Hi there,

If you think Democracy Now!’s reporting is a critical line of defense against war, climate catastrophe and authoritarianism, please make your donation of $10 or more right now. Today, a generous donor will DOUBLE your donation, which means it’ll go 2x as far to support our independent journalism. Democracy Now! is funded by you, and that’s why we’re counting on your donation to keep us going strong. Please give today. Every dollar makes a difference—in fact, gets doubled! Thank you so much.
-Amy Goodman

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.


Fact-Checking Dobbs: CNN Anchor Lou Dobbs Challenged on Immigration Issues

StoryDecember 04, 2007
Watch Full Show
Media Options

In a wide-ranging interview, CNN anchor Lou Dobbs joins Democracy Now! for the hour to discuss:

  • His claim that a “third of our prison population” are illegal aliens (according to the Justice Department about 6 percent of the state and federal prison population are non-citizens)
  • Why white supremacists have appeared on Lou Dobbs Tonight without disclosure over their ties to hate groups
  • His show’s reporting on leprosy and immigration. A 2005 report on Lou Dobbs Tonight claimed there had been 7,000 new cases of leprosy in the U.S. over the past three years. In fact, there have been 7,000 cases reported over the past 30 years
  • And more… [includes rush transcript]

Related Story

StoryMay 14, 2024“Unbuild Walls”: Detention Watch’s Silky Shah on Debunking Immigration Myths & Embracing Abolition
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZALEZ: “CNN anchor Lou Dobbs may be the most important person in the 2008 presidential election aside from the candidates themselves.” That’s the opening line of a recent column by Christopher Gacek on the website Politico. Gacek goes on to write, “The bundle of concerns that Dobbs and his audience have about globalization, trade, diminished American sovereignty and immigration will be ignored by politicians at their own peril.”

As anchorman and managing editor of the show Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dobbs has used his nightly program on CNN to help make immigration one of the most discussed issues of the 2008 campaign. Dobbs describes himself as an independent populist. He titled his latest book Independents Day: Awakening the American Spirit. His previous book was titled War on the Middle Class: How the Government, Big Business, and Special Interest Groups Are Waging War on the American Dream and How to Fight Back.

AMY GOODMAN: Lou Dobbs also has his detractors, especially when it comes to immigration. He has been called the most influential spokesperson for the anti-immigration movement, and he’s been accused of being a fearmonger who vilifies immigrants and promotes xenophobia.

But Lou Dobbs’s message has struck a chord with many viewers. Lou Dobbs Tonight is the second-most-watched program on CNN, and there’s even talk that Dobbs might make a possible run for the White House. Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund reported last month friends of Dobbs say he’s seriously contemplating running for president as an independent.

Lou Dobbs joins us today in our firehouse studio for the hour. Welcome to Democracy Now!

LOU DOBBS: Great to be with you.

AMY GOODMAN: Are you running?

LOU DOBBS: Absolutely not. It’s the last thing I could imagine. If I were a candidate, I can assure both of you that I would be the candidate of last resort in this country. That’s about 300 million people in line ahead of me.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, you’ve written the book Independents Day. That’s with a “ts” at the end of “Independents.”


AMY GOODMAN: What is the main thesis of this book?

LOU DOBBS: The main thesis is that both political parties — the Republican Party, Democratic Party — have failed the American people, have, rather than held up our central fundamental national values as the standard to which all of our public policies should repair, has submerged them in trivia, wedge issues, and partisan blather and nonsense that is ultimately destructive to the American dream.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you think are the most important issues today?

LOU DOBBS: The most important issue in this country today is representation of the American people in Washington, D.C., which is being denied right now by corporate America, special interest, group and identity politics that are submerging the will of the majority in this country. The fundamental tenet of any democracy is representation of the will of the majority, and that is being denied through elitists in both business and government and politics. And we have to fundamentally examine where we are and where we want to be going over the course of this next century. And that is not happening, not in the presidential campaigns of both parties. It’s not happening in Washington, D.C., even though we have a government in which the Democratic Party is leading the Congress, and the Republican Party, the White House.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Now, Lou, you’ve been well known for years now, especially dealing with the issue of American corporations exporting jobs and criticizing that whole process of exporting American jobs overseas.


JUAN GONZALEZ: And your — but also the criticism of it, that as I’ve seen it as, oftentimes does not deal with the impact so much of what this globalization on those countries themselves. In other words, you criticize NAFTA for sending so many jobs overseas, but not with the impact so much that it’s having on Mexico and on these other countries that are the other end of this free trade.

LOU DOBBS: Juan, that may be because I’m a television journalist, limited in my intellect, as well as my time.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, on this show, we don’t have commercials, so we have a lot of time to get into the issues.

LOU DOBBS: The reality is that, of course, NAFTA is, in my judgment, at least deleterious to the interests of the Mexican people and to the state of Mexico. One only has to look at the empty villages in particularly southern Mexico to examine the impact of the agricultural policies within NAFTA. One only has to look at the maquiladoras across northern Mexico to see the impact on a society that is already 50% impoverished, education levels still where they were thirty years ago in Mexico.

But my perspective is an American one. And I won’t presume to speak for Mexico, as Felipe Calderon does presume to speak to the United States for Americans on American policy. The reality is that NAFTA doesn’t work for this country. It doesn’t work for Mexico.

But I am not one of those people — as Amy was talking about, my detractors. The suggestion I’m anti-immigrant, for example, is absurd. I would support an increase in lawful immigration and have said so repeatedly and have no problem whatsoever with current levels of immigration, which, by the way, are the highest levels of immigration in the world —- in fact, more than the rest of the world combined. We bring in more than two million people. But the issue is one that the United States does not have a foreign policy toward Mexico. We’re paternalistic and condescending toward Mexico in our dealings with Mexico, both corporately and politically. And it’s time for that to change.

AMY GOODMAN: In the beginning of the broadcast, we played a clip -—


AMY GOODMAN: — of you talking about various concerns that you have around immigrants.


AMY GOODMAN: The last part of that clip — and maybe we can play it again —-

LOU DOBBS: Illegal immigrants, if I may, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: Illegal immigrants.

LOU DOBBS: Only illegal immigrants.

AMY GOODMAN: Maybe we can play a last part of this clip that we played, just to go through it again. We’ll see if our folks have that clip ready. And this is the clip that we played in the billboard. It’s -—

LOU DOBBS: Well, I can recall what was said if it’s at all helpful. I said that according to a study — I didn’t use the attribution, but according to a study that Jorge Borjas at Harvard University had completed, that the cost of excess immigration into this country amounts to $200 billion a year in wages, that the cost of incarceration, medical care, social services approximates $50 billion in this country per year. And the reality is that about a third of the crimes that are of those in state prisons — federal prisons, excuse me, federal prisons, are — I’m sorry.


LOU DOBBS: Are those who are in this country illegally.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s play it.


AMY GOODMAN: And then let’s talk about it.

    LOU DOBBS: Let’s say the number is eleven million, although some studies put the number as high as twenty million illegal aliens in this country. That not only amounts to a shift of six to ten congressional seats among the states based on the population of illegal immigration. The fact is, those illegal aliens are costing our economy $200 billion in depressed wages for working Americans. It is costing $50 billion a year in social and medical costs. And it’s costing us, no one knows precisely how much, to incarcerate what is about a third of our prison population who are illegal aliens.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Lou, you said a third of the prison population are illegal aliens.


AMY GOODMAN: The fact is, it’s something like 6% of prisoners in this country are non-citizens, not even illegal, just non-citizens.


AMY GOODMAN: And then a percentage of that would not be documented.

LOU DOBBS: Well, it’s actually — I think it’s 26% in federal prison.

AMY GOODMAN: But you said of all prisoners.

LOU DOBBS: I said about — yes, but I — and I misspoke, without question. I was referring to federal prisoners.

AMY GOODMAN: But you didn’t say that, and so it leaves people with the impression —-

LOU DOBBS: Well, I didn’t, but then I just explained it to you.

AMY GOODMAN: But you have a very large audience on CNN.

LOU DOBBS: I have a very large audience and a very bright audience.

AMY GOODMAN: And you told them that a third of the population of this country are illegal immigrants. 6% , which is under the population of immigrants -—

LOU DOBBS: 6% , right.

AMY GOODMAN: — in this country, of prisoners —-

LOU DOBBS: In state prisons.

AMY GOODMAN: —- are immigrants.

LOU DOBBS: In state prisons. In state prisons.

AMY GOODMAN: No, 6% overall are immigrants. You said 30% are illegal.

LOU DOBBS: Well, I think we’ve established — we could sit here and say this all day, Amy. The fact is, the number is 26% in federal prisons. That’s what I was referring to. I did not —- I misspoke when I said “prisons.” I was referring to the federal prisons, because that’s the federal crime: immigration. And that -—

AMY GOODMAN: Have you made a correction on your show to say that 30% of —-?

LOU DOBBS: I’m sure we have. We’ve reported -— absolutely.

AMY GOODMAN: We didn’t see it.

LOU DOBBS: Do you know how many reports we’ve done on illegal immigration in this country?

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, many.

LOU DOBBS: I mean, my god.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yeah, but I’d like to get into this issue — I mean, aside from the fact that the GAO report —-

LOU DOBBS: Excuse me, just one second.


LOU DOBBS: I mean, what if I were to sit here and just hound you because you said I was anti-immigrant, when I am, point of fact, I’m anti-illegal immigrant, and it’s absolutely a matter of fact. We could quarrel over the terminology, if you want. But why should people of good faith and intelligence sit there and be so absurd about it?

JUAN GONZALEZ: No, we agree on that. But this is precisely the lumping of illegal or undocumented immigrants and legal immigrants in one category that’s a problem -—


JUAN GONZALEZ: — because, for instance —-

LOU DOBBS: Right, I agree with you.

JUAN GONZALEZ: —- the total percentage of the non-citizen population of the United States right now is about thirty-five million, 12% of the population.

LOU DOBBS: Do you know this?

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, this is Census Bureau —-

LOU DOBBS: I was just -— I was just —-

JUAN GONZALEZ: Wait, wait, Lou. Let me finish. Let me finish, Lou.

LOU DOBBS: I have to say, I was laughing about the NIE, because, as you heard Steve Hadley talk about -—

JUAN GONZALEZ: Lou, let me finish.

LOU DOBBS: — high confidence levels in those estimates, —-

JUAN GONZALEZ: Right, but let me -—

LOU DOBBS: What do you suppose the confidence level is of the United States government in the number of people in this country illegally, the number of people —-

JUAN GONZALEZ: We’re assuming now -— the legal population is pretty well documented, right? But the —-

LOU DOBBS: Documented, undocumented.

JUAN GONZALEZ: The legal immigrant population is pretty well documented. It’s about twenty-three million. And then you add maybe another eleven to twelve million of the undocumented population, and you get thirty-five million. The point is -— my point is this: if 12% of the non-citizen population of the United States — non-citizens comprise 12% of the population. They comprise 6% of the prison population. That suggests to me that crime rates are far lower among non-citizen immigrants — legal and illegal — than they are among the general population of the United States.

LOU DOBBS: Can I ask you a question?

JUAN GONZALEZ: You have raised the issue of crime — you’ve raised the issue of crime in relationship to immigrants.

LOU DOBBS: Well, silly me, silly me. MS-13, all sorts of gangs. You know, the fact that Mexico is the largest source of methamphetamines, heroin, cocaine, marijuana entering the United States. Silly me for bringing up crack.

AMY GOODMAN: But, Lou —-

LOU DOBBS: But may I ask you a question?

AMY GOODMAN: I think you agree -—

LOU DOBBS: May I ask this question —-

AMY GOODMAN: I think you would agree -—

LOU DOBBS: May I ask this question —-

AMY GOODMAN: —- that facts matter.

LOU DOBBS: Of course, they do. Absolutely.

AMY GOODMAN: And so —-

LOU DOBBS: I am an empiricist to the bone.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, if 6% of prisoners are immigrants -— documented and undocumented —- and you said 30% of prisoners, a third of the population of prisons in this country, are prisoners, it conveys a very different sense.

LOU DOBBS: Different meaning.

AMY GOODMAN: And as you’ve pointed out -—

LOU DOBBS: I agree.

AMY GOODMAN: — you’ve done hundreds of shows on these issues.

LOU DOBBS: More than that. More like thousands.

AMY GOODMAN: And that reinforces the feeling that people have, who watch the show —-

LOU DOBBS: So, your point is?

AMY GOODMAN: —- either they believe you or — either they don’t believe you, or they believe you and are being fed wrong information.

LOU DOBBS: Well, I don’t — you know, I think it’s important for all of us, because, as you say, I’m — we’re all interested in the facts. So let me ask both of you, please, a question that seeks a fact: Does the United States government and do state governments inquire of their prisoners as to whether they are legal or illegal, and can they under the law? Or are these estimates that we’re talking about?

AMY GOODMAN: Well, if the government doesn’t know, how do you know?

LOU DOBBS: No, that’s as straightforward question.

AMY GOODMAN: How do you know?

LOU DOBBS: Well, because in the federal prisons, they are permitted to make a decision as to whether or not they can ask if they’re citizens or non-citizens, but cannot ask if they’re legal or illegal. So it is, at best, a projection. When Juan says eleven million to twelve million illegal aliens, you and I both know that the Bear Stearns study suggests twenty million people. There is no one in this country today —- that’s why I referred to the National Intelligence -—

AMY GOODMAN: And the Bear Stearns study has been critiqued over and over again —-

LOU DOBBS: By whom?

AMY GOODMAN: —- by the top economists.

LOU DOBBS: Oh, come on!

AMY GOODMAN: Bear Stearns study, saying it is wildly exaggerated, that their —-

LOU DOBBS: The National Intelligence Estimate is closer probably on Iran today than it is on the makeup of the US population today. I mean, if you want to talk about this nonsense, I mean, that’s what it is.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go to break, and we’ll come back.


AMY GOODMAN: Our guest is Lou Dobbs. He is the well-known anchor of CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight and has written a new book called Independents Day. We’ll be back with him in a minute.


AMY GOODMAN: Our guest for the hour is Lou Dobbs, well known as the CNN anchor of Lou Dobbs Tonight. In May, the New York Times published a critical article about you, Lou.

LOU DOBBS: [inaudible]

AMY GOODMAN: It was called “Truth, Fiction and Lou Dobbs.” Columnist David Leonhardt wrote, “Mr. Dobbs has a somewhat flexible relationship with reality.” Leonhardt highlighted this profile about you that aired on CBS’s 60 Minutes.

    LESLEY STAHL: One of the issues he tackles relentlessly is illegal immigration. And on that, his critics say his advocacy can get in the way of the facts.

    LOU DOBBS: Tuberculosis, leprosy, malaria?

    LESLEY STAHL: Following a report on illegals carrying diseases into the US, one of the correspondents on his show, Christine Romans, told Dobbs that there had been 7,000 cases of leprosy in the US in the past three years.

    CHRISTINE ROMANS: Leprosy, in this country

    LOU DOBBS: Incredible.

    LESLEY STAHL: We checked that and found a report issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services saying 7,000 is the number of leprosy cases over the last thirty years, not the past three, and nobody knows how many of those cases involve illegal immigrants.

    [interviewing Dobbs] Now, went to try and check that number, 7,000 -— we can’t. Just so you know —-

    LOU DOBBS: I can tell you this: if we reported it, it’s a fact.

    LESLEY STAHL: You can’t tell me that. You did report it -—

    LOU DOBBS: No, I just did.

    LESLEY STAHL: How can you guarantee that to me?

    LOU DOBBS: Because I’m the managing editor, and that’s the way we do business. We don’t make up numbers, Lesley, do we?

AMY GOODMAN: A day after the 60 Minutes report aired, Lou Dobbs discussed the issue on his program with his reporter, the CNN reporter Christine Romans.

    LOU DOBBS: Then there was a question about some of your comments, Christine, following one of your reports. I told Lesley Stahl we don’t make up numbers, and I will tell everybody here again tonight, I stand 100% behind what you said.

    CHRISTINE ROMANS: That’s right, Lou. We don’t make up numbers here. This is what we reported. We reported: “It’s interesting, because the woman in our piece told us that there were about 900 cases of leprosy for forty years. There have been 7,000 in the past three years. Leprosy, in this country.” I was quoting Dr. Madeleine Cosman, a respected medical lawyer and medical historian. Writing in The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, she said: “Hansen’s disease” — that’s the other modern name, I guess, for leprosy — “Hansen’s disease was so rare in America that in forty years only 900 people were afflicted. Suddenly, in the past three years America has more than 7,000 cases of leprosy,” Lou.

    LOU DOBBS: It’s remarkable that this — whatever, confusion or confoundment over 7,000 cases. They actually keep a registry of cases of leprosy. And the fact that it rose was because of — one assumes, because we don’t know for sure — but two basic influences: unscreened illegal immigrants coming into this country, primarily from South Asia, and the — secondly, far better reporting.

    CHRISTINE ROMANS: That’s what Dr. Cosman told us, Lou.

    LOU DOBBS: And, you know, in talking with a number of people, it’s also very clear no one knows, but nearly everyone suspects, there are far more cases of that. It is also, I think, interesting, and I think important to say, one of the reasons we screen people coming into this country is to deal with communicable diseases like leprosy, tuberculosis. The fact is, if we would just screen successfully, all of those diseases can be treated effectively, efficiently and relatively quickly.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Lou Dobbs on the show. The source behind the claim that there was a spike of 7,000 new cases of leprosy was a controversial medical attorney named Madeleine Cosman. In 2005, she described undocumented immigrants as “deadly time bombs, because of the diseases they bring into the country.” Cosman, who died last year, has also been criticized for these comments she made about Mexican men.

    MADELEINE COSMAN: Recognize that most of these bastards molest girls under age twelve, some as young as age five, others age three. Although, of course, some specialize in boys, some specialize in nuns, some are exceedingly versatile and rape little girls age eleven and women up to age seventy-nine.

    What is important here is the psychiatric defenses: Why do they do what they do? They do not need a jail; they need a hospital. They are depraved because they were deprived in their home country. But more important is the cultural defense: they suffer from psychiatric cognitive disjuncture, for what does a poor man do if in his home country of Mexico in his jurisdiction if rape is ranked lower than cow stealing? Of course, he will not know how to behave here in strange America. This is thoroughly reprehensible.

AMY GOODMAN: Madeleine Cosman, that’s her quote. She actually is not a medical doctor. She’s a Renaissance author and scholar of sorts. Lou Dobbs?

LOU DOBBS: What would you have me say, Amy? Because what — the reality is what you don’t say, is that Leonhardt’s piece was filled with errors. Secondly, Madeleine Cosman, as we learned following that report in Physicians and Surgeons, the publication, is precisely what you styled her: she is a wack — or was a wackjob. But the New York Times didn’t know that, either. If you would read the obituary for Madeleine Cosman in the New York Times —- have you done that, by the way? She died a year ago, which was, by the way, a year after we had used her as a source in a report, along with other people. Did you read that obituary? Did you find that the New York Times had come to basically the same conclusion we had, that she was a credible source? Because if you read that obituary, it is glowing and filled with plaudits for Madeleine Cosman. And so -—

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, but, Lou, I think the issue —-

LOU DOBBS: But I must -— no, no. I am going to say this —-

JUAN GONZALEZ: The issue is that we, as journalists -—

LOU DOBBS: To go through a body of

JUAN GONZALEZ: — all have our own responsibility to —-

LOU DOBBS: No, listen to me, Juan -—

JUAN GONZALEZ: No, no, no, no, no, Listen —-

LOU DOBBS: —- because at least we can have some civility —-


LOU DOBBS: — to go through this and try to convey that this is a body of work. I spoke for eight seconds after that report on tuberculosis and the screening of illegal immigrants into this country. For eight seconds. And you’re trying to project this as if it is reflective of a body of work. And that, I think, is —- I think -—

JUAN GONZALEZ: No, but, Lou, the issue —-

LOU DOBBS: I would hope that you would be embarrassed by that.

JUAN GONZALEZ: No, Lou, the issue is -—

AMY GOODMAN: You’re the managing director of your show —-

LOU DOBBS: I am the managing director.

AMY GOODMAN: —- and editor of your show.

LOU DOBBS: And let me ask you a question: how many — how many people are on the registry for Hansen’s disease in this country?

JUAN GONZALEZ: 7,000, total.

LOU DOBBS: It’s over 7,000, correct.

AMY GOODMAN: For thirty years.

JUAN GONZALEZ: For thirty years.

LOU DOBBS: Absolutely.

AMY GOODMAN: You said over the last three years because of illegal immigration.

LOU DOBBS: And what did we say? Did I say because of illegal immigration?


LOU DOBBS: I said no one knows, but one assumes primarily, because they’re not being screened. That’s what the doctors at the Hansen centers were telling us. Secondly, the issue of — if you want to, I mean, explode eight seconds into a whole body of discussion, fine. The reality is, I think you would agree, that if we were screening illegal immigrants, as well as legal immigrants, we would probably have a heck of a lot less in the way of tuberculosis in this country, and Hansen’s disease.

JUAN GONZALEZ: OK, Lou, I’d like to get into — take this in a much deeper perspective than just the particular fact —-

LOU DOBBS: I hope so.

JUAN GONZALEZ: —- because I’ve been very concerned about the lack of historical understanding of the immigration battles in our country, going back to the Irish in the 1840s. Father Joseph Fitzpatrick, who was a wonderful sociologist of Fordham University, once did a study of the criminal populations in New York City in 1859, concluded that 83% of all the criminal convictions in 1859 in New York City were Irish — were Irish, not Canadian, Scotch, English or Germans or the other bulk of the population in New York at the time, but were Irish, right? Henry McLaughlin, the —-

LOU DOBBS: What in the world is your point?

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, I’m getting to my point, but give me the time to do it. We have time on this show, unlike -— we don’t do soundbites here, alright?

LOU DOBBS: No, and you certainly don’t do representative journalism, either.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Henry McLaughlin, Lou, was the guy who was the main consultant to the US Congress in developing the immigration restriction laws of the 1920s, a eugenicist who, interestingly enough, examined the facts — high crime rates among the immigrant population in the 1920s. Tuberculosis, disease, drunkenness — and these were the reasons —- his studies of the population of the immigrant population were the basis upon which Congress decided on its restrictive laws to limit the number of southern Europeans, of Jews and of other nationalities that were coming into the country at the time. My point is that the issue of crime and the issue of disease has always been attempted by those who want to restrict immigration, right? But identifying -—

LOU DOBBS: Juan, you’re smarter than this. I mean —-

JUAN GONZALEZ: —- with the immigrant population coming into the country.

LOU DOBBS: You’re smarter than this. You’re better than this.

JUAN GONZALEZ: You know, you’re doing the same thing that Henry —-

LOU DOBBS: No, I’m -—

JUAN GONZALEZ: — McLaughlin did in the 1920s —-

LOU DOBBS: Oh, you’re -—

JUAN GONZALEZ: — and the same thing that was done against the Irish —-

LOU DOBBS: Juan, if you believe that -—

JUAN GONZALEZ: — in the 1850s.

LOU DOBBS: If you believe that, you should look into that camera and say you apologize for trying to mislead people purposefully. The reality is this. Have you ever once heard me say anything other than I have the greatest respect for illegal immigrants in this country? Illegal immigrants. Forget immigrants, illegal immigrants. Have you ever heard me say anything other than that? Have you ever heard me say anything other than, I believe that the illegal alien in this entire mess is the only rational actor? Have you ever heard me say that? Have you ever read the transcripts of my broadcasts? Do you have any —-

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes, I’ve read quite a few of your transcripts. Not all of them, I have to confess. I work with -—

LOU DOBBS: Would you like to tell me? Have you ever heard me say anything other than that? Have you ever heard me say that I want to have immigration restricted? I mean, my god, man, do you have any — any —- sense of fidelity to the reality?

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes, I do. And the reality is -—

LOU DOBBS: How in the world can you use my name and “anti-immigrant” in the same breath?

AMY GOODMAN: When we hear comments like —-

LOU DOBBS: You hear -—

AMY GOODMAN: — a third of the — from you — we’ve played them, so we can’t refute the videotape, Lou.

LOU DOBBS: Have you looked, Amy —-

AMY GOODMAN: We can’t refute -— a third of prisoners are —-

LOU DOBBS: Yes. And we discussed that?

AMY GOODMAN: —- are illegal immigrants —-

LOU DOBBS: Have we discussed it?

AMY GOODMAN: No, a third of prisoners are illegal immigrants, not true. 7,000 leprosy cases in the last three years because of illegal immigrants -—

LOU DOBBS: Christine Romans misspoke —-

AMY GOODMAN: —- not true.

LOU DOBBS: — we said that. And that’s as straightforward as we can put it.

AMY GOODMAN: And you made an announcement on your show —-

LOU DOBBS: Absolutely.

AMY GOODMAN: —- and you will say it here —-

LOU DOBBS: Absolutely.

AMY GOODMAN: -— that it is not true. Illegal immigrants are not responsible for 7,000 cases of leprosy over last three years.

LOU DOBBS: Not over the last three years. But the likelihood is that illegal immigrants are responsible, because they are the ones who brought Hansen’s disease —-

AMY GOODMAN: ”The likelihood” -— based on what, Lou?

LOU DOBBS: Based on doctors at the Hansen Center, —-


LOU DOBBS: —- who said that — listen to me. Hansen’s — I mean, if you guys — you guys are just ridiculous in your loss of proportion here. You’re talking about one report. But if you want to talk about it, tuberculosis and Hansen’s disease are both screened, and they are so similar in the symptoms and their presentation that doctors look for that in the screening. Without question.

AMY GOODMAN: But as you agree now, you’re formally apologizing for having a presentation on your show —-

LOU DOBBS: I already have.

AMY GOODMAN: —- and then backing it up.

LOU DOBBS: Wait, wait, wait.

AMY GOODMAN: Again, this is not just one show.

LOU DOBBS: Referring to three years, OK?

AMY GOODMAN: So you’re saying that illegal immigrants have caused 7,000 cases of leprosy —-


AMY GOODMAN: —- over thirty years?

LOU DOBBS: I’m saying the likelihood is that those cases of Hansen’s disease are, according to the doctors at the Hansen Center, most likely as a result of illegal immigration, because they’re not being screened.

AMY GOODMAN: You know the fear —-

LOU DOBBS: But why contain this?

AMY GOODMAN: Well, the reason -—

LOU DOBBS: How about tuberculosis?

AMY GOODMAN: Let me make a point.

LOU DOBBS: Does that concern you?

AMY GOODMAN: Let me just say something. Let me just say something.


AMY GOODMAN: The reason we’re raising these issues is not any one particular case, though I think facts matter —-

LOU DOBBS: You’re giving more focus to this issue -—

AMY GOODMAN: — because —-

LOU DOBBS: We put one report, eight seconds, and you are giving an entire broadcast to this.

AMY GOODMAN: No. It is well more than eight seconds. But I want to make a point here. Even when you were called on it by 60 Minutes -— they played a clip — you came back the next day —-


AMY GOODMAN: —- and you continued this fallacy. But the issue is, we’re raising different issues in different spheres of American life — prisons, disease — and in each of these cases, what many people are concerned about what you’re doing, because there is no question, Lou Dobbs, you are extremely influential in this country. You are a key part of driving the debate on immigration.


AMY GOODMAN: And so, I think it is important to be accurate —-

LOU DOBBS: Oh, I do, too.

AMY GOODMAN: —- to start there.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yeah, but I think we should —-

LOU DOBBS: Have you ever made a mistake on this broadcast, Amy?


LOU DOBBS: How many, would you say?

AMY GOODMAN: I would say that each time it’s pointed out, we try to apologize for it.

LOU DOBBS: So do we.

AMY GOODMAN: And we try to correct the record.

LOU DOBBS: And the issue is, for me, the 7,000 cases -— as soon as I understood the issue was the three years versus thirty years — I mean, to me it was a —-

AMY GOODMAN: That’s not minor.

LOU DOBBS: To me, it frankly was of no interest. The issue was 7,000 cases on the registry of Hansen’s. That was the issue I was responding to when I understood fully the three-year thing. I mean, to me, the idea was whether the registry had been brought up to date or not. No one in their right mind thought that -— you know, a year, or whatever, that a thousand cases had been created.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, I’d like to move on. I want to play a report from your show covering former Mexican President Vicente Fox’s May 2000 visit to the United States. Your reporter Casey Wian —-


JUAN GONZALEZ: Wian, I’m sorry -— described the visit as a, quote, “Mexican military incursion.” This aired on May 23, 2006.

    CASEY WIAN: This Mexican military incursion was fully authorized: a Mexican air force jet carrying President Vicente Fox, who was not just invited to Utah, but encouraged to visit by Governor John Huntsman.

    PRESIDENT VICENTE FOX: We fully support the businessmen from Utah and Mexico…

    CASEY WIAN: It’s estimated Utah has about 100,000 illegal aliens, and the number is growing rapidly. Utah is also a part of the territory some militant Latino activists refer to as Aztlan, the portion of the Southwest United States they claim rightfully belongs to Mexico.

    You could call this the Vicente Fox Aztlan tour, since the three states he’ll visit — Utah, Washington, and California — are all part of some radical group’s vision of the mythical indigenous homeland, Lou.

    LOU DOBBS: Casey, thank you very much.

JUAN GONZALEZ: The Southern Poverty Law Center criticized CNN for airing that report, in part because, as your reporter Casey Wian spoke, a graphic appeared on the screen. It was a map of the United States highlighting the seven Southwestern states that Mexico supposedly covets and calls Aztlan. The map was prominently sourced to the Council of Conservative Citizens, which is considered by many to be a white supremacist hate group.

AMY GOODMAN: Your response, Lou Dobbs?

LOU DOBBS: You know the response, and you know the reality. That — how long was that screen up? How long was that map up?

AMY GOODMAN: Enough to see it.

JUAN GONZALEZ: A few seconds.

LOU DOBBS: The field producer who — did you know it was from the CCC? Which is a hate group.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s attributed right there. It says Council of Conservative Citizens.

LOU DOBBS: Right. And it couldn’t be clearer, could it? I mean, we weren’t hiding anything. We had no idea what they were. The field producer who used it went on the web, pulled — did a “grab,” as it’s called, and put it up. And she was suspended for a day for doing so.

Did you guys know that we have sent our producers and our reporters down to the Southern Poverty Law Center years ago to make certain this sort of thing doesn’t happen? That’s how seriously we take the issue. And for you to talk about the incursion, you forgot to point out that that was coming out of rather jocular discussion of the incursions by Mexican forces along the border and the response of the US government.


LOU DOBBS: And, I mean, are you offended?

AMY GOODMAN: Lou, did you say you have no idea what the Council of Conservative Citizens is?

LOU DOBBS: Did I say I don’t?


LOU DOBBS: I certainly do now. Absolutely. What did I -— you didn’t hear what I just said?

AMY GOODMAN: I just want to —-

LOU DOBBS: They’re acknowledged as a hate group. Absolutely.

JUAN GONZALEZ: See, but the problem, this -—

LOU DOBBS: What is the problem here?

JUAN GONZALEZ: Projecting the image to your viewers that there’s a Mexican desire to reconquer, the Reconquista of the Southwestern United States, does create images — and especially in people who are not necessarily as intelligent as you necessarily or who have studied as much as you have —-

LOU DOBBS: Thank you for conceding that.

JUAN GONZALEZ: —- that the country is under siege.

LOU DOBBS: My god, are you so self-important that you don’t think people have a sense of humor when Casey Wian says this is an authorized incursion by the Mexican government? You don’t think people have a sense of humor about that? The reality is, I think most people do. The other thing is, who are you trying to protect America from? I’m a little confused, because the reality is that there is a strong radical group of Reconquistas and Aztlan aficionados, and I have had them demonstrating against me in a couple of cities over the past few weeks. Don’t sit here being disingenuous —-


LOU DOBBS: —- and sanctimonious, because, let me tell you something —-

JUAN GONZALEZ: I’m not being disingenuous.

LOU DOBBS: —- there are many idiots on either extreme of this debate, and don’t kid yourself —-

AMY GOODMAN: But, Lou, I think what’s important here -—

LOU DOBBS: — and you know it.

AMY GOODMAN: — once again, is the pattern. It’s the pattern —-

LOU DOBBS: The pattern -— come on, please.

AMY GOODMAN: No, let me make my point, because what I talk about is facts.

LOU DOBBS: OK, let’s look at the pattern. The pattern is, for five years, we’ve been reporting on illegal immigration. The pattern is that we have been reporting on the impact of illegal immigration. It doesn’t suit your partisan views — and that’s understandable — or your ideological views. But don’t get carried away with yourselves, for crying out loud!

AMY GOODMAN: OK, Lou, let’s talk about some of the guests you’ve had on your show.


AMY GOODMAN: For example, Barbara Coe, leader of the California Coalition for Immigration Reform, —-

LOU DOBBS: She’s not a guest. You’re reading from the Southern Poverty Law Center -—

AMY GOODMAN: — quoted — just one second —-

LOU DOBBS: She was not a guest.

AMY GOODMAN: I am going to look at the -— as you said, you actually felt that the Southern Poverty Law Center was so important —-

LOU DOBBS: It’s a joke.

AMY GOODMAN: —- in getting information —-

LOU DOBBS: It’s a joke.

AMY GOODMAN: —- that you sent your producers down there to get information so that you wouldn’t represent hate groups on the air.

LOU DOBBS: In their responses, they’re nothing but a fundraising organization —-

AMY GOODMAN: So let me -—

LOU DOBBS: — and they’re indulging in pure BS.

AMY GOODMAN: OK. Now, let me just —-

LOU DOBBS: And so are you, when you quote them.

AMY GOODMAN: Let me just talk about some of the guests that you have had on -—

LOU DOBBS: Sure. They’re not guests.

AMY GOODMAN: — or quoted on the show.

LOU DOBBS: Barbara Coe was never a guest.

AMY GOODMAN: No. She was quoted on the show —-

LOU DOBBS: That’s different.

AMY GOODMAN: —- bitterly attacking Home Depot for betraying Americans, apparently because Hispanic day laborers often gather in front of the store looking for work. Not mentioned were her group, listed by the Southern Poverty Leadership Council as a hate group, or the fact that she routinely refers to Mexicans as “savages.” Coe recently described herself as a member of the Council of Conservative Citizens, the white pride group formed from the remnants —-

LOU DOBBS: What year was that?

AMY GOODMAN: —- of the segregationist White Citizens’ Council of the ’50s and ’60s, —-

LOU DOBBS: What year was she -—

AMY GOODMAN: — which Thurgood Marshall called the “Uptown Klan.”

LOU DOBBS: My god, Amy, what year was that on our broadcast? What year?

AMY GOODMAN: Not clear. You can tell me what year was it on your broadcast.

LOU DOBBS: Well, actually, I can, but it was years ago. And it was before we knew what the heck was going on.

AMY GOODMAN: I’m going to talk about a few other people.


AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Spencer, head of the anti-immigration American Patrol, has been interviewed at least twice on the show in 2004, maybe many more times after — I don’t know. Spencer’s website is jammed with anti-Mexican vitriol. He pushes the idea the Mexican government is involved in a secret plot to take over the Southwest —-


AMY GOODMAN: —- facts never mentioned on your show. His group is regarded as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.

LOU DOBBS: You know, well, I really don’t care what —-

AMY GOODMAN: Spencer has spoken at least twice to the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens.

LOU DOBBS: You know, I got to be honest with you. I have no knowledge of this fellow. I have no idea -— and you’re not telling me when he was on the broadcast.

AMY GOODMAN: You had him on the show. I said —-

LOU DOBBS: No, I did not have him on the show. He was quoted -—

AMY GOODMAN: January 7th —-

LOU DOBBS: He was either quoted in a piece -—

AMY GOODMAN: No, no, no. No, no, Lou. On January 7, 2004, and June 4, 2004 —-


AMY GOODMAN: —- he was interviewed on your broadcast.

LOU DOBBS: He was not on our broadcast. He may have been in a field report. He was not on our broadcast. And, Amy, let me ask you a question: have you checked to see how many guests we’ve had on our show in the course of — what is that? —-

AMY GOODMAN: You have had many.

LOU DOBBS: —- three-and-a-half years? No, I mean —-

AMY GOODMAN: You have had many.

LOU DOBBS: -— let’s get a number. What do you think? Why are you focusing on two or three?

AMY GOODMAN: I can go on and on.

LOU DOBBS: OK, keep going. How many?

AMY GOODMAN: But I think the important point here —-

LOU DOBBS: Give us a total. Give us a total of the number of guests you object to.

AMY GOODMAN: Lou, I just want to say something here. You just said to Juan, can’t he take a joke, when you talk about the incursion, Mexico taking over the United States. Yet, it is a growing theme. It is a continuing thread in your broadcast. This guy, Glenn Spencer, whether he said this on your show or not, Dobbs has not -—

LOU DOBBS: Oh, no, no.

AMY GOODMAN: Just one second — has not mentioned his ties to American —-

LOU DOBBS: Now I’m supposed to be -—

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, you have to know who —-

LOU DOBBS: I’m supposed to be responsible for what he says off my broadcast?

AMY GOODMAN: No. You should know that he was tied to American Renaissance, the group that says blacks are genetically inferior to whites. You didn’t report those ties or mention Spencer’s -—

LOU DOBBS: Do you think we knew it?

AMY GOODMAN: — more wild-eyed contentions —-

LOU DOBBS: Do you think we knew it?

AMY GOODMAN: —- such as his —-

LOU DOBBS: Amy, do you really think we knew it?

AMY GOODMAN: Just listen to this -— such as his prediction —-

LOU DOBBS: Do you really believe we knew that?

AMY GOODMAN: —- that thousands will die in a supposedly forthcoming Mexican invasion.

LOU DOBBS: Oh, come on! You’re giving Glenn Spencer and other detestable people who would make such comments about more air time than anybody.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Lou —-

LOU DOBBS: You have just given him more air -—

AMY GOODMAN: But, Lou —-

LOU DOBBS: —- than I would have ever, and I —-

AMY GOODMAN: But, Lou, let me make a final point.

LOU DOBBS: Go back and look at the quotes.

AMY GOODMAN: Let me make a final point.

LOU DOBBS: Who’s giving him more air time? You.

AMY GOODMAN: Your colleague, Wolf Blitzer -—


AMY GOODMAN: — on the other hand, also featured Spencer on his own show, but reported Mexico’s official response that SPLC, Southern Poverty Leadership Council’s hate group designation, said that he was a member of a hate group, as designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center. So we’re not —-

LOU DOBBS: What year was that?

AMY GOODMAN: What I’m saying is that Wolf -—

LOU DOBBS: What year was Wolf Blitzer?

AMY GOODMAN: — Blitzer identified him; you did not.

LOU DOBBS: What year? What year?

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I just know when you had him on your show, and you may have had him on since then.

LOU DOBBS: But do you know when Wolf Blitzer had him on?

AMY GOODMAN: Well, soon after that, I suppose. I don’t know.

LOU DOBBS: OK. After we found out that there was a problem.

AMY GOODMAN: But you know what the fact is? I don’t know. And I admit when I don’t know. And I try to get my facts straight.

LOU DOBBS: Sure. Sure. So do we.

AMY GOODMAN: Another guest that you’ve had on the show — now, this is a very important point, and this is one that you would agree that you’ve covered, and that is Arizona — this is very important — the Protect Arizona Now referendum. In late 2004, it was revealed that the new head of the national advisory board to Protect Arizona Now, an anti-immigration organization, was a longtime white supremacist who was also an editorial advisor to the racist Council of Conservative Citizens. Although Virginia Abernethy’s controversial selection was reported prominently in virtually every Arizona paper, and despite the fact that Lou Dobbs heavily cover the anti-immigration referendum that Protect Arizona Now was advocating, you never mentioned the affair at all, her controversial selection as head of this group.

LOU DOBBS: And she was featured in how many reports?

AMY GOODMAN: The point is, you covered Protect Arizona Now extensively, and this is certainly significant, when it turns out that the head of the board of Protect Arizona Now is —-

LOU DOBBS: And when was the last time she was on the show?

AMY GOODMAN: No, the important point is, you didn’t report the news of this very controversial -—

LOU DOBBS: Is it possible —-

AMY GOODMAN: —- racist woman who headed Protect Arizona Now, which was virtually in every Arizona paper. The question is —-

LOU DOBBS: Concurrent with our reporting?

AMY GOODMAN: —- what you report and what you don’t.

LOU DOBBS: Concurrent with our reporting?

AMY GOODMAN: Of course. This is in 2004. The point is, what you report, Lou, and what you don’t report.

LOU DOBBS: Well, you know, Amy, I don’t know what to tell you, because, you know, based on your focus here today, you have focused on probably three or four reports, as best I can figure, out of more than five years of reporting on the issue. If that smacks at all to you of reasonable proportionate journalism on your part, I mean, God bless you. If that’s what you believe, God bless you. But I think you’re coming from an ideological position that has just absolutely skewed that perception and that perspective.

AMY GOODMAN: I admit my ideological position, which is that I think that the Council of Conservative Citizens is a racist group, and it’s problematic —-

LOU DOBBS: OK. And I think that you are a wonderful, pure and absolute infallible human being.

AMY GOODMAN: —- not to identify guests that you have on your show that are connected with this group.

LOU DOBBS: Unfortunately, I am a fallible, and I am a man who has made some mistakes. But the reality is, the body of work stands for itself, and you know that. And the reality is, the facts are irresistible. Illegal immigration into this country is absolutely not in the American interest. And that is a reality you’re going to have to contend with.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Lou, no, that fact is not clear. You know, first of all —-

LOU DOBBS: Not to you.

JUAN GONZALEZ: No, exactly. And I have a different perspective on that -—


JUAN GONZALEZ: So you’ll indulge me.


JUAN GONZALEZ: But the fact is that immigration policy in this country has always been a means of rallying anger among the public.

LOU DOBBS: Oh, nonsense.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes, it has.

LOU DOBBS: Nonsense.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Lou, let me finish.

LOU DOBBS: First of all —-

JUAN GONZALEZ: Let me finish, Lou, please.

LOU DOBBS: Ridiculous. But, alright, go ahead.

JUAN GONZALEZ: The Chinese -— in 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act — what was the claim against the Chinese, small population of Chinese immigrants? The claim was that they were involved in drugs, that they were bringing crime, that they were a danger to the country, and the country passed in 1882 a Chinese Exclusion Act. The same thing in the 1920s.

LOU DOBBS: Are you holding me responsible? Or are —-


LOU DOBBS: Because I can’t find germane or relevant point there.

JUAN GONZALEZ: What I’m telling you is that this has been done over and over again. This has been done over and over again. And
precisely -—

LOU DOBBS: Juan, according to you —-

JUAN GONZALEZ: Let me finish, Lou. Precisely because -— because the country is an immigrant nation, it’s easy to divide the people along ethnic and racial lines over the issue of immigration.

LOU DOBBS: You’re the only one doing it.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Over the issue of immigration.

LOU DOBBS: You’re the only one doing it.

JUAN GONZALEZ: No, I’m not. No, I’m not.

LOU DOBBS: You’re socio-ethnocentric to the point of absurdity.

JUAN GONZALEZ: You know very well that 75% of the undocumented immigrant population in this country comes from Latin America. And not only that, 65% comes from one country: Mexico.

LOU DOBBS: That is right.

JUAN GONZALEZ: So the crux of the illegal immigration problem in the United States is the question of Mexico and the United States —-

LOU DOBBS: Correct.

JUAN GONZALEZ: —- and the relationships between Mexico and the United States. Mexicans are the larger source of immigration to this country from any nationality.

LOU DOBBS: What is your point?

JUAN GONZALEZ: So that the question is that there is a huge disparity between the economic levels in Mexico and the economic levels in the United States. And you have properly said many times on your show that American companies are creating the problems, rather than helping to alleviate the problems. All that would be needed to do is to raise the economic level in Mexico and the entire illegal immigration population problems would decline in this country. And not only that, but the country, if it had a higher immigration quota in connection with —-

LOU DOBBS: Are you giving me instruction, or are you telling me what we agree upon?

JUAN GONZALEZ: No, we don’t agree. We don’t agree, because you are demonizing illegal immigration as a separate issue, rather than dealing with the realities that Mexico and the United States must find a way to build better closer economic ties and raise the levels for both countries.

LOU DOBBS: Your view is -— as I take it, you and Amy believe that if we just had more illegal immigration, the crime rate would drop and the economy would boom in this country.


LOU DOBBS: That’s, on its face, absurd.


LOU DOBBS: Secondly, I have, over the — over five years in reporting on this issue, repeatedly pointed out that the investment in Mexico by the United States has been paltry and absurd and diverted to China, instead of to this hemisphere, and particularly Mexico. The results could have been quite different. So when you talked about these issues, you’re preaching to the choir, and you know that. The fact that you would focus on a couple of reports on tuberculosis, leprosy, the issue of the CCC in a flash — what amounts to a flash frame, folks —-

AMY GOODMAN: And all the guests connected to it since.

LOU DOBBS: And all of those guests. How many would you say? Five?

AMY GOODMAN: Oh, I can keep going. I just thought -—

LOU DOBBS: I would like —-

AMY GOODMAN: —- I should give someone else a chance here to have —-

LOU DOBBS: No, really, I think you should keep going, because the reality is, illegal immigration in this country is not going to be overwhelmed by this nonsense. The reality is, the Southern Poverty Law Center is an advocacy group right now. The ADL is an advocacy group right now. Pro-illegal immigration, pro-open borders, both of you, ideologically -— I understand that, and I can deal with that.

But the reality is, there is such a thing as the national interest. There is such a thing as the common good. And it’s not ethnocentric. It’s not group and identity politics. It’s all about this country, because this political system makes this economy possible. And the fact that people are starving in Mexico — and my heart goes out to them — the reality is there are five-and-a-half billion people in the world who are more impoverished than those folks in Mexico. And that land bridge does not give Felipe Calderon or Vicente Fox or any other group of activists the right to dictate the US immigration policy. That’s the reality.

AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you about national sovereignty —-


AMY GOODMAN: —- in a moment. But first, I want to turn to an excerpt of your show from August 22nd.

LOU DOBBS: This year?

AMY GOODMAN: This year.

LOU DOBBS: All right!

    LOU DOBBS: Just one day after President Bush signed legislation here in Washington to build a border fence, the government of Mexico is threatening the sovereignty and national security of the United States. President Vicente Fox and President-Elect Felipe Calderon are both asserting that the United States has no right to build such a fence along our southern border. At the same time, the White House and its allies in corporate America appear determined to create a new North American Union, incorporating Canada, Mexico and the United States. Such a union would, in effect, create a giant nation.

AMY GOODMAN: Lou Dobbs, August 22, 2007.



JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, this concept of a giant nation, could you expand on it?

LOU DOBBS: The North American Union?


LOU DOBBS: Well, coming from the 2005 meeting with Stephen Harper, the prime minister of Canada, Vicente Fox, then the president of Mexico, and George W. Bush — I’m sure you’re still delighted to know he’s president of the United States — met and laid out the foundation through the Security and Prosperity Partnership. What has ensued since then, there have been a number of high-level meetings — military, business, and governmental leaders — all of which had been closed to the press and all toward harmonizing, if you will, relations between the two and diminishing the border and the encumbrances to commerce moving straight ahead.

AMY GOODMAN: Just to be clear, it could have been 2006, that report, so I want to be factually accurate. It was either this year or last year.

LOU DOBBS: Well, I forgive you, no matter what it was.

AMY GOODMAN: But let me give you one more clip, and that is around the issue of the Minutemen.


AMY GOODMAN: This was the Minuteman Project, organizers calling their effort a peaceful protest over the government’s failure to secure its borders. Both the Mexican government and the Bush administration have described the Minutemen as vigilantes. You have been a vocal supporter.

    LOU DOBBS: I just want to be clear to the Journal and to this audience: I support the Minuteman Project and the fine Americans who make it up and all they’ve accomplished, fully, relentlessly and proudly.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s you, Lou.

LOU DOBBS: That’s me.

AMY GOODMAN: Bill Parmley, a Minuteman leader in Goliad County in Texas, quit the group because of, what he described, widespread racism. Another Texas Minuteman, Janet Ahrens, had resigned because members, she said, wanted to “shoot the taco meat.” You never mentioned either of these people. Why not talk about these people quitting, because they’re concerned about how racist this group is?

LOU DOBBS: Well, frankly, I didn’t know about it. I don’ think it’s — what makes them so newsworthy? And secondly, the reality is, the President called the Minutemen vigilantes immediately after they were formed. The idea that I would support volunteerism and the nature of the call to security on the border, I hope, doesn’t stun you too much, because the reality, again, is that there has never been an incident of violence involving the Minuteman organization, period. Do you want to take note of that?

AMY GOODMAN: Are you concerned with, among others, one of the founders of the Minutemen being found with a gun, patrolling the border; issues like these? This is of concern, when there are so many immigrants who are found in the desert dead, not clear why they die.

LOU DOBBS: Oh, are you implying that the Minutemen are killing them?

AMY GOODMAN: No. But just —

LOU DOBBS: Then why would you say such a thing?

AMY GOODMAN: My question is —-

LOU DOBBS: That’s terrible, Amy. I mean, good Lord!

AMY GOODMAN: My question is, when -—

LOU DOBBS: Let’s answer one question: has there ever been a single incident of violence recorded on the part of the Minutemen on the border?

AMY GOODMAN: I believe —- wasn’t there -—

LOU DOBBS: There has never been.

AMY GOODMAN: I’m not — haven’t there been cases of immigrants who come over the border, who have been chased, who have been shot at, who have been beaten?

LOU DOBBS: That would be an incident of violence. That would be an incident of violence, wouldn’t it? To my knowledge, there has never been an incident of violence on the part of the Minutemen.

AMY GOODMAN: But the idea of armed men on the border —-

LOU DOBBS: Oh, come on!

AMY GOODMAN: —- not authorized by the United States?

LOU DOBBS: Does it bother you that there are armed drug cartel members firing on law enforcement officers on the border, killing Mexican citizens, US citizens?

JUAN GONZALEZ: Absolutely.

LOU DOBBS: Does any of this bother you?

JUAN GONZALEZ: Absolutely does, yes.

LOU DOBBS: I would hope to heck it bothers you. Why would the Minutemen even be under discussion by comparison to that issue?

JUAN GONZALEZ: Lou, I’d just like to ask you one last question. We have very little time left. But you’ve criticized many American companies, but CJR, Columbia Journalism Review, came out with a report in 2004 that questioned that your private newsletter, which goes to investors, has recommended investing in several of these companies that — that you actually list —-

LOU DOBBS: You know what? When I came here, Juan, I knew this would be a lot of fun with you two, but you’re really ridiculous -—

JUAN GONZALEZ: You actually list —-

LOU DOBBS: —- because I haven’t had a newsletter for three years, partner. I shut down the newsletter.

JUAN GONZALEZ: No, but when your newsletter was operating, it was recommending —

LOU DOBBS: Oh, OK, when it was operating.

JUAN GONZALEZ: — some of the very companies that you were criticizing for outsourcing.

LOU DOBBS: This is a very difficult thing for ideologues like you two to contend with — that is, balancing two concepts at the same time. But is there a correlation between investment in companies and a business practice that is absolutely pervasive in corporate America? Can you think of a single corporation in America that is not supporting outsourcing of jobs to overseas labor markets, cheap overseas labor markets?

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to have —

LOU DOBBS: If you can name one —-

AMY GOODMAN: We have five seconds, Lou.

LOU DOBBS: —- then I’ll suggest to you that there was probably a problem with that. If you can’t, then you know that it was utter nonsense, and you shouldn’t have brought it up.

AMY GOODMAN: Was it part of why you shut it down?

LOU DOBBS: No, not really.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to leave it there.

LOU DOBBS: I was bored with it.

AMY GOODMAN: Lou Dobbs, thank you very much for joining us. His book is Independents Day: Awakening the American Spirit.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Up Next

“Unbuild Walls”: Detention Watch’s Silky Shah on Debunking Immigration Myths & Embracing Abolition

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.
Make a donation