Morning Joe | March 20, 2013
>>> i think the conversation needs to start by acknowledging that we aren't going to deport 12 million illegal immigrants . if you wish to work, if you wish to live and work in america, then we will find a place for you.
>> welcome back to " morning joe ," rand paul talking about immigration reform yesterday. things are definitely shifting on that topic inside the republican party . we're a long way from 2006 . with us now from capitol hill , former goner of pennsylvania, nbc news political analyst and he still has that sports column, ed?
>> yeah, i sure do, joe . i love it.
>> the most important thing is he's a sportswriter as well. he has a weekly column in philadelphia. also we have the former governor of mississippi , haley barbour . and also both of these former governors are co-chairs of the policy immigration task force . and we're going to be talking to them obviously about immigration reform . and also we have nbc latino contributor victoria defrancesco soto. very kind of you. look at this.
>> promise me when ut football is up, you drink out of it.
>> i'm going to get awfully thirsty over the next couple years with johnny football at a & m. you also get a mug for mika. we greatly appreciate it. hey, guys, let's start with you. what's the bipartisan pathway to real immigration reform ?
>> well, i think to see rand paul makes the point. we're not going to take 12 million people, 11 million people, whatever the number is, and we're not going to arrest them and incarcerate them and deport them. we're simply not going to do that. for me, joe , what i most focused on is that our economy needs these workers. america is in a global battle for capital and labor. and we need the labor. we need the labor at the high end .
>> let me ask you. you know what the critics say? we have high unemployment rate. why can't americans do these jobs?
>> well, look at my state. i'm your neighbor. and my state our biggest agriculture product is broilers, chickens. if you go to a chicken processing plant in mississippi, nobody in there speaks english. mississippians, alabamians, north carolinians , they don't want to take those jobs. texans don't want to take those jobs. we need the labor. we also need -- there's a lot of high, high end science technology engineering math talent in this country, students who come from overseas. we need them to stay here because they'll create jobs in the united states . right, ed?
>> so, ed, what is the deal? how do we get to a comprehensive immigration reform package that both sides can agree on?
>> well, you know, joe , it's very similar to the discussions we've been having about the debt. both sides are going to have to give a little. there's not going to be a bill with democrats will not vote for a bill without a real path way to citizenship. and that's to some people in the republican party that's -- they consider that amnesty. it has to be in the bill. and for our side, we have to understand that stepped up enforcement at the border, verify for businesses, that has to be part of the bill or else republicans won't vote for it. each side has to give a little. if they do. this is easier to achieve than obviously the debt is. and maybe this can be a precursor to working something out on the debt. we need something in washington, d. d.c., joe , you talked about it, both sides agree we do something in a bipartisan fashion. we show we can tackle a big issue. if we do that, the rest may fall into place .
>> victoria is right there is a battle going on in the republican party . you have marco rubio talking about a pathway to citizenship. jeb bush has written a book where he talks about a pathway to legalization. but not citizenship. there is a pathway to legalization enough, do you think, for democrats? is that enough for latinos that want immigration reform ?
>> i think the sticking point is going to be a pathway to citizenship. but the positive --
>> so legalization probably would not go for enough?
>> it's not. and the democrats, especially in the senate, have drawn a line in the sand and said this is what we want. we want citizenship. rand paul has not said i support a pathway to legalization, but he has -- i'm sorry, a pathway to citizenship, but he suggested as much and so has jeb bush . in the past he's come out in favor of citizenship. the thing that really worries me and i think is going to be a sticking point is e-verify though.
>> you have a question?
>> i do. i have a question for you. this is michael steel . how you are doing, governor?
>> hi, michael. how are you doing?
>> good. in our republican primary , rick perry said basically what you heard rand paul say in the beginning of this segment about we're not -- re-emphasizing, we're not deporting these individuals and he was booed off the stage during that primary debate. how do you see this issue changing within the party as we've just talked about, jeb bush , rick santorum , marco rubio and others beginning to enunciate a policy or review. how do you, governor, see this transforming inside the party with the base, not the intelligence, not the establishment. we know where they want to go with this. o come along into this argument in a profound way that actually gets us on the right side of the issue?
>> michael, i think there are some people that you're never going to satisfy, just like any other issue. i made a speech in january of 2011 about this subject and about the need for labor and how we need to have immigration reform . ed has made a point that i think is very important, not everybody's going to get everything they want. in fact, probably nobody will get everything they want. but we've got a serious issue if we're going to grow this economy, we've got to increase the size of our workforce. we have one of the smallest percentages of people in the united states working or looking for work than we've had in 40 years in the united states . we need the labor. it's a top end , also in agriculture and different businesses like that. so everybody's got to have to be bipartisan. everybody's got to work on it together. and you're right, people are not just going to flock to this. i remember i was in the white house with president reagan , the last immigration reform bill 1986 . it took a full two years, while there are encouraging signs right now like rand paul and marco rubio and jeb bush and others, this is not going to happen overnight. we've all got to work hard on this.
>> building on that, governor rendell, putting aside your relationship with haley barbour right next you to, the sincerity of the republican effort here, what is your sense of it? how much is just they want to get the votes they didn't get and how much is it they really think that they need to make progress on this issue?
>> well, i think there is a little of both. one of the points i think that needs to be made, at the national level, these would-be presidential candidates, they can read the tea leaves and they saw what happened in the last election with the hispanic vote. individual congressmen in their district, there may not be the same push for a pathway to citizenship as there is nationwide because in many of the districts there isn't a strong latino presence. so you've got to convince some of those, you're right, you're not going to get all of them. this is not going to be a unanimous vote. but you have to persuade some of them to go along with this. i think there are enough to do it. i think this bill, if it has a pathway to citizenship, the numbers may add up a little bit like the fiscal cliff bill with about maybe 40% of the republicans voting for it and most of the democrats voting for it.got to be stuff in it that the republicans can take back to their base like border security and e-verify. what are the objections to e-veri e-verify?
>> victoria , obviously timing is very important. the support may not come out until the end of the year. we always have august recess. that's when health care took a thrashing. how important is it for congress to move as quickly as possible on immigration bill ?
>> timing is everything. if we don't see immigration bill or at least the strong bones of an immigration bill before recess, i really do think we're going to devolve into health care town hall that we had in 2009 . and we already saw a snipit of it in arizona when john mccain went back home a couple weeks ago, all hell broke loose at his town hall . i do agree with governor rendell that biggest roadblock is going to be the house and members of congress. we really haven't seen anybody from the republican side come out strongly for a pathway to citizenship. ryan is flirting with it. but aside from rand paul and marco rubio , where are those voices in the house? if anything we're going to see very strong opposition from the republican party and if anything a latino is leading that charge.
>> you know, joe , victoria you can take this. at cnbc we look at the business side of it. i want to ask more wholistic question, why are people so scared of this, a pathway to citizenship? what is the fear?
>> 1986 . the failure of 1986 .
>> border security is part of the deal in 1986 or at least not executed on. and so the fear is, i know a lot -- among a lot of rank and file republicans and joe you know this and heard this, that we have a repeat of '86. okay, fine, we give full amnesty to the 11 million, 12 million people and there is no check on border security . and then ten years, 20 years from now we have another 15, 20 million illegal --
>> all reagan's amnesty bill is encourage more illegal immigrants to jump the fence and come over here. that is a real concern as alex said in my ear, it was 1986 , what did that lead to? the mets winning the world series .
>> i was going to say that.
>> we knew that was going to happen. no! can't happen. so let's talk -- let's talk about '86 and also talk about the political realities of congressman going back to mississippi on a long, hot, august recess talking about a pathway to citizenship. how hard is that?
>> first of all, i would say about '86, if you ask alex simpson, the lead sponsor, what failed about '86, he'll tell that you we didn't keep the first promise we made and that was let's do this bill and we'll secure the border. and we didn't secure the border. and so it's all right and proper that that be the first thing.
>> and that's in the gang of eight proposal. no one gets a green card until the border is secure under the criteria that they put in.
>> and as a state that has e e -verify, we found it works very well. it's not unpopular among hispanic community. and it does protect employers. if you're going to have a system that punishes employers for hiring illegals, you got to have a system where if they make an honest effort not to that they're protected. e-verify, which i had some doubts about just to be honest with you when we first adopted it in my state, is actually doing well. it's not perfect. but it's worked well.
>> all right. all right. thanks a lot haley barbour . we greatly appreciate it. ed, thank you as well. victoria , we appreciate you coming by even with the texas mugs.
>> even with?
>> okay. when they start winning again, we'll start using them.
>> just wait until august.
>> i've been drinking out of my ole miss tumbler for haley over the past year or so and shactman, we can only hope.
>> i have two of those in my house.
>> 1986 as a red sox fan going back to '75. my low point, man. '86 was ugly.
>> angels was high and then the mets was low. we lost against the reds. you can't complain for another decade.
>> whatever. i can always complain. coming up, leave it to reality tv to turn a