msnbc | January 26, 2013
>>> says a bipartisan group of senior senators are close to an agreement on broad immigration reforms. the " washington post " writes that three democrats and three republicans may as soon as next friday have a plan that would normalize the status of undocumented immigrants and tighten border controls . joining me now los angeles mayor antonio villaraigosvillaraigosa. mr. mayor, thank you so much for being here. is this the moment we are going to get comprehensive immigration reform finally because it looks like there is a bipartisan effort to make this happen?
>> yes, i think it is the moment. i've said since the middle of the campaign frankly we needed to get this out of partisan politics , out of campaigns, get both sides to work together. this shouldn't be a democratic or republican issue. this should be an issue that conforms with our values as americans, that addresses the fact that there's an economic -- a positive economic impact of $1.5 trillion to bring 11 million people from out of the dark and into the light . i think there's general agreement that there has to be a pathway to citizenship that we can't have second-class citizenship if you will, a temporary status, that we've got to united families because both parties talk about family values as important. that it's got to be earned. it's not automatic. you got to get at the end of the line . you got to have an investigation to make sure that -- back taxes. there ought to be a pathway that's comprehensive and real for these people.
>> mr. mayor on that point you made got to gets get at the back of the line. right now i checked the web site this morning from the state department , essentially shows that some people especially mexicans, folks mexican immigrants who are trying to -- who are in line doing it the legal way, they're only processing some visa requests from 1992 . 1993 . these folks are doing it the legal way and they have still been waiting 20, 20 plus years.
>> that's a great question.
>> what do you do?
>> should the folks that are here now at all get in line ahead of any of those folks?
>> the answer is they have to get at the end of the line . but we've got to put more resources. you hear a lot of talk about border security . according to the migration policy institute , we have a minus net to the other way. in other words, more people are going back than coming here. we spend more money on border enforcement than we do for the fbi, the dea and the atf. all of the federal law enforcement put together. we've got to put more money and expediting these cases. you hit it right on the head. thank you for that. you can't be waiting -- it's got to be -- it's impossible.
>> another poll i'm going to put a poll up here that shows that 31% of latino and spanish votes would be more likely to vote republican if the gop took the lead on immigration reform . now, do you think it's purely politics that has brought some republicans around? or you have folks like a senator rubio right now who is really taken the lead for republicans who has a family story and a history and can certainly relate in a lot of ways to these issues in such a personal way that he's taking the lead? what do you think it is? a change of heart politically or just a change of heart ?
>> we are too close to i think a consensus to bring partisan politics into this.
>> good point.
>> i don't want to talk about anybody's motivations. i will say this. it does have to be a pathway to citizenship. it has to be comprehensive. it can't be piecemeal. it can't be temporary. we can do this together, democrats and republicans working together to conform to our values of who we are as americans, to be fair. as you said, and i'm glad that you asked that question, they should get at the end of the line . but that line can't take 20 years to get through.
>> what, sir, is a reasonable time would you say? and i know kind of just throwing this out there. but we're talking about some people waiting 20 years. what is a reasonable amount of time for someone who is in this country your opinion illegally now and they step up, don't have a criminal record. trying to do the right thing?
>> i'll tell you this. it's not 20 years and it shouldn't be 10, either. these people have been living here for a long time. let's create a pathway to citizenship that's earned, that's not automatic, but that gives these people an opportunity to aspire to work hard, to get the skills, to get an education, all the things that we want them to do to support our social security system , to create a great impetus to our economy. you know, 44% of all the small business in los angeles are founded, started by immigrants. i mean, that's an astounding number. 58% of l.a. households have at least one imgrant as the head of the household . these are hard- working people . these are people that want to participate in the american dream . and they will participate if we give them a shot.
>> last thing here, and away from this topic but i have to ask you. you're in washington, d.c. you know, there's always people talking. always some rumors floating around here or there that possibly you could find your way into the obama administration. now, can you tell us at all? are you in any kind of conversation or talks? anybody from the administration mention to you the possibility of you joining the team?
>> after chairing the democratic convention and being a national co-chair of the campaign i would be proud to work for and with president obama . but i'm focused on issues like immigration and guns. we need to push for and support very important safe responsible gun legislation likes an assault weapons ban , universal background check, the straw buyers and gun trafficking. i'm focused on my job right now. we'll see what happens when it's all over.
>> sounds like you're open to the possibility?
>> t.j., i'm focused on the job.
>> focused but if the phone