Mitchell Reports | February 05, 2013
>>> one of the lawmakers who took part in today's congressional hearings , the house hearings on immigration policy . ru ease gutierrez, thank you very much. this was sort of the opening act on the house side. we've seen a big shift on republicans -- in republicans and a lot of action coming from the senate. what are you seeing on the house side?
>> well, here's what i'm seeing on the house side. here we have the judiciary committee , and it's first hearing on the full committee. what are we discussing? immigration. some would say, well, the kind of focussing on the high skilled industry and the need for more. that's good. i support more visas. part of comprehensive immigration reform is making sure that all our industries, including the high-tech industry, that their workers are able to come to this country with their wives, with their children, and integrate. those that have been working ino vating, so many of our industries in america, hey, it's time to let their wives and their children and for them to be able to integrate themselves. i am all good with that. i think the important thing is that the dialogue and the conversation has begun. the president invited me to come see him a couple of fridays ago with other colleagues of the hispanic congressional caulk yeahs, and i have to say, andrea , i was blown away when he said this is his top priority. to work with this president after that incredible victory of over five million votes in which he was given a mandate. the american people said, hey, let's get xrensive immigration reform done. democrats wanted the president is going to articulate that. republicans really need comprehensive immigration reform . i think today is the first education.
>> are you getting any indication that you can come to an agreement on path to citizenship? not just on border security and on doing something with the h1b visas .
>> i think that in the end we should never create a subclass of people. everybody should always be able to reach citizenship. i think it's important because i want them to have all the same responsibilities and obligations that i and you have as citizens of this nation along with all of the benefits, because that really makes the nation stronger. where you talk about fabric, that's the glue that keeps us together, right? self-departation is the way to get rid of 12 million undocumented workers . wait a minute. sb 1070 , the anti- immigration law in arizona, that should be replicated in the other 49 states, and romney said he would veto the dream act . what a sea change to talking about they can stay in this country and we need to fix our immigration system. i welcome that conversation and that dialogue. finally there are people moving to solve the problem.
>> congressman, there is a rather disturbing study with some new data today, which says that two-thirds of mexican -- of emgrants from mexico who could legally apply to citizenship don't.
>> what is your read? is it a language barrier ? is it cultural? are there legal barrier that is i'm not aware of?
>> sure. it's almost $700 to apply.
>> when i got to congress, it was $90. $90. now it's $700. when you think of family units, it's not just one, it could be three or four. we need to deal with that. the other thing is our community needs to continue to reach out and to help and to facilitate that process of citizenship. look, the important thing is the avenue b allows sxb there. i think for those that say we don't want them to be citizens, maybe they can look at this report to see that what we're talking about is we should allow them to be there. let me just say in addition to this, look, they do want to become citizens. the last person that i personally filled out the form was 102 years old. her 79-year-old son brought her to my office. 79-year-old son brought her to my office and says my mom is 102, and i asked her -- i said why do you want to be a citizen? she said i want to die just like my children, a citizen of this nation. i don't want to die without achieving citizenship. because she loves this country and wants to be just like her kids. that story is being replicated across this country. let's give them as we've given everybody that's come here an opportunity to make that ultimate commitment and sacrifice with all the responsibilities and obligations that come along with american citizenship .
>> janet napolitano was on the board stressing the border security piece of this, which the coalition and the senate, the bipartisan group says has to be hand in hand and if not preceding what is done on path to citizenship.
>> i agree you cannot secure the border until we have somehow have a system in the united states to check people that are being employed here and have an id check for people that are already here in the united states and allow them to come out of the shadows. let me just share this with you, andrea . one of the first bills then senator barack obama and i introduced together was to reduce the fees and help people become american citizens. secondly, i talked to mayor rahm emanuel and others about how it is we take this financial roadblock to citizenship and try to alleviate it. yes, they need to pay. it shouldn't be free. but at the same time let's make sure it's one that strengthens the fabric of our american society .
>> just wanted to play a little bit of what napolitano said along the border. sdmroog.
>> our am gregs system has been broken for far too long. the time to fix it has come. time is of the essence . i believe the border is secure. i believe the border is a safe border. that's not to say that everything is 100%.
>> so she's just making the points that you have just made as well. we're going to have to leave it there, but thank you very much. let's keep talking about this, congressman.
>> looking forward to it, andrea .