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CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight-Transcript


Location: Washington, DC

CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight-Transcript

DOBBS: The senate today voting to return the grand compromise on immigration to the senate floor for debate. Two senators who voted against that -- against cloture will be joining me here. I'll be talking with Senator John Cornyn, Republican from Capitol Hill. And Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, right here in our studios in Washington, D.C.

Senator, good to have you with us.


DOBBS: Senator, this vote, were you surprised at all by the passage -- the passage of cloture?

MCCASKILL: I was a little surprised, although I could tell there was serious arm-twisting going on, particularly on the Republican side. Several of the senators who voted no on cloture the last time flipped and voted yes today. My sense is they may not be there for the next important procedural vote, which will be Thursday.

So I'm optimistic that ultimately this bill will not become law.

DOBBS: We have just reported and, as you well know, as you've studied the issue, the similarities between 1986 and today are -- they're stark, they're vivid, and they're absolutely irresistible by anyone who will look at the facts.

What in the world is going on in the Senate? What is motivating the Democratic leadership in the Senate, as best you can judge?

MCCASKILL: Well, I think there's two things. Primarily, it's about money. As you know, I've talked about two things: follow the law and follow the money.

DOBBS: Right.

MCCASKILL: And if we were to follow the law right now, it would be very obvious that this bill is really not needed. We have plenty of tools in the law right now. It's not being enforced. We have not put the resources behind enforcing that law.

And then secondly, there is a big push in the business community to try to get these workers kind of like -- to wave the magic wand and get this really cheap work force that helps them pad their profits.

DOBBS: Amnesty for the illegal employers who have laid off all the costs on the taxpayers and communities all over the country, local, state and federal taxpayers. It is extraordinary.

Let me ask you, Senator, you've talked about the magnet, the illegal employer. Why is there no stomach in the Senate which says it's concerned about stopping it, even though the Congressional Budget Office says this legislation would curtail only 25 percent of illegal immigration in this country? Why is there no stomach in the Senate to actually enforce the law and to impose penalties on illegal employers and to provide border security?

MCCASKILL: I think it's easier to beat up on the illegal immigrants that come from a different country that are coming to try to feed their families than it is on businessmen.

You know, our criminal justice system is not good at trying to apply the law equally, regardless of your socioeconomic stance or where you are in the community.

And there's crimes you can deter and there's crimes you can't deter. Honestly, Lou, we can deter the hiring of illegal immigrants.

DOBBS: Right.

MCCASKILL: These businessmen will stop if they see some of their fellow business people going to prison for hiring illegal immigrants. They won't take the risk.

Meanwhile, these families, they're going to keep coming across the border to feed their families.

DOBBS: They would be fools not to.

MCCASKILL: They would be fools not to. So passing this law is not going to change the reality of illegal immigration, if we do not make the priority at the top of our list to enforce the law against people who are hiring them.

DOBBS: Your best judgment, will the Senate find conscience and character and capacity to look to the common good and the national interest? Or will they fall in line and pass amnesty?

MCCASKILL: I think my best judgment is that the people out there in America should continue to call and write and make the ruckus they're making. They're making a big ruckus. And it's reassuring to me that our democracy is as engaged as it is. It will be a close vote, but my guess is that we will not get final passage on this bill this week.

DOBBS: Senator Claire McCaskill, it is always great to talk with you.

MCCASKILL: Thank very much. Thanks for having me.

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