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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Obama Asks for Europe's Help; Senator McCain Still Blasting Obama; Seeking Independents; Energy Stalemate in Congress; Arizona's Immigration Enforcement Spurs Protests; Pro-illegal alien Lobby Wants Work Site Enforcement Raids to Stop

Aired July 24, 2008 - 19:00   ET


Tonight, the Obama road show sweeps into Berlin with more presidential style rhetoric and imagery. Now are the voters in this country convinced.

Also consumer groups are fed up with the federal government's failure to protect American consumers from dangerous imports. We'll have a special report.

And you won't believe this. Congress passes more than 90 percent of its bills without any vote or debate. Why is that? We'll have the story, all the day's news, much more straight ahead here tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT: news, debate, and opinion for Thursday, July 24th. Live from New York, sitting in for Lou Dobbs, Kitty Pilgrim.

PILGRIM: Good evening, everybody.

Senator Obama today called on Germany to help defeat radical Islamist terrorists in Afghanistan. But Obama did not tell Germany to change a policy that many say increases the danger for our troops. Germany is refusing to allow its soldiers to fight alongside our troops in major combat and this at a time when our troops urgently need reinforcements and our casualties are rising.

Candy Crowley reports from Berlin on Obama's speech.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the heart of Berlin where communism cracked and a wall crumbled, Barack Obama went global with his presidential campaign calling for renewed U.S./European cooperation to confront neutral problems.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is the moment when we must defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it. This threat is real and we cannot shrink from our responsibility to combat it. If we could create NATO to face down the Soviet Union, we can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks that have struck in Madrid and Amman and London and Bali and Washington and New York. CROWLEY: It was an event designed to evoke distance images of John F. Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech. Greeted by a massive, flag-waving crowd, Obama strode solo on the stage to both court Europe and challenge it to step up in Afghanistan.

OBAMA: America can't do this alone. The Afghan people need our troops and yours troops, our support and your support to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda, to develop their economy and to help them rebuild their nation. We have too much at stake to turn back now.

CROWLEY: To help out in Iraq.

OBAMA: Despite past differences, this is the moment when the world should support the millions of Iraqis who seek to rebuild their lives even as we pass responsibility to the Iraqi government and finally bring this war to a close.

CROWLEY: Despite repeated denials by his staff that this trip is not political, the vent was staged like a political rally paid for by the campaign emphatically in its call for a new way to move forward.

OBAMA: People of Berlin, people of the world, this is our moment. This is our time.

CROWLEY: This speech could just as easily been delivered in St. Paul.

OBAMA: America, this is our moment.

CROWLEY: Obama told the Berlin crowd he spoke to them not as a candidate but as a fellow citizen of the world. But if voters back home saw a president, well that was the point.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Berlin.


PILGRIM: Germany has one of the most powerful militaries in NATO but it has sent only a few thousand troops to Afghanistan and those troops are deployed in relatively safe areas. Germany has 3,500 troops in Afghanistan, the United States has nearly ten times that number. The German government has refused to allow its soldiers to take part in any heavy fighting. So far 22 German troops have been killed in Afghanistan. That compares with the total of 477 U.S. troops who have been killed in the war.

As Senator Obama visited Germany, Senator McCain found a German theme to his campaign. McCain visited Schmidt's Sausage Haus in Columbus, Ohio. McCain strongly criticized Obama for making a speech in Germany while still a presidential candidate.

Mary Snow has the report.


(APPLAUSE) MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With the Democratic opponent stealing the spotlight in Berlin, Republican presidential hopeful Senator John McCain stuck to a German theme but at a German restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. Was he trying to make a point?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would love to give a speech in Germany, too, a political speech where or a speech that maybe the German people would be interested in, but I much prefer to do it as president of the United States rather than as a candidate for the office of presidency.

SNOW: While there McCain sat down with small business owners to talk about the economy, health care and gas prices while keeping one eye on domestic issues, his other remains watchful of Obama's stand on Iraq criticizing him for not supporting the surge. Now Obama is firing back at his Republican challenger for saying this.

MCCAIN: It seems to me that Senator Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign.

SNOW: Obama told NBC News he was disappointed by McCain's language.

OBAMA: For him to suggest that I don't, for him to suggest that somehow I'm less concerned about the safety of my wife and daughter than he is, I think was unfortunate.

SNOW: McCain is standing firm.

MCCAIN: All of us care about our children. I'm sure that every American does. The point is that Senator Obama doesn't have an understanding of what was at stake with the surge, what is at stake in the future for the security of this nation. I stand by my comments. And I think the record authenticates it.

SNOW: One political observer says McCain's suggestion that Obama is more interested in winning the election than the war could cause a backlash.

LARRY SABATO, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: It's red meat for the Republican base. But this election as all presidential elections will be decided by the swing Independent moderates and they tend not to like language like that.


SNOW: Now the McCain camp is doing what it can to keep Obama from using his overseas trip to bolster his foreign policy credentials and in vying for the spotlight McCain tonight is teaming up with Lance Armstrong -- you're seeing live pictures there -- they're at a town hall meeting on fighting cancer. That's a live strong summit there. It's not a political event, but Senator McCain will be joining Lance Armstrong a little bit later. McCain is also going to be meeting with the Dalai Lama in Colorado tomorrow -- Kitty.

PILGRIM: Yes, it's not a political event but there are cameras. I mean it's a tough act for the McCain campaign this week, 200,000 people in Germany facing Obama. McCain has to do something to get those cameras back.

SNOW: Absolutely. And you know very aware of all the attention obviously that Obama is getting and had swift reaction to his speech very shortly after the speech was over today, taking a hole -- poking a hole at it. So they've been trying to get out these statements. But the competition obviously is too tough to overcome for some points.

PILGRIM: Yes, certainly is.

Thank you very much -- Mary Snow. Thanks, Mary.

Now more evidence that Independent voters remain deeply skeptical of Senator Obama's call for change. There are new polls and they show that Obama is losing ground to Senator McCain in several important battleground states. Those polls suggest the national race is tightening.

Bill Schneider has our report.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Where does the presidential race stand? Quinnipiac University has just come out with four new polls of battleground states. They all show some movement toward McCain since last month.

Wisconsin, Obama's lead has shrunk slightly from 13 points to 11. Wisconsin continues to lean Democratic. Michigan still close; Obama up by six in June; four in July; still a tossup. Colorado, a five- point Obama lead has shifted to a near tie; also a tossup.

The biggest shift, Minnesota. Last month, Obama led McCain by 17 points. Now the race is virtually tied. Minnesota shifts from leaning Democratic to tossup.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Minnesota is a very unpredictable state. They elected Jesse Ventura to be their governor, you know we have a very competitive Senate race right now. We have the Republican Party pouring a lot of money and a lot of resources in there.

SCHNEIDER: The Pew national survey of Latinos shows Obama leading McCain by nearly three to one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New Mexico is heavily Hispanic and really Hispanics traditionally have voted for the Democratic nominee, so now that we have the Democratic primary over, we don't have a split in that vote.

SCHNEIDER: New Mexico moves from leaning Republican to tossup. With those two changes the electoral vote count get a little closer; Obama 221; McCain, 189; with 128 electoral votes in tossup states. Both candidates well shy of the 270 electoral votes needed to win. (END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: Now most of the interviews for these polls were done before Senator Obama's trip abroad. A national poll by NBC News and "Wall Street Journal" finds that voters nationwide see Obama as a riskier choice than McCain. Well of course Obama calls himself the candidate of change and change always means risk. Obama's trip is intended to reassure voters that the risk is minimal. Is it working? We're going to see in the next round of polling -- Kitty.

PILGRIM: Bill, do we know what's happening with Independent voters at this point?

SCHNEIDER: Independent voters are being independent as you would expect and we found -- we looked at the Quinnipiac poll and two of the states that they polled Wisconsin and Colorado, Independents are voting for Obama. In the other two states, Michigan and Minnesota, the Independents are voting for McCain, so they're being pretty independent (INAUDIBLE) driving this race.

PILGRIM: Staying true to their color. All right, thanks very much. Bill Schneider.


PILGRIM: Time now for tonight's poll. Now do you believe that the national media should be reporting on issues facing American voters rather than following Senator Obama's every step overseas?

Yes or no? Cast your vote at and we will bring you the results a little bit later in the broadcast.

And up next, stalemate in Congress, lawmakers are failing to help middle class Americans struggling to pay soaring gasoline bills.

And the pro-amnesty Open Borders crowd (ph) tries to stop one of the few successful efforts to crack down on illegal immigration. Stay with us.


PILGRIM: New evidence tonight that members of Congress, consumed with partisan bickering, are too busy to help middle class Americans. Democrats today failed to convince Congress to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Republicans insist more offshore oil drilling is a solution to our energy crisis.

Kate Bolduan reports from Washington.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even before the votes were counted on the latest energy proposal, the partisan standoff was clear.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: We're saying Mr. President, free our oil. It's our oil. It belongs to the American taxpayer.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER: This bill is a joke. Come on. This is not an energy bill. This is not going to produce any more American-made energy.

BOLDUAN: That bill, a Democratic plan to release oil from the nation's strategic petroleum reserve, it failed. One more example of the deadlock over sky high gas prices and one step closer to Congress going home for the summer without passing anything significant on energy. The main battle comes down to whether to allow new offshore drilling. Republicans say yes. Democratic leaders say no. The dispute has deteriorated into competing press conferences, dueling poster boards and partisan jabs.

SEN. PETE DOMENICI (R), NEW MEXICO: Does it seem to you like it does to me that Harry Reid is either scared, chicken to have a vote or he's decided that he's going to dictate to the United States Senate.

PELOSI: This call for drilling in areas that are protected is a hoax. It's an absolute hoax on the part of the Republicans and this Bush administration.

BOLDUAN: But both sides see little political incentive to strike a deal. Democrats and Republicans point to separate polls as proof they have the winning argument. Republicans cite polls showing a majority of Americans are in favor of more drilling. Democrats cite polls indicating Americans blame the Bush administration and oil companies, not Congress for high fuel prices.

STUART ROTHENBERG, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER, "THE ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT": Republicans believe that energy is their winning issue. They've been searching for an issue for weeks. Democrats, on the other hand, don't see it as a fundamental weakness. They don't think it's a big loser for them. They think the election is about other things.


BOLDUAN: Now Congress is running out of time before this long recess and it is approaching. But Kitty, Democrats and Republicans say they're happy to take their arguments where they stand on this all the way to the fall election.

PILGRIM: Well, that's very nice. But the American consumer is suffering from these very high energy prices, Kate. Any sign of a compromise?

BOLDUAN: Well Kitty there are some voices of compromise out there. Some lawmakers saying hey, let's pass legislation that's actually going to pass, not just leadership that's going to come up and we know it's not going to have enough votes to pass. But without having leadership on board, no matter what side of the aisle you stand on any compromise legislation is not going to make it very far.

PILGRIM: And the American consumer just sits there and puts up with it. Thanks very much, Kate Bolduan. Thanks, Kate.

Domestic oil production in this country has been declining since its peak in 1970 and then we produced about 9.5 million barrels a day. In 2006, the U.S. domestic production was five million barrels a day, about a quarter of that production came from offshore wells in the Gulf of Mexico. Now there are currently more than 4,000 oil platforms in federal water drilling in water up to a mile -- about a mile and a half deep. Almost all of those are in central or western Gulf of Mexico.

Here's what the presidential candidates -- here's where they stand on the issue of oil drilling. Senator John McCain calling for an end to the 27-year-old ban on offshore drilling, this is a reversal from his position in the 2000 presidential campaign.

Senator Barack Obama is against the drilling. Obama insist offshore drilling would do nothing to lower gasoline prices.

Up next, amnesty agenda, open borders advocates going to new extremes to block enforcement of our immigration laws.

Also, your government at work, why the Democratic-led Senate is passing hundreds of bills in secret, we'll have a special report and hear from one senator who spoke out against that practice.


PILGRIM: Coming up, pro amnesty members of Congress are blasting federal officials for trying to enforce our immigration laws. We'll have a special report next.


PILGRIM: Arizona's Maricopa County has been a model for local enforcement of our nation's immigration laws. But the county's success has sparked protest from the ACLU and pro-amnesty advocacy groups. Now their latest complaint, that the enforcement efforts are a waste of your money.

Casey Wian has our report.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More than 200 protesters demanded a meeting with Maricopa County, Arizona supervisors this week. They want the county to cut funding for Sheriff Joe Arpaio's aggressive efforts to apprehend and help deport illegal aliens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the sheriff is going to go on out on fishing expeditions for illegals, if he -- you are limiting your budget. Then he should be concentrating on the things that really hurt people.

WIAN: Opponents of Arpaio's sweeps of illegal aliens have long complained his deputies are racially profiling Latinos, a charge Arpaio denies. Now they are claiming the sheriff's department is ignoring other crimes and wasting money fighting lawsuits.

RANDY PARRAZ, CITIZENS FOR SAFETY & ACCOUNTABILITY: It's about how their uses have been utilized, it's about priorities, it's about politicizing, you know this issue of immigration as a friend not really focused on the real criminals.

WIAN: The sheriff appears unconcerned.

SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA: The sheriff is elected so they're wasting their time going before a board of supervisors and trying to get them to tell me how to run my office.


WIAN: Arpaio seems to enjoy protests such as this one, outside a signing appearance for his latest book where opponents beat a pinata modeled after the sheriff.

MONICA SANDSCHAFER, ACORN: We will do what we have to do until our voices are heard, these are our people, this is our money and we want justice.

WIAN: Which is exactly what supporters of Arpaio's immigration law enforcement efforts say they want.

KATHERINE KOBOR, SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO SUPPORTER: It serves to send a message to people who are here illegally that you can and will be arrested and deported.

WIAN: Immigration and Customs Enforcement credits Arpaio's department with apprehending or identifying more than 14,000 foreign born criminals in the past year.


WIAN: His efforts continue to attract protests and scores of lawsuits from Latino advocacy groups, the ACLU and private citizens. Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon has requested a federal investigation of Arpaio's tactics, so far to no avail. A poll this spring found 62 percent of Arizona voters approve of the job Sheriff Joe is doing, Kitty.

PILGRIM: Casey, isn't it ironic that such success is generating such resentment?

WIAN: Yes, the open border's crowd is very angry at the success Sheriff Arpaio is having. They're upset that illegal aliens are actually leaving the state of Arizona, self deporting themselves or going to other states of their own accord because of all this law enforcement pressure in Arizona, Kitty.

PILGRIM: Thanks very much, Casey Wian.

Well work place enforcement rates were the topic of a very contentious hearing on Capitol Hill today. We will hear from both sides of the issue. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and Congressman Steven King will join me a little bit later in the broadcast with that.

We do have time now for some of your thoughts.

And Jim in Maine wrote to us: "Lou, cutting off all federal funds to sanctuary cities is a great idea. San Francisco and others would get rid of their sanctuary status tomorrow if they were to lose millions in federal funds."

Ty in California wrote to us: "Lou, I guess it's time for me to renounce my U.S. citizenship. Why should I be a U.S. citizen when I can get free education, a state-supported college education, medical coverage and social benefits without all the hassles of paying taxes, being integrated into the American society, jury duty, or obeying the law?"

And Kathy in Nevada wrote to us: "Lou, what's the incentive to become a U.S. citizen if you're given all the rights and benefits beforehand? Like my mother told me, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Keep after them, Lou."

We'll have more of your e-mails a little bit later in the broadcast.

Here's a reminder now. Vote in tonight's poll. Do you believe the national media should be reporting on the issues facing American voters rather than follow Senator Obama's every step overseas?

Yes or no? Cast your vote at And we'll bring the results in just a few minutes.

Coming up, the illegal alien lobby is furious at the federal government's crackdown on illegal alien workers. Now, two members of Congress with opposite views on this issue will join me.

And stunning new information about your government and Congress at work in secret and with no accountability, stay with us.



PILGRIM: Welcome back. The Obama road show today rolled into Berlin and drew a crowd of about 200,000 people, Obama calling for global unity in a speech full of lofty rhetoric, pretty short on specifics. Obama also telling Germans that American cannot defeat terrorism alone. Senator McCain, in this country today, continued to hammer Obama on the economy, health care and soaring gasoline prices. McCain today met with voters in Ohio, a key battleground state.

Congress remains deadlocked on the ways to tackle our energy crisis. Democrats today failed to convince Congress to tap the strategic petroleum reserve. Republicans insist more offshore oil drilling is the solution to our energy crisis. Well the pro-illegal alien lobby took its case to Capitol Hill today, calling for an end to work site enforcement raids. Amnesty advocates called raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement quote, "ineffective and inhumane" and they also demanded that more than 300 illegal aliens detained in one of the largest immigration raids be released.

Bill Tucker has our report.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The hearing was called to examine the way immigration law was enforced in the work site raid on Agriprocessors in Pottsville, Iowa, earlier this year. It was the largest raid of its kind in history; 389 people arrested; 305 of whom were charged with and pled guilty to charges of identity theft. It wasn't hard to figure out which way the wind was blowing in the subcommittee on immigration in the House.

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: You did not have one complaint of identity theft against any of the people at this Agriprocessing plant.

TUCKER: The suggestion being that the arrests should have never happened. One witness speaking for the American Immigration Lawyers Association offered advice on what the priorities of Immigration and Customs Enforcement should be.

DAVID LEOPOLD, AMER. IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ASSOC.: ICE should direct its enforcement resources toward investigations of high level threats to national security and employers that deliberately violate the law, not workers.

TUCKER: One witness called the arrests of suspected lawbreakers dehumanizing.

ERIK CAMAYD-FREIXAS, FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY: Government says they have 300 criminals. The people say show us one victim of their crimes or send them home.

TUCKER: By home he meant to their homes in Pottsville. He called on the federal government to pour aid into the town and for Congress to immediately pass compassionate comprehensive immigration reform. Witnesses from ICE and the Department of Justice defended the government's actions explaining that every defendant was offered access to lawyers, their rights fully explained, and the charges presented in Spanish.

DEBORAH RHODES, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: No constitutional corners were cut. While the scope of the criminal activity in this case presented unusual challenges, the defendants' constitutional rights carefully protected and exercised throughout.

TUCKER: There are also some angry questions at this hearing about why the owners of Agriprocessors were not and have not been charged with anything in this case. As of now, two managers face charges of aiding and abetting identity theft. They have pled not guilty.


TUCKER: Now the government officials at the hearing reminded members of the committee that the investigation is ongoing, suggesting that, perhaps, there are some other shoes yet to drop out in Iowa, Kitty, and we're just going to have to wait and see.

PILGRIM: All right. And we will follow it closely. I know you will.

Bill Tucker, thank you very much.

Well, joining me are two members of that House judiciary subcommittee and immigration and citizenship. Two different points of view on the issue of workplace enforcement.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California is the chair of the subcommittee, and Congresswoman Lofgren believes that the raids are dehumanizing, as she puts it. And Congressman Steve King of Iowa is the ranking Republican, and he says illegal alien the workers broke the law, should be prosecuted.

Now they both join me from Capitol Hill, and thank you for being with us for the debate and the discussion.

Congresswoman Lofgren, I know that you object to the way that these workers were -- these illegal workers were arrested. But do you object to the fact that they were arrested?

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, the focus of the hearing -- I think you've misunderstood the focus. It really has to do with the criminal justice process. It's been a recent change that individuals who, undoubtedly, were here without their proper papers, they were illegal aliens, should be charged criminally for the different crime of identity theft.

And the question is, where those individuals, were those charges proper? Were they based in fact? Did the individual defendants in a criminal trial receive due process of law?

I note that we asked for the U.S. attorney in Iowa to come and be a witness. The Department of Justice sent a nice lawyer who was not there, who actually had not been at the trial.

And her belief, I'm sure, honestly delivered, was severely undercut by the court translator, who has 27 years of experience, who actually was there. So his testimony was that these individuals who were charged with a crime and every person in America charged with a crime is entitled to due process of law under our constitution.

That these individuals had -- did not understand the nature of the crime they were being charged with, they didn't understand what the plea meant, and I talked to Judge (INAUDIBLE) this evening during the votes.

One of the Republican members is a former judge who said you should never allow a plea to be entered if the defendant doesn't really understand what it is. So -- and the other thing is that the testimony -- well, the affidavit that was filed by the government for the search warrant noted that when they took all of the Social Security numbers, they ran it through the database and that...

PILGRIM: Well, we're going to...

LOFGREN: ... 79 percent of them -- it wasn't identity theft. It was identity fabrication.

PILGRIM: Well, let me get to this point, because, Congressman King, it was identity theft, wasn't it?

REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: It absolutely was identity theft. Of those that were arrested, the 389, at least 265 of them did steal someone else's identity. Others just used a false number. But there are at least 265 that stole the identity of someone else.

And additionally, I mean there are victims for every one of those crimes. And one of those victims testified today, and her name is Laura Costner. And she did a great job...

PILGRIM: And we followed this very closely. A heart rending story.

LOFGREN: It was very sad.

PILGRIM: And you know -- her life basically ruined by identity theft. Correct?

KING: Well, yes. It ruined her life and the rest of her life may be ruined as well. She'll never be finished. She'll never know when it's over.

Another point that needs to be made is there is no precedent for a U.S. attorney who is conducting an investigation to come before Congress to testify when they're involved in an investigation. That just hasn't been done and it didn't need to be done today either.

LOFGREN: Well, the investigation of these individuals, they've already plead guilty. We wanted to talk about the matters that had been concluded. We made that very clear.

KING: And, of course, we all know that the individuals that we talked about today are the basis for the evidence for the investigation for the (INAUDIBLE) owners.

LOFGREN: Let me just point this out. There are affidavits -- 78 percent of the Social Security numbers had no name with them. They were fabricated, they didn't belong to anybody. You can't steal somebody's identity if there is no identity. And if you take -- I took statistics in college.

KING: OK. I think you know that.

LOFGREN: If you take the 78 percent...

KING: And I'll agree with that.

LOFGREN: ... and there's a sample that was -- random sample, because not all the employees were present when the raid happened.

KING: But when they did pickup the employees...

LOFGREN: ... 78 percent of them...

KING: ... they ran their numbers through, and they had stolen someone else's identification.

LOFGREN: That's not...

KING: This is just a preliminary evidence that they use.

LOFGREN: That's incorrect, I think.

KING: ... in order to do the investigation.

PILGRIM: I think that you would agree that that is a criminal act to steal someone's Social Security number. There should be no debate about that, Congressman Lofgren.

LOFGREN: If you steal somebody's Social Security numbers, you -- it's identity theft. If you haven't stolen it, it's not identity theft.

Here's the other issue. These...

PILGRIM: If you work illegally, it's against the law, correct?

LOFGREN: If you work illegally, it's a violation of the immigration law, and when you get caught, you're going be deported. We know that. But this is a different issue, which is whether, in the criminal prosecution of these individuals, who the testimony we heard today, have about a third grade education.

They are illiterate in Spanish and English, and whether they actually understood these processes and whether the due process...

PILGRIM: Whether they understood, whether they were using a stolen Social Security number?

LOFGREN: Well, probably they didn't because they can't even read.

PILGRIM: Congressman King, you get the last word on this.

KING: Here's the thing we need to understand is when people enter the United States illegally, and they come to get a job illegally, and the taxpayers of America fund their attorneys and fund their interpreters, and when the evidence shows that at least 265 of them...

LOFGREN: But the evidence doesn't show that.

KING: ... have someone else's identity, because they ran those numbers through, and when the judge has (INAUDIBLE) work with defendants, and goes all the way through the checklist and has the latitude to throw the case out if the evidence isn't before him, that did not happen.

LOFGREN: I think there was severe misconduct judicially in this matter.

KING: And so I think it's clear. We need to enforce the law. And if we're not willing to do this, we can't enforce any laws.

LOFGREN: Which...

KING: .And someone else will run the borders.

LOFGREN: Steve...

KING: Not -- it'll be someone outside of America, any willing traveler sets American immigration policy.

LOFGREN: When the government says we're going to enforce the law, we also need to abide by the law. And if we don't abide by the law and the constitution in the enforcement of the law, then we're this trouble as a country.

KING: On that we agree.

LOFGREN: The constitutional...


PILGRIM: We must draw the line there. A very spirited and very useful debate. And thank you very much,.

Zoe Lofgren and Steve King, thank you.

KING: Thank you.

PILGRIM: In the interest of work place enforcement raids alone will not solve this nation's immigration crisis. Now many states are forced to take action on their own to deal with this high cost to illegal immigration in their communities.

Now a record 1,500 bills dealing with the crisis were introduced by state legislatures in 2007. We could see a higher number for 2008. More than 1,200 measures have been introduced so far this year. That's according to a new report from the National Conference of State Legislatures. One hundred and seventy-five of those measures have already become law in 39 states.

Coming up, you'll be shocked to learn just how much legislation the Senate passed in secret with no debate. We'll have a special report. Also Senator Jim DeMint will join me to discuss this outrageous practice.

Also the surging violence in Afghanistan -- what is behind the increase? And one of the nation's most respected military commanders will be here. Stay with us.


PILGRIM: Outrage tonight after a new study found that an overwhelming majority of Senate legislation is passed in secret. The Congressional Research Service said a staggering 855 bills in the Senate were passed in secret with no debate.

Lisa Sylvester has our report.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ninety-four percent of Senate bills that have passed in the 110th Congress were not debated on the floor according to the independent Congressional Research Service. No debate, no amendment, not even votes.

They passed by something known as unanimous consent. Many of them are simple resolutions, honoring sports teams or naming post offices, for example. But they also include legislation that cost taxpayers $9 billion.

Examples? Amendments to the Social Security Act, changing the salaries of judges and justices, and amending the Coast Guard's troubled deepwater program.

Senator Tom Coburn says there's not enough transparency or accountability.

SEN. TOM COBURN (R), OKLAHOMA: When things passed by unanimous consent, you don't have to defend it. It just happened. You know there never is a recorded vote, you don't have your hands on it, so you can deny culpability.

Oh, I didn't know about that.

SYLVESTER: Coburn is currently holding up 77 pieces of legislation that the Democratic majority leader has been pushing for quick passage. He said they contain pork and wasteful spending. And Coburn said the majority leader is not allowing a full debate or amendments to these bills.

Senator Harry Reid's office, in response, say these bills have broad bipartisan report. And as for passing legislation without full debate by unanimous consent, his office said, quote, "This is not exactly new, but the way the Senate has worked for decades. The press release by Senators Coburn and DeMint is a silly stunt."

Public Citizens Congress Watch says what's at work here? Politics.

DAVID ARKUSH, PUBLIC CITIZEN: You can certainly see why Congress doesn't have a high rating. And that's why both sides are desperately fighting to put the blame on the other side.

SYLVESTER: Congress's current approval rating is hovering just around 10 percent.


SYLVESTER: Senator Coburn says his whole goal is to have a debate on these bills in front of the American public, instead of just passing them in secret. He says the bills that are being held up would cost taxpayers more than $11 billion at a time when the nation is facing a huge budget deficit -- Kitty.

PILGRIM: Thanks very much, Lisa Sylvester.

Well, Senator Jim DeMint is strongly opposed to the practice of passing critical legislation without public debate. Senator DeMint joins me tonight from Capitol Hill.

You know let's talk about simple measures everyone understands. You just push it through, no one is going to object to a sports team or something like that.

This is called hot lining. You push the bills through without debate, but these cost the taxpayer $9 billion. It's outrageous, isn't it?

SEN. JIM DEMINT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, if Americans ever wonder why so much bad stuff comes out of Congress, this is one of the reasons. And the Democrat majority has taken this to a new level. 94 percent of the bills that have passed in this Congress have been by unanimous consent.

And some of them were really big bills. And they've gotten to the point where they expect us to give consent to huge bills like the $50 billion foreign aid bill that passed last week. They pressured me and Dr. Coburn and others for weeks to give unanimous consent for it to pass without a vote.

They did the same thing with this huge housing bailout. They wanted it unanimous consent without a vote. And so what Senator Reid, the Democrat leader, is doing now, is taking a number of these bills that Senator Coburn has been asking for an open debate on, and packaging them up and they're going to try to ram them through without debate.

And, so I think it's time for Americans to realize that these secret way to move bills through, it's OK for post office. But it's not OK when these bills include $1.5 billion for the metro or $24 million to the United Nations.

PILGRIM: Well, absolutely. It's insane.

You know Senator Harry Reid said it's a stunt, that this is the way -- this isn't news.

What do you have to say to that? I mean why aren't more members of Congress actually speaking out, is what I have to ask.

DEMINT: Well, I think it's way that a lot of senior members have done business for years. They wait for us to leave on the weekend and then they try to hot line these bills when only our staffs are here. And if you object, they're very indignant about it.

And again, there is a group of these bills that might be a naming of a post office or whatever that can be handled that way. That's more of the tradition of the Senate. But to take $50 million bills with a lot of policy in it, like, for instance, the Foreign Aid Bill last week, and demand that it be passed unanimous consent without a vote is just terrible way to legislate.

And that really is why that most of the things we pass cause more problems than they solve. And I think we're doing it right now with this housing bill.

PILGRIM: Well, you know, we have some statistics on how many of these bills are going through. It's an enormous amount. Six percent were passed by a vote, but 94 percent passed without debate or vote, and they were -- 388 were introduced and passed on the same day, which certainly does not give you time to read a 500 to 800-page bill.

Why is everything getting pushed to the end, getting slammed through? What's so dysfunctional about this Congress? It can't possibly continue like this.

DEMINT: No, it can't. A big part of the problem is the government is trying to do too much. It's intervening in all areas of our lives. Congressmen are spreading earmarks and taxpayer money over all kinds of causes in this country and other countries.

I mean one of the things they're putting in this bill that Reid is packaging up that Senator Coburn has been holding, is $5 million for a museum in Poland. Now at a time when our country is in deep debt and our economy is softening, we don't need to be spreading money all around the world, passing bills in secret.

So we're trying to draw attention to this. And frankly, Senator Coburn is an American hero. He's been looking through these bills, saying, hey, we need to adjust the spending figure, we need to change the policy or either we need to have a vote on them.

And the Democrat majority is saying no, we're going ram it through. And if you try to hold it, we're going to put it out here on the floor without a vote and without amendment and expect that the Senate should pass it. So this is not good and this is why, I think, Congress has such a low approval rating right now.

PILGRIM: It sure does. I was about to point out the incredibly low approval rating and when things like this come out, it can't improve from that.

We thank you very much for coming on the program...

DEMINT: Thank you, Kitty. PILGRIM: ... and speaking out, Senator Jim DeMint.

Coming up at the top of the hour, the "ELECTION CENTER," with Campbell Brown.

Campbell, what are you working on?


Well, coming up in just a few minutes, we've got new reaction from John McCain to Barack Obama's big speech in Berlin. McCain just spoke at a cancer summit sponsored by cyclist Lance Armstrong. And we actually got Armstrong. He's going be one of my guests tonight here on the "ELECTION CENTER."

We also have Charles Barkley with us. He's going to help us out with a special preview we planned tonight. It's something you won't want to miss and that is, "CNN Presents: Black in America."

All coming up in just a few minutes on the "ELECTION CENTER" -- Kitty.

PILGRIM: We look forward to it, Campbell. Thank you.

Don't forget to join Lou on the radio, Monday to Friday, "Lou Dobbs Show." Go to for the local listings for "The Lou Dobbs Show" on the radio.

Up next, dangerous imports. Our government seems incapable or unwilling to protect us? Tonight consumer groups are demanding action. We have a special report.

Also, the surge in Iraq is a success. But does that mean that U.S. troops will be coming home any sooner? General David Grange will join us.


PILGRIM: Senator Obama, today, re-emphasized his commitment to the war in Afghanistan.

Now both Obama and McCain want to send reinforcements to Afghanistan as soon as possible. But the Pentagon is short on troops.

Well, joining me is General David Grange, and he's the president and CEO of the McCormick Foundation, which is one of the country's largest public charities. He lectures on leadership at army bases around the country. He's also a nonpaid board member of a security company that has some Pentagon contracts.

General Grange, thanks for being with us.

You know, this Obama appeal to NATO is really interesting. Obama says that America can't defeat the Taliban alone. I think everyone would agree with that. You know, when you look at the casualty statistics of who is actually putting their lives on the line in Afghanistan, it's revealing -- U.S. 477, British, 111, Canadian, 88.

This appeal to Germany, does NATO still have a role in Afghanistan to your opinion?

BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, NATO does have a role and of course, right now, they're the command of the forces in Afghanistan. Each country has their own command -- what they call chain of commands. But they are the lead. It is their responsibility.

NATO is a good organization. I think part -- the problem, though, is that some of the countries that are members do not step up to the plate and actually give the resources that they're probably obligated to give when it provides soldiers, which they don't allow to fight. And so that mix causes a hard time to accomplish the mission.

PILGRIM: It sure does. And you know -- and the violence is rising. U.S. commanders are requesting 10,000 more troops. Iraq commanders say they could potentially take out 3,000 to 7,000 by the end of the year out of Iraq.

But still, do you think that the additional forces would be sufficient in Afghanistan?

GRANGE: Well, two things here, Kitty. One is that, it's not a military solution alone. You know the economic support is done on the cheap. Countries have not -- that have been obligated to provide economic support have not done so. The military is elite but the informational, the diplomatic, the economic efforts have to be at parallel with the military.

The military is just one element of power to solve one of these types of complex problems. The other issue is, you don't just take soldiers, Marines, whatever out of Iraq and throw them into Afghanistan. Could they do it? Yes, but usually you bring rested troops, that have been refitted, retrained for that particular environment and then put them into harm's way.

PILGRIM: Well, that makes perfect sense. You know I'd like to move into the political realm, because this is taking up a lot of political discussion. And the situation in Iraq does continue to stabilize. We've had -- the candidates, we've had General Bush talk about it -- I mean President Bush talk about a general time horizon.

We've had McCain saying, you know, we could be out of Iraq by 2013. We've had Obama proposing a 16-month withdrawal plan. We've had Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki actually saying that he endorses a withdrawal date of 2010, although maybe for political reasons as he faces elections coming up this fall.

But we're seeing a sort of conversions of opinions that we may be able to move out of Iraq in a reasonably short period of time.

What's your assessment of all these discussions? Or is this just political discussion? GRANGE: Well, no. I think that that, in fact, could happen. The withdrawal could happen faster than we originally thought depending on, again, conditions.

Just so everybody understands, there's always been a timeline. It's just not been published. There is a timeline, for instance, that the Department of Defense, Depart of State has, and they would love to execute it if conditions were right.

There's no one that wants troops back faster than the commanders on the ground or the ambassador, believe me.

The other fact is that there'll always be troops to some extent in Iraq for sometime being the prime minister doesn't want all the troops out of Iraq, just the major combat forces on a timeline. They always want some advisers and some logistical support, et cetera.

So, yes, I think everybody wants that -- will have a timeline. It may get -- it may speed up, but conditions may cause it to slow down again.

PILGRIM: That is very much the truth.

Thank you very much, General David Grange. Thank you, sir.

Up next, consumers demand the government take action to protect us from dangerous products. We'll have a special report on that. Stay with us.


PILGRIM: We have reported extensively on this broadcast on how the Consumer Product Safety Commission is grossly understaffed and underfunded. Well, now consumer groups are demanding Congress give the agency more money and more authority to protect the American people from dangerous products.

And as Carrie Lee reports, those groups want action before Congress goes on yet another break this summer.


CARRIE LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Six consumer groups are sending a strong message to congress. A new report titled "Total Recall" says now is the time to reform the Consumer Product Safety Commission before lawmakers break in August. It says recalls of toys and other products has risen sharply this year despite promises last year to tackle the problem.

The report states, "Through the end of June 2008, the CPSC has already reported 415 total recalls of products or a 22 percent increase in recalls over 2007."

The CPSC attributes the increase to more investigations and greater enforcement. But that enforcement is still very limited. Under current laws, toys do not have to be tested for safety before they hit store shelves.

ARKUSH: The CPSC officials, if they catch a product at border, that's imported, that violates the voluntary standard, even if it's obvious from a plain sight that the product violates the voluntary standard, the CPSC can't stop it from going on the market.

LEE: That's one major issue highlighted in this report. It also demands a ban on toxic chemicals in toys and protection for whistleblower employees, independent testing and better state regulation.

The Public Interest Research Group, which contributed to the report, blames the delay in legislation on special interests.

ED MIERZWINSKI, U.S. PRIG: For years, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has been captured by lobbyists. Now the lobbyists are telling Congress not to fix the commission. The toy industry, overall, is insisting that state attorneys general can't test toys. And that's outrageous.

LEE: Congress has failed to act on reforming the CPSC for nearly a year.


LEE: Now, a commission spokesperson says the CPSC welcomes new enforcement tools, as long as they're the right tools to protect American families. That's about all they would say, Kitty.

But in the meantime, the commission is working with about 400 employees, about half the level they had in 1980 and a $63 million budget. So, not a whole lot to work with, and the clock is ticking on this reform as you know.

PILGRIM: Honestly, any tools to protect the Americans is fine. That would be just fine.

LEE: That was all we could get out of them.

PILGRIM: Thanks very much -- Carrie Lee.

Tonight's poll results -- 82 percent of you believe the national media should be reporting on issues facing American voters rather than following Senator Obama's every step overseas.

We do have time for some of your thoughts.

Jamie in Alabama: "Lou, every time I hear the names of the organizations supporting illegal immigration, I cannot help from pondering the ACLU. Now, do they know what the A in ACLU is supposed to stand for? Maybe I could suggest a substitute word."

And Shirley in Maryland wrote: "Mr.Dobbs, I just had to take time to let you know how much I enjoy your show. I love the way you report the truth as it is! I love the diversity with the guests that appear on your show, and it's always informative and interesting." Thank you very much.

And Ben in Oklahoma writes about the salmonella outbreak: "It is apparent the FDA does not want to find the source of salmonella. This is a typical Bush coverup for Mexico. Washington would rather bankrupt American farmers than expose Mexico!"

Debra in Arizona writes: "I am so outraged with the 'main stream media.' You are the only journalist who truly cares about we the people. As much time as the media has spent on Obama you would think we would know more about him than he opposed the war in Iraq. Thank you, Lou, for your voice."

We love hearing from you and reading your e-mails. Send us your thoughts at

Thanks for being with us tonight. Please join us tomorrow.

The "ELECTION CENTER" with Campbell Brown starts right now -- Campbell.