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CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight Transcript

Location: Washington, DC


HEADLINE: 35 U.S. Soldiers Wounded in Mortar Attack; President Bush Proposes Changes in Immigration Policy; American Workers Fighting Back

GUESTS: Brent Wilkes, Angela Kelley, Elton Gallegly, James Kolbe,

BYLINE: Jamie McIntyre, Casey Wian, Lisa Sylvester, John King, Lou Dobbs, Bill Tucker, Peter Viles

Today, 35 American soldiers were wounded in a mortar attack near Baghdad. President Bush proposes to give millions of illegal aliens the right to stay in the United States legally. Some of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have lost their jobs to foreign workers are fighting back, demanding that Washington take action.

LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, 35 American soldiers wounded in a mortar attack near Baghdad.

President Bush would give millions of illegal aliens the right to stay in this country. Critics say the plan rewards lawbreakers. Pro- immigration groups say the plan doesn't go far enough. The president's plan may win the support of millions of Hispanic voters, an increasingly powerful group in this country's electoral politics.

In "Exporting America" tonight, some of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have lost their jobs to foreign workers are fighting back, demanding that Washington take action.

And scandal on Madison Avenue. Prosecutors accuse two advertising executives of overbilling the government in a half- billion-dollar anti-drug campaign.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT for Wednesday, January 7. Here now, Lou Dobbs.


DOBBS: Tonight in our face off, two influential Republicans who have vastly different viewpoints about the Bush immigration plan. Congressman Jim Kolbe of Arizona is co-author of legislations upon which part of the Bush plan is, in fact, based. And Congressman Elton Gallegly of California chairs the terrorism sub-committee of the International Relations Panel. He says amnesty for illegal aliens facilitates terrorism.

Gentlemen, good to have you with us.

Let me begin, as you just heard Angela and Brent discussing this issue from their decidedly engaged, committed, point of view, the president's plan is his first step. There's much more they would like to see. Congressman Gallegly, what are your thoughts?

REP. ELTON GALLEGLY, ® CALIFORNIA: As I listen to the president this morning, quite frankly, there were more questions than answers for me at the end of the speech.

Make no mistake about it, I'm a great supporter of George W. Bush, I'm going to work hard to see that he's re-elected. But on this issue we seem to be light years apart.

DOBBS: And Congressman Colby?

REP. JAMES KOLBE, ® ARIZONA: Well, as the president laid out some principles, I think it's a step in the right direction. I think he's started the debate. I think it's important that we do that. But the devil's always in the details, and we went through eight months of drafting a piece of legislation that dealt with literally hundreds of different issues and we keep finding even more of them.

But I think the president is going in the right direction. What we're doing now simply isn't working. We need to try to find something that will work.

DOBBS: Not working. Can we all agree that one of the reasons our national immigration policy isn't working is because we simply don't have even, now more than two years after September 11, the ability to control our borders of this country?


KOLBE: Can we agree to that?

I would agree we don't have the ability but I also agree that we're not going to be able to do that. In my sector alone here in southern Arizona in the Tucson sector of INS, we have increased by 400 percent the number of agents. And this last year, 50 percent of all the people apprehended in the United States were in that sector.

DOBBS: Congressman, as you and I know, as one whose worked along that border 100 years ago, the Border Patrol are amongst the hardest working federal public servants. Even increasing it by 400 percent isn't a drop in the bucket for how many people we need on the border-Congressman Gallegly.

GALLEGLY: Lou, the problem goes behind the ability. The core of the issue is that we need the will to do it before we're able to actually come up with a more positive...

DOBBS: Let's go to that question. But, we do agree that is impairing. Why don't we have a national will to enforce that border?

GALLEGLY: That's a good question. And politically people don't like to be viewed as anti-immigrant. And...

DOBBS: My god, you don't have to be anti-immigrant to enforce a border!

GALLEGLY: I agree with you totally. But the issue is that we have too many people that do not want to be viewed as anti-immigrant and they confuse legal and illegal all too often.

The real problem, Lou, goes well beyond the border. The real problem is on the interior. When we have no interior enforcement, the magnet continues to be the driving force more so than the problem the border. If we enforced our laws inside the country, through jobsight enforcement and through the elimination of benefits to those that do not have entitlement to them, we would make tremendous roads towards solving the problem.

DOBBS: To the south of both of you, Congressmen, is a country with a host of economic and social and political problems. And as I just-we were just discussing in the earlier panel, the focus is on the United States as if it is some sort of problem for everybody.

We're not the problem, as you say, Congressman Gallegly, we're the magnet. The issue is what is happening in Mexico and why in the world we're not doing-I understand Senator Tom Frist is there meeting right now with Vincente Fox. The president will meet with President Fox next week. Something has got to be done in terms of that country.

KOLBE: Well, we are a magnet. Europe is actually the same problem. The French now have about 18 to almost 20 percent of their population is Muslim and largely from North Africa because of the success of the economy. This isn't something we are the only country.

DOBBS: There's a difference. Those are not illegal immigrants Congressman Kolbe. The French have amongst the strongest immigration laws and enforcement in the world.

KOLBE: But, indeed, many of them are illegal immigrants. But you are absolutely right, we are-that's my point. What we're doing simply isn't working. I don't think applying more forces along the border is going to solve the problem.

Why not use a market base solution, do a market base problem. Why not find a way to give them visas for temporary work in this country, channeled into the flow of these most of these people into legal channels of coming across the border.

DOBBS: How are you going to do that if you can't enforce the border? If you can't enforce the border what is their incentive?

KOLBE: The incentive is he we disincentivies the reason to come illegally

DOBBS: So you're going to punish the employer of those illegal aliens?

KOLBE: No, you disincentivies both the migrant worker, the reason for the migrant worker to come illegally under our legislation. And you disincentivies the reasons for an employer to hire somebody illegally.

If there's a pool of people out there, why bother hiring somebody who is an illegal alien?

DOBBS: But Congressman, as you know, we have every law in the world in the books and no one is enforcing those laws against the employers of illegal aliens.

KOLBE: Go to a market based, market driven solution to the problem.

GALLEGLY: Lou, in 1986 we had the Simpson-Mizouly Bill (ph)that was to end illegal immigration in the United States once and for all. We made 3.5 to 4 million people that were illegal, legal with the proviso we would have a safeguard called employer sanctions. Here we are 15, 16 years later with, depending on whose numbers you are using, somewhere between 9 and 13, 14 million people that are illegally in this country as a result of the fact that we did not have enforcement.

KOLBE: Simpson-Mizouly (ph) was flawed from the beginning, because...

DOBBS: Before we go back over ancient history, if you will, 17 years ago is now ancient...

KOLBE: But it was important...

DOBBS: I know it's important Congressmen...

KOLBE: It didn't deal with the problem of those that want to come next year to this country.

DOBBS: And frankly the proposal the president put forward today don't either. It was that process after it goes through the good hands of our elected officials like you and your colleague, Congressman Gallegly, I'm sure it will be fine tuned to excellence.

GALLEGLY: It's going to take more than fine tuning.

DOBBS: But the fact is, it's a critically important problem. I find it interesting that so few people in this public debate are talking about the costs of this. There's been no economic impact. Everyone is talking about it in terms of an economic problem. You talked about it as a market base solution, Congressman Kolbe.

The fact is, we're talking about a nation. We're far more than a market. We're far more than economy, we're a nation. And fundamental to that, I think we can agree there's the initial of sovereignty and that sovereignty born of the ability to enforce our borders. The great thing I think we can agree on here as we wrap up the president has begun in earnest a national debate on a critically important national issue that is a national immigration policy.

KOLBE: I agree and I think it's time we have the debate.

DOBBS: Congressman Gallegly.

GALLEGLY: Lou, I'd just like to say that the positive thing about the president's speech today, you're absolutely on point, we have started a national debate. I believe the administration is really going to be surprised when they see the results of the outcry of the American people when they understand the magnitude of what this conceptional proposal was today.

DOBBS: I hope that we hear more in this debate as it goes forward. And this dialogue more about traditional American values and the American-the legal American, hardworking citizen, his and her rights and opportunities being preserved in all of this as a first concern for our elected representatives. We thank you both, Congressman Gallegly, Congressman Kolbe, thank you.

Tonight's thought is from one of this countries founding father's on the issue of immigration to this country, "born in other countries, yet believing you could be happy in this, our laws acknowledge, as they should do, your right to join us in society, conforming, as I doubt not you will do, to our established rules." Thomas Jefferson.

A reminder to vote in tonight's poll. The question, "which term do you think best describes those who have entered our country illegally? Illegal aliens, illegal immigrants, undocumented workers or guest workers?" Cast your vote at We'll have the results for you later in the program.

Coming up, "Exporting America," thousands of Americans who have lost their jobs to foreign workers with L1 and H-1B visas are beginning to fight back. That story is next. Stay with us.

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