Organizers say they expect hundreds of thousands of people to turn out at dozens of rallies across the country Saturday calling for federal immigration reform and protesting the new anti-illegal immigration law in Arizona considered the nation's toughest.
But nationally syndicated talk show host Lou Dobbs says the events are nothing but "political theater" and brand new changes in the Arizona legislation make it "pristine," and not a license for police to engage in racial profiling, as critics charge.
The measure requires officers to question anyone they have "reason to suspect" is in the country illegally, and has been a lightning rod for both praise and condemnation since its recent enactment.
Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer Friday signed into law amendments strengthening restrictions against racial profiling, saying they make it "crystal clear that racial profiling is illegal and will not be tolerated in Arizona."
"Clearly," observed "Early Show on Saturday Morning" co-anchor Chris Wragge, "there was some question -- and she was concerned -- about the constitutionality of the law."
Dobbs deflected that, saying he's "always concerned about constitutionality," but that, "This (the planned rallies) is a political piece of theater going on -- the outrage, the attack on the state of Arizona. This is not about substance. And that's too often the case when we talk about illegal immigration and border security."
" … The revisions to that law make it crystal clear that there is no racial profiling," he added. "As the sponsor of that legislation ... said, it's to eliminate the games and the ability for those advocates to attack the legislation on any basis. They made it absolutely crystal clear this … -- right now - looks like a pristine piece of legislation."
Dobbs says, "Right now, we have an opportunity to do something positive and constructive in this country. We have people attacking the state of Arizona, news organizations around the country, national and local, not reporting the fact that 70 percent of Arizona citizens support the law, not reporting the fact that Phoenix is the kidnapping capital of the United States, (with the) second most frequent kidnappings in the world. Thirdly, that ... Phoenix has a crime rate, the capital, that is just about the same as New York City, which is eight times larger."
Wragge pointed to a new Gallop poll showing more than three-quarters of Americans who responded had heard about the new law, and of those, 51 percent said they favor it and 39 percent opposed it.
Yet, noted Wragge, the big rallies are expected Saturday against it.
"And that's political theater," Dobbs reiterated.
"What we have to do," he asserted, "is bring everyone together on solving the border security crisis in this country, solving the illegal immigration crisis in this country. … We have to solve the problem. We've got to stop the nonsense."