Melissa Harris-Perry | December 02, 2012
>>> i know some people want me to bypass congress and change the laws on my own. believe me -- [ applause ] and believe me, right now dealing with congress, the idea idea --
>> that was a tough one. that was the president getting heckled last year. this summer those dreamers had their demands met, at least in part with the deferred action for childhood arrivals ordered by president obama . so far, 310,000 young people have applied. that action may in fact have bore fruit for the president on election night when he took home 71% of the latino vote. yet, no comprehensive reform had been attempted by the obama add mrpgs. many are still looking to the president for leadership on the issue. back with my panel. i'm interested in this because this is a moment on the one hand they're heckling, but the next moment they do basically what i have to read from a page in the republican handbook, they hand to him a policy. they're like here, do this. and sure enough, he does it. we end up with deferred action.
>> is that the model for how we're going to get immigration reform done sm.
>> i have to give those dreamers credit. they enlisted a lot of scholars and gave the president documents, this is a legal way for you to do what we want to do. meanwhile, they were chaining themselves to the white house , this is in the thick of the campaign, staging demonstrations at his campaign offices. this is true grassroots activism and they effected this change. for better or worse, the pressure is going to be on. because this issue, you know, the latino community has a great stake in it. so people do expect him to follow through and make something happen and i always tell people, maybe i'm too optimistic, but i do think it's going to happen. not only because of the pressure but because i think obama is going to be thinking about his legacy. this could be historic.
>> it felt like the -- i wanted to write this little handbook. when making critique of president, here's how you could do it, right? you provide a policy pathway. you provide the public push, right, outside. but then you also provide the electoral support. like all three of those, the next thing you know you end up with policy. it really is sort of a textbook way of thinking about it. but it's still not comprehensive. the president isn't wrong. you must have congress come along on this.
>> yes. the president has -- every indication is that the president is supportive. he said repeatedly both publicly and in private conversations released to the press that this is one of his top issues. on another level, it doesn't matter if he says this. because the movement is going to push him to do it. it's a very strong and unified movement. it's not just the dreamers, or latino organizations, it's civil rights organizations, the labor movement , it's evangelicals, parts of the business community . there will be immigration reform in 2013 and the president will be forced to sign something that gets through congress whether he wants to or not. it's clear he does want to.
>> it appears he wants to. the dream act , here we are in lame duck again, lame duck in 2010 was the great exciting moment for progressives. a thousand things that hadn't happened pineally happened. no particular conversation about another dream act again.
>> let's keep in mind. i'm not as optimistic about the future of ledge indication as you. in the context of the immigration problem , immigration policy problem, let's say, in the united states , dreamers and the dream act is symbolic. it aekts a lot of people. it's symbolic in a universe where we have 10 million or 11 million or however many in the shadows. we have 141,000 visas a year. what the hell is that?
>> it's that history, right?
>> it is that history.
>> it's bur okay tra advertised this kind of stuff. it's not a solution of expand the number. that's about the same number as australia. i think we're a bigger country. i think the economy is a little bit bigger. people are not talking about that. we have an absurd situation to get 10,000 visas a year from mexico. i'm from southern california , you can fit those 10,000 visas in about half of long beach where i'm from. it doesn't begin to make sense. people aren't talking about that. i don't think obama is pressured to deal with this because he got four more percentage points.
>> this is the artificial crisis. the crisis of insufficiency, it's created by our actual policy. with a stroke of the pen, we can change it. with legislation like all issues that are difficult, they're difficult for a reason. it's tough to get their politically but the easiest way to go about it. let's get the numbers of visas way up there so it reflects at least some bit of reality and stop criminalizing human existence.
>> business push on this as well.
>> there's a business push. frankly, there's going to be a fight. even though business is on the same side as immigrant rights movement, there will be a fight between business and those groups. because business will probably, the chamber of commerce and others will want a more conservative kind of immigration reform . just to back up to your textbook example, what's important about this discussion is 15 years ago, this was not in the mainstream of discourse. it was a small group of activists who dreamed about what immigration reform could look like and started organizing and pushing it. 15 years later, their theory of change has come true in terms of --
>> at least.
>> yes. but in terms of knowing how immigration affects millions of people thinking through how those people could be mobilized into an electorate that would vote on this question. now we're all discussing immigration reform .
>> but now there's a thousand deportations a day.
>> i'm going to take a quick break here. i'm going to bring into the conversation the issue on the pressure of the president and also we saw an action by the republican party this week and i think it leads us to the question of whether both parties are in fact under a lot of pressure on this question of immigration reform when we come