Lou Dobbs Tonight 1-29-07
PILGRIM: Pro-illegal alien groups today demanding federal agents stop enforcing our nation’s immigration laws. Now, the groups say they want all deportations to stop until Congress passes an amnesty bill for illegal aliens.
Casey Wian reports.
LUIS CARRILLO, ATTORNEY: Let’s take a vote. Who says English first?
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A sign of the times, a news conference starting with a vote on whether to begin in English or Spanish.
CARRILLO: This young woman here was a victim of the recent ICE raids.
WIAN: Last week, ICE arrested more than 750 Los Angeles-area illegal aliens, one of the biggest sweeps of criminal foreign nationals in U.S. history. Now illegal alien advocacy groups claim ICE is using racial profiling to also target otherwise law-abiding illegal aliens, such as this 20-year-old mother of three.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ICE said that I was illegal. And the agent proceeded to arrest me.
CARRILLO: ICE has given the impression to the public that they’re only going after persons with criminal backgrounds, when the truth is that they’re picking up workers, mothers, fathers, day laborers. ICE has a historic custom and practice of engaging in racial profiling, stopping only Latinos.
WIAN: The facts prove otherwise. ICE deported illegal aliens from 189 nations last year, including 1,364 Jamaicans, 624 Canadians, 489 Chinese. 431 Filipinos, and 405 Indians.
The majority of deportations, both criminal and otherwise, do involve Latin American citizens. But ICE says that’s only because those are the home countries of the overwhelming majority of illegal aliens. ICE says its recent raids only targeted illegal aliens already ordered deported by a judge. However, ICE says there were collateral arrests.
Now a growing number of illegal alien advocates are demanding the federal government stop enforcing immigration law.
JAVIER RODRIGUEZ, MARCH 25 COALITION: We demand, we demand a moratorium against deportations. On deportations and the raids.
WIAN: The same groups behind last year’s pro-amnesty street demonstrations are threatening more protests and marches this spring.
WIAN: All this an effort to pressure Congress to grant amnesty to the 12 to 20 million illegal aliens now in the United States — Kitty.
PILGRIM: Casey, is there any reaction from federal authorities on this protest?
WIAN: These demands, federal authorities say, are absolutely ridiculous. I mean, could you just imagine what would happen at the border if ICE and the Border Patrol decided to stop deporting illegal aliens in anticipation of Congress passing some sort of a guest worker or amnesty bill? The borders would be absolutely flood. They would be overwhelmed, even more so than they are now — Kitty.
PILGRIM: Thanks very much.
Well, some progress today in the war against illegal drugs coming across our border from Mexico. Four alleged Mexican drug lords were arraigned in San Diego this afternoon. The four were extradited from Mexico earlier this month.
The extradition was ordered by Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderon. Now, Calderon has vowed to crack down on drug gangs and violence in his country, violence that often spreads to the U.S. side of the border.
Well, let’s turn to our border security crisis. There are currently more than 6,000 National Guardsmen patrolling our border with Mexico. But just what are the guard’s rules of engagement?
An Arizona National Guards spokesman said, “We don’t apprehend. We don’t detain. We don’t transport.” Arizona legislators also want to know just what the Guard’s role is. And today they held a hearing on the National Guard’s border role.
And joining me now is Warde Nichols, Arizona’s homeland security chairman. And thanks for being with us.
WARDE NICHOLS, ARIZONA’S HOMELAND SECURITY CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
PILGRIM: Part of the hearing today was to sort out exactly happened. What did we establish at today’s hearing on what happened?
NICHOLS: Well, unfortunately, what we established today is that the National Guard are there on the border as basically window dressing. They can’t do anything. They — all they do is radio in positions of illegals when they’re coming across the border. They can’t engage. They can’t, you know, apprehend, detain. I mean they’re there basically to just radio in — radio in positions.
PILGRIM: Now, you have said that the gunmen who cross over from the Mexico side of the border appear to be testing the resolve of the National Guard. Explain a little bit what you — what you mean by that.
NICHOLS: Yes, based off the stories that we got from General Ratochek (ph) today an exact account of the story. I believe that these were paramilitary personnel in Kevlar, vests carrying automatic weapons coming in to test the resolve of what the National Guard are going to do in these situations. Test — test to see what their response is when they come across the border in these type of situations.
And we found out today that with rules of engagement in the type of things they have to adhere to, that our National Guard men and women on the border are, in my opinion, terrible risk. Their rules of engagement are terrible. Their hands are tied.
PILGRIM: The rules of engagement are what? They must retreat, correct, and cannot engage?
NICHOLS: Basically, yes. They have to — there’s three or four different things that they have to do in process. And basically, in a nutshell, they cannot do anything until fired upon.
PILGRIM: Now this area, tell us a little bit about this area, and what kind of people might be coming across.
NICHOLS: Well, in this type of area, it’s out near Sasabe and in this area there’s a lot of coyote, human smuggling going on. There’s drugs that are coming across the border and now in this particular situation, we believe it was some type of paramilitary personnel.
PILGRIM: And — and there was no engagement whatsoever?
NICHOLS: Well, again from General Ratochek’s report, one the armed gunman got within about 30 feet of one of our guardsman. And they were standing there, looking at each other, rifles in hand, and at that point that’s what our National Guardsman went a different position in a defensive position.
PILGRIM: They withdrew and called in…
NICHOLS: Yes, they called in the border guard. And that’s another thing that we learned in the hearing today, that our border guard, our Border Patrol, are there basically taking care of our National Guard. I think it’s a little reversed. Our National Guard men and women are trained military personnel. Yet they have to call the border guard, the Border Patrol in order to be able to do anything.
PILGRIM: Now this National Guard operation is called “Operation Jump Start”. It’s $760 million so far. Do you think that that’s a waste of money or do you think that’s effectively spent?
NICHOLS: You know, I can’t say it’s a complete waste of money, because we have gotten reports that they have been able to help Border Patrol apprehend and detain these people.
But again I would venture to say that if we use that money more wisely and we are able to put them there in a primary role, able to do the duties of the Border Patrol, we would have much more success in securing our borders.
PILGRIM: Now this particular group of National Guard troops were commended for their action. Do you think that that’s something that should have been done? They were commended not only by the National Guard but Arizona’s governor’s office for their actions.
NICHOLS: Yes, I wouldn’t want to belittle what the soldiers did in any shape, way or form. They were following out their directives and their orders. But that’s what we were looking at today. What are their directives and what are their orders and what are their rules of engagement? And I would venture to say that they — that their rules of engagement and their directives must be changed.
PILGRIM: Now, this is a state hearing. But what would you like to see happen?
NICHOLS: I would like to see more awareness about this issue brought forward. That people understand that our men and women on the border are at risk every day because of the directives of the federal government and the directives of the governors that they have signed on to in order to have the National Guard at the border. And they’re putting their lives on line, and we’ve got to untie their hands.
PILGRIM: This is not just a state issue, because this border stretches across many states. Is there any thinking that perhaps a few states could get together and start to reexamine the rules of engagement?
NICHOLS: I would love the four border states to get together and, you know, look at the rules of engagement and look at what Border Patrol’s doing on the border.
We know the governor of Texas, just in last week, signed a decree basically putting another 600 plus Texas National Guard on the border to act more in a primary role there and to be able to ride along with Border Patrol and assist. And that may be partially the way to go, but I don’t think it goes far enough yet.
PILGRIM: In this hearing today, any input from Washington? And you are happy with the support you’re getting from Washington?
NICHOLS: No, we didn’t get any input from Washington. And quite frankly, unfortunately, Washington in their federal policies, immigration policies, border security policies, have failed us miserably here in Arizona, and we’ve got to do something about it.
PILGRIM: Any next steps decided on today?
NICHOLS: You know, I did tell the general in the hearing today that we would like to have him back at some point. As we let some of the thoughts simmer and understand what was said. And we hope to get more answers as we continue to mow through this process and be able to, again, make good policy decisions that we can bring awareness of the issue to the forefront.
PILGRIM: In the interim, would more National Guard troops help the situation?
NICHOLS: You know, we asked the general that. And he didn’t really quite have an answer for us that issue. He said that he’s apolitical. He’s not going to get into the policies and the politics of it and that he’s just there carrying out orders.
PILGRIM: Well, sometimes politics has to be practical.
NICHOLS: Yes, yes.
PILGRIM: Thanks very much for joining us this evening and explaining it.
NICHOLS: Thank you, Kitty.
PILGRIM: Representative Warde Nichols.
NICHOLS: Thank you.