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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Arkansas on the Frontlines of Battle Against Illegal Immigration

Aired November 27, 2007 - 19:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Wolf.
Good evening from Little Rock, Arkansas. Tonight, the state of Arkansas on the front lines of the national battle to protect American citizens and legal residents from the impact of our illegal immigration crisis, but well-funded corporate and socio-ethnocentric special interests are trying all they can to stop the enforcement of our laws. We'll have complete coverage.

Also more political insults and threats by Mexican government leaders against this country. Those pro-amnesty Mexican leaders led by none other than deported illegal alien Elvira Arellano. We'll have that incredible story.

And new evidence of the collapse in the housing market as if we needed it. The escalated mortgage crisis threatening now the very survival of our middle class. We'll have the report, all of that, all the day's news and a great deal more, straight ahead here tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT: news, debate, and opinion for Tuesday, November 27. Live from Little Rock, Arkansas, Lou Dobbs.

Good evening, everybody. Israeli and Palestinian leaders today agreed to hold their first peace talks in seven years; they reached that agreement at the beginning of the Middle East peace summit being held in Annapolis, Maryland. President Bush declared the summit began with what he called a strong state. And over the past few minutes Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the summit has created a real opportunity, as she put it, for real progress in the Middle East. Ed Henry has our report from Annapolis -- Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Lou, this almost didn't happen. We're told by two officials that behind closed doors President Bush told Secretary Rice to go into a separate room with her counterparts to hammer out this agreement at the last minute but all sides say that it's going to take that kind of continued direct presidential involvement to turn this first step into an actual success.


HENRY (voice-over): Against the odds, President Bush brokered this handshake with a written, joint understanding. The Israeli and Palestinian leaders vowing to reach a Mideast peace accord by the end of Mr. Bush's time in office. GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We agree to engage in vigorous ongoing and continuous negotiations and shall make every effort to conclude an agreement before the end of 2008.

HENRY: The first serious stab at Mideast peace in seven years and yet this is really just an agreement to agree, not peace itself.

AARON DAVID MILLER, FMR. U.S. MIDEAST NEGOTIATOR: The real question is will this process have legs? Three months from now will in fact we be looking at a situation which has been transformed?

HENRY: The parties acknowledge they did not address any of the divisive issues that have killed so many deals before.

PRES. MAHMOUD ABBAS, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY (through translator): With great hope, but it is accompanied with great worry that this new opportunity might be lost.

HENRY: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared any final agreement should make east Jerusalem the capital of a Palestinian state, a possible deal breaker for Israel. While Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wants his nation recognized as a Jewish state, a potential stumbling block for the Palestinians.

EHUD OLMERT, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The time has come to end the boycott the alienation and the obliviousness towards the state of Israel.


HENRY: And protests all the way from the West Bank to outside the gates of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis show it will be difficult for both sides to make tough compromises. But the talks could gain strength from over 40 nations being at the table, especially Saudi Arabia and Syria. And the parties now have an American president pledging full engagement, though even Mr. Bush offered a dose of reality.

BUSH: America will do everything in our power to support their quest for peace, but we cannot achieve it for them.


HENRY: Now the tough work to actually hammer this out begins Wednesday at the White House when Mr. Bush meets with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders again and then Olmert and Abbas are going to hold intense biweekly meetings to actually get this done -- Lou.

DOBBS: Ed, the very idea that everyone seems to want to caution in terms of too high an expectation as a result from these discussions, this is a president with nothing to lose, Olmert and Abbas have everything to gain, it seems, politically, the time does appear, in point of fact, to be right, doesn't it?

HENRY: Well there is certainly an opportunity here. And that's what the White House has been saying about why they think the president wanted to seize it. You're certainly right. The political situation for Olmert and Abbas back home is certainly difficult. They were in a position where they needed to move to try to take this stab at peace and then certainly a first step, Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you very much; Ed Henry from Annapolis.

As we reported radical Islamists in the West Bank and Gaza protesting against the summit as did right wing Israelis. One radical Islamist was killed in the West Bank during clashes with police. Police officers used batons and tear gas breaking up the protest. Officers also fired shots into the air. The Palestinian Authority has banned all demonstrations while that summit meeting is under way.

Iran today said it will hold a summit meeting of Palestinian groups opposed to the Annapolis conference. Iran, who was not invited to the summit meeting in Annapolis, Iran supports radical Islamist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Iran is also a close ally of Syria which of course has been invited and is attending the summit meeting. Aneesh Raman reports from Tehran -- Aneesh.

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, good evening. Clearly feeling no threat of isolation out of the Annapolis summit, Iran's supreme leader today proclaimed the summit doomed for failure. The only real threat Iran faced there was the fact that Syria is in attendance. Many have said that could possibly wedge the alliance that Iran and Syria have forged, but those concerns were put essentially to rest today.

Syria's foreign minister placed a call to Iran's ambassador in Damascus and said the only reason Syria went was to discuss the Golan Heights and that Syria already thinks this conference is a failure. So in Iran, it is business as usual. Iran has announced that it has a new long-range missile with the capability of hitting targets in a 1,200 mile radius that includes U.S. military bases in the Middle East and of course Israel. Iran also says that tomorrow it will launch a new submarine in its southern waters, all of this Iran says is part of a defensive strategy, preparing for any attack -- Lou.

DOBBS: Aneesh Raman reporting from Tehran.

The United States tonight also focusing on North Korea's nuclear weapons program. The top U.S. negotiator, Christopher Hill, will go to North Korea next Monday. Hill will check on work there to disable North Korea's nuclear reactor and to see what progress has been made. North Korea has been disabling the reactor in exchange for political and economic concessions from the United States and other nations.

Turning now to the war in Iraq; insurgents killed three more of our troops. Thirty-four of our troops have been killed in Iraq so far this month; 3,878 of our troops killed since the war began; 28,582 of our troops wounded; 12,804 of them seriously.

In Paris tonight, rioters confronting police there in the city's northern suburbs for a third consecutive night. Rioting has spread to a city in southern France as well. Nearly 100 police officers have been injured in two nights of rioting. Rioters fired buckshot at riot police and they rammed burning cars into buildings. A police union leader called the rioters urban guerillas. The riot started after two teenagers were killed in an accident with a police car.

Coming up here next, socio-ethnocentric special interests, the corporate elite and churches joining forces, all trying to stop the state of Arkansas from preventing the impact of illegal immigration on their state. Bill Tucker will have the report -- Bill.

BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, about half of Arkansas' immigrants are here illegally. Companies like it that way. Many taxpayers don't. We'll have the story just ahead -- Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you, Bill.

And a deported illegal alien is leading apparently a substantial part of Mexico's fight to impose amnesty on the American people. We'll have that story.

And a startling new evidence of the scale of our housing crisis, a crisis that is facing working men and women in this country and their families and we'll tell you what the government is doing about it. We'll have that special report and more, straight ahead.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: Arkansas among many states on the front lines of this country's war against the impact of illegal immigration. And like many states Arkansas is taking action on its own because the federal government has simply refused to deal with the impact of illegal immigration as well as immigration itself. Some state lawmakers want to toughen laws but an alliance of religious and corporate leaders, well they have gotten together -- imagine that -- and they're lobbying to stop any effort to stop the impact of illegal immigration and they've got a lot of help from socio-ethnocentric special interest groups just like in many parts of the country. Bill Tucker has our report.


TUCKER (voice-over): The Arkansas Friendship Coalition is an alliance of churches, telephone companies, investment bankers, meat packers, and special interest groups. Their purpose is to stop state and local governments from cracking down on illegal immigration in Arkansas. Its justification, the coalition points to a recent study commissioned by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, which says immigrants have added $2.9 billion to the state's economy. The study though makes no distinction between legal and illegal immigrants.

STEVE COPLEY, ARKANSAS FRIENDSHIP COALITION: I don't think that we can -- don't necessarily have to pull those out. Whether somebody is documented or undocumented, we see that they're working, they're working hard, they're trying to share in the American dream and have contributed a great deal to our communities, to our counties, to our state and especially in economic terms. TUCKER: Critics of studies like the Winthrop Rockefeller study say those costs can and should be broken out and everyone should be wary of the assumption that bigger is better.

STEVEN CAMAROTA, CTR. FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: They confuse the fact that when you add people to the U.S., the economy gets bigger, but that's not a benefit. When we try to measure the benefits for the native born population it appears to be so small we can barely find it and primarily comes from lowering the wages of the poorest and least educated Americans.

TUCKER: One of the state lawmakers leading the effort to crack down on illegal immigration says illegal aliens are placing a burden on taxpayers who must shoulder the impact on the education and health care system for the benefit of corporations.

JON WOODS (R), ARKANSAS STATE HOUSE: Big business is definitely profiting. You've got several CEOs and several presidents and vice presidents that are benefiting wonderfully from illegal immigration, but what about the everyday citizen that plays by the rules and cares about the social fabric of our country? Those are the people that aren't benefiting.

TUCKER: As an example, Woods points to subcontractors who are losing their businesses because they are being outbid by others who use illegal alien labor and pay those workers less.


TUCKER: Now the coalition argues that this is a federal problem while turning a blind eye to the problems at the state level. There is no acknowledgement that the states have a role in seeing that federal laws are followed. It's an intriguing argument. Few would suggest, for example, Lou, that states should ignore people cheating on their federal income tax, refuse to report them to federal authorities much less pass laws to protect them in the state.

DOBBS: Well let's say it straight out. The Friendship Coalition has got this fuzzy warm name but it's an arrogant elitist attitude and absolutely an ignorant position that you shouldn't make a distinction between a lawful immigrant and an illegal alien in this country. It's an insult to every legal immigrant. It is absurd. These silly -- I mean they're supercilious people and being taken seriously by mainstream media by both political parties. And that's why the American people are fed up with this nonsense. I don't see how we can tolerate that kind of just ignorant discussion.

TUCKER: And they will continue to say no, no, we're not for illegal immigration.


TUCKER: At the same time, they're protecting illegal immigrants and they are there to keep laws from being passed.

DOBBS: These are nothing more than patsies for big business and illegal employers. They're nothing more than functionaries and silly people who have really neither the common good nor the national interest at heart, they don't care. They're careless and thoughtless and people as far as I'm concerned who need to be confronted and I'm glad to see that they're confronting those people in the state of Arkansas because it's well overdue.

Thank you very much. We'll be taking up some other careless and thoughtless folks sitting down in Mexico thinking they're talking sense or trying to make you think they're talking sense. Bill Tucker, thank you.

That brings us to the subject of our poll. Do you believe states should be stepping in where the federal government has failed and passing laws to prevent the impact of illegal immigration and illegal immigration itself? Yes or no. Cast your vote at We'll have the results for you of course here later in the broadcast.

Mexican government leaders and politicians led by an illegal alien deported from the United States are now intensifying their criticism of U.S. government efforts to enforce our immigration laws. Mexico's president, Felipe Calderon, has gone so far as to say that Mexican citizens living in the United States are being used as, quote, "symbolic hostages in the U.S. presidential race". Calderon also criticized what he called in his words, the quote, "growing harassment and persecution of Mexican citizens in the United States". Casey Wian has our report.



CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She's back. Deported former illegal alien Elvira Arellano sat in front of the U.S. embassy in Mexico City on the tenth day of a hunger strike. She is demanding amnesty for the estimated six million Mexicans living illegally in the United States.

ELVIRA ARELLANO, MEXICAN DEPORTEE (through translator): Today I decided to sit in front of the embassy to protest peacefully against the raids deportation and separation of families, to demand legalization for a migrant community who live in the United States.

WIAN: Mexican politicians and activists are growing more vocal in their criticism of U.S. efforts to enforce immigration laws. Earlier this month, Arellano addressed representatives of Mexican citizens in the United States meeting in Mexico City. They denounced deportations and the growing number of state and local laws seeking to crack down on illegal immigration. The participants proposed reserving a dozen seats in the Mexican parliament for migrants living abroad. Some even demanded a trade embargo against the United States until deportation ceased.

GEORGE GRAYSON, COLLEGE OF WILLIAM & MARY: The political class speaks with one voice and that is that Mexicans have a God given right to come to the United States, that they're doing Americans and specifically the American economy a favor. And that they're being maltreated right and left by the border patrol.


WIAN: President Felipe Calderon who has gone further than his predecessors in acknowledging Mexico's responsibility for illegal immigration and failed border security seems to be returning to the harsh rhetoric of the past. His government this month called the construction of more border-fencing medieval and Calderon himself accused U.S. presidential candidates of holding Mexicans in the United States as symbolic hostages, a group that included Arellano until she was deported this past August after leaving her church sanctuary in Chicago. She vows to continue her hunger strike until December 12th, the day Mexico celebrates the feast of (INAUDIBLE).


WIAN: As for the threat of a trade embargo, few are taking that seriously because it would undoubtedly do more harm to Mexico's economy than to the United States. We asked one supporter of the trade embargo to defend the idea and he said it would be useful as leverage -- Lou.

DOBBS: Well that's simply idiotic. We have a $70 billion trade deficit with Mexico. Mexican citizens in this country send $25 billion a year back to Mexico for their families there and we're buying about 25 -- between 25 and $45 billion worth of illegal drugs from Mexico. It's still the principal source of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and marijuana into this country. These idiots really think that they would be in some way harming the United States if they actually obeyed the law and ended this highly disadvantageous relationship with the United States?

WIAN: They seem to think so. Some of the politicians and supporters of illegal aliens in the United States who are in Mexico, you know it's $180 billion in exports from Mexico to the United States. We represent about 85 percent of their exports. Without us, their economy would really be in bad shape, even worse than it is now, so we can't imagine that these threats will come to any kind of fruition. There is a lot of saber rattling. We're expecting to hear more of that in the future.

DOBBS: What is interesting to me and I think to millions of Americans, would be my guess, Casey, is that the United States government in the form of either the president of the United States when George W. Bush, neither the leaders of the Republican Party or Democratic Party or the Senate majority leader or the House speaker or any one of the presidential candidates is responding to this kind of insulting rhetoric from the government of Mexico and its leading politicians.

And that in itself is disgusting and it suggests a paternalism toward Mexico that is frankly I think that could be construed as racist because it is not one in which we see an equal partner. It is one in which we look at -- apparently our leaders looked down their noses at Mexico as unworthy of a response at the insult. It's ridiculous for this to not provoke an official reaction from the U.S. government.

WIAN: And it is also interesting...

DOBBS: Casey Wian...

WIAN: ... that the same thing happens in Mexico, Lou. Mexican political leaders are disconnected from their population as well.

DOBBS: It's terrible. Absolutely ridiculous. And if Calderon wants to free those hostages, I think they're probably millions of his citizens living in this country who would love to return to well paying jobs and to a government that was not corrupt and incompetent. It would be a watershed moment, however, for the nation of Mexico, perhaps Mr. Calderon might focus more on cleaning up his own house before casting aspersions north of the border, but of course that would be politically inconvenient I'm sure for him and most of the Mexican politicians.

Let's take a -- Casey, thank you very much. Casey Wian reporting. Let's take a look now at some of your thoughts if we may.

Vera in Florida said, "Yippee, it is not my birthday, Easter, Christmas or any holiday. Excuse me -- but today, I received my Independent voting card."

And Tony in Arkansas, "Lou, this country is going to heck in a hand bag, we have no one to vote for, we have been sold out by both political parties. If the American people on both sides of the fence in this country don't wake up and toss these idiots out, we won't have any country left."

I don't hear a lot of people arguing with you. We'll have more of your thoughts here later in the broadcast. Each of you whose e- mail is read here receives a copy of my new book "Independents Day: Awakening the American Spirit" -- get one for your family -- every member of your family, every friend, strangers. Thanks very much.

And coming up next, the nation's mayor is painting a bleak picture of the effects of our mortgage crisis on our cities, a crisis to which this government, the federal government has not responded. We'll have a special report.

And Hillary Clinton brings out the big gun to lift her slipping poll numbers. We'll have that story.

And stay with us. We'll be back with more from Little Rock, Arkansas.


DOBBS: New evidence tonight of the rising influence of foreign governments in the U.S. economy. You remember all of the faith-based economists who said free trade is just wonderful and that there is no cost? Well, the government of Abu Dhabi is giving $7.5 billion to Citigroup, a cash infusion. Citigroup is reeling from massive losses in the mortgage crisis. There is even speculation that the company will lay off tens of thousands of its employees. This deal will make the government of Abu Dhabi one of Citigroup's biggest shareholders.

The investment follows a failed effort by another Middle Eastern company, Dubai -- Middle Eastern country -- Dubai to buy critically important port facilities in this country, but to show you the impact of how desperate corporate America is for foreign capital, look to Citigroup and the emergency infusion of capital from Abu Dhabi.

The effect of the sub-prime mortgage crisis of course is being felt throughout our economy now. Home prices have dropped 4.5 percent over the past quarter, the sharpest decline in more than 20 years in fact. And today the nation's mayors confronted the issue. And they warned that this crisis will worsen and make life worse for Americans in cities all around the country. Kitty Pilgrim has our report.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mayors from metropolitan areas met on Tuesday in Detroit to discuss what the mortgage crisis is doing to their communities.

MAYOR VIRG BERNERO, LANSING, MICHIGAN: It's eating away at the backbone of our neighborhoods and it is bigger than what I can handle. This thing is massive. This thing is bigger than any of us; it's bigger than our cities. It is bigger than the state. We need federal imperative. We need federal leadership.

PILGRIM: According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the epidemic of foreclosure signs and boarded up homes will depress the value of the average home price by 7 percent in 2008. Total lost equity from mid 2007 through 2008 is estimated to run $1.2 trillion as home values decline across the board.

MAYOR DOUGLAS PALMER, TRENTON, NEW JERSEY: Lenders could have policed mortgage brokers more carefully and Wall Street scrutinizers could have shown less greed and more care in the soundness of their investments and profits. They did not.

PILGRIM: These 10 states alone expect to lose more than $6.5 billion in tax revenue. Mayors say with reduced revenues from property taxes, they will struggle to provide services to their communities without raising taxes. Schools could also see budget cuts because of reduced revenues.

MAYOR KWAME KILPATRICK, DETROIT: This is big. This is one of those issues where if we really don't go at it with the type of tenacity and focus that it deserves, it could undermine the very fabric of what America is all about, homeownership, the American dream, sending a kid to college, and we need people to really focus on this in a major way.

PILGRIM: It's not just large cities, the mayor of Bowling Green, Kentucky, population 53,000, is trying to prevent her community from being devastated.

MAYOR ELAINE WALKER, BOWLING GREEN, KENTUCKY: We have a 47 percent homeownership right in the city of Bowling Green and I've been mayor now for my third year, and one of my top priorities is to increase our homeownership rates. When you look at this foreclosure tsunami that we're looking at, that's going to take us backward and I'm quite -- I'm not quite prepared to go backward.

PILGRIM: But many sub-prime mortgages will reset in the middle of next year.


PILGRIM: For the average American buying a home will get harder as credit gets tighter, selling a home in the depressed market will be very difficult. Sales of existing homes also will fall by another 10 percent in 2008 and the mortgage crisis is expected to be felt in every sector of the economy -- Lou.

DOBBS: Kitty, thank you. I think we should say that that is the forecast. There is no certainty about whether it will be better or worse, but that is the best judgment in that forecast. To hear Mayor Kilpatrick of Detroit talking about the crisis, the fact that the federal government has not responded intelligently or aggressively to this obvious crisis, what in the world do they think will be the response, these mayors from Washington, D.C.?

PILGRIM: You know, we heard a lot of desperation in their voices today, Lou. And the mayors would really like three things. They would like the federal housing authority to be reformed so they can help more Americans. They would actually like more help from Congress with legislation and anti-predatory legislation is working its way through Congress. It will only help people in the future, not those affected now. And they also would like Wall Street to step up and do something also.

DOBBS: Well, I think everybody can just suck on their thumb if they're expecting Wall Street to do something. Wall Street and the corporate America in the form of financial institutions are the ones who created the predatory pricing momentum in this country and who have gone to the banquet table and feasted on people who are now finding themselves being foreclosed upon. There's great individual responsibility to be had here. But there's also institutional responsibility and a failure of this government to regulate the financial industry in this country. Kitty, thank you very much. Kitty Pilgrim.

Here in Arkansas, this state is struggling to defense itself against the well funded open borders, illegal alien amnesty lobby and they're cranking up. Coming up, two lawmakers who are leading the struggle against those invested socioenthnocentric special interest and the corporate power in this state.

And former President Clinton stepping up his efforts to help out his favorite presidential candidate. We'll have a special report.

And as middle class Americans reel from our escalating mortgage crisis, we'll be joined by three of the best radio talk show hosts in the country. We'll be talking about that and a lot of other pressing issues. Stay with us. We're coming right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Tonight, we're in Little Rock, Arkansas, home of the Clinton presidential library, by the way, but President Clinton himself is in Iowa tonight. He's on the campaign trail. The former president using his celebrity status to help Hillary Clinton beat back Senator Barack Obama who enlisted Oprah Winfrey to campaign for him. It's getting tough out here. Candy Crowley has the report on star power in this campaign.



SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to thank the Spartanburg County, Democratic Party chair.

CROWLEY: Who said you can't be two places at once?

FMR. PRES. BILL CLINTON, UNITED STATES: I got into Iowa City late last night.

CROWLEY: Tag team Clinton is in the arena wherever it is. From the Dais in Spartanburg to the diners of Iowa City, they're working it.

CLINTON: Just been meeting people, talking to them, answering questions, listening. It's fun.

CROWLEY: Needless to say, he's a natural born politician, chatting up the locals as easily as he lays out the case for his wife. Monday in Muscatine, he pushed back on suggestions from Barack Obama that Hillary Clinton's foreign policy experience comes from talking to her husband.

CLINTON: When I became president, she represented America in 82 countries. Last year, I was in a little village in Southeast Asia and a woman came up to me and said I'll never forget that speech your wife gave. It changed life for us here.

CROWLEY: He campaigned in '92 telling audience with her they would get two for the price of one. She doesn't use that line but she might as well. While he promotes her, she promises him.

CLINTON: But as soon as I'm elected, I'm going to be asking distinguished Americans of both parties, people like Colin Powell, for example and others who can represent our country well including someone I know very well.

CROWLEY: He says he's mostly not in politics now but it's a hard sell.

CLINTON: Before you leave, I want you to sign one of these things saying you will caucus for her.

CROWLEY: They are still working out the schedule but aides say most of the days between now and January 3rd caucuses one of the Clintons will be in Iowa, count on joint appearances as well.


CROWLEY: Now the full Clinton press here in Iowa tells you two things. First the caucuses are really important. Second, the polls are really close. Lou?

DOBBS: And Candy, first, is there any fear in the Clinton campaign of a backlash against this two for one approach? We saw some impact in 1992 at that suggestion, some brightly on the part of the voters.

CROWLEY: Right. I mean it's part of why she really steers clear of that. I mean she sometimes will draw lines of distinction between her husband herself, notably on NAFTA and other things like that.

DOBBS: How about illegal immigration?

CROWLEY: Well, look, on illegal immigration, he actually did talk about it a little bit today, saying that there is a way to go about this that people are already here in the country, that sort of thing. You've heard her as well as I have over the past couple of debates talking about it. But I tell you, here in Iowa, if you really want to talk illegal immigration, you go to a republican town hall meeting because that's where a lot of the fire is.

DOBBS: That may be where the fire, there's going to be also, as you suspect, lot of fire on that issue coming in the general election and it will be, it will have a significant, perhaps even determinative impact on the outcome.

CROWLEY: Well, certainly. And there are a lot of states, we tend to think of Arizona, California, states like that, but the fact of the matter is in Iowa, they have a huge problem, they believe, with illegal immigrants. The pork factories, the poultry factories have brought up a lot of immigrants here. A number of towns say they're full of immigrants so it's an issue here in Iowa, not a state you would think about it.

DOBBS: Exactly. A huge national issue, by the way, Arkansas, not unlike Iowa in that respect, poultry processors and meat packers in this state living on illegal employment of illegal aliens and fighting hard to keep anyone from passing legislation to deal with the impact of that crisis. Candy, thank you very much. Candy Crowley from Iowa.

Coming up next, what impact will big-name campaigners have on those voters? I'll be asking three of the nation's leading radio talk show hosts about that. And two Arkansas state lawmakers join me. We'll be talking about their effort to spite the crisis of illegal immigration in this state. Stay with us.


DOBBS: A new Arkansas law bars contractors working for the state government from hiring illegal aliens. Imagine that? And there's a tough new proposal to penalize illegal aliens and business that do hire them. The authors of both of those measures are our guests here tonight; Representative Rick Green and Representative John Woods. We also invited Steve Copley the chairman of the coalition opposing those laws to join us. Mr. Copley declined our invitation. Good to have you here. Congratulations Representative on getting the law and the state contractors passed.



DOBBS: Excuse me; I'm having a bit of a cold here. I hope to get through it and I apologize. Why is there such a reaction to this law? It makes perfect sense. Why is there any discussion?

RICK GREEN (R), ARKANSAS STATE HOUSE: I believe when the law was first introduced back in the spring, it was kind of the consensus of the legislature that Congress was going to act in an appropriate manner this summer and some of the legislators wanted to wait, so it took a will to get the bill through, but it was just a simple accountability bill.

DOBBS: Let me turn to you if I may, Representative Woods. I'm looking here for the statement from the friendship coalition, I love that; the friendship coalition. Now that's a fuzzy and warm and cuddly I just can't stand it. They're the folks who represent corporate interests, special interests, socioethnocentric interests, so they call themselves the friendship coalition because they're just about as friendly to illegal employers as you can get. Here's what they said when they declined our invitation. They did send a statement. "Our coalition of business, civic and church leaders believe immigration matters are a federal matter and should be solved in a uniform manner for our Nation. A patchwork of various immigration laws by each town in our nation is unworkable and leads to unfairness. Our State and local governments cannot afford to enforce these federal laws." But these people think that you can afford to educate children, provide medical services, provide, I mean what in the world -- do the people of Arkansas buy into this kind of nonsense?

JON WOODS (R), ARKANSAS STATE HOUSE: Absolutely not. We know that Article IV, Section IV of the United States Constitution says the federal government, one of their primarily responsibilities is to protect our borders from invasion. That provision has not been fulfilled. The federal government has put the states in the corner and we've been left with no other option but to take federal immigration laws and put them in into state laws and start to enforce the laws ourselves because the federal government has just decided they're not going to address the issue.

DOBBS: What is -- the idea that Tyson Foods and all these ethnocentric special interest groups of corporate America, I mean do the people of Arkansas, have they had a belly full of this? You're passing these laws, for example, your law Representative, the idea that they would put up with this nonsense?

GREEN: I believe that the people have had a pretty good dose of it because I don't believe that the bill we got passed would not have passed without the grass roots support we had. Our first attempt at the committee the bill was beat soundly. And with a few phone calls or several phone calls and e-mails, the bill passed overwhelmingly and we were able to get it through the senate. So I believe people are speaking out.

DOBBS: You're mainstream media in this state, the big papers, the big television stations, are they against you? Or for you?

WOODS: The editorial boards are definitely against us.

DOBBS: Imagine that. Those lovely little elite liberals.

WOODS: Exactly.

DOBBS: Combined with those lovely elite conservative corporate interests. Isn't that a marriage made in hell? I mean it's just amazing to me.

GREEN: They keep try to paint it up that we're trying to cruel to people coming here illegally. That's totally contrary to our message and we can't seem to get that separated. Because when you separate it, it's becomes a matter of obeying the law or not.

DOBBS: Here, let's separate it real quick. The fact of the matter is that this is the most diverse society on the face of the earth there. There is no argument in any quarter empirically or rationally about that. We bring in more legal immigrants into this country than the rest of the world combined. So what is the point? I mean it's ridiculous. What are you going to do? Is there any possibility with a recalcitrant governor, an executive branch, what are you going to do from here?

WOODS: We're left with two options. Unfortunately in Arkansas we meet with every two years so the nearest session would be of course 2009.

DOBBS: We would like to get that idea migrating all the way to Washington, by the way.

WOODS: Right. Exactly. But we have until 2009. We have a year until we meet again. The only other way do to do that is to take it to the voters and that's a ballot initiative.

DOBBS: A ballot initiative. Do you think you can get the support to make it through?

WOODS: The motto of our state is the people rule and in Arkansas, anything is possible.

DOBBS: That is the greatest state motto. Although I like don't tread on me, too. Thank you very much, gentlemen. We appreciate it. Keep up the good fight.

WOODS: Thank you very much.

DOBBS: I know you will.

A reminder now to vote in our poll. The question tonight is do you believe states should be stepping in where the federal government has failed to pass laws to prevent the impact of our illegal immigration crisis. Cast your vote at We'll have the results coming up here in just a few moments. We'll have the results in just a few moments.

And next, three of the country's very best radio talk show hosts. We'll be talking about illegal immigration, Middle East peace and a whole lot more. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Joining me now, three of the top radio talk show hosts in our Washington bureau; Joe Madison, WOL and XM Radio; in Denver, Peter Boyles, KHOW and in our New York studio, Rachel Maddow of Air America. Thank you all for being here.

Let's start, if I may, Rachel, Annapolis, I don't know about you. I'm sick and tired of hearing everybody try to be too clever by half saying there's no chance of progress for Mideast peace. What's going on? What's your reaction?

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA RADIO: I think it's good news they'll be talking next year. I think it's good news that the president is involved again. I was dismayed and actually surprised to hear Bush give a speech in which he contextualized Mideast peace amid his vision for remaking the Middle East. He used the same justification for talking about why he went to war in Iraq to explain why we need Mideast peace and I just felt like he took a great opportunity and put in the dunking booth by putting it in that context.

DOBBS: Joe Madison?

JOE MADISON, WOL IN WASHINGTON, D.C.: I think the 800-pound gorilla in the room is Iran. This is the equivalent of circling the wagons. When you announce and they announced today they had the long- range missiles, they're just not aimed maybe at Israel but they also aimed at other Arab countries. So that's why you have Syria, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries in that room and this is where Bush and the United States might gain some credibility in being able to form a coalition because those countries are just as concerned about Iran as we are.

DOBBS: Peter Boyle?

PETER BOYLES, KHOW IN DENVER: I don't know every American president since Harry Truman is going to do something about the Middle East. It's a fool's errand. I think what's interesting is George Bush surprising everyone shows up in Annapolis and one of the things on the agenda, Lou, George Bush talks about borders. I didn't think he knew what that word was. There's going to be borders he was going to talk about.

DOBBS: In that regard, what do you think, Rachel, of the idea that Felipe Calderon and the Mexican government coming out admonishing the United States to stop its "persecution of Mexican migrants to el Norte?"

MADDOW: Well I mean you and I have very strong differences of opinion on this subject, as you know. I think that what they're calling us out on --

DOBBS: That's what makes America great.

MADDOW: Yes exactly and that's why we're here talking about it civilly but I think what they're calling us out on is the fact that this has become such a political football in the United States right now that there's not much hope of any real progress being made because there's so much heat being generated on the subject that it's not something that's changed materially over the course of my life but it is -- not to great practical effect.

DOBBS: You say it's a political football. Go ahead, Joe?

MADISON: When in politics has heat not been good? I mean it's not nearly as hot as it honestly should be. You know, I'm going to tell you something, I'm tired of liberals and conservatives on this issue because when you talk about foreclosures and cities like Detroit and Newark and L.A. and all these major cities and people who are watching their wages depress, you know, Mexico, do us a favor, I mean, really, go ahead and do us a favor and see what happens. I'm telling you, why people don't use the word plutocracy and oligarchy to describe what is happening is beyond me.

DOBBS: Peter, your thoughts?

BOYLES: Calderon is speaking to his own people in this country as well as at home. He's not talking to you, Lou. He's not talking to any of us. He's speaking to them. And when you start to be able to understand that when they address these kinds of issues, they're not talking to American citizens. And that's important.

DOBBS: OK. Well, let me talk to Felipe Calderon. Mr. President, please stick it until you can figure out how to run your own country. We'll be back with our panel in just a moment. I may have a few more words for Felipe Calderon and all of his henchmen in Mexico City but first let's check in with Rick Sanchez. Rick.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: I'm going to that country. I've got an interview with a coyote, one of these human smuggler characters and he tells me, as a matter of fact, Lou, this is going to blow you away, what the Mexican police's role is in getting these people into the United States. We're going to have that segment on this newscast in just a little bit. I knew you would like that, by the way, perfect timing.

DOBBS: You were right. You were right.

SANCHEZ: Also the latest on Sean Taylor. He's this NFL football player. Apparently he's died. Really bizarre story. We're getting information about telephone wires being cut, what may have been involved in all of that, and we're also looking at a string of other black NFL football players who met violent deaths like this and ask a question of people on the know on this.

And then of course the gospel of prosperity. She preaches the word of Jesus. She has a jet plane. She has a Bentley. Kind of weird. Her name is Paula White. We bring you that tonight as well. So there you go. Full menu.

DOBBS: I would only suggest you had one guest. If you've got a coyote on, you should get one other facilitator. Why don't you ask President Bush to join you, too, then you'll have two perspectives on facilitating illegal immigration.

SANCHEZ: Touche. All right, man.

DOBBS: Rick Sanchez. More with our panel coming up next. Stay with us.


DOBBS: We're back with Joe Madison, Peter Boyles, Rachel Maddow. I want to start, if I may, with you Peter. Today, Reverend Jesse Jackson blasted democratic candidates for ignoring African-Americans saying and if we can see that, this is what he had to say. "Democratic candidates with the exception of John Edwards, who opened his campaign in New Orleans' Ninth Ward and has made addressing poverty central to his campaign - have virtually ignored the plight of African Americans in this country." What is your reaction, Peter?

BOYLES: Well, we were talking about what Mexican -- who Mexican president Felipe Calderon was speaking to. Who is Jesse Jackson talking to? It's already been said. That's a typical deal with the democrats. They don't deal with anybody until it's time to vote anyhow. But who is Jesse Jackson talking to? By the way, who listens and who cares?

MADISON: I care. I listen. And I listen. See, that's an insult. I care.

BOYLES: No, it's not.

MADISON: I care.

BOYLES: About what?

MADISON: I'm insulted. How's that? I count.

BOYLES: About what? You count.

MADISON: I'll tell you, because who listens? I listen. And he's telling the truth. The money --

BOYLES: Agree with you. They don't care about anybody until it's time to vote.

MADISON: That's why he's saying it and he wants the Democratic Party to listen.

BOYLES: But aren't there far better people than Jackson?

MADISON: Oh, come off it. Aren't there far better people than Bush?

BOYLES: I agree. There are better people than Bush.

MADISON: Where do you get off choosing --

BOYLES: I don't get off anywhere.

MADISON: Let me finish the sentence.


MADISON: Where do you get off choosing who we should or should not listen to?

BOYLES: I choose to look at Jesse Jackson as a hustler.

MADISON: That's you.

BOYLES: That's right.

MADISON: It's not me and it's not the majority of the people in the community represented.

MADISON: I'm not so sure.

DOBBS: Rachel, did you have --

MADDOW: I do want to jump in here.

MADISON: What an insult.

BOYLES: No, it's not an insult. It's true.

MADDOW: What Jesse Jackson was saying is that candidates are ignoring black America. If you want to attack that.

BOYLES: No, I don't.

MADDOW: If you want to attack that point of view by talking to Joe, if you want to attack that point of view by attacking Jesse Jackson, you are not going get very far. The messenger is not the issue here. What he's saying is very resonant both for democrats and republicans.

BOYLES: Maybe we can find agreement here.

DOBBS: Let's just back off just a bit. I want to interject something. I respect the dickens out of Jesse Jackson, not so much for his most recent comments or analysis, but because he is an icon from the civil rights movement and his contributions to this country. We do have to listen to the man. You can disregard what he says but he deserves to have a significant voice.

But let's step back from this just a bit. Why should there be a discussion about candidates? I don't care whether it's democratic or republican. Why in the world are all these candidates, whether republican or democrat seems to be another way to phrase this question, ignoring those who have in point of fact not been able to share in individual rights and rights of equality both in terms of our individual freedoms and economic and educational opportunity?

The reality is, it's not just African Americans. It's not just Hispanic Americans. It is all Americans and we need to be dealing with these issues about what it seems to me and forgive me for saying this if this is an insult to anybody, I don't need to look at it in terms of race. I look at it in terms of American citizens who aren't being given a fair opportunity in this system right now, and we need to address it.

MADISON: Lou, I would totally agree with you that there is common ground, and I see that coming. I think that's what the Obama race was initially about. There is common ground, and we should focus on that common ground.

But this is raw politics, and it's about pulling coalitions together under a tent. And that's what he's saying. He's saying that if you're going to pull this coalition together and this coalition, you've got to address the different parts of the coalition. That's all. It's just raw politics.

DOBBS: Peter, you get the second to last word. Quickly, please.

BOYLES: Like I said, I long ago have given up on Jesse Jackson as a voice. There is far more people that I have respect for that would say pretty much the same thing.

Jackson's right insofar as looking at the mortgages in this country, devastating African-Americans.


MADISON: ... never been to a full speech of Jesse Jackson's. I bet you you've never been...


DOBBS: You're going to get the last word...


BOYLES: I've had dinner with Jesse Jackson, so don't play that game on me.


DOBBS: Rachel, Rachel, please, I'm begging you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Candidates left, right and center... DOBBS: You get the last word.

MADDOW: Candidates Republican and Democratic would be right to be paying more attention and talking to the entire nation about those of us who are not sharing in the American dream, and that cannot absolutely be undone by somebody having dinner with him.

BOYLES: That's not true.

DOBBS: Rachel, thank you very much. Peter, thank you very much. Joe Madison...

MADISON: Thank you.

DOBBS: You and I will be talking soon.

MADISON: All right.

DOBBS: Thanks very much for being with us, Joe.

We thank you all. Terrific. We are going to need to discuss this a lot more. I hope you guys will come back and we will do so.

The results of our poll: A mere 96 percent of you say states should step in and where the federal government has failed to pass laws and allow the states to pass laws to stop the impact of illegal immigration.

We thank you for voting. We thank you for being with us tonight. And our special thanks to the staff of the Peabody Hotel here in Little Rock, for their hospitality. Please join us tomorrow. We'll be coming to you tomorrow night from Chicago, Illinois. Please be with us.

For all of us here, good night from Little Rock, Arkansas. "OUT IN THE OPEN" with Rick Sanchez begins right now -- Rick.