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Battle on the Border

Aired May 15, 2006 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We are here inside and warm in the great city of Chicago.
Good evening again, everyone. All around the country, here in Chicago as well, the battle over the border is heating up. Tonight, President Bush called for troops on the ground.


ANNOUNCER: Border insecurity -- stationing troops on a frontier that the president himself says is not under control. Americans react. So, what happens when they vote? Will they split the Republican Party this November?

Plus, he says illegal immigrants are costing his county big. So, this small town sheriff did something big.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What do you say to your critics, who would argue that this is nothing more than a P.R. stunt?

JOHN TRUMBO, UMATILLA COUNTY, OREGON, SHERIFF: It's not a P.R. stunt. It's about right and wrong.

ANNOUNCER: He sent a message to Mexico's president. In fact, he sent more than just that.


ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

Live from Chicago, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: Good evening again.

We begin with the "Battle on the Border" and President Bush's plan for sending troops, specifically the National Guard -- tonight, all the angles on their mission and the rest of the president's five- point plan -- new I.D. cards, a guest-worker program, just about all of it already drawing fire from conservatives.

Also tonight, the people., where the troops would come from, how a branch of the service already so heavily mobilized for Iraq and busy with disaster relief would spare the personnel. And what will it cost?

And perhaps just as important as the people, the politics, getting an immigration bill through a divided Congress. We have already seen the demonstrations, the backlash, the split in the Republican Party, and this, Americans on all sides saying they are mad as hell and plan to vote come November.

That's what the president got himself into tonight from the Oval Office, which is where we start tonight with CNN's Suzanne Malveaux.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush is under increasing pressure from conservatives of his own party to beef up border security. So, he made it the centerpiece of his prime-time address.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We do not yet have full control of the border, and I am determined to change that. Tonight, I am calling on Congress to provide funding for dramatic improvements in manpower and technology at the border.

MALVEAUX: The short-term plan: to use up to 6,000 National Guard troops to enhance security along the southern border. The units would be under state control, but federally funded. Their role would be to carry out logistics, but not apprehending illegal immigrants.

BUSH: The Guard will assist the Border Patrol by operating surveillance systems, analyzing intelligence, installing fences and vehicle barriers, building patrol roads, and providing training.

The United States is not going to militarize the southern border. Mexico is our neighbor and our friend.

MALVEAUX: The long-term plan: to eventually add 6,000 Border Patrol agents by the end of 2008 to go after illegal immigrants and crack down on employers inside the U.S. who hire illegal workers. The cost is estimated at nearly $2 billion.

The second key component, a temporary-worker program -- one track would allow some illegal immigrants to continue working in the United States and then return home. Another track would allow some to stay and earn U.S. citizenship.

BUSH: I believe that illegal immigrants who have roots in our country and want to stay should have to pay a meaningful penalty for breaking the law -- to pay their taxes, to learn English and to work in a job for a number of years. People who meet these conditions should be able to apply for citizenship.

MALVEAUX: But the big job: selling the plan to members of Congress. Administration officials acknowledge, getting a compromise on immigration reform, particularly from conservative Republicans, will be a heavy lift. That's why the president's top advisers will press Republicans behind the scenes, while Mr. Bush will travel to the border town of Yuma, Arizona, Thursday, to sell his plan directly to those most affected.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Suzanne Malveaux joins us now.

Suzanne, why did the president choose to speak out about immigration, of all the issues, Iraq, gas prices, facing the American public and voters? Do they feel this issue has reached critical mass?

MALVEAUX: Well, the short-term answer here, of course, Anderson, is essentially that the House and the Senate are coming up with a compromise. At least they are going to try to negotiate over a compromise of immigration reform.

The other long-term answer here is this -- is that they're really looking to the November midterm elections here -- conservative Republicans, the president's base, essentially losing support in that critical area, the polls showing. They want to make sure that those conservative Republicans come out and vote in November, because that group is critical to maintaining the majorities in the House and the Senate.

COOPER: So, do they feel that offering these National Guard troops at the border will appeal to conservatives enough that they may kind of bite their tongues and agree to this guest-worker or eventual amnesty and/or citizenship, whatever you want to call it?

MALVEAUX: Well, sure, that's certainly what they are hoping. They're essentially throwing a bone to the House Republicans, saying, look, we have heard your concerns about this, about the -- getting serious over border security and control.

It's something that even some White House officials admit that perhaps they didn't take enough time or take enough attention in addressing those particular concerns by the conservatives in their party.

COOPER: All right, Suzanne Malveaux, thanks.

We will look at the politics later on as well.

Now the polls. All polls are a snapshot. This one is really a Polaroid, instant reaction to the president's speech from the people who watched just coming in tonight.

Bill Schneider, our senior political analyst, is crunching the numbers.

Bill, how did the president do?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, most presidential speeches get a positive reaction. This was no exception, even though the president's at a low point in his popularity.

We interviewed people both before and right after he spoke. Keep in mind that those who watched the speech were more Republican than the country as a whole. A lot of Democrats just do not watch President Bush speech -- speak.

Now, keep -- the overall reaction was 40 percent, very positive, 39 percent somewhat positive, only 18 percent negative.

We compared that with eight prior televised speeches of this president. And what we found was, this got the lowest positive -- very positive response of any of his previous speeches, including his State of the Union speech. But it did have an impact on viewers.

Here, can you see several of the previous speeches, in this case, 40 percent, lower than his speeches in the past, especially the "Mission Accomplished" speech at the end of the first stage of the Iraq war.

Now, he did convince viewers of some of his policies. In fact, when we looked among people interviewed before the speech, 42 percent said they had a positive reaction to the president's immigration proposals. After the speech, that jumped to 67 percent. As can you see, people were split, positive and negative, before the speech. But, by a very good margin afterwards, they said they approved the president's immigration speech's proposals.

And, by the way, this was true even among Democrats and independents who watched the speech.

What about the specific proposals? All very widely supported among those who watched the speech. Sending the National Guard to the border, 75 percent said they approved of that. Allowing illegal immigrants already in the country to apply for citizenship, 74 percent agreed with that. Allowing temporary foreign workers, 69 percent supported that.

So, the president appears to have made some headway. But keep this in mind, also. While a majority of those who watched the speech said that immigration would be at least somewhat important for them in their vote, only 7 percent said that it would be the single most important issue when they decide how to vote this year.

There's Iraq. There are gas prices. There are a lot of issues on the voters' minds -- Anderson.

COOPER: Interesting. Bill Schneider, thanks for the snapshot.

Now with some perspective, joining me, former presidential adviser David Gergen -- he is in Boston -- and, in Washington tonight, CNN's Lou Dobbs.

David, let me start just off with you.

If the president -- I mean, if voters are saying that immigration is not the number-one issue for them, why speak out on this issue tonight? Is it because this, the White House feels, you know, sending troops, they can make some positive headway and at least make it look like the president is leading and get some good headlines out there?

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: This is one of the only places where he possibly can score a victory, Anderson. I think that's one of the reasons he spoke tonight.

As Suzanne Malveaux just reported, you know, they're looking toward not only a bill this year, but the congressional elections.

But, you know, if you look at the early returns from the conservatives, they are a lot less positive than those polls we just heard about from Bill Schneider.

COOPER: Lou, the headline a lot of people are focusing on is this 6,000 National Guard troops. I'm assuming that's the way the White House wants it. It sounds impressive on paper. In reality, does it matter?

LOU DOBBS, HOST, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT": It -- as the president articulated it tonight, as a support role for 6,000 National Guards -- Guards men and women, who would be rotated in on their two-week training duties along the southern border, it's not impressive, and it's not perhaps even sufficiently helpful to -- to have laid down in a prime-time address.

The crying demand out there in poll after poll is to secure our borders. We're four-and-a-half years after September 11. Our borders, we have three million illegal aliens crossing those borders. Five percent -- only five percent of the cargo coming into our ports is being inspected. Homeland security remains a sham. Even with 6,000 National Guard troops being moved in support of the Border Patrol, it's a very tough sell.

COOPER: David, I mean, it seems like the kind of thing that comes out of a focus group. I mean, everyone, you know, 70-some-odd percent in Bill Schneider's thing says, yes, sending National Guard troops would be a good idea.

Frankly, it's been done already. There are 350 of them, at least, already down there doing this role. And -- and -- and there's -- you know, the devil's in the details. There's not a lot of clarity on -- on exactly what they're doing or -- or when they could leave. What do you make of it?

GERGEN: Well, I have to tell you, Anderson, normally, I -- ordinarily I have been supportive of the president's speeches. I have been very respectful of them -- not tonight.

When you look at the fine print, the proposals here do not solve the problem on the border.


GERGEN: And the proposals here do not solve the political -- the president's political problem with the conservatives in his party.

So, I don't know quite what they got out of it. If you look at the substance of this, to go to Lou Dobbs' point, after the drumroll we just had out of the White House about, you know, we're going to take bold action at the border, sending 6,000 down there on two-week rotations is a pittance. It really does not solve the problem.

And the -- the notion that it's going to take the country two- and-a-half years to train 6,000 Border Patrol? My goodness. If that's the pace at which the Army worked, we would never win a war. You know, if you have got something serious, take serious action. Don't give us the headline without the substance underneath it.


COOPER: Lou, it was interesting, the president very clearly saying he does not believe in amnesty for illegals, and yet his critics say the path to citizenship that he described tonight for illegal aliens is amnesty.

DOBBS: Right.

COOPER: In your opinion, is any program that eventually citizenship to illegals an amnesty program?

DOBBS: Any program that permits them to remain in this country and to be forgiven the -- the simple fact that they crossed our borders and broke our nation's sovereign law, that's amnesty by any definition. A $2,000 fine for doing so seems hardly the appropriate way in which to begin a path to citizenship, at least in my opinion.

But, if I may, Anderson, go to David's point, this is a country right now crying out for success on the part of its leaders, and crying out for a government that will take on a problem and solve it. And we are -- continually been bombarded by issue after issue, whether it's the war in Iraq, whether it's immigration, whether it's border security, with a government that is not functioning.

All this president was required to do tonight, in my opinion, was to lay out an intelligent, honest program to secure those borders and an honest, intelligent approach to immigration. I think, in the latter, the reason he couldn't is because the dimension of the problem is so vast. We have an estimated four million to six million people backlogged in our legal immigration process, who stand before these illegal aliens, who are in this country unlawfully.

And we have a citizenship and immigration service that is absolutely overwhelmed and will require great, great funding and effort to bring it to -- into any semblance of functioning operational normality and effectiveness.

COOPER: David, to -- to Lou's point, is the problem that the problem is so vast, or is that -- that -- that, also, that the -- the sides are so entrenched? And it seems like the president is trying to eke out some middle ground. Has the debate moved beyond middle ground?

GERGEN: Well, I -- I think, to come back to this, the problem is vast.

But it -- what it requires is -- is a bold set of initiatives.


GERGEN: If you are really serious about closing the borders, then you have to take -- you know, you have to move what -- you can't spend just $2 billion. We spend $2 billion in just -- you know, just a few weeks in -- in Iraq.

And this problem -- we all agree that closing the borders is very important. Now, Lou and -- Lou and -- my good friend Lou Dobbs and I disagree about what to do with the people who are already here.

But, on the question of securing the borders, that's something, it seems to me, that, if you're going to do it, as a president, you -- you -- you mobilize the country in a way that says, this will really get the job done. This kind of -- it's like the way we went into Iraq. When you -- when -- if you go in with half measures, with just -- with half the number of forces you really need, in this case, I think much less than half the forces you really need, if you try to do it on the cheap, you don't succeed.

COOPER: Right.

GERGEN: It's -- it creates good headlines, but, down the road, people look back and say, I thought we were going to solve this problem.

COOPER: Interesting. We are going to have to leave it there.

David Gergen and Lou Dobbs...


COOPER: ... guys, thanks very much.

DOBBS: Good to be with you, Anderson.


COOPER: You can see Lou every weeknight on "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" at 6:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN.

To see David Gergen, you either have to enroll at Harvard or watch 360.

The president's plan to send thousands of National Guard troops to Mexico's border has some lawmakers extremely worried.

Take a listen to this.


REP. JANE HARMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: I think our National Guard is stretched way too thin, and I think we have a better group of people to do those missions, and, sadly, we're underfunding our border guards.


COOPER: You got hurricane season just two weeks away, Iraq a major problem. The question is tonight, can the National Guard really spare more troops? We will look at that. Also, the American sheriff who's trying to collect more than $300,000 from Mexico's president. That's how much he says illegal immigration is costing his local jail and his taxpayers, who are footing the bill.

Plus, it may have looked like a speech, but it was also a balancing act -- the president's high-wire performance tonight and the politics behind it -- coming up on 360, the "Battle on the Border."



BUSH: Up to 6,000 Guard members will be deployed to our southern border. The Border Patrol will remain in the lead.


COOPER: President Bush earlier tonight speaking from the Oval Office on immigration and border security.

Tonight, we are covering all the angles.

Mr. Bush said the deployment of those thousands of National Guard troops is temporary, and the Pentagon insists that the troops will play no direct role in catching and detaining illegal immigrants. So, that raises the question: What exactly will they do at the border? And how much strain will it place on the already stressed-out National Guard?

Our senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre, has details about the plan.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The proposal is a share-the-pain plan that would rotate more than 150,000 Guard troops for two- to three-week stints along the Mexican border, in place of their regular training cycles.

That would put up to 6,000 additional troops at a time along the border for the next two years, while 6,000 additional civilian border agents are recruited and trained. Despite the rotation plan that would limit each Guard member to just a few weeks of service, some in Congress still worry the Guard is too busy, given the requirements of Iraq and the upcoming hurricane season.

HARMAN: I think our National Guard is stretched way too thin, and I think we have a better group of people to do those missions, and, sadly, we're underfunding our border guards.

MCINTYRE: The Pentagon insists any deployment would be temporary, until the Border Patrol hires more people, and argues that stress on the Guard has eased in the past year. Last August, some 40,000 Guard troops were serving in Iraq, making up 35 percent of the force. Now it's down to just over 17,000, or 13 percent of the force. Pentagon officials stress that Guard troops would carefully avoid any direct role in law enforcement, instead providing low-profile administrative and logistical support for overstretched Border Patrol agents. The Pentagon says, flatly, U.S. troops would not apprehend, detain or even guard illegal aliens.

In fact, most would be unarmed and have jobs well behind the scenes, such as providing database management, intelligence analysis, or routine transportation and logistics. Some Guard troops may have more visible roles, such as flying helicopters for surveillance or even helping to build fences or improve checkpoints. But they won't be patrolling the 2,000-mile border with Mexico, and most people won't even know they're around.

(on camera): The Bush administration is walking a fine line, insisting the addition of up to 6,000 troops will make a difference in sealing the border, but, at the same time, arguing they won't be deployed on the front lines or in such great numbers that they will further strain the already stretched U.S. military.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.


COOPER: Well, at 369 years old, the National Guard is the oldest part of the American armed forces. It's fought in every major U.S. war and helped through all kinds of disasters to hit the country.

Here's the "Raw Data" on some of its assignments.

One hundred and sixty-four thousand Guard members served in the American Revolution, 300,000 in World War II. There was no massive call-up during Vietnam. Only 17,716 National Guard members were used. That's less than half the number used for Hurricane Katrina, which was a little more than 50,000.

Coming up -- why one U.S. sheriff has sent Mexico a bill, asking it to pay for illegal immigrants in his county.

But, first, Erica Hill from Headline News has some of the other stories we're following -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a third Duke University lacrosse player has been indicted on charges of rape. Twenty-three-year-old David Evans, one of the team's captains, says the charges against him are -- quote -- "fantastic lies.

Evans says the other two indicted team members are also innocent. The charges follow a party in March where an exotic dancer says she was raped and beaten by three men.

The governments of Libya and the United States have kissed and made up. The State Department is restoring full diplomatic relations with Libya and will remove it from the list of countries which sponsor terrorism. In 2003, after decades of being known as an international pariah, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi renounced support for terrorism and agreed to give up his weapons of mass destruction.

Four days of heavy rain flooding parts of New England, forcing families out of their homes and closing schools. Parts of Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts are experiencing the worst flooding in decades. And meteorologists say there could be more rain tomorrow.

And check this out, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue shaking his groove thing in a post-prom party over the weekend. Not only that -- he was actually the host. The party was held at the governor's mansion. There's the gov. The governor said the party was to reward the students of Brookwood High School for their efforts to tackle underage drinking.

The governor of Connecticut never came to my after-prom party, Anderson.



COOPER: Well, this reminds me of the 360 prom party. Do we have that -- that clip of that?

HILL: 360 prom?

COOPER: There you go.


HILL: You know, that looks oddly to me like your birthday celebration from last year.


HILL: Was it also a prom?

COOPER: Are you implying that we use the same video over and over again?

HILL: No. I'm just saying it's good stuff. And I would keep using it, if I were you.


HILL: You know, it looks like a good time. I didn't get invited, but, you know, that's fine.

COOPER: Well, a good time was had by all.

Next year, Erica Hill. Next year.

HILL: OK. A girl can dream.


COOPER: Thanks. In Oregon, a sheriff fired up over illegal immigration has sent a letter to the president of Mexico.


TRUMBO: It's not a P.R. stunt. It's about right and wrong, period.


COOPER: Angry? We will have his message and why he's demanding compensation, and a lot of it.

Plus, one border town is fretting over the president's announcement to send the National Guard. We will tell you about the time that American troops came here and how it turned deadly -- all that and more when 360 continues with the "Battle on the Border."



BUSH: Some in this country argue that the solution is to -- is to deport every illegal immigrant, and that any proposal short of this amounts to amnesty. I disagree.

It is neither wise, nor realistic to round up millions of people, many with deep roots in the United States, and send them across the border.


COOPER: That was President Bush speaking from the Oval Office earlier this evening.

And these are pictures taken south of San Diego of border patrols at work on horseback. We saw them in action when we were on the road last week.

While Mr. Bush is pushing for tougher measures to stop people from crossing the border illegally, there is another problem that wasn't mentioned in his speech tonight. What would you say if we told you that tens of thousands of illegal immigrants who have already been captured inside the U.S. are simply set free because there's no place to hold them while they wait for deportation hearings?

It is happening. And so is this. In Oregon, one sheriff is locking so many illegal immigrants up, he doesn't have room for local criminals. He's also sent a bill to the president of Mexico. He wants his money.

CNN's Dan Simon has his story.


SIMON (voice-over): John Trumbo drinks 20 cups of coffee a day. But that's not why he's so charged up lately.


SIMON: Trumbo is the sheriff of Umatilla County in Oregon and the author of a controversial letter to Mexican President Vicente Fox.

(on camera): What do you say to your critics, who would argue that this is nothing more than a P.R. stunt?

TRUMBO: It's not a P.R. stunt. It's about right and wrong.

SIMON (voice-over): In this letter written in February, Trumbo demands that the Mexican government pay his county more than $318,000 for the incarceration of illegal immigrants at the Umatilla jail. That's how much he says it cost local taxpayers last year.

TRUMBO: The thing that bothers me about this whole situation, Dan, is that people have broken the law to come into my home and break the law again, and I don't like that. It's not right.

SIMON: Oregon's farmland communities are a magnet for Mexicans seeking work. Illegal immigration here has soared in a state that's not used to large number of immigrants. Trumbo says that means more crime.

TRUMBO: It just stands to reason -- the more people, more problems.

SIMON: That spike, Trumbo says, has contributed to a severe cash crunch. He says he can only afford nine deputies, but needs three times that to handle the workload. He also doesn't have enough staff to run the jail, so, he needs to leave nearly half the beds empty, even though he faces an overflow of prisoners.

TRUMBO: The fact that we have beds being taken up by illegal immigrants is an issue with me, because those are beds that could be used by local offenders.

SIMON: Trumbo says the jail lets out about 14 people every day because of a staff shortage. But some Hispanic residents have criticized the sheriff for his letter, some calling him a racist. Those we spoke to declined to go on camera. We checked with the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C. They also declined to comment publicly.

TRUMBO: This is not about race. It's about right and wrong. It just happens to be that Mexico is in our border, and that's why we're focusing on that.

SIMON (on camera): Have you heard anything back from President Fox?


SIMON (voice-over): But that doesn't mean the sheriff plans on letting him off the hook. He's already got a running tab for 2006. Dan Simon, CNN, Pendleton, Oregon.


COOPER: Well, money never compares to blood, and blood has been shed because of U.S. military on the Border Patrol.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know somebody else is going to get hurt. You know, I know some other parents are going to suffer a loss of a -- of a loved one, or somebody's going to lose a brother.


COOPER: Well, we will look back at who died and how it happened, why the military says it will not happen when troops return to the border.

And for President Bush and Karl Rove, tackling illegal immigration is like juggling on a trampoline. We are going to look at the wide range of groups he needs to balance -- when this special edition of 360, "Battle on the Border," continues.


COOPER: Well, it's not a coincidence President Bush's speech on immigration and border security comes at a critical time for his party. Midterm elections are looming, and the president's approval ratings are plunging. In other words, the president had his work cut out for him tonight. Here's CNN's Candy Crowley.



CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The politics were straightforward. The president wanted to give conservatives enough border security to prevent mutiny.

TERRY JEFFREY, HUMAN EVENTS: I think this is a make or break moment for the president with conservatives. If he doesn't demonstrate that he's serious about securing the border, I think there are some conservatives he's lost for good.

CROWLEY: This kind of thing was for them.

BUSH: The United States must secure its borders. This is a basic responsibility of a sovereign nation. It is also an urgent requirement of our national security.

CROWLEY: But tough can't be harsh, lest voters, particularly Latino voters, turn off to the Republican Party. This kind of thing was for them.

BUSH: Every human being has dignity and value. No matter what their citizenship papers say.

CROWLEY: This wasn't as much a nationally televised speech so much as a nationally televised juggling act.

BUSH: America can be a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time.

CROWLEY: Six years into his presidency, George Bush is swimming upstream. Weighed down by low poll ratings and an oncoming election with the makings of a republican train wreck.

PATRICK TOOMEY, CLUB FOR GROWTH: We are involved in a lot of congressional races through our political arm, and we're discovering that a lot of republicans are very disappointed with this republican congress. It most likely will manifest itself with low turnout if something doesn't happen to turn this around.

CROWLEY: Not long ago, a group calling themselves the republican wing of the Republican Party met in Pennsylvania for a kind of grass- roots political therapy. Commiserating over shared frustrations.

HENRY JACKSON, REPUBLICAN ACTIVIST: I would say the biggest issue is spending and border security or the influx of illegals.

CROWLEY: The biggest threat to republicans this year is not that angry democrats will show up at the polls, but that angry republicans will stay home. The president has little time left before the mutiny.

JEFFREY: Republicans are going to be coming back six weeks from now. And if there isn't real action on securing the border, they're going to be going after the president because not only do they believe in the policy, they think it's good politics for them.

CROWLEY: Can a president with poll numbers in the basement pull off a miracle on Pennsylvania avenue?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My hunch is that conservatives have not lost their skepticism.

CROWLEY: It's a hail Mary, admitted one ally, but he has to be in the game.


COOPER: So Candy Crowley joins me now along with John King and John Roberts, a triple threat by any measure and part of the best political team on television. Candy, today Karl Rove downplayed the (INAUDIBLE) in the GOP over immigration saying, "This is about getting the right policy and the politics will take care of itself." Sounds like a politician talking. I mean is he right on this issue that -- I mean, this may leave a lasting split in the Republican Party?

CROWLEY: Look. You know, there are plenty of things out there that conservatives are complaining about and chief among them is the spending. They think this is a guy that's spending like LBJ instead of like Ronald Reagan. They are also upset about immigration. The one thing that conservatives don't really have that much problem with is the war in Iraq, which is what's sort of depressing the president's poll numbers across the board. So there are a lot of things that go into this. Is this a breaker issue? No, it is just one more thing, and it is the straw that's beginning to really break the camel's back.

COOPER: John Roberts, if this was a speech in which the president really had to show leadership and had to give something to conservatives, did he do it? I mean, he began with tough talk on securing the border, ended with talk about the great American tradition of the melting pot. It seems like he's trying to cull out a middle ground in this debate. Does that please anyone?

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He's trying to walk the fence that he'll never build along the border. But listening to the way that Congressman Dana Rohrabacher reacted to the speech on "LARRY KING LIVE" just a little while ago, I would say rather than appeasing conservatives, he has galvanized to a large degree some of them.

And when he tried to say that, you know, this is not amnesty, well, conservatives know that it is an amnesty. If you forgive people for entering the country illegally and you put them on a path to citizenship, it's nothing other than amnesty. I think his idea of putting 6,000 National Guard along the border fell a little short of expectations. If he had to come out early, maybe sometime late last week and sort of leaked it, maybe five or 6,000, then he came out tonight and said 10,000 to 12,000 and they're going to be there long enough to get used to the situation on the ground there as opposed to rotating in and out every two to three weeks, I think he might have gone a little further to appeasing conservatives, but I don't think he did it tonight.

COOPER: Well John King, he was not just speaking to the American people, but as he said in his speech, he was speaking to the congress. Does he have the political capital to really shape this debate right now?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the big question. And the early indications tonight are that he did not move the ball as far as he needed to. The most interesting thing to me is what was not said. The key is the house here. There are about 70 votes in the senate for a plan consistent with the president's approach. But can he get the house to move? And the question mark there, of course, as everyone has said, is the conservatives.

The top three republicans tonight all saluted the president for saying he would put National Guard troops on the border. The top two, the speaker and the majority leader, were completely silent on the issue of the guest worker program, completely silent, they didn't say one thing about it. The number three house republican said he was very skeptical they could get that through the house. The leadership has promised the White House it will try to help the president. It has not promised the White House it will get him a compromise to his liking. And conservative reaction tonight indicates that, as John just said, the conservatives are galvanizing, the president's hill might even be a little steeper.

COOPER: Bush also addressed illegal immigrants that are already in this country as John King just mentioned. Let's listen to what he said.


BUSH: We must face the reality that millions of illegal immigrants are here already. They should not be given an automatic path to citizenship. This is amnesty, and I oppose it.


COOPER: Well, Candy Crowley, I mean as John Roberts just mentioned, he's saying it's not amnesty, his critics saying it's amnesty no matter what you call it.

CROWLEY: Well, right. Never the twin shall meet apparently. I mean one of the things that we probably should point out is that George Bush does come at this issue from a very honest viewpoint. I recall covering his re-election campaign for governor of Texas when he used the line about what we have to understand is that family values don't stop at the Rio Grande. These people are coming here because they want a better life for their family.

So the president has some honest sympathies along the lines of what are we going to do with these 15 million, 16 million people who are already here who he pointed out in his speech, most of whom are living, you know -- living, at least, not breaking any laws other than the fact that they're in the country illegally. So, are there political implications to what the president's doing? Clearly, and '06 looms large here, but this is a longstanding belief by the president that there needs to be some sort of guest worker program which is what they call amnesty.

COOPER: And John Roberts, how concerned are republicans about losing Latino voters at this point? They've made such headway over the years.

ROBERTS: Well, there was a certain segment of the Republican Party who believes that Latino voters, by and large, are on the same page with illegal immigration as they are. The president, though, is certainly worried that a segment of the Latino population is turning against the Republican Party because of what they see as intolerance of illegal immigrants.

That's why you saw so many Latinos who were here legally, supporting all of those protests a couple of weeks back. So they're definitely worried that they're going to lose the Hispanic vote to some degree, and they're definitely worried that they're going to lose the conservative vote. And if they lose either one of those in November, they're going to lose the house and the senate.

COOPER: We're going to leave it there. John Roberts, John King, Candy Crowley, thanks. The blowback from enhancing border security has already been felt in Texas. Years ago you may remember Marines took on border patrol duty. One community and one family paid a tragic price... their story next.

Plus here in Chicago, more than half the city's Latino population is said to be in the U.S. illegally, many are protected from deportation, we'll explain why when 360 continues.


COOPER: President Bush's plan to use National Guard troops on the U.S. Mexico border isn't the first time the military's been there. And an incident in 1997 involving U.S. Marines illustrates how easily unintended consequences can kick in. CNN's Ed Lavandera has that story.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nine years ago as Esequiel Hernandez was walking a herd of goats on this hilltop overlooking the border town of Redford, Texas, he carried an antique rifle to fight off coyotes.


LAVANDERA: Margarito Hernandez says his little brother enjoyed these quiet afternoons along the Rio Grande, but what happened that day changed the way the U.S. protects its borders.

HERNANDEZ: This is the spot where he got to, when they killed him.

LAVANDERA: Esequiel Hernandez was killed by a marine who wrongly suspected he was a drug smuggler, four marines wearing camouflage, hiding in the brush, were helping local authorities track drug runners. The details have been disputed. The marine said Hernandez fired at them first, but everyone agrees they were nearly 200 yards away. At that distance, Margarito Hernandez says if his brother did shoot first, he could not have known what he was shooting at.

HERNANDEZ: I don't think he had any idea.

LAVANDERA: The marines were cleared of wrongdoing, but the government paid the family almost $2 million, and the military insists this time troops will not be directly involved in catching illegal immigrants. But Margarito Hernandez still fears what will happen.

HERNANDEZ: I know somebody else is going to get hurt, you know. I know some other parents are going to suffer a loss of a loved one. Or somebody's going to lose a brother.

LAVANDERA: People around here are quick to point out that border culture and military culture just don't mix well. They say that even though this is a region with two countries separated by a small river, that around here, most people speak the same, look the same and share the same culture, and they don't think that military soldiers brought in here will be trained well enough to know the difference between good and evil.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're moving around each side of us and actually coming up into the U.S.

LAVANDERA: Scenes like this have local law enforcement asking for help, just west of Redford, sheriff's deputies say they have encountered well-armed men in Mexican military uniforms escorting drugs into the U.S.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the evidence that we needed, and I believe that now that people can see what happens that start taking the appropriate action to help us out.

LAVANDERA: This is the dilemma on the border, battling powerful criminals in the backyards of people like Enrique Madrid, who has lived in Redford all his life. He says the military should be kept away.

ENRIQUE MADRID, REDFORD, TEXAS RESIDENT: You militarize an area, and you make the people in the area the enemies of that military.

LAVANDERA: A humble cross bearing Esequiel Hernandez's name sits at the spot where he was killed, a reminder of what people here and the military don't want to see happen again.


COOPER: Has the military said that they've learned any particular lessons from this incident?

COOPER: Well, you know, I read one of the reports that came out in the years after this incident. And one of the things that it pointed out was, it's the importance of intelligence and making sure that these soldiers that will be dispatched along the border, that they understand the local culture. One of the examples they pointed out was is that those marines had been told that 75 percent of the town of Redford was involved in drug smuggling. That's 75 out of 100 people. The law of averages tells you that that probably just isn't the case. The marines said they were sent in there with bad intelligence.

COOPER: Ed Lavandera, thanks.

Coming up, the shot of the day, the video that caught our eye. But first, Erica Hill from "HEADLINE NEWS" has some business stories we're following. Erica?

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, a mixed day on Wall Street as a drop in oil and commodity prices led investors to buy more defensive stocks, like health care and insurance. The rise in blue chips sent the Dow up 47 points to close at 11,428, the S&P also up by 3 points, but the NASDAQ fell 5. And as for those oil prices, they were down more than 3 percent today to just below $70 a barrel. There are some concerns about weakening demand and rising inflation, but still some analysts view this as a market correction rather than a change in the world economy.

Meantime, Bausch & Lomb's stock is now up after news the company has finally withdrawn a new formula contact lens cleaner. The FDA today identified MoistureLoc as the potential root cause of a recent outbreak of fungal eye infections. Bausch & Lomb had suspended sales of the cleaner last month amid a CDC investigation into the outbreak Anderson.

COOPER: Time for the shot Erica, our favorite piece of video or still image of the day comes to us today all the way from Indonesia. This is Mount Merapi a volcano on the densely populated Java Island. Today it erupted violently, sending gas, rock fragments, other debris as far as two and a half miles down the mountainside. There are mandatory evacuations for some 4500 residents, but 200 people are not budging, one of those is an 80-year-old man who has been entrusted by royalty to guard the volcano. Despite the eruption he says he's at no risk and plans to remain. Erica?

HILL: That is just wild. That cloud is so thick too, it looks like a bunch of cotton balls almost. You can't even see through it. It's amazing, the ash.

COOPER: It is truly amazing, that's the shot of the day. Erica, thanks.

Back to the battle on the border and the dollars and cents of undocumented workers. What would happen to the economy if illegal immigration went away?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say at least 25 percent, the costs would go up definitely. It would be a tremendous impact for the economy.


COOPER: Coming up, the impact illegal immigrants have here in Chicago.

And 24 hours on the border, told in one hour of "360." The cat and mouse game that happens every day and night, 365 days a year. 24 Hours on the Border, that's coming up.

And tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING," a look at career issues for people in their 30s, 40s and 50s. Plenty of tips on how to change careers, how to get back into the workforce or how to maintain a healthy work/life balance. I'm not sure what that is. Plus we'll have the chance to email and call in questions or comments. That's tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING" starting at 6:00 a.m. eastern.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Well, here in Chicago tonight, a part of the president's address really hit home. Mr. Bush said there are differences between recent illegal immigrants and those who have been in the country working for years. That's sure to get attention in Chicago because of the part Latinos play in the local economy. CNN's Jonathan Freed takes a look at that.


JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Salvador Pedroza prides himself on being in this country legally. He came here from Mexico 30 years ago, and now owns a roofing company. His workers are Mexican, and no wonder. This neighborhood calls itself the Mexican capital of the Midwest. You walk along this street here in Chicago, and there is no mistaking that you're in the heart of the Latino community, but how big is it?

SALVADOR PEDROZA, BUSINESS OWNER: Well, this is about 95 percent Latino, this Mexican-American community. And you have, like, 100,000 population.

FREED: And more than half of them are here illegally. According to the Pew Hispanic Center. Pedroza also heads up the local chamber of commerce in what's called the little village. He says around here, immigrants are not only an important part of the economy, they are the economy.

PEDROZA: Definitely. You want to talk about landscapers, you want to talk about contract workers, you want to talk about pavers, in the construction business, restaurants, hotels.

FREED: And they're talking a big immigrant business at this bank. So we've got the bank that occupies this half of the building here.

PEDROZA: Correct.

FREED: And this half is leased out to an organization that will wire money to Mexico and other services?

PEDROZA: That's correct.

FREED: At Second Federal Savings, they started out catering to Polish immigrants here 100 years ago.

MARK DOYLE, CEO, SECOND FEDERAL SAVINGS: We're $285 million in total assets.

FREED: Now it's all about the Latino community. Notably, the undocumented side.

DOYLE: We have about $90 million invested in loans to undocumented immigrants. You know, we have another $120 million in loans invested to the communities that we serve.

FREED: The bank says illegal immigrants are so deeply rooted around here that its not worried about losing its money.

DOYLE: These people have a work ethic, they have jobs, they work. You know, they have pride of ownership when they get inside their house.

FREED: Salvador Pedroza has worked on the roofs of many of those houses. He worries about what would happen to his business if the number of immigrant workers in this country is cut back.

PEDROZA: I would say at least 25 percent. The costs would go up definitely. They will be tremendous impact for the economy.

FREED: He says he recognizes the need for immigration reform. And just hopes politicians recognize the scale of the investment immigrants are making here. Jonathan Freed, CNN, Chicago.


COOPER: We got a slice of public opinion from Bill Schneider at the top of the program. People also weighing in on our blog, immigration very much on the radar tonight, especially the Oregon sheriff who sent Mexico's president a bill for the cost of dealing with illegals in his country. W. in Odessa, Texas writes, he's no relation to the other "W" from Texas. He had this to say. "If every city and state would adopt this policy, it would send a message that illegal immigration is illegal and the countries turning a blind eye, if not encouraging this behavior should be penalized." Joey in Los Angeles says, "The sheriff is not taking into account how much money the illegal immigrants bring into the local economy." And Jay in Dallas says the true responsibility lies north of the border. It is our responsibility, he writes, to protect our borders and stop illegal immigrants. In the headlines and on the radar tonight.

Coming up, a minute by minute look at the challenges ahead for the most guarded border to the least, the life and death game, no game for many of chasing down thousands of border crossers every day.

Also, The Minutemen building fences and walls of their own on the Mexican border and drawing fire. And a deadly voyage just to get to the border. A trip on what illegal immigrants call the train of death. "24 Hours on the Border" a special edition of 360 is next.


COOPER: Along the U.S. Mexico border and beyond, a dramatic look at illegal immigration minute by minute, "24 Hours on the Border," a 360 special is next.


COOPER: Around the clock and all the angles. A special edition of "360." "24 Hours on the Border."

ANNOUNCER: Wide-open land at the border, and these guys say they're the only ones stopping illegals from crossing through.

It's a great day to be a vigilante.

ANNOUNCER: Tonight their controversial plan, building a wall to keep illegals out.

Catch and return, an ambitious effort to send illegal immigrants back. What really happens to those who are caught trying to enter the U.S.?

And could this town be America's welcome mat for terrorists? It's on the border. We'll take you there, across the country and around the world, this is a special edition of "ANDERSON COOPER 360" "24 Hours on the Border." Here's Anderson Cooper

COOPER: Welcome to this special edition of 360. We come to you tonight from smuggler's gulch, just south of San Diego right on the U.S. Mexico border.


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