Mitchell Reports | February 18, 2013
>> i know. and senator mccain also was firing back at the white house this weekend over immigration claiming that the white house immigration plan could derail bipartisan talks.
>> the president obviously has some thoughts about immigration reform , which he has drafted and gotten his agencies to comment on. if the president proceedses legislation, do you think it will fail?
>> of course. of course it will. and that's why we are working together. republicans and democrats. by the way, he has had no communications with republicans on the issue, unlike the previous four presidents that i have dealt with. i believe we are making progress on a bipart sfwlan basis. i believe we can woman up with a product.
>> and joining us is usa today 's alan gomez, the reporter who broke the news of the white house draft plan on immigration, and telemundo's jose diaz bullart. this was your story. you got the scoop and set off left arm bells all over washington. republicans , marco rubio , who they absolutely have to have to have a bipart sfwlan plan go forward, first calling foul. then, of course, john mccain and others, lindsey graham on the sunday talk shows . first of all, what is in the president's plan that might set the republicans on edge?
>> well, what's in the plan right now is no different than what he's been talking about the last few months. there's an earned path to citizensh citizenship. there is enhanced border security . there's a nationwide e-verify program that allows business workers to check the legal status of their perspective workers. i don't think there was anything different than what they've been talking about for the last few months.
>> jose , it's true that as john mccain pointed out the president has met with chuck schumer and the other democrats in that bipart sflan group. he did not meet with the republicans . for them to now be faced with this leak -- it was a scoop by usa today . not anything that the white house is putting out, but alan here, you know, worked very hard with his sources to get it on saturday afternoon, and so that blindsideded the republicans . that does create a political problem going forward. not a substantive problem, perhaps.
>> i couldn't agree with you more, and kudos to alan for getting that story. the president has yet to meet, as far as i understand, with any republicans , either in the senate or in the house of representatives that are working on this bipartisan effort to reach immigration reform . that includes senator rubio in the senate, but it also includes the members of the house that are working on immigration reform . what the president in this story that alan broke suggests legislatively is really month different than alan says, he has been promoting now for two and a half weeks now since his speech many las vegas . the day after that speech i spoke with the president, the white house , and he said he already had this plan written. we know it's there. we know it's written. we know he is ready to file it if things break down. the question is the timing of this leak. is it now a time to say here are the specifics of a proposal that i will present if you fail before they have even failed?
>> the timing was really based on alan having gone to his sources and gotten it. the white house was really upset because they did not want this outs. this was not a timed leak per se . it was basically your reporting. the bottom line is as jose was just saying, he has not met with any republicans , and how does he build support for the plan? i know from talking to some of the democrats involved that he has told them if you guys can't come up with legislative strategy in a couple of months, i'm ready. i've got my plan. but now how do they get back on track?
>> well, i think like you were mentioning, their plan all along has been to craft this, to have this ready as a backup plan. to hear republicans talk the last couple of days, the only way this can get back on track is if he follows through on that, and he keeps us back and lets congress sort of lead the way on this. i mean, there's bipartisan negotiations going on in both the senate and the house to craft their own versions of the bill. they're actively doing that right now. if we start seeing those proposals moving through congress, then that sort of clears the way for that opportunity.
>> let me switch gears for just a second. jose , while you're there, let me ask you about what's happening in venezuela because in caracas we have seen a picture in havana with his daughters. how healthy is he, and what are we expecting to hear, because we're hearing from venezuela that there may be some announcement, an update on his health later today .
>> yes, indeed, an trdreaandrea. they are expecting an announcement from the government later today , and those are the pictures that the government published some days ago from his hospital bed in havana . i think one of the advantages for the chavez government has been to have its leader in cuba because since there is no free press, there is no way of determining exactly what his condition is. now they say --
>> -- he was flown back at 2:00 in the morning to caracas . is he in the military hospital in caracas , and an unusual thing for the chavez government, no video cameras , no coverage of the president arriving or the ambulance taking him to the airport -- to the hospital or really it's been a silence and a no video movement from havana to caracas . let's see what the government says today. clearly hugo chavez is not doing well enough to be able to either walk down the steps of the escalator, of the airport -- airplane or even maybe to speak, so there's a lot of questions underway. remember, he has to be sworn in because from his last re-election, the constitution said he had to be sworn in in venezuela , and because he was in cuba, that didn't happen. we'll see now what the next step is for a government that really right now is on very shady constitutional grounds.
>> indeed. jose diaz ballart from telemundo, thank you very much. alan gomez, again, congratulations. great