Skip to main content


Return to Transcripts main page


Bush, Canadian and Mexican Leaders to Talk Immigration; Immigration Problem Debated

Aired March 29, 2006 - 23:00   ET


WAYNE SLATER, "DALLAS MORNING NEWS": And I think it strengthened George Bush's mind was an understanding, not simply of people as a class or particular race, but of people who have families, have needs to work, people he understood and feels very comfortable around.
ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: In this 1999 interview, then presidential candidate, George W. Bush, outlined the beliefs that continue to drive his immigration policy today.

GEORGE W. BUSH, U.S. PRESIDENT: We've got to enforce the borders, but I understand family values don't stop at the Rio Grande River. And see what I understand is when you've got a man that's got kids to feed and you're making 50 cents and you can look up north and see the chance to make $50, and your kids are hungry, that you're going to come.

Mi casa blanca es su casa blanca.

QUIJANO: In the months after his election the president began pushing comprehensive immigration reform. But September 11th happened and any thought of opening the borders was viewed as too risky. Now with the election year immigration debate boiling over and his approval ratings in the 30s, it's clear some fellow Republicans have no problem distancing themselves from their president on this divisive issue.

Elaine Quijano, CNN, Cancun, Mexico.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Well, as we've been reporting the Senate is debating several versions of an immigration reform bill. The House already passed up with, a tougher one from both parties. Immigration is certainly a hot button issue, especially in this election y ear, but unlike republicans, Democrats are not fighting among themselves over it. And that, well, that's no small thing.


COOPER (voice-over): The saying goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. With Republicans battling each other over immigration, Democrats have an opportunity to, well, relax a little.

JENNY BACKUS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think the Democrats are doing exactly the right thing. They are -- they have realized that on this issue that by working with the Republicans on a real solution to the problem, I think they can very smart not to get too fiery on their rhetoric. I think they've been smart to even try to reach out to the president.

COOPER: It's not that Democrats have been silent on immigration. Far from it.

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: The focus on the border will not prevent undocumented immigration.

SEN. TOM HARKIN (D) IOWA: If you kick out 11 1/2 to 12 million people it will bring our economy to a screeching halt.

COOPER: And Hillary Clinton on the more restrictive House bill.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) NEW YORK: This certainly is not in keeping with my understanding of the scriptures because this bill would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan and probably even Jesus himself.

COOPER: The reality is immigration is a sticky issue for Republicans, but not so much for Democrats.

BACKUS: The problem for the Republicans is that they initially thought this was a good sort of wedge issue like they've used in other issues, you know, gay marriage or things like that that have tried to divide the country. It's turned out they divided themselves. Right now this issue is simpler for Democrats because Democrats are united behind one solution that is out there.

COOPER: Democrat Senators Ted Kennedy and Diane Feinstein played major roles in shaping the guest worker provisions in the measure now before the Senate. All eight Democrats on the Judiciary Committee supported those provisions but among Republicans the divide has never been deeper.

Across the country, from protest rallies to Capitol Hill, immigration reform has clearly struck a nerve. Especially within the Republican Party. Which brings us to that other saying, sometimes you can be your own worst enemy.

BACKUS: They should step back and not try to get in the middle of this Republican food fight that is developing very fast. Let the Republicans fight it out amongst themselves.


COOPER (on camera): Well, joining us now are J.D. Hayworth, Republican congressman from Arizona's Fifth District. He joins me now from Washington along with Congressman Jim Kolbe, also a Republican who represents Arizona's Eighth District. Gentlemen, we appreciate you being with us.

Congressman Hayworth, let me start with you. You disagree with the president's guest worker program. What do you think should happen to the estimated 11 million or more illegal immigrants already in this country? REP. J.D. HAYWORTH, (R) ARIZONA: Anderson, with due respect, that is exactly the wrong first question to ask. The first question we should ask is how do we protect America and what do we do to make sure that American citizens are secured in their future. When it comes to the illegals as we take a look at their situation, I prescribe a policy of enforcement first. And I believe if we actually enforce the laws, both on the border and in our interior, and we close loopholes and we also took away benefits that illegals are enjoying from the largesse of taxpayers, if we turned off the magnet of jobs that are given to illegals and benefits, people would self-deport. They would relocate back home if the incentives that keep them here are gone.

COOPER: So for the 11 million here who are already here, you think by making these changes it will give them incentives to leave?

HAYWORTH: Yeah. I also think the documentation program, what we saw after September 11th, with a special registration program involving those who are here illegally from the Middle East, we thought we saw thousands leave voluntarily, thousands primarily of Pakistanis leaving once the law started to be enforced, once in terms of our interior on a natural security basis we started checking and trying to find out exactly who people are.

So when you do enforce the law, it actually carries with it the happy consequence of people leaving.

COOPER: Well, Congressman Kolbe, why should there be an effort of accommodation for it as some would want it and why should they be, as some would argue, rewarded for having ignored the laws.

REP. JIM KOLBE, (R) ARIZONA: Well, it's not a matter of accommodation and it's not a matter of rewarding them.

J.D., my colleague and friend, though we disagree on this issue, J.D. has it right when he says the first issue ought to be our border security and how do we secure our boarders. But it's obvious that enforcement only isn't going to work. We've quintupled the budget for border patrol in the last 10 years. We've had a 400 percent increase in the number of agents along the border.

And what we've done is changed the dynamics of the immigration problem. We've moved it from one part of the country to another. But the same number -- everybody agrees, the economists and border patrol agree, the same number of illegal immigrants are m coming into the country today as came before. So you've got to have a comprehensive program that looks at this.

It's got to look at border security, it's got to look at employer security, giving a way for employers to know who they're hiring, that they're hiring legal people who are here legally and then it's got to have some way for people who want to come to hold these jobs because they're going to cope keep coming to come into the country legally and lastly you've got to deal with that elephant in the closet there and that's the issue of 10, 11, 12 million Americans -- immigrants who are in this country in an undocumented status. COOPER: Congressman Hayworth, how do you seal off the border? I went out on patrol today, talked to a couple of border agents. They all said you can't build a fence 500 feet tall and 50 feet deep so no one digs underneath it. You have to have a layers of security and you can do that with cameras. But do you think there should be a fence? How do you think - do you think it's possible to completely seal off the boarder?

HAYWORTH: Sure, I think it is possible, in fact, to have a border fenced to have a security system. I would refer you to what is transpiring there by San Diego and Tijuana. As you see the three layers of fence there, as you see other actions taken. And I'm mindful of the fact that we found a tunnel from Tijuana into San Diego, but we have to take the steps to employ the technology that we have at our disposal and the manpower including our military and we should do this not only on our southern border but likewise on our northern border and in our ports of entry. We have to get tough on all our border entries. Not just our southern border. That's what must be done, along with a policy of enforcement first. Not only on the border but also in the interior. And in the workplace.

COOPER: Congressman Kolbe, do you agree as Congressman Hayworth is saying that you offer incentives and people will just leave? If there are 11 million at least illegal immigrants in this country certainly a large number of them want to say here. What do you don't a them?

KOLBE: Of course they're doing going to stay here. Many people have lived here 15, 20, 30, 40 years of their life, their children have been raised here, now their grandchildren are being raised here. It's completely unrealistic, just unrealistic to assume that those people are going to leave with some kind of incentive that's being offered them. They're here in American. They're not here on a legal status. They didn't come in a legal status. We need to figure out some way to get them to identify themselves. From a security standpoint we should want to know who those people are. To simply say we're going ignore that problem and leave those people here I think is the worst possible solution to the security problem.

HAYWORTH: But with all due respect, Jim, that's not what I'm saying. I'm not saying ignore the problem. What I am pointing out is that we have failed to enforce the law. Back when we had our last amnesty in 1986 ...

KOLBE: I know.

HAYWORTH: President Reagan signed it and he said tough sanctions on business would stem the low of illegals. That was the intent. There wasn't the result. Successive administrations have failed to enforce the law. And now it is coming back at us with a vengeance in a post-9/11 world.

KOLBE: The law as it written down as relates to employers is an unenforceable law because it says that employers have to have three pieces of documentation. They get those three pieces of documentation, they make photocopies of them, they put them in the file, they're complying with the law as it stands now. It's an unenforceable piece of the law because we know most of that documentation is being counterfeited.

HAYWORTH: So we shouldn't call them undocumented aliens, they are in fact using counterfeit documents, which is a felony with Social Security numbers and the like.

KOLBE: We have the technology that can change that. But it's got to go hand in hand with the fact that people are going to come here to take these jobs. It's go to the find some guest worker program is going to allow people to come here in a legal fashion.

COOPER: Gentlemen, I appreciate both of your perspectives. Congressman Kolbe and Congressman Hayworth. Thank you very much. Interesting discussion.

KOLBE: Thank you.

HAYWORTH: Thank you.

COOPER: From the politics of the debate to the front lines of illegal immigration. The hard reality of coming to America, a trip into the shadows of Chinatown is next.

Also, trouble up north, how Canada's hopes and America's fears are clashing at that border.

And later ...


ROBERT NICKELSBERG, "TIME" PHOTOGRAPHER: There's a lot of money moving around on this. Yes, there is high-tech instruments involved but then they come across something as crude as a one-strand piece of barbed wire and that's the border.


COOPER In words and pictures, on tour with the Border Patrol and the cat and mouse game they play with their prey. All that and more when 360 continues.


COOPER: Well, of the 11 million illegal immigrants in America, some 500,000 are in New York. Many are crowded together in the two- square miles of Chinatown. They pay a high price to get to there but the cost may only get higher once they actually arrive. All the angles tonight, CNN's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the Lower East Side of Manhattan. But it feels like another country. As we make our way through Chinatown's crowded streets, Peter Kwong, a professor of Asian studies at Hunter College gives us the real story on illegal immigrants who came here in search of a dream.

PETER KWONG, HUNTER COLLEGE: They are willing to, you know work hard. But this is a very, very bad kind of exploitation. And they don't deserve that.

KAYE (on camera): Hard to know exactly how many illegal immigrants are living here in Chinatown simply because it's tough to keep track. Most are smuggled in by plane. Very few by ship. But no matter how they get here, they do so without being detected.

(voice-over): This man, who calls himself Mr. Chung, tells us he's been living here illegally for two years.

KWONG: "We don't have legal status. Always afraid of being catched. Always worried about police coming and check on our identities."

KAYE: He paid a pilot $60,000 to smuggle him in. Many illegals who aren't students apply for student visas to getting access to the United States.

KWONG: "I love China. I want to be in the United States free in this country. That's why I'm willing to pay that much money."

One of the problem in this community is that they -- they illegal, they don't speak English, they have no normal skills, marketable skills.

KAYE (on camera): So they take advantage of them.

KWONG: Take advantage of them.

KAYE: They pay them nothing.

KWONG: Pay them nothing.

KAYE (voice-over): Still, $3.75 an hour is far better than ten cents an hour they earned at home. At this employment agency Mr. Chung and countless other illegals search for work posted on paper slips and then wait.

KWONG: Employers will give a call to this office saying, you know, I need three dishwashers. Could you send me?

KAYE: Oftentimes the working conditions are deplorable. Inside this unmarked building we find a sweatshop. Men and well, mostly illegal, according to our guide, sewing clothes. They're caged in. The stench is stifling.

KWONG: These people literally work from 7:00 until 8:00 or 9:00 in the evening.

KAYE (on camera): And do they get any insurance or anything like that for a job like this?

KWONG: No, nothing. If you get injured, that's your tough luck. KAYE (voice-over): And after a long day's work, they don't have much to go home to.

KWONG: Six people live in same room. They may share a bathroom as well as a kitchen. Even more desperate, some of the people will share beds, rotating beds.

KAYE (on camera): If the immigration bill passes, will life change for these people?

KWONG: In some degrees, because if you're citizens, you could go to complain openly. And hopefully they will be addressed. But right now, you can't because if you complain, you might get yourself deported.

KAYE (voice-over): So the illegals choose to remain invisible. Trading dignity to avoid deporation. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Well, the border with Mexico isn't the only side of illegal immigration problems. There are issues up north as well, far north. Covering all the angles Katharine Barrett went to Blaine, Washington, on the U.S.-Canadian border.


KATHARINE BARRETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Children of a common mother, words in stone over the peace arch of this busy northwestern border post. But in recent years that sibling relationship between the U.S. and Canada has been, well, fractious.

The low points, two years ago a Liberal Canadian legislator stomped on a Bush doll on television. Two years before that a senior government adviser called President Bush a "moron." But hopes are high that Thursday's meeting in Cancun between leaders of the world's two biggest trading partners will bring a public thaw in U.S.-Canadian relations.

DON ALPER, WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: I think the new Prime Minister Steven Harper is more in tune ideology and certainly economically with the Bush administration. So I think it's kind of like saying, OK, let's see what we can do to, you know, forget about all of the problems we've had in the past and do the best we can in terms of building a strong future.

BARRETT: But policy differences will not vanish overnight. Border security is job one. Canadian border agents hope the new Harper government will soon change the law that does not allow them to carry guns. Twice this year Canadian agents have closed the gates and abandoned their posts as armed suspects headed north toward the boarder.

DAN DUNSKY, CANADIAN POLITICAL ANALYST: The Canada-U.S. border is Canada's economic lifeline. Fifty-two percent of our GDP depends on trade between the two countries. The nightmare scenario for any Canadian politician right now, especially the leadership, is a terrorist attack in the United States from -- committed by somebody who came over the Canadian border.

BARRETT: But a U.S. proposal for all travelers entering the United States to have passports or pass cards is meeting resistance all along the 4,000 mile northern boundary. Border communities on both sides fear a drop in tourism and cross border commerce.


COOPER: Katharine joins us now from the border in Washington. Do we know how many people cross from Canada to the United States illegally?

BARRETT (on camera): Anderson, the best estimates I've gotten are about 20,000 illegal immigrants apprehended every year crossing from Canada. That's obviously far, far lower than we see on the southern border with Mexico. A different economy in Canada but also a difference in law enforcement. Since 2001, authorities up here have been doing what they've called joint border enforcement teams, working very close I with their Canadian counterparts at all levels. That kind of cooperation and joint operation is what helped them uncover a hidden drug smuggling tunnel just last summer just a little bit east of here. Anderson?

COOPER: Again, certainly not seen that level of cooperation on the other side here. Thanks very much, Katharine, appreciate it.

One sad fact about illegal immigration, it can split families apart. Take a look.


SHAMILA, ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT: I am afraid when I go outside that God forbid if for some reason I'm pulled over or something like that happens and I'm sent back and I will be separated from my son.


COOPER: One woman's agony, how do you cope when your child is legal but you, by a quirk of fate, are not? And stirring pictures of life on the border taken by "Time" photographer Robert Nickelsberg. All that and more when 360 from the border continues.


COOPER: Well, the battle of immigration is not just dividing Washington, it's dividing families, literally in some cases, including the one you're about to meet. It's about a sister and a brother, this story is, and the fine line the law draws between who can stay in America and who has to go. CNN chief national correspondent John King reports.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happy birthday dear Yassir (ph). JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A double birthday celebration in working class Staten Island.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Make a wish, honey.

KING: For nine-year-old Yassir and his 22-year-old Uncle Abbas who is in far away Baghdad on the front lines of the Iraq War.

SHAMILA, ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT: He loves to serve his country and he's been there since December.

KING: Shamila is Yassir's mother and Abbas's older sister. Six years separate them, a difference that because of immigration law allows him to be in the army and on a path to citizenship but forces her to live in the shadows, an illegal immigrant for some 20 years ago. That family divide was created three years ago when their mother, at the time also in the country illegally, was granted permanent resident status.

SHAMILA: He's under 21 and my mom when she got her green card I had exceed that age limit of 21 to get your green card with your parents. The day he got his green card he went straight into the army.

KING: And she lives in fear.

SHAMILA: I'm considered undocumented right now. I'm out of status. I am afraid when I go outside that God forbid some reason I'm pulled over or something like that happens and I'm sent back and I will be separated even from my son.

KING: Theirs is a story often loss in an immigration debate dominated by talk of men flooding into the United States from Mexico and Central America. Of the estimated 12 million illegals in the United States, four million are adult women and there are more than three million children like Yassir who are U.S. citizens but have at least one parent here illegally.

JEFFREY PASSEL, PEW HISPANIC CENTER: Seems to me the stereotype of the young, unattached male is what's driving a lot of the discussion. Most of them are in families with children. In fact, two-thirds of the children of the undocumented immigrants are U.S. citizens because they were born here.

KING: But having a son who is a citizen or a brother off in a war zone doesn't change the view of those demanding tougher enforcement of immigration laws.

MARK KRIKORIAN, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: It's not the job of the American people to make up for the mistakes and bad decisions of these illegal alien parents. I mean, there's no neat or easy or clean way to deal with this.

KING: Shamila is studying to be a physician's assistant while applying for her legal status. But it could take 10 years or more and she worries the immigration debate in Washington would somehow make her a target.

SHAMILA: I'm going to school and I'm doing all of these things I would never ever have the opportunity back in Pakistan to do. But, yeah, it scares me a lot. You're afraid of moving around. You're afraid of traveling. Even from state to state.

KING: So Yassir spends his birthday biking close to home, only vaguely aware, his mothers says, that his country is not her legal home. John King, CNN, New York.


COOPER: I think a lot of people throughout the country have an image of the border, the fence on the border as being sort of this high-tech impregnable fence. It certainly is not. Take a look at this. This is basically corrugated steel fence. It's pretty solid. This was built in 1998. But as you can see this has literally been drilled through by people trying to get to the other side. And they have done this patchwork soldered new pieces on to it.

There's actually a unit from the Border Patrol that goes along this fence repairing it every day full time. But you can see residue here from people who have tried to get across. Water bottles just about everywhere. This one actually still has water in it. Somebody's clothing. Even pieces of the fence here which have been chipped away and just hacked off.

It's amazing in this sector, the Tuscan -- sorry, the Tucson sector in Arizona, as many as 60,000 people were apprehended in March. That's on average. On any given day there are about 2,000 people apprehended in the month of March. It is simply mind-boggling the number of people trying to get across this border every day.

"Time" magazine, our sister publication, sent out a photographer to capture some of the images along the border. "Time" magazine photographer Robert Nickelsberg. Here he is in his own words showing his pictures.


ROBERT NICKELSBERG, "TIME" PHOTOGRAPHER (voice-over): I focused on the Pacific Ocean, beachside of Southern California and Tijuana to 60 miles east towards Arizona. If you can get to the right person and have luck, you're in. Many people don't realize outside of San Diego that there are 4,000 foothills and east of Tijuana, as soon as sun begins to set the human smuggling charade begins.

The border agents are very sympathetic but very good at their jobs. They'll get there at sunset and stay until sunrise. They have night vision goggles. They're dropped at a high point by a helicopter. On a low point, another team will be dropped. And they start coordinating between the two teams on how to move behind them as the group of smugglers come uphill.

The footpaths are very visible. Higher up, where we were standing with two border patrolmen who are expert trackers, and know this region bake the back of their hand. There's really no border fence as such. It might be one line of barbed wire.

There's so many trick methods from the guides who are actually trained by the smuggling mafia to get people in quickly and quietly.

Smugglers give them pieces of blankets that have been cut out known as booties. And they wear them to hide their trail.

The man on the ground was near exhaustion. Had been running for three to four, five hours. He had worn through booties. And was about to get sick from dehydration.

We came across three groups. They're all about the same age group of 18 to 30. Physically fit. I think they know the game's over once one border patrolman gets within two to 300 yards. A few were so relaxed, it appeared as though this was not their first time.

But they know it's also a matter of two to three hours they'll be put in the holding cell, processed on the computer and if there's no criminal record they're called voluntary returnees. It won't go on their record when they're sent back to Mexico. Two or three times, four times a day, a bus comes down to particular border crossings and Mexican nationals are unloaded and sent through a pedestrian fence. Often so fast that the Mexican officials don't have a manifest of who's coming.

It's a pretty involved industry. If someone is paying $1,200, $1,300, $1,400 as a Mexican national to come across, a group of ten, that's $12, $13,000. There's a lot of money moving around on this. Yes, there is high-tech instruments involved. But then they come across something as crude as a one-stand piece of barbed wire and that's the border. So no matter how much high tech we have, the biggest window is open and if you want to cross, it's not a problem.


COOPER: The words and images of "Time" magazine photographer Robert Nickelsberg. We'll have more on the border when 360 continues.

In fact, it is a spot just on the other side. A jumping off point, call it Grand Central in the desert for all points north. The brickyard they call it. We'll take you there.

And then this ...


DR. BRUCE ANDERSON, FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGIST: There are a lot of sad stories associated with these migrants crossing. There's a lot of young, healthy people. Most are young, most are healthy.


COOPER: Illegal immigrant whose actually made it across, never expecting their dream to end like this. Dying on this side of the border. Those stories and more ahead on 360.


COOPER: We are coming to you live tonight from the Arizona Mexico border. And we've been following the journey that illegal immigrants take to get to the United States. It is certainly a rough and a dangerous trip, but some people do get help for the right price.

CNN's Rick Sanchez takes us south of the border to a virtual depot for human trafficking.


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's called the Brickyard. A place only 4 1/2 miles from the Arizona border where would be immigrants gather for a chance to sneak into the United States. Jose is from Veracruz, Mexico. What are you going to go when you get to the other side of the border?

He says he'll find a job. A brickyard is what this used to be. But now, amid the bricks and hogs, a cottage industry has dropped. This is now a transit post if you will, where immigrants are shuttled in and shuttled out.

KAT RODRIQUEZ, COALITION OF HUMAN RIGHTS: It's become this way because we basically shifted traffic by the policies they've enacted. We've had a policy of militarizing the border, sealing down urban areas, shifting traffic, migrant traffic into more isolated desert, desolate terrain.

SANCHEZ: Kat Rodriquez is a human rights organizer who's monitored the shift in undocumented immigration away from urban border towns like Nogales to more rural areas like Altar, Mexico. They arrived there from throughout Central America and from there, they're shuttled 60 miles to the Brickyard. And from there, another 4 1/2 miles to the border town of Sasabe.

(on camera): We're in Mexico. That is the U.S. point of entry. Undocumented immigrants can't get through there. So they're dispersed instead either to the light or to the left, through the desert.

(voice-over): And through the desert we saw vans shuttling immigrants like Ben Hamin (ph) from Guatemala who left home more than a month ago with nothing but this bag.

You have some shoes, another pair of jeans, some apples, some crackers. All you have in your entire life?


SANCHEZ: What he can't show us is his money. That's hidden from lurking coyotes and bandits who take advantage of desperate immigrants.

RODRIQUEZ: The majority of migrants that I've talked to often expect to get robbed.

SANCHEZ: And there's the desert with its cactus, snakes, scorpions and scorching sun. It's a journey that kills dozens every month but yet many of these immigrants keep crossing, some repeatedly.

Elizabeth Padril (ph) lives in Tucson and helps newly-arrived immigrants.

You've seen some of your clients arrive, at the time get deported and they're back the next day by dinner time?


RODRIQUEZ: It's an absolutely ridiculous idea that you can seal the border.

SANCHEZ: So what is the better option? Human rights workers like Rodriquez say there should be a screening process to allow immigrants to enter the U.S. legally. If need be, charging them the $2,000 they now pay to coyotes to get across.

(on camera): If you could pay that $2,000 legally and be allowed in the United States, would you pay it? You would pay it. Yeah.

(voice-over): They say the backlog in immigration makes it's impossible or them to wait. So they keep coming, along this newest route, along the Arizona-Mexico border. Rick Sanchez, CNN, Sonora, Mexico.


COOPER: And they do keep coming. As I said, in this area, as many as 2,000 arrested every single day.

Every person who decides to cross the border illegally takes a gamble that they'll be one of the lucky ones. It's impossible to overstate the dangers of the journey. Many die along the way. Many more die after they crossover in the desert here in the United States, far from their families. It is an anonymous death that sets in motion another journey. Here's CNN's Dan Simon.


DR. BRUCE ANDERSON, FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGIST: This is another individual presumed to be an undocumented border crosser.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dr. Bruce Anderson is trying to identify the dead. And reconnect them with their families.

ANDERSON: Most shouldn't be dead but they are.

SIMON: Anderson is not a psychic medium. He has to rely on science to speak for the dead. Each body is a mystery.

ANDERSON: I look at it this way. I'm trying to do whatever I can to generate a lead so we don't have to bury this person as an unknown.

SIMON: Anderson is a forensic anthropologist. His job, to identify the remains of illegal immigrants who had crossed from Mexico into Arizona and died in the desert.

ANDERSON: There are a lot of sad stories associated with these migrants crossing. There's a lot of young healthy people. Most are young. Most are healthy.

SIMON: But their bodies don't offer a lot of clues. Many carry IDs but they're often fake. Their personal belongings are usually of little value and the bodies themselves, often by the time they're found, they're so badly decomposed there's no way to determine who they were.

ANDERSON: This has become our regular caseload. It didn't used to be this way.

SIMON: But this is the way it is now in Pima County, Arizona where more legal immigrants die crossing the border each year than anywhere else in the country. Last year, 198 people found dead here. More than one-third of all U.S. border crossing deaths.

Is it fair to say your office has never been busier?


SIMON: Dr. Bruce Parks is Pima County's medical examiner. He's responsible for determining the cause of death. Mainly heat stroke. Sixty people died last July. Sixty eight people in one month?


SIMON: That's mind boggling.

PARKS: It is. It is. We couldn't believe it. It was a very -- very warm month however, and that seems to happen, that the death rate goes up when we have -- when the weather is worse than normal.

SIMON: Dr. Parks' office was overwhelmed. So many bodies that it had to plant refrigeration trucks outside its building. That's in addition to the cold storage already inside. And it still needs the trucks.

(on camera): Here in Tucson, Parks and Anderson say they manage to identify about three quarters of the bodies they get. But that still leaves dozens without a name or an identity or a family. Some victim go unclaimed for months or maybe even forever.

ANDERSON: From 2005 there are probably between 30 and 40 individuals that we do not have name associations for right now.

SIMON (voice-over): Including these remains. But Anderson thinks he may have developed a lead. A Mexican who thinks he lost his brother tracked down Anderson and emailed him wondering if his brother was found, saying he had several false teeth.

ANDERSON: And I told him this morning I would send him some photographs of three men who had partial dentures or dentures on the upper teeth just in case the family, he or some other family member right recognize the denture.

SIMON: The photos will be close-up shots of the dentures. Anderson wants to spare the family of seeing anything more graphic. Finding a match yields mixed emotions.

ANDERSON: And you can feel very good about yourself but then you realize when you make the phone call to the next of kin you're giving them the worst possible news they can ever hear. So you have to temper your enthusiasm and satisfaction with doing a good job.

SIMON: As for those who never get a match, well, they're brought here to the county cemetery with a simple mark, identifying them as Jane or John Doe. American soil, their final resting place. Dan Simon, CNN, Tucson, Arizona.


COOPER: And a very sad end to a very sad journey.

There are two people with two very different ideas on illegal immigration. One of them is the congressman who says illegal immigrants are the scourge threatening our nation. We'll profile him next.

The other is the deejay responsible for the mass demonstration in California. When he talks, thousands listen. So what is driving him?

All that when 360 returns.


COOPER: There are lawmakers who believe a 700 mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico would be a fitting solution to immigration. The man responsible for that idea is Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo.

CNN's Joe Johns talked with him on Capitol Hill.



REP. TOM TANCREDO, (R) CO: A guy trying to do the job that he's been elected to do and that he believes with all of his hard is an important one to accomplish.

Well, thank you.

JOHNS: What is it you want on this immigration issue at the end of the day?

TANCREDO: A situation where employer in this country cannot with impunity hire people who are not here legally. If we could do one thing, just one thing, that's it.

You know when you have hundreds of thousand of people protesting, waving Mexican flags, you know, people essentially saying I'm here illegally, what are you going to do about it? I mean, this really does not play well in the heartland of America. And if we don't deliver or if we deliver some pabulum they're going to spit it out and with us it.

JOHNS: But I have to ask you, what if you're wrong. What if in 50 years the history books write that Tom Tancredo was the man standing at the gates depriving liberty for people who just wanted to come to the United States and make a better wage (ph)?

TANCREDO: Well, if the same people are writing the history books in 50 years and the same type of people who are writing them that are writing them today, that's exactly what they'll say.

They'll be wrong, as they are today, but there really won't be much I can do about it.

And to do a radio show and a photo op at noon with the kids.

So beautiful, you know, in fact, it's been a lousy winter so you're here exactly the right time.

What you're talking about are a lot of people who are not necessarily coming here to be Americans. You know what I mean? They're not coming to assimilate. They have no desire to. And we're telling them, and the problem with the multiculturalism is it tells them they shouldn't. They should not assimilate into America. That they should stay separate. They should keep their language separate. The we should teach them in a separate language. We should become a bilingual country if not a multilingual country and eventually become sort of a cultural and linguistic Tower of Babel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're like a diamond. It's unbelievable. I know what you're going up against. If something doesn't happen, our country's going to go down the drain.

TANCREDO: Man, you do not know how much those words mean to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're absolutely right.

TANCREDO: You're going to make me cry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no, no, no, no, no.


COOPER: Well, there are a lot of people who strongly disagree with Tom Tancredo's views, especially the hundreds of thousands of protester whose have been marching in streets of Los Angeles this week. Their call to action came from many respects from one man, a disc jockey. All the angles tonight, CNN's Thelma Gutierrez reports from Los Angeles.


THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Detroit, Michigan, Charlotte, North Carolina, Phoenix, Arizona, Denver, Colorado, and Washington, DC.

It was a call to action on behalf of the country's 12 million illegal immigrants. A turnout on the streets of Los Angeles larger than the city has ever seen before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe it was a 1.5 million that actually participated on Saturday.

GUTIERREZ: Huge masses turned out in at least 15 major cities, taking officials and the news media by surprise. How was that many people mobilize in just a week and a half?

It happened right over the airwaves and yet off the radar from most Americans. Meet Eddie Sotelo, the number one rated morning radio personality in Los Angeles. Known by a million and a half daily listeners as "El Piolin", AKA, "Tweety Bird."

He was the one march organizers turned to for help.

EDDIE SOTELO, RADIO HOST: They said Piolin, can you be part of this march?

GUTIERREZ: So Sotelo did something he had never done before, he reached out to his rivals in Los Angeles and around the country.

SOTELO: I call, you know, all the stations, all the radio announcers in the morning and I invite them to be together and to do the march as, you know, a as team, as a team, and they did it. They say, yes, let's do it. Piolin, let's forget about competition.

GUTIERREZ: For Sotelo, the march was personal. He, too, was once an illegal immigrant from a poor family in Mexico.

SOTELO: I remember there were several times that we didn't have food to eat.

GUTIERREZ: When he was 16, Sotelo ran through the mountains of Tijuana, then was smuggled across the border in the trunk of a car with three others.

SOTELO: It was a moment that I was thinking that I was going to die.

GUTIERREZ: But Sotelo made to it Los Angeles.

SOTELO: I remember my first job was picking up cans from different parks to be able to recycle them.

GUTIERREZ: Four years later he became a radio announcer when immigration authorities finally caught up with him and told him he would be deported.

SOTELO: I asked God, God, can you please give me the opportunity to come back to radio. And I'm going to be able to help anybody who will come to me and ask for help, I will do something that is going to make a difference. GUTIERREZ: On the day he was about to be deported, Sotelo says a miracle happened.

SOTELO: When I was ready to jump into the van, there was a lady came, officer came to me and said, Mr. Juan Sotelo, do you have your work permit? And I was like, wow!

GUTIERREZ: Eddie Sotelo is now legal and famous in his community, but he didn't forget his beginnings. You arrived. You stand on that podium and you see a sea of American flags. What went through your mind?

SOTELO: When I saw the people, I was like -- I'm one of them.

GUTIERREZ: Sotelo admits he broke the law to come here, like millions of others from all over the world. Now, he wants them to have a chance, too.

If someone would have told you way back then, when you were walking through that desert, some day you're going to be sitting here having your own show, what would you have said?

SOTELO: I would say, you know what, you're crazy. It's nice to dream, but not that huge.


GUTIERREZ (on camera): Organizers say the march is just a start. That the huge turnout here in Los Angeles and in other cities around the country sent a very loud message to Washington and they say that Latinos are now major players in this national debate. Anderson?

COOPER: Obviously that message interpreted in different ways by different groups. Thelma Gutierrez, thanks.

In a moment, your thoughts "On the Radar" from the border. This is 360.


COOPER: Well, right now Erica Hill from Headline News joins us with some of the business stories we're following. Erica?

ERICA HILL, CNN HN ANCHOR: Hey, Anderson, investors rushed back to stock market today pushing the NASDAQ to its highest close in five years. It ended the day at just over $2,337. The Dow Jones Industrials also closing up, adding 61 points. The S&P tacked on nine. Bankrupt Delta Airlines said today 1,000 managerial and administrative employees will be let go as part of an effort to rebuild the company. In September you may recall the airline announced it would be cutting up to 9,000 jobs.

And it is a green light for Whirlpool to buy Maytag. The Justice Department says the merger of the number one and number three home appliance makers won't adversely affect consumers. Anderson, those are your business headlines. COOPER: Erica, thanks.

"On the Radar" tonight, well, this is on the radar. Dozens of emails on the blog. From Patrick in DC. "The real issue isn't the border or the immigrants. It's the corporate abuse of the workers. In Maryland, Virginia and DC Mexicans who are illegally here are hired at half wages, pay no taxes and do not act responsibly in the community in ways such as having auto insurance."

Augie in Boston writes, "The U.S. government has got to be able to monitor and have some control over who comes into the country and under what circumstances. If that means building a wall along our borders, so be it."

More on 360 in a moment. You can always check out the blog on our Web. Stay with us.


COOPER: I want to thank Sean King and all the Border Patrol agents for their assistance today. Larry King is next; he ahs an exclusive interview with Ron Grantski, Laci Peterson's step-father.

Thanks for watching.


© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines