Martin Bashir | January 29, 2013
>>> the time is now. those are the words of the president in las vegas doubling down on an immigration overhaul. yes, the president has just wrapped up a speech outlining his priorities for comprehensive immigration reform embracing the principles laid out by a bipartisan group of senators on monday and bringing back a campaign-style flair.
>> the differences are dwirndlidwirnd le dwindling. a broad consensus is emerging and where a call for action can now be heard coming from all across america. i'm here today because the time has come for common sense comprehensive immigration reform . the time is now. [ cheers and applause ]
>> perhaps knowing the quickest route to republican opposition is to put his name on it, the president did not introduce his own legislation. instead calling for quick action on the senate framework.
>> we need congress to act, and not just on the dream act . we need congress to act on a comprehensive approach that finally deals with the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are in the country right now. that's what we need.
>> but even with key republicans on board, the plan's path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants faces deep resistance. starting with one of the architects, marco rubio .
>> the only way that i know to incentivize the enforcement part is to say that the green card stuff doesn't even begin to happen until the enforcement happens first.
>> if you don't get enforcement first or securing the borders first, is that a deal killer for you --
>> oh, absolutely.
>> and it's that security requirement that could doom the plan itself. with confusion over just how much power a border security panel will have over the path to citizenship. despite the fact that the president has deported nearly as many undocumented immigrants in four years as george w. bush managed in eight, republicans are not likely to say they are ever satisfied with his handling of border security . according to the rush limbaughs on the right, it's not about border security , not about the lives of undocumented workers who are here already. it's all one big conspiracy of moochers.
>> democrat party needs a permanent underclass. they need a certain number of voters constantly in economic distress, constantly in need of assistance from the government, and open borders is a great way to employed an influx.
>> though no one asked him, limbaugh said he'd support blanket amnesty if so-called illegals can't vote for 25 years. he apparently didn't get the memo to use tonally sensitive language around the topic. in any case today, limbaugh's guest today, marco rubio , may not like that idea of barring new latino voters.
>> obama's not going to be president forever . as long as the next four years may seem, won't be president forever . we have to write laws with that in mind as well.
>> i'm sure the question of the next president is never far from senator rubio's mind. let's get to our panel now. in los angeles democratic congressman tony cardenas of california, and here in new york machines political analyst david corn . congressman, you are one of 11 children. your father was a farm worker who came here legally from mexico. can you describe to our audience how important it is that this nation deal with the issue of 11 million undocumented immigrants ?
>> well, it sounds like 11 for 11. i'm proud to say my parents were immigrants. in one generation each one of our families when all 11 of us became adults, we ended up paying more in taxes every year than my father and mother would pay in taxes as an immigrant family with a first and second grade education. i think that's a perfect example of why this is important. the bess they can we can do for the economy is to get this immigration -- comprehensive immigration reform right and get it done now.
>> indeed. david, despite what we have just heard from the congressman who is very enthusiastic, rush limbaugh says the government's dole is what lures immigrants here. take a listen.
>> i have seen a number of research, scholarly research data, which says that vast majority of arriving immigrants today come here because they believe that government is the source of prosperity.
>> so that heaving mass of poison says that the borders are literally stacked full of people coming to take entitlements and benefits.
>> yaen time yanytime you hear the word scholarly research data and rush limbaugh together you know something is wrong. the congressman just told us a very shorthand story of his own family. obviously that one anecdote and many others we know of disprove what rush limbaugh is saying. but i think the extreme misuse of facts, which is not unusual for him, is also a sign of desperation because this is going to -- i think this has and will continue to tear apart the republican party and the conservative movement . there are some republicans for political reasons and for some legitimate policy reasons, value reasons, want to do something about it and see the common sense approach. the business community obviously wants to take care of this for their own interests but yet you still have many who, you know, want this to be an english first country, mainly a white country. they don't like the changing demographics. they don't want to deal with it. to them it's basically cultural war , and they will put up a strong resistance, and you saw it reflected in john boehner 's statement. he's very unenthusiastic because i think he figures that his caucus is still majority opposed to this type of reform.
>> and to that point, congressman, we know republicans have been getting guidance on the very language to use around this issue. and they have been told avoid words like aliens and phrases like anchor babies but the president doesn't seem to have that problem at all.
>> unless you're one of the first americans, a native american , you came from some place else. somebody brought you. the polish, russians, chinese, japanese, the west indians . before they were us, they were them.
>> sir, this is a much bigger issue an a border. this is about who we are as a nation.
>> absolutely. we've always been a nation of immigrants, and like the president said accurately, unless you're truly a native american and you have been here for 100 if not thousands of years, you're an immigrant person. you have immigration as part of your past and i would hope people would be proud of the fact they came from somewhere else . because in this country it's a country of opportunity and with all due respect to rush limbaugh , this is a country of second chances. he's had his issues. god bless him. i hope he's passed those things, but i really wish that people like him would stop with the vitriol and just look at it for what it is. if he cares about the economy, if republicans , democrats, independents care about the economy, this is the best thing that you can do for the economy.
>> but congressman, rush limbaugh says he's concerned about the law. he's concerned about not rewarding people who come here illegally. that's his position. he says any kind of path to citizenship is rewarding wrongdoing.
>> whether you like the laws that are around, you know, drug laws in this country, what have you, it's my understanding, correct me if i'm wrong, if rush limbaugh violated some tremendously -- violated some laws in this country, it's my understanding he didn't spend a day in jail.
>> this is correct.
>> my point is it's not about picking on him but i think the analogy is correct in using. when people use that vitriol and try to say they broke the law, gosh darn , it you broke the law and you didn't spend a day in jail. hopefully he paid his fines and hopefully he has it in his being to know not to do that again and to try to fix his life. with all due respect when you're talking about people who have been here from all over the world who have toed the line, who have just been working hard, living in the shadows, for them to get a second chance, i can guarantee you this, they're going to work even harder. they're going to kiss this ground that they walk on. they're going to make sure that their children study hard, work hard, respect this country, pledge allegiance to the flag, go to war for this country, which they already do as undocumenteds. the fact of the matter is this is an issue of our country moving forward and getting out of one of the worst economies we've ever seen. now is the time for us to set ourselves right as a country and 11 million people are going to help us move forward in an economic, positive way.
>> but i think it is also, other than just an economic issue, a cultural identity issue. and clearly we saw in the last election there are people on the conservative republican side who are having difficulty coming to terms with the changing face and the changing content of america. if you judge people by their cultural, their background, and their skin color . and that's something that's going to be played out a lot. i think one thing the president did that was very, very smart was to put down a marker. he said, okay, it's up to you in congress to work this out and i think that's the right thing to do, not get too involved in the legislative muck right away, but if you can't do this, meaning if you house republicans can't do this --
>> i will send a bill.
>> i will send a bill and i will demand an up and down vote. he probably won't get it. but he will have a marker, very easy point to make as he continues to deal with this. say i sent them a bill and they wouldn't vote on it. that will stick around for years and years amongst the community of people who care about this. they don't even get a vote on it because house republicans can't make common cause with even the senate republicans on this issue.
>> indeed. david corn , whose wife is from holland, tony car dane naday nas, congressman, thank