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CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight - Transcript

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CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight - Transcript
Thursday, December 15, 2005

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DOBBS: The outrageous remarks of President Fox should first of all should be repudiated immediately by the White House. And he should be held accountable. We won't see that happen in all likelihood.

But the fact is the only thing shameful and disgraceful here is that Mexico tolerates a president who is presiding over a government that is corrupt across its provinces, it's people and poverty. It is extraordinary that we tolerate this kind of behavior. It's extraordinary that he has the arrogance and the presumption to speak to this issue at all when he has been an absolute incompetent leader of a shamefully ineffective government. Thank you very much, Bill Tucker.

More now on the intense debate in Congress tonight over legislation that would finally secure our nation's borders. I'm joined now by two Congressmen who have quite opposing views on the issue. Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King in New York, co-author of the bill with Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner. Congressman King says securing our borders is a critical first step to reforming our immigration policy.

But Congressman Howard Berman of California says this bill doesn't go far enough. He says, in fact, it will do little if anything to solve our illegal alien crisis. Both gentlemen join us tonight from Washington.

Let me start with you, if I may Congressman Berman. We have an estimated 20 million illegal aliens now living in this country, according to the most recent study by Bear Stearns, 3 million entered last year illegally. Why would on earth wouldn't you favor this bill?

REP. HOWARD BERMAN, (D) CALIFORNIA: Because this bill, and I have to say, the Republican leadership that's pushing this bill, is doing a con job on the American people and on you, Lou, in making you think that this bill, in and of itself, will ever become law.

There is only two eventual outcomes from this bill. It will either be turned into a bill that also provides a guest worker and adjustment program for the 10 million, 15 million, however many illegal immigrants now in this country as well as future guest workers, or it will die in a conference committee never to be seen again because -- and let me just explain why.

DOBBS: We're limited on time, Congressman. I do need Congressman King to speak as well.

And let me respond to the con job that persuades me this will be passed. Let me assure you Congressman Berman, I'm not be conned, I'm as skeptical as you that the Republican leadership in the House and the Senate and this White House have the guts to move forward with a sense of responsibility for Americans who need the protection of this legislation. So please, believe me, I'm not be conned at all, neither is the audience of this broadcast. But we are vitally interested to see if courage can manifest itself in the United States Congress and the White House.

To that end, Congressman King, how do you respond to Congressman Berman?

REP. PETER KING, (R) NEW YORK: I'm not conning you or Howard Berman. I'm very sincere about this bill. This is a very, very important step. This will go a long way toward securing our borders.

Before we can address the overall immigration problem, we have to first show and convince the American people that we can control our borders. We're going to be for the first time using military technology on the borders. We are calling for construction or whatever is necessary along the southern border to close off the border, whether it's walls, fences, infrastructure, lasers, technology, border patrol.

In addition to that, we're going end the policy of catch and release. Where in the past you would catch an illegal immigrant, give them an appearance ticket and tell them to come back. Now they will be detained and there will be expedited removal, which means they are sent back to the country from which they came.

DOBBS: Congressman Berman, what's wrong with that? And let's set aside the issue of whether or not we're getting conned here. On the face of it, it looks like this is a sensible, rational approach, because without border security first, we are neither protected from terrorists nor are we in a position to enforce any kind of immigration reform.

BERMAN: Lou, you and I both know that the failure of the 1986 bill was with the employer sanctions were a farce, a total farce. Without an employer verification system where an employer has to check the legal status of anybody coming to work for them or working for them, you don't deal with the problem. The Republicans aren't just pushing a border enforcement bill, they're pushing an employer verification bill.

DOBBS: What's wrong with that?

BERMAN: There's nothing wrong with that, except do you believe that at the end of the day, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Chamber of Commerce, the growers of this country are going to allow their -- a huge portion their workforce to be denied to them? And that the Republican party is going to send...

DOBBS: You know Congressman Berman, I really don't care what the NAM, the Chamber of Commerce or anyone else in this country -- let me answer you. I don't care what their opinion is, they made it clear. They're trying to sabotage this bill right now because they want to benefit from illegal labor which puts a burden on this entire country. It may be a boon to individual businesses. But it's about time you all in Congress got the idea that you're representing middle class American workers, every American worker, every American and not the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, the business roundtable and the business council.

BERMAN: Lou, I'm telling you the Republican party will not send a bill that has that provision to the president of the United States.

DOBBS: Congressman King, this is squarely you on and your party.

KING: And this is in the bill. We are the ones who put it in the bill. We are taking the heat from the big business of this country. And we're standing up to them. We're saying no to big business and yes to the middle-class families and hard working Americans.

BERMAN: It's a one house bill.

DOBBS: Congressman King, I want to give you the last word. And here's the question, do you sincerely, honestly, and so help you God believe, that the Republican leadership in Congress, the House, the Senate and the White House is committed to true border security and solving our illegal alien crisis, our immigration reform needs?

KING: I can speak for myself, I believe the House leadership and also the president in saying yes. As for the Senate, I hope they're on board. And hope they will be. I will do what I can to put pressure on them. I will be part of the conference committee doing all I can. I will not approve any bill which is not real, meaningful reform including tough, tough border sanctions.

DOBBS: And Congressman Berman, with somewhat different views would you support this legislation that is in the interest of the nation?

BERMAN: I support this legislation, if it was truly comprehensive and had a system for dealing with the reality of...

DOBBS: Remember we swore we are going to talk straight here.

BERMAN: And I'm talking straight. If you don't, with the 11 million people or 15 million people or 20 million people who are now in this country, and Peter King in his heart of hearts knows we're going have to deal with that.

DOBBS: Absolutely. But do you agree fundamentally, that we have to have border security before we do anything?

BERMAN: I believe we have to have border security and everything else together now.

DOBBS: Congressman, I appreciate it. Congressman Berman, Congressman King, we thank you both for being here.

KING: Lou, thank you.

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