Morning Joe | January 29, 2013
>>> beings in this country today undocumented. that's not something any is happy about, not something any wanted to see what happened. it is what has happened. whaef an obligation and need to address the reality we face. i think today is an important first step in what's going to be a significantly complicated journey. the issue of immigration is not a simple one but we have the opportunity to do it right. if we do, think we'll do a tremendous service to our countr country.
>> with us from capitol hill is chuck schumer frand john mccain . you led a bipartisan effort on immigration reform and had the president and most of the media on that and the public turned against it and things went south fairly quickly. how have things changed the past five or six years or so to make it different this time around?
>> i think, joe e, o, is the polarization of the hispanic vote and realization amongst republicans that when a democrat candidate gets 71% of the vote, we can do the math and see the descent towards irrelevantsy or failure to win an election. there's an awareness on the part of american people we can't have 11 million people living in the shadows forever. i want to emphasize we want to not repeat this again. in 1986 we gave amnesty to 3 million people and said we would secure the borders and we didn't and we now have 11 million. one of the areas of agreement we have, a number of areas, besides a path to citizenship is securing our borders. we still have drugs flowing across our borders in a huge quantity across the arizona border. citizens in the southern part of my state are still not living in a security environment. we owe them that. at the same time, i think more and more americans are agreeing these 11 million people need to come out of the shadows and we need to give them a path to citizenship but not favoritism.
>> senator mccain , you're exactly right. the polls are showing the majority of americans do support the type of proposal you and chuck schumer are putting forward. what would you say to conservative house republicans that will call anything you try to pat in t -- pass in the senate amnesty.
>> i think we will and already are reaching across to our friendson the otherside talking and i think they realize the realities of the 21st century and there will be some difficulties and it's long hard path. i'm confident we will succeed.
>> senator shuman, willie geist in new york , good to see you this morning. there's a piece in the "new york times" where a reporter goes to a diner in south carolina . the concern down there is people are being rewarded for illegal behavior, a, and b, being given priority over workers in america who can't find jobs themselves. how do you answer that criticism?
>> even our principles, which are broad, answer both those criticisms. first, we do provide a path to citizenship but not a path to citizenship that's easy. you have to work, pay taxes. you'll pay a fine. there'll be some admission of wrongdoing. it is not amnesty in any sense of the word. we're making that clear. we also, one of our watch words is you won't be treated better than somebody who didn't cross the border. if somebody applied in mexico city or singapore for a visa at the em bass sin 2007 and one of their fellow citizens crossed the border in 2008 , that person in 2007 who applied for a visa will get the ability to become an american first. we're dealing with that. on the second issue, we will tie new employment to americans working and will have a much tougher system of enforcement because we will have some kind of non-forgeable employer identification and that will not allow future waves of illegal immigration to come. as john said, we don't want to deal with this again. this is intended to be a permanent solution. not only is there control at the border but a strong onus on employers who hire illegals they will get really hit hard with fines and jail time. there's an identifier, haven't figured what it will be, i prefer a sandusocial security card benefit biometric we all use and the amount will go way down.
>> and the 40 million people who overstayed their visas, we will crack down on that, too.
>> and senator mccain , when you say you will crack down on that, they're still part of this program where they can ultimately have some part of formal residency. the point willie made bothering your constituents, the most conservative americans , listening to senator shuman illustrate a strong case why it's sale ibable.
>> and president obama with a more liberal plan, is it safe to assume your plan will get attention in the senate rather than the obama plan?
>> hopefully we can work together with the president as we did in previous times. we look forward. there will be some differences between ourselves and the president and i think we can iron out any of those. we have to show my constituents and our republicans that, as chuck just said, this is not amnesty, it's a tough road to citizenship but we've got to give them the opportunity to do so. you can't have 11 million people living in the shadows forever. that is a growing realization amongst our republican friends. of course, there will be resistance. there will be resistance on chuck's side of the aisle because maybe these are too tough provisions, people saying you don't have to secure the border first. that's what bipartisanship is supposed to be about and compromise.
>> in reference to the president, senator durbin and i talked to the president sunday night. he was very positive. his worry is not so much our proposal different than his. ours is a bipartisan proposal when a democrat or republican comes out with his proposal, it will be one more conservative or liberal in the other but we have to meet in the middle . the president was extremely supportive and put out a nice statement yesterday. i think he will show this is his idea where we should be, he will work with us to have a good strong bipartisan bill. we cannot pass this bill if republicans or democrats are opposed. we have to meet somewhere in the middle. i have found, this is goods news, senator menendez and durbin had a nice long talk with the hispanic community sunday. they understand that if we're going to get something done information the things they believe in there has to be some degrees of compromise.
>> senator shum mchumer, katty kay in washingt washington. when you talk to the business community , surprising how unified they are in a reformed immigration plan. how do you plan to unify them to sell to the republicans and the nation?
>> the business community is fully supportive what we've done and on an issue that scuttled previous immigration reform , what do you do with future immigrants once you stop the flow. and immigrants and labor are in good serious discussion, the business community is very important. john said this earlier, i want to underscore it. if you look at polling data, americans have had a sea change since '77. 70% support a fair balanced plan with a pathway to citizenship and illegal immigration . 70% of the southwest supports it. the public is on our side. we can't let strident voices from the far right or far left scuttle this effort.
>> in response to your questions, we have to convince our republican base this is not amnesty, a tough path to citizenship but it is an opportunity. they get in line behind everyone in this country that has come to get a green card . that's an important selling point my base.
>> there will be fines, rec recompense for wrongdoing and community service . when something does something wrong you don't punish them forever and don't do that in any system in america. y you don't have to do it here and say fine -- and then we do it for the next 50 years and detriment to the economy of this country.
>> what do we say to guest workers who come here and provide an enormous benefit to huge elements of the economy and instead of staying, they stay illegally. what do we do about guest workers . we realize agricultural is unique. whether in arizona or upstate in new york in our dairy industry , you can't get americans to do the kind of work our farmers need. we've seen that happen. we will have a specific program for agricultural workers who want to come, pick the crops and go back home in the winter season.
>> we will have a program for high-tech people in this country. we want a lot of them to stay here and don't want to chase them out because they're green cards and we will also deal with temporary high-tech workers for one reason or the other. we have to have business and labor come together.
>> senator mccain , can i ask you really quickly --
>> go ahead.
>> thousands and thousands of young men and women come here to our universities and go back to where they came from. we want to give them an opportunity to stay here. go ahead, joe.
>> that's great news. we're looking forward to somebody comes from across the world the united states and gets an advanced degree and they can stay and create jobs in mesa, arizona instead of going back. let me ask you about the comments of ted cruz , says your bill is profoundly unfair to immigran immigrants. he's been harshly critical?
>> i hope he will come out with a product -- there's very few people i've known including senators who voiced opposition believe the status quo is satisfactory. we'll work with him as hard as we can.
>> thank you for being here and senator chuck schumer . great to see you guys working together.
>>> coming up, former senate majority leader tom daschle as well as former senate leader howard dean . keep it here on " morning joe ." tdd#