supporting the American people."

Gerald in Florida, "Lou, I am an African-American male. I am far from a conspiracy theorist. But, like yourself, I have to ask what are our elected officials thinking and doing? It is clear to me that our government, supposedly for the people and that means U.S. citizens, has systematically sold us out."

Bill in Georgia, "Lou, I am a combat veteran and would like to know if it's OK with the Senate if I pray for my fallen comrades in English. Also, will it be offensive if we celebrate our nation's independence on the 4th of July? I sure don't want to make the illegal immigrants uncomfortable."

And Chris in Pennsylvania, "Lou, I want to thank you for taking on the issues that we Americans actually talk about to one another and concern ourselves over. Gays, religion and race are topics used by our leaders to cause rifts and separations between smart and responsible Americans. Your topics put the spotlight on those who need it, our leaders."

And Janet in North Carolina, "Big billboards are going up by the members of grass It reads "stop the invasion." You can push support against illegal aliens invading our country by showing pictures of those billboards. Help please."

Well, there is the help. And a remarkable campaign of billboards.

Send us your thoughts at Each of you whose e-mail is read here receives a copy of my book, "Exporting America." And we thank you for being with us tonight and throughout the week. For all of us, we hope you have a very pleasant weekend, a very safe weekend, as we remember all of those who have served this weekend in uniform on this Memorial Day holiday. Thanks again for watching. Good night from New York.

"THE SITUATION ROOM" begins right now with John King in for Wolf Blitzer -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you very much Lou.