CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight - Transcript
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
DOBBS: Casey, thank you very much.
In Denver, Colorado, today, hundreds of illegal aliens and their supporters marched on the state Capitol building demanding amnesty for illegal aliens, They carried Mexican, Cuban and Puerto Rican flags, along with American flags. The demonstrators today demanded the defeat of the Sensenbrenner border enforcement legislation which would in part criminalize illegal aliens in this country.
Congressman Pete King is the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and he is a co-sponsor of the Sensenbrenner legislation and he is our guest here in New York tonight. Good to have you with us.
REP. PETE KING (R), NEW YORK: Good to be here.
DOBBS: We are seeing more demonstrations. And we're seeing more people focusing on the Sensenbrenner legislation. Congressman Sensenbrenner told me on this broadcast that the Democrats were responsible for the fact that the legislation that would create a felony for coming into this country illegally was really a ploy by the Democrats. Is that true?
KING: Absolutely true. It's always been a misdemeanor to enter the country illegally. We wanted to make it a misdemeanor to stay in the country illegally. If it's wrong to enter, it's wrong to stay. Originally the bill called for a felony.
Jim Sensenbrenner got up on the House floor and offered to reduce it from a felony to a misdemeanor; 192 Democrats voted to keep it a felony, and over 161 Republicans voted to make it a misdemeanor. That is a felony because of the Democrats.
I think the reason for that, they wanted to put what's called a poison pill in the bill so they could later claim that it's a felony.
DOBBS: So politics are being played with this on the part of both parties. I have to ask you, as this audience of this broadcast knows, on the Thursday, now a week and a half ago, before you all left town to return to your home districts and states, you remember the Senate standing up there, Senators McCain and Kennedy, Martinez and Hegel, slapping themselves on the back, saying that they had come up with a great compromise, and then the next day it fell apart.
Then the suggestion that politics had trumped good policy. That was an absolute sham, wasn't it?
KING: I strongly believe it was. I've been in politics for over 30 years and there can be a place for politics, but this is an issue of life and death and the American way of live, and both liberals and conservatives say that. But the liberals and too many conservatives are playing games with this. I see an unholy alliance between liberals and Catholic bishops and big corporate America on the Republican side who are really not that unhappy about having so many illegal immigrants in the country.
DOBBS: And as usual, the least represented group of people, the largest constituency in the country, are working middle-class working men and women and their families, have no voice in this.
KING: That cuts across party lines. I have never seen such a difference of opinion between ordinary, regular hard-working Americans and the political elite, the media elite, the clergy elite. There's a certain elite group in this country which somehow thinks it's OK to have illegal immigrants in the country as soon as we call them legal. I've never seen such a disconnect between ordinary Americans and the elite.
DOBBS: Every poll, the reaction of the audience of this broadcast, I mean, is overwhelming. By overwhelming, I'm talking about 99 percent in support of, first, securing our borders.
DOBBS: Securing our ports, before even taking up the discussion of immigration reform. Which is -- does need to be dealt with, without question. But there's no trust here. We watch a sham like the Senate put forward on that Thursday, on the compromise legislation.
We watched the fact that the president is sitting there promising the state of New Mexico 269 border patrol agents. Governor Richardson tells me, Congressman, they still haven't shown up. We need 10,000 more just on the part of the legislation that you all have passed and the president has signed. What's going to happen?
KING: That's why we have to have enforcement first, if we have enforcement and so-called reform, which is not reform, just allowing the illegals to say here. If we do them both together, you're never going to get the border enforcement, just like we never got it in the 1986 bill. There was amnesty and there was border control, they gave the amnesty and never had the border control, and we went from three million to 11 million illegal immigrants.
If the McCain-Kennedy Bill passed tomorrow and went into law, we'd be siting here five years from now with another ten or 11 million illegal immigrants. That bill will do nothing to stop them, it will be an incentive for more of it.
DOBBS: We're already seeing it at the border right now. Is it your judgment, as the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, that we can actually see our borders secured? This is a bizarre question to be asking four and a half years after September 11. Why the resistance to something that is so obvious, that we must have security of our borders and in our ports?
KING: We can do it and must do it, because after September 11, border security became homeland security. This threatens the very security of our nation. We have to do it, but we have to do it separately. We have to increase the border patrols. We have to have strict sanctions on employers, because corporate America gets away with murder.
That's why you have the Republican/Democratic link, you have the liberal do-gooders on the Democratic side, you have corporate America on the Republican side, and that's why it's hard to get the people represented. The people are the ones being squeezed out. We have to do it, our security as a nation depends on it.
DOBBS: Congressman Pete King, as always, good to have you here.
Coming up next, Georgia now has the strongest law in the country of any state against illegal immigration. I'll be talking about the man that authored the legislation, Georgia's state senator, Chip Rogers.
And does criticism of Donald Rumsfeld emboldened the enemy? General David Grange says, yes. And he'll be with us in just a minute. Stay with us.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT