Lou Dobbs' CNN interview with Georgia State Senator Chip Rogers

CNN's Lou Dobbs, March 7, 2005

DOBBS: U.S. Border Patrol Agents are policing the borders and looking for terrorist -- in Iraq. The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has sent 30 officers and Border Patrol Agents to help Iraqis secure their borders. A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the agents are taking the fight to where the terrorists are while still maintaining strategy at home. Currently the United States has over 1,000 customs and border -- border protection officers stationed all around the world.

Well, turning now to the border security crisis in this country, my next guest says the federal government's failure to enforce immigration laws has led to the growing illegal alien crisis in his state. Georgia State Senator Chip Rogers has proposed five different pieces of legislation. That legislation, in its entirety, would crack down on benefits for illegal aliens and the employers who hire them. Georgia State Senator Chip Rogers joins us tonight from CNN Center in Atlanta.

Senator, good to have you with us.

STATE SEN. CHIP ROGERS (R), GEORGIA: Thanks for having me, Lou.

DOBBS: The idea that your legislation can move forward to crack down on illegal aliens. And we'll start with first the idea that they would receive social services in Georgia. Is that something for which you think you have support in the state legislature?

ROGERS: Well, I know I have support among the voting public. I know in my district, and almost every district I've been in over the last few years, has been, if not the number one issue, one of the major issues. The process just needs to be that making sure that my colleagues in the state Senate and the state House, learn of this same information. I think every time you get out in the public and you begin talking about this issue, you see that it resonates with the public. So, sometimes the jump from the public perception to the legislators finally getting ahold of it. Takes a while, but that's just a process of education.

DOBBS: Nationwide, as you know, the public -- the Americans -- American citizens, by a margin of better than 70 percent are absolutely opposed to illegal immigration. And at the same time your own governor there in Georgia, Governor Perdue, says he thinks it's a federal issue. How do you -- is that artful politics or is that you think a reasonable response?

ROGERS: Well, let me just first say, that I think the governor, Sonny Perdue is doing a great job. But oftentimes we don't see the direct connection between what's a federal problem, and the impact on the states. The federal government is just a collection of the 50 states. Remember that, you know, the federal government is simply a collection of the 50 states plus Washington D.C., so anything that's impacting the federal government is clearly impacting the states. For example, in the state of Georgia, because in 2002, we spent $231 million alone educating illegal aliens. That doesn't include the number of legal students that were here, but whose parents are illegal.

So the numbers are simply staggering. When you take a look at education, healthcare, incarceration, what's happened in our judicial system, environment, infrastructure problems, you add all that together. I think it's probably on the order of about $1 billion a year that Georgia taxpayers are having to pick up the tab for. So, anytime you're talking about a $1 billion problem, I think it's something the legislature seriously needs to look at.

DOBBS: And let's be honest, the taxpayers of Georgia and 49 other states in which there are illegal aliens, frankly, they're paying for the benefits accrued by corporations, businesses, and those who hire illegal aliens. They're subsidizing the lawbreakers. And the first law breakers, frankly, are not the illegal aliens, there are those who are providing economic incentives for those illegal aliens to be here. Would you agree?

ROGERS: Well, there's no question about it. You are absolutely right. And you hit the nail on the head. That what this is not cheap labor, but rather subsidized labor. One way or another we have to pay for it. I don't think it's fair that the taxpayers pick up the tab, because certainly corporations, certain companies, certain businesses want to break the law. And further more, what we've established is a system where, if you abide by the law, you're economically punished because you can't compete, but if you break the law, then you're rewarded in the marketplace. And I don't think we want to have a system that does that.

DOBBS: Congress, two years ago, decided to get rid of unfunded -- unfunded liabilities created by the federal government, those unfunded mandates. Yet these is precisely the situation we're in, isn't it, senator?

The federal government refuses to enforce immigration laws, refuses to enforce our borders and to create real security at our borders. And the results is the states have to pay for the consequences?

ROGERS: Absolutely, there's no question about this. I believe this is the number one unfunded mandate that the state of Georgia and most of the states have to face each and every year. You look at the mandates for healthcare, and you look at the mandates for K-12 education, we have to pick up the tab. We have -- there's no way we can get out of it. And last year alone, a quarter of a billion dollars in Georgia.

DOBBS: Senator Chip Rogers, we thank you very much for being with us.

ROGERS: Thank you, Lou.

DOBBS: Following up now on a story we brought you last week. Police Suffolk County, New York hunted down and arrested 27 of 28 known sexual predators there, all of whom are in this country illegally. Tonight, the 28th sexual offender is in custody. All 28 are now awaiting deportation. Separately, as you have Suffolk County police arrested another illegal alien on charges of sexually assaulting a 3-year-old. Jose Romero (ph) arraigned today in Suffolk County court. He was ordered to be held in local custody until he can make half a million dollars bail. If Romero does make bail, immigration and customs enforcement official say they will detain him immediately.

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