The Cycle | January 29, 2013
>> luke, you know, i remember quite clearly ann coulter commenting a while back after health care immigration was the big issue that conservatives needed to focus on because, quote, if the entire country goes the way of california republicans will never be able to win a national election again. i understand the political reality that republicans feel like they have got to get this issue off the table if they make any inroads with latinos but is there also a fear among republicans that if you do have a pathway to citizenship for 11 million new people those are 11 million new people, 70% of which may be voting democratic?
>> oh, sure. i definitely think there are folks within the house republican conference and the senate republican conference that do fear that, oh sure, if you let all latinos come over here they'll be democratic. statistics show us some people vote the way of hair parents or voted twice that way they continue their life and the overwhelming majority within both chambers is the idea that, look, we believe in republican principles enough that we think that we can extend them to latinos . we believe that latinos receptive to how we view family values and receptive to viewing the issue of taxes. we believe that latinos receptive to sort of how we view the idea of social values and social justice and the church and whatnot. so i for from the conversations i have had i think there's more this idea to either try two ways which is, you know, deny, deny, deny, deny and hold on to the bitter end or embrace and sort of reform ourselves and the party and a chance to live longer and you see guys like rubio involved with this, you have guys like boehner in leadership, i'm sure mcconnell at the end of the day . the folks with a long-term vision. recantor talked about the idea of the folks that get graduate degrees in the united states and not able to keep the visas? we need more high- skilled workers and enough of those folks within the republican party that want to see this, move it forward because they believe that their brand can appeal to the latino group and some day make them republican voters, consistently.
>> raul, let's bring you back in. i noticed there's two group of people singled out not to have go to the back of the line. agriculture al workers and brilliant engineers. high-skilled engineers. every nation in the world wants them to come in to the country but the agricultural workers when american unemployment is very high, what does that say to you, they're singled out. is that the power of the food industry , americans don't want to do those jobs but we need them done?
>> what does that do to the culture of people who want to come in to this country?
>> it recognizes reality. we have an agricultural industry and a service industry with a tremendous need for this lower skilled labor and right now immigration system is just not set up to have those needs be met. so the problem down the line is that any time you start talking about a guest worker program , it's very tricky because there's a great potential for exemployeeation of these workers and then situation of guest workers here and might not want to go back so it's a tricky situation and what the president is trying to balance here is, yes, the interests of the agricultural industry and significant and one more point when you talk about having to go to the back of the line, i want to remind people. i know this as an immigration attorney. the line is huge. for instance, if you are coming from mexico legally and you go through all the procedures and qualify to be a citizen, that takes on average 17 years so if we're talking about everyone going to the back of the line, we are talking about people possibly waiting two decades for citizenship. we need to not only adjust our immigration system, but need to expand the numbers of visas available so we don't have a tremendous backlog.
>> and help me understand one other thing. talking about 17 years to citizenship. and you got to pay back taxes. that seems fair. when we're talking about poor people , how do you come up with back taxes? supposed to bank in the united states while you're doing that? are you supposed to bank in mexico? and transfer the money to the united states when you're about to become a citizen? how do you manage that?
>> that's very difficult to figure out an i can tell you most of the undocumented people here who are living and working among us, they're the vast majority of them are living very close to subsistence levels and the fines, the level of which they're set could be critical how successful the program is going to be, whether or not people can actually afford to meet these. and by the way, in terms of taxes, most immigrants pay -- most undocumented immigrants pay taxes and sales taxes of course.
>> luke , i'm still thinking about these republican house members that represent district that is are not changing demographically like the rest of the country is and the average income does not have to respond. you know? and i'm wondering, you can make the case from the standpoint of boehner or mccarthy or cantor, yes, this is something the party needs to do to move forward and maybe a long term future but for the short term political survival, the primary in arkansas or mississippi or south carolina , when's the message that a cantor or mccarthy gives to the incumbent in one of the districts that, hey, safe to vote for something that your opponent will call amnesty?
>> if there's a bipartisan bill out of the senate that boehner would put it on the floor, perhaps violate the hastert rule and go forward with what i like to call the tom cole caucus and the last pseudomoderates republicans left, about 60 of them left. pair them with democrats, there's a way forward . another group to mention that is very receptive to immigration reform within the house republican conference and republican party is a lot of very rich corporate republicans because guess what. i have seen folks come here on capitol hill of texas, arizona, california, rich business men who want those migrant workers because they need them in order to continue making their millions. that would be a strong push. chamber of commerce , they push on there. there will be a way forward from this in the house if there's a bipartisan bill in the senate and my guess is that boehner would allow those members to vote against it vote against it and try to rummage up the votes to move forward. you most likely get a significant amount of democrats and very good point. and unless there's this end all be all enforcement mechanism to agree on, you lose a lot of house republicans on this and this is -- that's what ended up killing the bill in 2007 . with president bush . the conservative rebellion against it saw in the united states senate and house, you were around. trent loath cited what happened there in 2007 when republicans rejected bush's immigration plan as one of the reasons he left the senate. this could come back and bite them in the next few months.
>> luke , never matters whether steve was around or not. he knows everything that happened there.
>> history. he did okay. opinioning the can of worms for us, luke . thanks, luke . raul and janelle. stay with us.