CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight - Transcript -
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Dana Bash from Capitol Hill.
Congressman Pete King of New York is the powerful chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, a leading critic of the illegal alien amnesty legislation the Senate passed and it's likely he'll be an important member of the House-Senate committee on comprehensive immigration reform, if that conference begins meeting anytime soon. And he joins us tonight from Long Island, New York. Congressman, good to have you here.
REP. PETE KING (R-NY) CHMN., HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: Lou, always good to be with you.
DOBBS: Let me turn first, we have reported tonight that the numbers are moving higher in illegal aliens crossing the border. Where are we headed with this piece of legislation?
DOBBS: Lou, I don't see how this could ever be considered in the House of Representatives the overwhelming majority of Republicans are against it. This is amnesty. The more the senators deny it, Democrat and Republican, the more they deny it, the more the president denies it, it's amnesty. And the American people don't want it. I've never seen a disconnect between the will of the people and the actions of elected officials as we've seen in the Senate.
And this is just a total disconnect, and as a Republican, our base is totally against it. But it goes beyond it, these are Reagan Republicans, and Democrats, independents, moderates, across the board people are opposed. They want border security first.
DOBBS: Senator Frist managed to say this weekend that the legislation expressed the will of the Senate. Isn't that lovely? What happened to the will of the people?
KING: The will of the Senate was not the will of the people. What really offends me about this is they say it has to be comprehensive, which means, on the one hand we have to protect the rights of the American people by having border security.
On the other hand we have to protect the rights of illegal immigrants. So they are suggesting there's an equivalency between the rights of legal Americans and the rights of illegal immigrants, and you can't do both at the same time. So they are trying to balance the two, and when you do that, you're never going to get border security.
After 20 years of promises, we don't have border security. There's no reason to think we're going to get it now unless we focus all our at attention on that.
DOBBS: And four and a half years after September 11, can a Republican administration, is it possible for this White House to comprehend, for that Senate to comprehend, there are about 280 million Americans out here who deserve protection at their ports and at their borders and that the people aren't -- I have to tell you, Congressman, the response to this broadcast is, the people have -- are sick and tired. They've had a belly full of the nonsense. They want the borders secured. They want the ports secured, and really don't want to hear any more about free trade and impediments to commerce.
KING: No, the American people that have ever been heard on any issue, this is the one if anyone is listening, the voice of the American people is clear. They want border security first. I tell you, my district, which is -- which, you know, Bill Clinton carried it twice, Al Gore carried it in 2000, President Bush barely carried in it 2004, but it's overwhelmingly, not even close, they want border security first. They don't want any amnesty, any legalization. They want the border secured first.
And, you're right, it's almost now, almost five years since September 11. And border security is homeland security. Our world changed on September 11. If there was ever the luxury of looking the other way on illegal immigration, it ended on September 11. We have to secure the border, not just for economic and cultural and social reasons, we have to secure it to preserve our security, our homeland security.
DOBBS: Congressman Pete King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. Good to have you with us. We appreciate it.
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