Dobbs: President and Senate allied with 'corporate supremacists'
By Lou Dobbs
Editor's note: Lou Dobbs' commentary appears every Wednesday on CNN.com.
NEW YORK (CNN) -- The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are set to take action on legislation that could determine the financial and social fate of nearly every American for the next 20 years.
The Senate and House are scheduled to go into conference later this month to reconcile the significant differences between each chamber's so-called comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
If President Bush, the Republican leadership of the Senate and Senate Democrats have their way, 11 million to 20 million illegal aliens will receive amnesty, and at least 60 million new immigrants will be allowed into the country over the next two decades.
In addition, the Senate legislation will cost the United States as much as a half-trillion dollars in administrative, social and health care costs over those two decades, according to estimates by the Heritage Foundation. The Congressional Budget Office has just released its own analysis of the legislation, and it concludes that nothing in the Senate bill will end the overwhelming torrent of illegal immigration.
It is far too early to tell whether the House of Representatives has the political will and courage to stand against the upper chamber of Congress and President Bush. If the House fails in its duty to represent the will of American citizens, our nation will be forever changed.
"The will of the people," Thomas Jefferson said, "is the only legitimate foundation of any government." But if President Bush and the Senate prevail, it will be a clear victory for corporate supremacists, advocacy groups and dominant special interests and a historic defeat for our middle-class working men and women and their families.
Our largest and least represented group of citizens in Washington cannot even be assured that our elected representatives in the House and the Senate will pursue the national interest and secure our borders and ports. And that is a travesty.
What is the will of the people? Ask any member of Congress who has returned from his or her district and there is no doubt their constituents demand border security and an end to illegal immigration.
In the last week, the Lou Dobbs Tonight broadcast commissioned a poll to gauge the will of the people on the issues of illegal immigration and border security. As far as I know, it is the most comprehensive national poll that has been conducted in decades on these issues. Polling company Opinion Research Corporation interviewed 1,031 adult Americans representing every region of the country and all walks of life.
Our exclusive poll was constructed with no other motive than to ascertain how Americans are thinking about every aspect of our illegal immigration and border security crises. The margin of error for the poll is plus or minus 3 percentage points; it is 4.5 percentage points for the half-sample questions.
The first conclusion is not particularly surprising. There isn't great optimism that there will even be a so-called comprehensive reform legislation at all:
How confident are you that Congress and President Bush will pass new laws on immigration and border security that will improve the way the country handles this issue -- very confident, fairly confident, not very confident, or not confident at all?
Very confident 11%
Fairly confident 24%
Not very confident 29%
Not confident at all 33%
No opinion 3%
As to the issue of border security and employer sanctions, a strong majority of Americans favor imposing heavy fines on employers who hire illegal aliens. And they want more Border Patrol, federal law enforcement officers and National Guard troops along our southern border with Mexico:
Would you favor or oppose each of the following proposals:
Favor Oppose No opinion
a. Building a fence along the 2,000-mile border
with Mexico 45% 50% 5%
b. Imposing fines of tens of thousands of dollars
on employers who hire illegal immigrants 60% 36% 4%
c. Sending employers who hire illegal immigrants
to jail 40% 55% 5%
d. Putting more Border Patrol and federal law
enforcement agents on the U.S. border with Mexico 78% 19% 3%
e. Sending National Guard troops to the U.S. border
with Mexico 56% 40% 4%
While 50 percent of those surveyed oppose building a fence along our southern border with Mexico, 45 percent agree, which is just within the margin of error.
While President Bush and a number of members of the Republican and Democratic leadership maintain that the federal government should not be deporting any illegal aliens back to their home countries, almost seven in 10 Americans believe we should:
Do you approve or disapprove of the U.S. government deporting illegal immigrants to the country they came from? (Asked of half the sample)
No opinion 8%
An overwhelming majority of Americans want illegal immigration decreased, with more than one-third of those surveyed favoring the removal of all illegal aliens from this country:
Would you like to see the number of illegal immigrants currently in this country increased, decreased, or remain the same? (Asked of half the sample)
Remain the same 26%
No opinion 6%
Americans also acknowledge that the United States government is only partly to blame for our illegal immigration and border security crisis. Three-fifths of those surveyed think the Mexican government encourages the immigration of its citizens to this country; only 18 percent said it discourages its citizens. And 83 percent say Mexico has "not done enough" to help stop illegal drugs from coming here. I obviously agree, considering by far the largest amounts of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana enter the United States from Mexico.
Do you think the government of Mexico encourages or discourages illegal immigration of its citizens into the United States?
No opinion 24%
Do you think the government of Mexico is very responsible, somewhat responsible, not very responsible, or not responsible at all for the amount of illegal drugs currently coming into the United States? (Asked of half the sample)
Very responsible 32%
Somewhat responsible 36%
Not very responsible 14%
Not responsible at all 13%
No opinion 5%
The will of the American people is clear: Secure our borders and ports. Then end illegal immigration. America is now at a historic crossroads, and we're about to learn whether the first three words of our Constitution matter at all to this government.
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