The Cycle | March 04, 2013
>>> washington's ongoing budget battle having real consequences. immigration and customs enforcement agents released hundreds of low-risk undocumented immigrants as a cost-cutting measure. even though officials insist most releases are not related to sequestration. check out the price of keeping an undocumented immigrant in detention. $164 a night. according to the ap, i.c.e. released 2,000 last month and another 3,000 expected this month and led to this outcry from gop lawmakers.
>> this is very hard for me to believe, that they can't find cuts elsewhere in their agency. i frankly think this is outrageous.
>> well, when i learned of the comments that were being made, it's simply just -- what is it, duck and cover and blame someone else? it's outrageous. the whole situation is just appalling.
>> oh boy. as we mentioned, i.c.e. says those released noncriminals and low-risk offenders. why keep them locked up in the first place? what's happening is a result of the sequester cuts has many activists concerned that the budget battle will derail any chance of reform. in the guest spot is raul reyes . welcome back to the show.
>> how are you?
>> there's two issues jumping out at me. undocumented workers a boogieman for the right, criminals or job takers. hearing about people sort of obama releasing criminals to promote the political agenda ! you know, so we're not talking about scarface here but nonviolent offenders and this perpetuation of a boogieman and then we have this issue of the one party wants to be the party of austerity and then when it happens, then they're like, oh, well that's not what we wanted.
>> so, you know, work out the two issues for me.
>> well, you know, actually there's a lot of issues going on here. i never thought i'd be on the same side as john boner but this whole situation with the detainees released it does raise a lot of questions as you mentioned. if they were low level offenders, why were they were being held in the first place? you know, there's a dispute of how many were actually released. and then there's this ongoing dispute of who knew what when and the white house said it was never consulted. janet napolitano said the decision made in the field. who is in charge of this agency and it's at the absolute nexus of a critical issue so they need to get things together. it could derail immigration reform . people are always looking far excuse to not get behind it. if i.c.e. and department of homeland security can continue to be dysfunctional it gives those opponents more ammunition.
>> raul , to your point, derailing immigration reform , a number of experts on both sides of the aisle are concerned that the sort of political grand standing around the issue and releasing illegal immigrants before the sequester even takes place makes it hard, much harder, in fact, for the obama administration to argue to enforce immigration law , existing immigration law or chooses not to sometimes. does this ultimately hurt the administration, the administration's bipartisan effort for immigration reform ?
>> i think it does hold that possibility. if the department of homeland security and the administration cannot produce a more thorough explanation for the situation, i think it could hurt them. and not only that, i mean, it is distracting from the larger efforts at reform and in terms of the sequester, as most people are now learning, these are cut that is go in to effect very gradually between now and september and then possibly continuing after that. so that again begs another question, why were these people released all at once and then in advance? they were released last monday and in advance of the sequester. there's all sorts of things bubbling under the surface and need to be addressed.
>> you know, raul , looking at the bigger picture and talk about the issue of detaining low risk, you know, undocumented workers first place, there's sort of a contradiction here politically in that the obama administration would reich like to get to a place of illegal immigration of that path to citizenship and then they don't want to be rounding up an deporting people who do not have criminal records but at the same time, obama administration and democrats see politically the path to reform through bragging about the record number of deportations under obama . do you think that these signals are crossed here and i.c.e. getting the signal of the white house to get the numbers up as high as we can and do immigration reform and not have to do this anymore?
>> correct. i think what's going on is a huge disconnect between the policies of the white house and the agency and what's going on in the field because if you think about it, over the last couple of years, we had the deferred action policy allows some young people to stay in the country legally and we have had the prosecutorial discretion memo of obama and could be greater leeway of deportations and illegal immigration over the mexican border is basically net zero . so just if you think about the math, the deportations should be going down. but instead, they're setting records. and i'm not convinced that this is a win in terms of appeasing people on the right because let's face it. i.c.e. is the agency that nobody likes. if they do the job well, people accused them of ripping apart families. you know? yet at the same time, conservatives always say that they're not protecting our country from invasions of undocumented immigrants . think near a tough spot.
>> raul , are we going to get immigration reform ? because if folks are getting upset over this glitch in the field then how serious are they about solving the overall problem?
>> i still, you know, i have said this before. i'm a hard-core optimistic. i believe it will happen this year. business and labor are behind the effort this time around. there's been much more coalescing behind the movement and among republicans, majority of republicans as well as democrats do support comprehensive reform. what we have, we have a very vocal minority that is still, you know, just opposed to the idea of legalization and citizenship for the undocumented. they're making noise but i think as we continue to go forward, there are already somewhat marchalized on the debit and i think the momentum is on the side of comprehensive reform and i'm encouraged by the senate, immigration 8 working on their proposal and the house and not to mention the outside influence of the white house and still optimistic.
>> i aflee with your optimism.
>> word to you, sir. thank you very much.
>>> up next, diplomacy, dennis rodman style?
>> as crazy as it could, could a bro-mance be good for international relations ? [ male