DOBBS: Tonight there is growing concern and criticism that the Bush administration has made it possible for tens of thousands of Gulf Coast reconstruction jobs that should be offered to residents who had to live through the disaster now looking to rebuild their lives, those jobs instead will be filled by illegal aliens. The fear is that New Orleans will turn into La Nueva Orleans, once proud city of working Americans, displaced now by cheap, illegal foreign labor.
Christine Romans reports.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Gregory Rodriguez says illegal aliens will do much of the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast.
GREGORY RODRIGUEZ, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: This is how the nation has always worked, which is the broader point. The broader point is, in large reconstruction projects, back-breaking labor is often and most often -- most often done by immigrants at low wages who are willing to do these jobs that the nation needs to be done.
ROMANS: His op-ed published in the "L.A. Times" calls it "Nueva Orleans." He says many of these illegal workers will stay and make New Orleans more like Los Angeles.
That the hurricane disasters are a boon for illegal labor is clear. In the wake of Katrina, Mexican President Vicente Fox was touting Mexican laborers, telling "The New York Times," "If there is anything Mexicans are good at, it is construction." And many say our federal government is making it possible to hire illegal aliens in the Gulf Coast en masse.
The Department of Homeland Security dropped paper work requirements to help American workers who have lost everything, but many say it's a free pass for contractors to hire illegal workers. The president also suspended a 74-year-old law requiring at least average wages for government contract work. Many fear wages for Gulf Coast workers will fall and illegal workers won't complain.
REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: American citizens and people who are here on green cards, legal -- legal residents of the United States, people that have lawful presence here and a right to work, that's the only people that should be working in the United States of America. That's the people that should be rebuilding the Gulf Coast.
ROMANS: Georgia Congressman Charlie Norwood says Hurricane Katrina should be forcing Americans to come together, not "...letting potential taxpayer-funded jobs for storm victims be looted by illegal immigrant labor cheered on by Mexican President Vicente Fox."
ROMANS: Many fear illegal laborers will send much of their earnings home to Mexico in remittances, taxpayer-funded rebuilding of the Gulf Coast, we should point out. And that will just continue a cycle of poverty and joblessness in the Gulf Coast among American citizens -- Lou.
DOBBS: This is remarkable that this continues, with our elected officials standing there doing absolutely nothing. We're watching the Bush administration make this possible.
It is, in effect, the looting of the treasury, the rolling back of worker protection in this country, and allowing Vicente Fox, who apparently is more adept than others in responding to disaster -- and those remittances already amounting to $21 billion a year, the number one source of income, above even their oil revenues in Mexico.
ROMANS: There's a lot more money to come if a lot of these citizens get jobs in the Gulf Coast.
DOBBS: And there is nothing funny about this. The fact is that many of the residents -- hundreds of thousands of residents in that area desperately needing jobs are going to be forced out because of the economics by illegal aliens.