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Lou Dobbs This Week

Army Colonel Blasts Pentagon Leadership; Lobby Demands Alien Amnesty

Aired April 28, 2007 - 18:00   ET


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CENTER: Welcome back. Here's what's happening right now.
Nine American troops have lost their lives, unfortunately, in Iraq. Four were killed today in separate bombings south of Baghdad. Five died Friday in fighting in Anbar province. Those deaths announced late today by the military.

Also today, a suicide bomber killed at least 58 Iraqi civilians and wounded 100. The blast went off as Shiite worshippers streamed toward evening prayers in the holy city of Karbala.

A top official of the Bush administration submits his resignation after admitting being a client of an escort service. Randall Tobias was head of the U.S. foreign assistance. His private cell number appeared on a list submitted to ABC News by D.C. madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey. We'll have more on that story tonight at 10 p.m., right here.

Now, shifting winds turned a raging fire toward the Okefenokee Swamp today. Exhausted firefighters are battling still, trying to keep part of the blaze from crossing Highway 1 near Waycross, Georgia, into a tinder box of drought-stricken forest.

I'm Rick Sanchez. If news breaks, I'll break right in for you and bring it to you. In the meantime, here's Lou, with LOU DOBBS THIS WEEK.

LOU DOBBS, HOST, LOU DOBBS THIS WEEK: Tonight, a startling attack on this country's general officer corps and its conduct of the war in Iraq by a U.S. Army officer. A colonel, who served in Iraq, accusing generals of intellectual and moral failures. We'll have that special report.

And the illegal alien lobby is planning nationwide protests May 1st to demand amnesty for as many as 20 million illegal aliens. One of the organizers of the nationwide protest, Edward Juarez, is among our guests.

We'll have all of that and much more, straight ahead here tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS THIS WEEK - news, debate and opinion for Saturday, April 28th.

Here now, Lou Dobbs. DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.

An active duty Army officer tonight accusing the military's top leadership of failures of generalship in Iraq.

The officer is Lieutenant Colonel Paul Yingling. He says military leaders also misled the U.S. Congress and the American people about the progress of the war.

In an article in "Armed Forces Journal," Colonel Yingling calls for sweeping reform in the way generals are selected and held accountable.

Barbara Starr reports now from the Pentagon - Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT, THE PENTAGON: Well, Lou, this is a damning indictment of the generals running the war by a currently serving Army officer who has completed two tours of duty in Iraq.

Lieutenant Colonel Paul Yingling, writing in a privately published magazine, "Armed Forces Journal," indeed takes the military apart piece by piece. He criticizes the leadership, not by name, but by institution.

The lieutenant colonel says, "America's generals have repeated the mistakes of Vietnam in Iraq." And he calls it "a crisis in American generalship."

What Colonel Yingling says is that the generals did not train the troops for the right war, that like Vietnam, he says, they didn't see an insurgency movement coming. They were only thinking about conventional warfare.

He says there were never enough troops in the Iraq war. And he also says that, basically, they just simply weren't prepared and did not inform Congress or the American people about what was really going on - Lou.

DOBBS: Barbara, I have been critical, as you know, of the general staff of the U.S. military for about two years over the conduct of this war.

But for a colonel in the United States Army, serving his nation in uniform, active duty, ready to be promoted - this is an act of outstanding courage on his part.

Is his career in jeopardy?

STARR: Well, officially, no. But let's be very realistic about this, Lou. He is not very likely to be promoted at this point.

I have spoken to the colonel since the article was published. He said he has received dozens of e-mails from his colleagues, young officers serving on his level. Almost all of them, he said, had been in support of what he had written. But at the top levels, this is a crack in the Army family. Nobody is very happy about it at the very top levels.

Officially, there will be no retribution against him, but the question will be, will he ever be promoted.

DOBBS: It would be a shame were he not to be promoted, because the idea that this war, which has now gone on longer than World War II, could have advanced to the point where the strategy is still murky, at best, the pathway to success is simply without any articulation.

And there is no accountability. As the colonel points out, not a single general fired for failure to succeed in Iraq.

That - what is the reaction to this article within the Pentagon, to the degree you can judge it there?

STARR: Well, it is sort of a random survey by myself, walking around the hallways talking to people.

You know, here in the Pentagon it is a very different military than what's out there on the front line. The colonel again saying he's gotten a positive reaction from his buddies, but here in the Pentagon, an awful lot of raised eyebrows.

And you might wonder why the colonel isn't giving interviews on this subject. The reaction - the military has told Colonel Yingling that he may not appear in uniform, he may not use his government cell phone to discuss this article at all.

And he has decided that if he cannot appear in uniform, he doesn't want to talk about this. He says - he told me he wrote this article as a serving officer, and he wants to stand up and talk about all this with his uniform on - Lou.

DOBBS: A remarkable officer. May there be many more just like him.

Thank you very much, Barbara Starr, from the Pentagon.

The political pressure for a change in direction in the conduct of the war is rising. Both the Senate and the House passing legislation last week demanding the withdrawal of all combat troops from Iraq by April of next year.

The president says he will veto that bill, and quickly, because politicians, he says, should not be telling generals how to do their job.

Elaine Quijano reports now from the White House - Elaine.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE WHITE HOUSE: Lou, President Bush hasn't even vetoed the first bill yet, but he's already promising to veto any legislation, if it includes timetables for U.S. troop withdrawals in Iraq. This past week, the House and Senate passed a measure that would do just that, a measure calling for a troop pullout to begin no later than October 1st.

Well, far from backing away from his position, President Bush is digging in. During a question-and-answer session at Camp David during a visit with the Japanese prime minister, President Bush once again promised to make good on his veto threat, saying that Democrats pushing for timelines in legislation are sending a bad message.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I haven't vetoed the first bill yet, but I'm going to. And the reason why I'm going to is because the members of Congress have made military decisions on behalf of the military. They're telling our generals what to do.

They're withdrawing before we've even finished reinforcing our troops in Baghdad. They're sending, in my judgment, a bad message - to the Iraqis and to an enemy, and, most importantly, to our military folks.


QUIJANO: Now, the White House is expecting this bill to reach the president's desk early this coming week, Monday or Tuesday.

As for the debate, Democrats are preparing to note on Tuesday, the fourth anniversary of the president's now-infamous "mission accomplished" speech, when he had declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq.

You could expect, though, President Bush to push back, as well. Tuesday, the president will travel to U.S. Central Command headquarters in Florida, to try to send the message that, even as this political debate over Iraq is going on, that he is focused on trying to accomplish the mission in Iraq - Lou.

DOBBS: Elaine Quijano, reporting from the White House.

Before the Senate vote on Iraq, the U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, briefed members of Congress about the progress, or lack of it, in this war.

General Petraeus said sectarian attacks are down by two-thirds since the so-called surge began. But the general acknowledged the overall level of violence in Iraq remains about the same.


GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, COMMANDER, MULTINATIONAL FORCE-IRAQ: I am well aware that the sense of gradual progress and achievement we feel on the ground in many areas in Iraq is often eclipsed by the sensational attacks that overshadow our daily accomplishments.

While the enemy's effectiveness in carrying out such attacks has been reduced by our operations to some degree, there clearly are still far too many of them.


DOBBS: General Petraeus said sectarian violence would rise if our troops were withdrawn from Iraq.

General Petraeus says three of the five additional Army combat brigades being deployed to Baghdad have now arrived in the Iraqi capital. Those troops are setting up combat outposts all across the city, and they're launching aggressive patrols on foot and in vehicles.

Hugh Riminton went on a humvee patrol with the 5th Cavalry Regiment and reports now from Baghdad.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This way! This way! Go right! Go right, go right, go right!

HUGH RIMINTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT, BAGHDAD (voice-over): It's a buried bomb, an IED, the biggest killer of American troops.

And then a second one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there one behind us? Go.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, we're going to pick up the speed, and we're going to go pick up ...

RIMINTON: But for patrol leader, Staff Sergeant Matt St. Pierre, the problems may just be beginning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this a dead end?

RIMINTON: They're caught in a classic trap. The humvees wheel around. If this is an ambush, they are dangerously exposed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep pushing, keep pushing.

RIMINTON: Four years and more into this war, there is nothing safe, still, about Baghdad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Slow down, slow down.

RIMINTON: Immediately ahead of them, an abandoned car.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not passing that car. Stop.

RIMINTON: Sergeant St. Pierre bellows in Arabic for the car to be moved.

Someone comes. The car is not a bomb.

The patrol moves on.

RIMINTON (on camera): Now, what happened just back there counts as a lucky miss. But even that gives some clues as to the insurgents' tactics and their increasing sophistication.


RIMINTON (voice-over): The first bomb went off seconds too early. It was designed to drive any survivors into the path of the second one. Ironically, the turn into the dead-end street thwarted their plan.

Then, as we reached the main road, one final threat - a burst of small arms fire.

Staff Sergeant Matt St. Pierre has spent two of the last three years in Iraq. He is pessimistic now of what might be achieved.

STAFF SGT. MATTHEW ST. PIERRE, U.S. ARMY, BAGHDAD: We've talked at length, my soldiers and myself. And a term that comes up often is, this is our generation's Vietnam.

I don't think this can be won. We're caught in the middle of a civil war.

RIMINTON: He says the morale among U.S. troops is still good. But he fears the United States will leave this country worse than it found it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, which way? Which way?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go right! Go right, go right, go right!

RIMINTON: Hugh Riminton, CNN, Baghdad.


DOBBS: Coming up next, corporate America abusing a government visa program, importing thousands of cheap foreign technology workers who it turns out - well, they're not highly skilled at all, but they are cheaper. We'll have that report.

And rising fury over corruption and cronyism in the student loan industry. That report and the federal government suing the Salvation Army for enforcing a requirement that its employees speak English at work. Imagine that. We'll have the report.

Stay with us. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DOBBS: The federal government created H1-B visas to attract, they said, the best and the brightest workers from abroad, particularly in technology.

But as Bill Tucker now reports, the criteria for importing that cheap foreign labor is completely and utterly random.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The H1-B visa might just as well be called the program of the completely random. With twice as many applications as visas, the Office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services doesn't look for the brightest and the best. It simply awards the visas by random drawing.

TODD TOLLEFSON, WASHTECH: Bill Gates testified in front of the Senate last month, saying that we need the Einsteins of the world to come over here. If it's a random process, how do we know we're going to get the Einsteins?

TUCKER: And according to a new study titled, "Low Salaries for Low Skills," we aren't getting all Einsteins.

More than half of the applications are in the lowest skill range, and only 5 percent are in the highest skilled range. The lowest skilled jobs are described in the visa application as beginning level employees who have a basic understanding of the occupation.

If this is a visa for the brightest and the best, shouldn't the statistics be reversed, with more than half being in the highest skilled category?

When it comes to salary, 84 percent of H1-B visa workers earned wages that were below the median U.S. wage. And wages for H1-B tech workers averaged $12,000 less than U.S. workers in the same occupation and location.

JOHN MIANO, IMMIGRATION STUDY AUTHOR: The H1-B program is not doing what it's supposed to be doing, and that is to bring in the world's best and brightest to the United States.

And what the report says is that we need to change the eligibility requirements to more clearly define who should be getting these visas.

TUCKER: So, given the observed abuse of the H1-B visa program, why doesn't the government change its criteria for awarding the visas?


TUCKER (on camera): According to a spokesman for the agency in charge of approving the applications, the random drawing is the fairest way to make sure every application is treated equally.

When we asked why the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services doesn't maybe cull through those applications, Lou, perhaps prioritize them on the basis of, oh, qualifications and salary, we were told, well, the system's not set up to work that way.

DOBBS: It's funny, because I think everybody has said that's precisely the way in which it was supposed to be set up. And Bill Gates must be somewhat chagrinned to find out he doesn't have a clue in the world what he's talking about when talking about those work visas.

I mean, this is - you know, there are parts of the federal government that are absolutely out of their minds.

I guess, maybe the federal government isn't running this program. I wonder who is.

Bill Tucker, thank you.

The rapidly rising cost of a college education in this country is creating an almost unmanageable burden for many middle class families.

And emerging details now of corruption and cronyism in the student loan industry - yet another blow to the millions of students and their families depending on those loans for a college education.

Christine Romans has our report.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two-thirds of these students will graduate with debt - median debt now $19,300.

STEPHEN BURD, THE AMERICA FOUNDATION: There are significant numbers of students who are taking out $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 in loans.

Some of these loans are federal loans. But increasingly, students are relying on private loans, which come with higher interest rates.

ROMANS: Tuition prices have soared 35 percent over the past five years, making volatile, expensive private loans a necessity.

A federal loan interest rate is capped at 6.8 percent. But a private loan can hit 18 to 20 percent - loans which didn't even exist a generation ago.

Today, the private loan explosion is a feeding frenzy.

Congressman George Miller says student loan companies are making shady deals with universities to become preferred lenders at students' expense.

REP. GEORGE MILLER, D-CALIFORNIA: We now see them paying gratuities, meals, vacation trips, hotel stays, conference, putting people on the board of directors, selling stock inside.

When you have a system that has run amuck - run amuck - and what it has really done is, it's raised the cost of student loans to the students and to their families.

ROMANS: Sallie Mae, Citibank, Education Finance Partners, University of Pennsylvania and NYU among those settling New York state's allegations of conflicts of interest.

And the Department of Education is scrambling to explain stock deals and cozy relationships between some of its officials and private lenders.

The Education Department has a lucrative database of student financial records. Amid the controversy, it has temporarily blocked private lenders from that information.


ROMANS (on camera): The Education Department formed a task force on the scandal. Margaret Spellings will testify before the House Education Committee on May 10th.

But Lou, the testimony this week before that very same committee was, you know, utterly remarkable for the words we were hearing - corruption, cronyism, bribes, kickbacks. It's been a long time since I've heard those sorts of words echoing so often through a hearing room on Capitol Hill.

DOBBS: At least were not applied to a lobbyist, or a congressman or a senator taking money from that lobbyist. We hear that quite often. This is just a variation on it, it seems to me.

And the fact that we've got someone like Congressman George Miller, the chairman of that committee, to go after these sorry son- of-a-guns - I'll put it that way - is heartening.

Christine, thank you. Christine Romans.

Coming up next, sanctuary cities. Oh, we love sanctuary cities on this broadcast. They're taking new steps to defy federal law.

We'll bring you the details, and none of the details will include any idea of bringing them to justice.

Also, illegal alien advocates planning a repeat of last year's nationwide day of protest. I'll be talking with one of the movement's leaders.

And one of the nation's leading charities being sued by our federal government, because the charity wants its employees to be able to speak English. We'll have that story next. Stay with us.


DOBBS: The federal government filing an outrageous lawsuit against the Salvation Army, the EEOC charging the Christian charity with discrimination, because it asked its employees to speak English at work.

Imagine the outrage.

Lisa Sylvester has our report.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON (voice-over): The Salvation Army is a Christian evangelical group, best known for delivering aide in the time of emergencies and helping out during the Christmas season.

But the organization is now a target of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC has filed a five-page complaint, accusing the Salvation Army of discrimination on the basis of national origin.

At issue is a Salvation Army policy that requires its workers to speak English in the workplace. Two employees from Latin America were fired from this store after they were given a year to learn English, but failed to do so.

The Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund insists speaking English was not a necessary component of their job.

CESAR PERALES, PUERTO RICAN LEGAL DEFENSE FUND: These workers were on the job for about five years, did their job. They were sorting clothes.

And apparently, a new rule was passed, a rule that said that you had to be proficient in English. And whatever standards were set by the Salvation Army, these people did not meet, and they were fired.

SYLVESTER: Both the EEOC and the Salvation Army declined interview requests, because of the ongoing litigation.

In a statement the Salvation Army said, we greatly respect "the EEOC and its mission, but we dispute the allegation that the Salvation Army engaged in any illegal conduct in this case."

Representative Tom Tancredo is among those applauding the Salvation Army for its policy, saying it's helping workers.

REP. TOM TANCREDO, R-COLORADO: This is America. We speak English. It's better for the people who are here to learn English and actually have the ability to get ahead in life. That's what we should be encouraging.

SYLVESTER: In 2003, a federal judge upheld the Salvation Army's English-only policy, ruling that it served a legitimate business purpose, promoting effective communication and helping improve productivity and efficiency.


SYLVESTER (on camera): But a lawyer for the EEOC contends that the Salvation Army has not shown a legitimate business justification for the English-only policy. The agency is now seeking back pay for the workers, compensation for losses that resulted from their unemployment and an unspecified amount of punitive damages - Lou.

DOBBS: Why is it the EEOC doesn't have the guts to come on this broadcast and explain what it's doing here?

SYLVESTER: We did invite them on. We invited them on to do an interview with us. But so far, they have declined our requests, Lou.

DOBBS: Without explanation.

SYLVESTER: Without explanation.

DOBBS: So, they're ...

SYLVESTER: Other than to say that it's ongoing litigation.

DOBBS: It's - well, thank you very much, EEOC.

You know, that's about as disgusting an abuse of government power. The idea that they are going after a charity that gave its employees two - gave two employees a year to learn English - what are these - it's hard to imagine what these people were thinking about.

All right, Lisa. Thank you very much. Lisa Sylvester from Washington.

Twenty-nine states, including California and Arizona, have enacted laws that make English the official language. Among the states that haven't passed similar laws - Texas, New York, New Jersey.

Meanwhile, a growing number of people living in this country do not speak English.

According to the most recent census figures, 21 million in the United States now classified as, quote, limited English proficient. And one in 25 households does not have anyone over the age of 14 speaking any English whatsoever.

Coming up next, outrage after the mayor of one of the country's largest cities says he's proud that he supports sanctuary for illegal aliens and defying federal immigration law. We'll have that report.

Also, the pro-illegal alien movement and open borders lobby planning protests across the nation on May 1st, demanding - you guessed it - amnesty for as many as 20 million illegal aliens.

One of the organizers, Edward Juarez, is among our guests here.

And Communist China's food among the most contaminated on the planet. So, why in the world is the United States importing Chinese food? And why isn't the U.S. government, and particularly the FDA, not inspecting those food imports?

We'll have the answers next. Stay with us. We're coming right back.


DOBBS: The mayor of San Francisco is flaunting his city's defiance of federal immigration law.

As Casey Wian now reports, Mayor Gavin Newsom says he's proud that San Francisco remains a sanctuary city for illegal aliens.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT, SAN FRANCISCO (voice-over): San Francisco mayor, Gavin Newsom, is forbidding his department heads or anyone associated with the city from cooperating with federal immigration officials conducting work site raids or roundups of fugitive illegal aliens.

GAVIN NEWSOM, MAYOR, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA: We're a sanctuary city. We don't cooperate with the federal government as it relates to these raids, and we work to raise awareness that we are a sanctuary city.

WIAN: Newsom also told a Catholic immigrant rights group he will work to increase funding for city programs that benefit illegal aliens. And he promised to consider the wishes of day laborers before taking any action on that issue.

The mayor appears to be responding to pressure from church leaders, who advocate amnesty for illegal aliens.

NATE BACON, DEACON, ST. PETER'S PARISH, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA: We need to have a major assurance on the part of the city that there's going to be protection for them, and that the sanctuary means something.

WIAN: San Francisco has been an illegal alien sanctuary city since 1989. But the mayor's comments are a clear escalation of the city's open defiance of federal immigration law.

TOM FITTON, JUDICIAL WATCH: Mayor Newsom has shown contempt for the law. Federal law prohibits any official from prohibiting anyone in government - certainly police officers or other government officials - from cooperating with the feds on immigration matters.

WIAN: Yet San Francisco's police department, under orders from city officials, refuses to cooperate with ICE on immigration law violations.

San Francisco is not alone. Dozens of U.S. cities have sanctuary laws, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston.

Casey Wian, CNN, reporting.


DOBBS: Oakland, California, is joining its neighbor, San Francisco, and openly defying federal immigration law. Resolutions by the mayor and council president direct city agencies not to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts, and they condemn recent immigration raids in that city.

Oakland, long known as a city of refuge for those fleeing oppressive regimes, has expanded the definition to include all illegal aliens.

Groups supporting illegal aliens are planning a series of protests across the nation for May 1st. The organizer of the march in New York is Edward Juarez. He's president of the International Immigrants Federation, and joins us here now.

Good to have you with us, Edward.


DOBBS: Now, last year we saw on May 1st, you know, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people supporting illegal aliens, calling for amnesty, open borders.

What will be the point of repeating that demonstration?

JUAREZ: Well, it's simple. Trying to get people together to showcase to the nation that there is a consensus that our grassroots organizations - and this is something that is made possible by uniting a number of organizations. This is not only the International Immigrants Foundation.

And we're going to see a lot of people demonstrating. But at the same time, the focus is education. We must educate our American brothers and sisters of the importance of immigration.

DOBBS: American brothers and sisters.


DOBBS: Are you talking about citizens? Are you talking about illegal aliens?

JUAREZ: We're talking about the American people that must understand the importance ...

DOBBS: Now, when you say American people, do you mean the American people? Or do you mean the people who are in America? Because there's a distinction.

JUAREZ: I mean the people that are in America.


JUAREZ: I'm also a citizen of this country that I love so much. And ...

DOBBS: Well, then you're an American person. JUAREZ: Absolutely.

DOBBS: But not just a person in America.

JUAREZ: That is true.

DOBBS: The idea that these protests are designed - because as you and I both know, everybody, I think, is pretty much aware, we're going to see Congress try to put through that amnesty legislation again, this time in the guise of the Flake-Gutierrez or Gutierrez- Flake bill.

It's basically baked over, rolled over, much of the same as McCain-Kennedy or McCain-Kennedy-Frist - whatever you want to call it.

JUAREZ: Well, number one, we're not talking about an amnesty. And number two, we're talking about something very similar to the H.R. 4437 that passed the House of Representatives in 2005.

So, we're talking about something very, very serious, because what Gutierrez-Flake bill actually does is, not only it grants legalization to the undocumented immigrants, but also adds criminalization and also enforcement through local police authorities to hand (ph) them.

And this will create a very, very serious issue in our society, mainly profiling, discrimination. The nation is not ready to go in that direction.

DOBBS: The nation's not ready to go in that direction.

The most recent poll - NBC-"Wall Street Journal" poll - shows the nation is no ready to go in that direction at all.

In point of fact, poll after poll shows that Americans want those borders secured.

The fact is that this bill, like everything preceding it, is playing games with enforcement. They have triggers, but rather than results.

Let me ask you this. Help me out on this.

As a matter of the illegal alien and the rhetoric of bringing them from the shadows. Let's bring from the shadows the facts.

The facts - we bring in more than two million people lawfully into this country every year. You're aware of that, right?

JUAREZ: There's a lot of people coming in.

DOBBS: Yes. More than two million.


DOBBS: Do you know that that's more people immigrating legally into this country than in the rest of the world combined?

So, what gives illegal aliens such rights and the standing to demand anything?

JUAREZ: Well, the truth is that they are coming here as guests or as persons that have been invited by corporations, because ...

DOBBS: Our corporations?

JUAREZ: Of course.


JUAREZ: Our work system needs them.

DOBBS: Well, why don't you demonstrate in front of the corporations who have been hiring them illegally?

Why not demonstrate in front of those who employ illegal aliens, rather than - rather than demonstrating before cameras, waving the flags of nations of origins that are not American, rather than demanding more from the American taxpayer than he and she are already paying?

Let's be honest here.

The fact is, all of those employers in the four categories in which illegal aliens work most, Edward, as you know - landscaping, construction, leisure, hospitality - those corporations, those wonderful corporations all tell us we desperately need that labor.

JUAREZ: Absolutely.

DOBBS: So, tell me, why is this? Why are those wages declining in those industries?

JUAREZ: They're declining because of the fact that immigration - number one, these undocumented immigrants are maintained and are kept by our government and our institutions as undocumented.

But let's understand that once they become legal, then they will be able to receive equal ...


JUAREZ: ... equal salaries.

Now, but when you're talking about reduction of wages, you're talking about practically 4.5 percent of the population that are actually dropout. But in the overall labor force, there is no such decrease.

Several studies have been made about it.

DOBBS: Before you lose me in this intricate maze, if we have a shortage of labor, why aren't the wages rising rather than, as they are, declining?

JUAREZ: Well, let's understand that immigrants contribute tremendously to our economy, to be able to supply ...

DOBBS: Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no.

JUAREZ: ... services and products at lower cost.

DOBBS: No, no, no. We're not going to be quite that general here.

Those illegal aliens hired by those illegal employers, corporations, are very beneficial to those corporations. But they're not beneficial to the economy.

In point of fact, they are a burden to the economy in terms of the social services, the social costs of having them overcrowd our schools, fill up our hospitals - you know, whatever the demands may be on social services.

Not broadly in the economy, but certainly of benefit to those corporations.

JUAREZ: Well, it is a benefit to the corporations, but the economy as a whole, if it is not out that the country benefits on the presence of immigrants.

Let's understand, Lou, that the government knows ...

DOBBS: Immigrants are illegal - wait a minute. Immigrants - I'm agreeing with you. Illegal, I have to disagree.

JUAREZ: Well, I would say that ...

DOBBS: You will make a distinction.

JUAREZ: Well, let's understand one thing, that the population of the United States needs immigrants in the country. The country could not survive without immigrants.

DOBBS: We bring in more than two million immigrants a year legally!

JUAREZ: This is why we have to legalize our undocumented workers without criminalization.

DOBBS: Oh, my goodness! All right.

We're going to have to leave it there.

You going to have as big a demonstration this year as last?

JUAREZ: We're going to try to bring together as many people as possible. We're going to have a very major event on the 1st throughout New York City and finalizing at 6 p.m. at the Immigrants Building at 7 West 44th Street. DOBBS: Edward Juarez, thank you very much for being here.

JUAREZ: Thank you, Lou, for having me.

DOBBS: Thank you.

Coming up next, the United States importing more of its food from around the world, but particularly from Communist China. There's a little problem, though, that you probably haven't heard about.

China's food is the most contaminated in the entire world. Unfortunately, there's no one in your government, apparently, concerned about that enough to actually inspect that food. We'll have that story.

And is President Bush a political liability on the campaign trail? Apparently.

Some of the Republican presidential candidates think so. We'll be talking about that with our panel of political analysts and strategists.

Stay with us. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: Congress this week blasted the appalling state of this country's food safety program, witnesses describing the FDA as overwhelmed and understaffed. They also said the agency is hampered by insufficient funding and mismanagement.

You couldn't ask for many more problems than that, could you.

Newly discovered FDA documents revealing the agency knew for years of the potential contamination of spinach and peanut butter. The documents show the FDA suspected spinach and other greens were tainted with E. coli as far back as 1995.

Three people died when they ate tainted greens, 200 others sickened.

Another FDA report showing inspectors first investigated complaints of Salmonella contamination in peanut butter in 2005.

Four hundred people became sick from Salmonella-tainted peanut butter.

The FDA this week, raiding the offices of the American importer of a tainted pet food ingredient from Communist China. ChemNutra, based in Las Vegas, imported the melamine-laced wheat gluten found in pet foods.

China says it doesn't believe melamine caused those pet deaths. And also saying now it will cooperate with the U.S. in investigating the recall. At least 16 pets killed by that food. This week, three more companies announcing recalls of their pet food products. And you can find pretty much complete information on the pet food recall on our Web site,, including which foods the manufacturers say are safe.

The United States is increasingly reliant upon other nations for our food supply. We rely in part on Communist China.

And China's food and agricultural industry has an absolutely frightening track record for safety and quality. But that hasn't inspired any part of the American government to start inspecting food or to provide any kind of oversight.

And as Kitty Pilgrim reports, that track record could threaten our public health.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The United States is importing tons of food and food additives from China. Imports of Chinese food and agricultural products have soared 400 percent in the last 15 years.

Nobody knows how much of it is safe.

MICHAEL DOYLE, CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY: In China, a lot of small farmers that use lots of antibiotics and pesticides that, in some instances, are not approved for use in the United States. So, there's lots of possibilities where things can go wrong.

PILGRIM: The Chinese themselves suffer from contaminated food and water. The U.N. estimates 300 million Chinese every year suffer food poisoning.

Sometimes it's substandard sanitation, such as the 100 restaurant-goers hospitalized after eating bad snails, sometimes deliberate fraud. A Chinese company was caught making lard from sewage. Farmers were caught adding cancer-causing dye to duck feed to enhance the eggs.

Pollution from industrial production or toxic accidents find their way into the water, and subsequently into the food chain in China. Some of that food may be shipped to the United States - almost all of it untested and uninspected.

MICHAEL TAYLOR, FORMER FDA OFFICIAL: No amount of inspection is going to be sufficient, if we don't have confidence in the conditions under which food is produced, wherever it's produced in the world.

PILGRIM: A look at the FDA violation code lists sanitary citations on imports from China. One entry reads, a cosmetic product may have been prepared and packed "under insanitary conditions whereby it may have been contaminated with filth."

A food import reads, the article appears to consist in whole or in part of "a filthy, putrid or decomposed substance ... unfit for food."

Or another, the article "appears to contain Hepatitis A virus."


PILGRIM (on camera): A congressional hearing this week on the pet food poisonings revealed U.S. importers often don't test the products they import from China, and 99 percent of those imports go unscreened by the U.S. government and authorities until a consumer gets sick, and no one is aware of the problem until then - Lou.

DOBBS: Well, I guess we've been serving notice on this broadcast. If Congress would like to represent the common good and the welfare of the American people, here's an opportunity. It's going to be interesting to see how long it takes.

Thank you very much, Kitty Pilgrim.

You notice I didn't even mention anyone in the federal government in the executive branch doing anything. They've had an opportunity for some time.

Appreciate it.

No charges will be brought against a 13-year-old boy who left a ham bone on a lunch table near a group of Muslim students in Maine.

We are now told reliably that Assistant Attorney General Tom Harnett says, the investigation has ended into whether that boy violated the civil rights of the students, who are Muslim.

The 13-year-old was suspended from school. The boy could have been hit with as much as a $5,000 fine or ordered to stay away from the Muslim students.

The school system, the assistant attorney general's office maintained the purpose of the suspension and investigation was not just to punish the boy. They said they also wanted to teach the boy to respect other religious groups.

Well, here's an idea for you. Mr. Superintendent, why don't you just grow up and demonstrate a little mature wisdom and knowledge, and educate - remember the word educate? - educate your students about these issues, rather than being a hysterical, overblown, hyperbolic bureaucrat.

This is the most ridiculous thing you could have done. And you ought to be embarrassed. I hope somebody there shows you the way a mature adult would behave with the situation, and maybe you could be a model then to all of those students, some of whom obviously need some demonstration.

Up next, the first Democratic debate in the 2008 presidential election. Whoopee!

Why are the debates being held more than a year before the election? Because everyone loves these debates, because so much information flows from them. You learn so much about the candidates.

I'll be joined by three of the nation's leading political minds here next. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Joining me now, syndicated columnist, Miguel Perez; Democratic strategist, Hank Sheinkopf; "Washington Times" columnist, Diana West.

Sixty-six percent of the country thinks the country is going in the wrong direction. That's the highest number in polling ever, certainly in recent polling history.

How much trouble are we in in this country?

HANK SHEINKOPF, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: We're in a lot of trouble. This system, which has not been the most stable of late, will continue to destabilize.

You'll see Republicans in deep trouble in the Congress and in the Senate in 2008. And you'll see the Republican candidates beat a stampede away from George Bush and everything connected to him.

DOBBS: How much trouble are the Democrats in, if they do nothing more than continue to criticize the Bush administration, the Republicans and not solve some of these problems?

SHEINKOPF: The Democratic mistake is not being more forceful programmatically. People are not stupid. And if this continues, you'll see either tremendous voter turnout, a rage in everybody, or a reduced voter turnout probably.

DOBBS: What about the number of Independents rising in registration, and both parties moving a little bit to the side? And as an Independent, I get kind of excited about that. Obviously, I don't have a dog in this hunt, but, of course, we all do when it comes to governance.

But to see both parties - no offense, Diana, Hank - but I'm kind of pleased about that.

MIGUEL PEREZ, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I'm also an Independent, and I'm very pleased about it, too.

I mean, I really - I'm fed up, and I think a lot of the American people are fed up with both political parties. And it seems like sometimes they are very far apart on some issues, but they are downright the same.

DOBBS: Two birds - I mean, one bird with two different wings, is what it amounts to.

I know, Diana, that you've got to be excited about the fact that both the House and the Senate have voted to withdraw our troops and put forward deadlines to do so. DIANA WEST, "WASHINGTON TIMES": Well, excited is one for it. Seething is another, and I'll tell you why.

Giving a deadline date is something that provides our enemies with comfort, our friends with dismay, and gives our soldiers in the field a big headache and worry, and gives their capacity to fight a terrible blow.

And that damage is done, regardless of whether the president vetoes that bill. And I find it contemptible.

DOBBS: Well, how do you feel about the fact that more than 3,000 lives have been lost, 24,000 Americans wounded, all of the Iraqi casualties, and we seem to be no closer to resolution today than more than four years ago?

WEST: I have profound disagreements, as you know, Lou, with the strategy that the Bush administration has pursued in Iraq.

That said, the withdrawal date, if that's what you're asking about in relation to this, is not the way to correct this. There is no strategy being offered up.

DOBBS: What's - I'm sorry.

WEST: Yes?

DOBBS: I'm sorry. Go ahead, Hank.

WEST: Yes, well ...

SHEINKOPF: There is larger message here. The larger message is very simple. The people are disgusted with the government. The military - this extraordinary military machine that won two world wars, that went into Bosnia and did what was right - is in a position now to do nothing that is correct.

And that lies with the incompetence of the present government, without a question.

DOBBS: Before we go to the larger issue, as you correctly state, the issue of competence on the part of this government, Colonel Yingling coming out - Diana West and I thought this might be where you were going.

To say, basically, the general staff of the United States military is a rogue's row of absolute incompetence. Those are my words, not his.

WEST: Not his. I would agree that these policies have certainly been incompetent. They have been politically correct to the point where we have not identified the true strategic threats that lie in the Middle East.

We see this war in terms of an Iraqi battlefield, and we've suddenly made our priority into solving Sunni-Shiite strife. We have not looked at this in terms of ...

DOBBS: So, you're basically saying, George Bush and his administration have been misdirected all along.

WEST: Misdirected all along. And the biggest problem is, no one has admitted there is an Islamic cultural context to this fight.

General Petraeus' counterinsurgency manual barely mentions Islam. That is no way to take an army into an Islamic battlefield. It has left us uninformed - and wrong.

PEREZ: Yingling mentioned that they are overly optimistic, the generals, and that they are overly optimistic in their assessment of the war situation, and that they don't have a grasp of reality.

WEST: Yes.

PEREZ: That is so, so true.

WEST: It's so true.

DOBBS: That's all reassuring, isn't it?

PEREZ: Yes. But it really is ...

DOBBS: And you know what to me - Miguel, and Yingling said it, articulated it, I thought, beautifully.

These generals are not worthy of our soldiers. That is as condemning a statement as could be made.

WEST: That seems to be very true. And I would say, based on my own e-mail from mid-level officers, that we have a terrific mid-level officer corps. These guys are now battle-hardened, and they understand things that their superiors cannot begin to understand.

And for that, we may be grateful.

DOBBS: More in just one moment. Stay with us. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: We're back with our panel.

George Tenet - new book, new charges - amazing. Slam-dunk mischaracterized and leaked from the inner circles of the White House to provide diversion and cover, if you will.

And that is amongst the least of the charges. A president and an administration going rather perfunctorily into war.

What's your reaction?

SHEINKOPF: I'm disgusted. This extraordinary nation, whose fighting men and women have borne extraordinary burdens, have been so let down, so misled, and so is the American people.

And the best we can do is talk about politics. I find this most upsetting.

We owe these men and women an extraordinary debt for what they have done. We should be disgusted by the people that are putting them in harm's way.

PEREZ: Either the Bush administration came in with an agenda to go to war in Iraq anyway, regardless, or what is the other option? The other option is that they misled us.

DOBBS: Diana?

WEST: Well, I'm not sure if that's quite the way to characterize the era.

It seems to me that the big problem has been, this has been treated as a long war, as a war that would take forever. And I think that goes back to the political correctness and the failure of our rules of engagement to allow us to have turned a place like Fallujah in 2004 into rubble.

That is how our forefathers - our fathers, in some cases - fought World War II. It is how total war is won. Limited wars go on and on, and that's what we're seeing. And that's why we are so disgusted, because there's no winning such a war.

DOBBS: Well, it's certainly among the reasons, I'll tell you.

Let's close on a very important issue you brought up, political correctness.

Ham bones, Muslim students, 13-year-olds. The superintendent of the school is calling in the attorney general.

What do you think, Miguel?

PEREZ: Ah, God. What can I tell you about that? I mean, it's so ...

DOBBS: Isn't it mindless, beyond belief?

PEREZ: Absolutely. That's the bottom line. That is - it is beyond comprehension.

DOBBS: Hank, your reaction?

SHEINKOPF: Ridiculous. Can't people take care of problems at a local level? Can't they make decisions? Can't they show profiles in courage? Can't they do what's right?

DOBBS: Can't they demonstrate some humanity?

SHEINKOPF: Because, look. Or (UNINTELLIGIBLE) something, or lead some leadership in humanity. That's what's amazing to me. DOBBS: Think of that test, that model, that example for those students.

If you have an issue like this - insensitivity, no question about it - rather than discussing it, moving to some sort of conversation and introducing perspectives, call your attorney general?


WEST: Well, it shows that this man was not a grownup. And as you know, I have written a book called "The Death of the Grownup." And I think this is a perfect example, a poster boy, perhaps, not a mature administrator.

DOBBS: And I thought that was very mature and, in fact, deft promotion of your book ...


Diana West, thank you very much. And Miguel Perez, thank you. Hank Sheinkopf, thank you.

And thank you for joining us. Please join us here tomorrow. For all of us, thanks for watching.

Enjoy your weekend. Good night from New York.