Segment Transcript

30 Marines, 1 Sailor Killed In Helicopter Crash; Panel Discusses Pros, Cons of Bush Social Security Program

Aired January 26, 2005 - 19:00 ET




DOBBS: As promised, House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner today introduced legislation that the Senate removed from the intelligence reform bill before President Bush ultimately signed it into law. Congressman Sensenbrenner's bill aims to stop illegal aliens and potential terrorists from obtaining driver's licenses in this country.

Kitty Pilgrim has the report.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Today, President Bush again pledged to push through his immigration reform proposals, a type of guest-worker program.

BUSH: It will be one of my priorities. I believe it's necessary to reform the immigration system. I'm against amnesty. I've made that very clear.

PILGRIM: The president's proposal was critiqued by Representative James Sensenbrenner, who says it lacks detail. Sensenbrenner's own plan toughens standards for issuing driver's licenses to what he calls foreign visitors; aliens must prove that they are here lawfully; the license would expire when their visa does; and the bill also calls for closing a three-mile hole in the U.S.- Mexican border fence.

REP. JAMES SENSENBRENNER (R), CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: American citizens have a right to know who is in their country, that people are who they say they are and that the name on the driver's license is the real holder's name, not some alias.

PILGRIM: Sensenbrenner pointed out that Mohammad Atta, a 9/11 terrorist, received a six-month visa to stay in the United States, yet received a Florida driver's license good for six years. The Sensenbrenner proposal already has political battle scars when it originally was part of the intelligence bill last December.

Today, attacked by Democrats on the hill, Congresswoman Jane Harman today issued a statement saying the laws call for states to provide tamper-proof driver's licenses. She said the Sensenbrenner proposal will not make Americans safer. She also criticized President Bush for not demanding full funding for 10,000 border guards called for in the intelligence reform bill.

Sensenbrenner today rallied against that attack saying the current bill is bipartisan with 115 co-sponsors.


PILGRIM: The Sensenbrenner bill also takes issue with the system where immigrants seek asylum. He says it's abused by terrorists, and he wants to allow immigration judges to determine the credibility in asylum cases so terrorists cannot get into the country on false pretexts -- Lou.

DOBBS: You know, we've reached a great point in this country, when there is a debate even over whether or not people who are not citizens of this country can receive a driver's license, let alone whether they're illegal or not, and the very idea that a president could be talking about immigration reform, but his Homeland Security secretary is saying, well, we can't really be bothered with adding another 2,000 Border Patrol agents to 2,000- or 3,000-mile the border.

PILGRIM: The good part of this is everyone is calling attention to it as much as they can, and it's very, very visible now, the gaps in the system -- Lou.

DOBBS: And our sense of absurdity is being overwhelmed, as it often is in Washington, D.C., and, hopefully, a few people's sense of alarm as well.

Thank you.

Kitty Pilgrim.

That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight: Do you support Congressman Sensenbrenner's bill to stop illegal aliens and potential terrorists from obtaining driver's licenses in this country? Yes or no. We ask that you vote at We'll have the results for you later in the broadcast.

Coming up next, an early morning disaster for rush-hour commuters in Los Angeles.