CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight - Transcript
Thursday, November 17, 2005
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DOBBS: Our nation is in the grip of nothing less than an illegal alien crisis. It's become a national security crisis of immense proportions because of a lack of border security.
Congressman Peter King is the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. He has introduced legislation calling on the military to support our Border Patrol and to help secure our nation's vulnerable ports and waterways.
Congressman King joins us tonight from Capitol Hill.
Congressman, good to have you here.
Where does this legislation stand right now, Congressman?
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Lou, it's actually moving along.
Right now, in fact, the hearing is going on. We're voting this evening. We should finish voting tomorrow morning and the bill should be on the House floor I would say the second or third week in December.
We intend to bring this to a vote in the full House before Christmas to make it clear to the American people that we have to stop illegal immigration, we have to regain control of our borders.
It's no longer an immigration issue; it's really a national security and homeland security and anti-terrorist issue.
DOBBS: Well, you're the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. You're calling for the end of catch and release, you're talking about putting the military on our borders to enforce border security.
What is your sense of the level of support?
KING: Right now, the level of support is pretty good. I'm positive it's going to pass our committee.
I think it's going to pass with a large vote on the House floor and actually it's getting some bipartisan support in the committee.
But again, issues like coordinating the Defense Department and Homeland Security, people wouldn't have thought of that a few years ago. I mean, it was really considered extreme to be using military assets; now people are demanding it.
And also the idea of catch and release -- we're actually capturing I don't know how many hundreds and hundreds of thousands of immigrants and them releasing them. It makes no sense.
DOBBS: All right. It makes no sense -- it hasn't for a long time, as you well know.
You propose no guest worker program, this is all about enforcing border security and taking control.
What about the guest worker program?
KING: Lou, that will have to come next.
There's a consensus, and I strongly support it, is that before the American people are going to even consider guest worker plans, we have to show that we can control our borders.
Because otherwise it just looks like more immigrants on top of the ones who are already there. So I'm really intent on pushing to establish border security and then we can go to the guest workers.
DOBBS: So what do you do when you have a president leading your party who calls illegal aliens guest workers and calls volunteers who want to provide security on our borders vigilantes?
KING: Well, there's been a turnaround in the White House.
Because I have met with people in the White House and they are now supporting our proposal to go first with border security. They realize that, too.
And the president, again, was, you know, a strong supporter of the guest worker plan; he wanted the whole issue coordinated and brought together.
But now he realizes we have to go first with border security. There's a real crisis of confidence in the country, Lou, which goes beyond just the narrow issue of immigration; what it is, people see we can't control our borders and the feeling is how can we control anything else.
DOBBS: You've got a Homeland Security Department that -- but without controlling the borders; that's sort of a sham, isn't it?
KING: And we also -- we're going to get very tough with foreign countries; countries, for instance, that don't cooperate with us and take back aliens, we're going to keep their people from coming into the country.
DOBBS: Congressman Pete King, we thank you for being here.
KING: Thank you, Lou.
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