The Ed Show | January 29, 2013
>> good evening, americans , and welcome to "the ed show" from new york. republicans want immigration reform , but for only one reason, to protect their political hides. this is "the ed show." let's get to work.
>> i believe we are finally at a moment when immigration reform is in our grasp.
>> the president is pushing for citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants as forces on the right line up to stop him.
>> obama is seeking political victory.
>> tonight karen finney and e.j. dionne on the president's historic proposal and the republican pushback.
>> just remind everybody, obama is not going to be president forever .
>>> hillary clinton takes a powerful curtain call at foggy bottom .
>> it's really important that women are out there competing at the highest levels of government and business.
>> i'll tell you if she dropped any hints about 2016 .
>>> plus, the sandy bill passes in the senate. but not before 36 republicans totally disgrace themselves. i'll introduce you tonight to the sandy 36.
>>> and it's a modern-day civil rights struggle between workers and management in the state of mississippi. i'll tell you why these nissan employees say they're being denied a voice in the workplace. good to have you with us tonight, folks. thanks for watching there is more hope tonight for 11 million people who are currently living in fear.
>> i'm here today because the time has come for common sense, comprehensive immigration reform . the time has come. now is the time.
>> president obama went to a las vegas high school today to outline his own immigration reform plan. the cheers from the crowd tell you a lot. there are places in this country where the threat of deportation hangs over the heads of many people.
>> the good news is that for the first time in many years, republicans and democrats seem ready to tackle this problem together. members of both parties in both chambers are actively working on a solution.
>> so here we have the president praising the framework unveiled by eight democratic and republican senators. president obama is urging using his bully pulpit to make sure there is an urgency to get real reform done.
>> the foundation for bipartisan action is already in place. and if congress is unable to move forward in a timely fashion, i will send up a bill based on my proposal and insist that they vote on it right away.
>> the details of the president's own plan for citizenship are supported by mainstream america .
>> we have to lay out a path, a process that includes passing a background check, paying taxes, paying a penalty, learning english, and then going to the back of the line behind all the folks who are trying to come here legally. that's only fair.
>> and i'll have commentary on that in a moment. i'm not all on board with it. it sounds good, but the path to earn citizenship has a lot of supporters in congress. in fact, it's the same path outlined by the group of senators. president obama 's plan has a few more specifics. the path to citizenship is not contingent on meeting security triggers like additional border security and unmanned drones. it calls for improvements to immigration courts. and it requires the same visa rights for same-sex couples as everyone else. now, these minor differences cause some grandstanding from republican senator marco rubio out of florida today . rubio intends to make this issue political.
>> if this endeavor becomes a bidding war to see who can come up with the easiest, quickest, and cheapest pathway to greencard possible, this thing is not going to go well, folks.
>> of course there is really only one place for republicans to go when they want to make political hay out of an issue.
>> obama is seeking political victory. obama doesn't care about enforcing existing law. so people say why will he enforce anything that is new.
>> once again, limbaugh is clearly delusional. one of the reasons we need immigration reform is because there were a record number of deportations last year. president obama has presided over 1.5 million deportations in four years. it took w. eight years to deport 2 million people. but marco rubio still went on air with the peddler of lies to kick obama on immigration .
>> obama is not going to be president forever . as long as the next four years may seem, he won't be president forever . we have to write laws with that in mind as well.
>> president obama agrees with marco rubio and other senators on almost every aspect of immigration reform . but republicans are not doing this because they are interested in real reform. john mccain actually told us the truth. they are doing it so they can win elections. meanwhile, our current immigration fiasco takes a tremendous toll. now, listen to some of the callers on my radio show who told me how the current immigration system is tearing their families apart.
>> i'm a new citizen. i'm married to my wife. she's from nicaragua. for the last 18 years. we have three beautiful children. i have paid thousands and thousands of dollars in legal fees to get her residency, at least that. and all immigration , all they want to do is take my wife out of this country, send her to nicaragua for 18 months to five years waiting for her papers over there. why they want to do that? she don't have no family over there. she was brought here when she was a child.
>> i married my wife here in madison, who is a philippine citizen . she was in this country legally under papers, whatever she needed. we got married. we filed the appropriate papers with the government, and then her father passed away and we had to go to the philippines to attend her father's funeral. unbeknownst to us, you can't leave while your paperwork is pending. we've been fighting for three years now to get her back in the united states because she left on a legal -- legal document , you know, and we can't get her back into the country.
>> what do you think, folks? we got to fix this? the debate over immigration in this country should be focused on those folks, the suffering of the people in the shadows who put up with the government red tape . it should not be about scoring political points. i mean, why are we doing this? are we doing this just because all of the sudden we want to be nice? are we doing this because we can help the country? yes. but we're also doing this because we are a compassionate country, and we shouldn't be doing this to people. and we need to remind ourselves. we're part of the problem. one of the reasons why we are where we are with illegal immigration in this country is because we haven't defended the border over the decades. we have allowed corporations to hire illegal workers. and now it's just exploded. so why are we doing this now? we're doing it because it is the right thing to do for america . but i see some bureaucratic red tape coming down the pike, and i think we need to be a little bit concerned about this. now, the righties out there are saying well, obama care, it's just too much government intervention . what about this? listen to the real folks calling a talk show , talking about what they're living with. first of all, you got to fix the visa backlog. okay? how do you do that? you get people engaged to do it and you start making phone calls and calling them. in maybe you can use the dmv. i mean, this is one of the big problems right here, the backlog. what that gentleman was talking about off the radio show . and a time frame . can we make it reasonable? do we want to tell these folks hey, you got to wait another 12 or 13 years. what? some of these folks have been here more than ten years. can't we get the fast track ? how much loyalty do they have to show? what the republicans are afraid of is that they'll vote for the democrats so, we got to slow this baby down a little bit. the other thing is paying fines and back taxes. all right. let's take, for instance, that there is someone out there who has been in the shadows for maybe ten years. comes out, identifies himself, gets a little bit of amnesty. i know that's a dirty word . but all of the sudden this person who is a low wage worker has to pay fines. and oh, by the way, you have to pay back taxes on the last nine or ten years you've been here. you know what this is? this is shaking down the poor is what it is. this isn't about immigration and bringing people into the system. this is about paying fines and back taxes, and that's what the righties are fighting for. that's wrong. that is really wrong. and that is overboard. what we need to be is compassionate. these folks don't have to pay fines or shouldn't have to do back taxes. bring them into the fold. why do you think they're in america ? get your cell phones out. i want to know what you think. tonight's question, who has a better plan for immigration reform ? text a for the president. text b for republicans in congress to 622639. you can go to our blog at ed.msnbc.com. we'll bring you results later on in the show.
>>> i'm joined tonight by karen finney , msnbc analyst and former communications director for the dnc. and e.j. dee dionne, author of the book "our divided political heart" which is now available in paper book. way to roll, e.d. deion.
>> good to be with you.
>> i'm so bothered by this. i really feel like we're headed down the road of bureaucratic red tape instead of helping the voices that you just heard on this program. e.j., why are we doing this?
>> i mean, let's be honest. we're doing this because barack obama won an election and got overwhelming support for latinos. and republicans looked at the latino numbers and a lot of them are saying we can't be stuck in this position if we're to win an election another day. now, i do think there are republicans who have been serious about this. john mccain is actually one of them with a very brief detour during the 2008 campaign. but you're right. we're also doing this because this is the right thing. and it's one of the things mccain said that day, which is really powerful, where he said these are folks we have come into our country to do work for the country, for the rest of us. we have created the conditions in which they came in here. shouldn't they have equal rights to citizenship? and i got to say, one of the things that heartens me about the debate so far is i was worried that we were going to have a big fight over whether we create a whole class of people who would be resident noncitizens, people without citizenship rights.
>> and so far the republicans aren't doing that. and i take that as a positive sign that we're going to turn these folks into rights-bearing americans .
>> do we have to grow up as americans on this issue, karen ? do we have to evolve? maybe that's the better word. amnesty is going to be a part of this. why are we afraid of that? would the republicans even consider doing this if they couldn't score political points? your thoughts.
>> i think as e.j. pointed out, i think there are some for whom there is a political reality that has brought them to the table. and you can tell they've done their homework. there is now two memos that have gone out from different groups to republicans kind of saying here is how you talk about these issues. right. you don't talk about anchor babies and we don't talk about aliens. and you notice that their language, they have rubio out there trying to help garner support from the tea party folks. and they're talking about tough and fair. i guess on some level, yeah we have to grow up, ed. but there is a part of me that feels like if we end up with good policy in this instance, and if it meant that people came to the table because of politics, but we end up with good policy that's the right thing to do, i think that's a good result.
>> that's a great point. i don't think it's good policy to have someone come forward who has been in this country for ten-plus years and say they got to wait a long time before they're an american citizen .
>> i think the more they get it on the fast track , and the more humane we are about this, the better country we're going to be. and i think that's what we got to focus on.
>> i think you're right about that, ed. and i hope that when we talk about -- it's all still vague. but fixing the broken system. i mean, that needs to be part of it. and because this are plenty of people who have been in this country who have actually actually followed the rules exactly, and are still stuck in this backlog. clearly, there is a very real problem with the backlog. and as you pointed out, the human toll that that is taking. again, my point is talking about tough and fair means we can get people to the table to get something to help this situation, i think that's a good result.
>> john boehner reacting to the president's speech today in las vegas spokesman released a statement saying we hope the president is careful not to drag the debate to the left. e.j., what is to the left on this issue? either you're going to do it or not.
>> the republicans have been very funny about this. until now, they have said, well, the president didn't take leadership on this issue. he didn't put out his own proposal. that wasn't entirely true, but they were criticizing him for not being out there. so now the president is out there, and they're criticizing him for being out there, and accusing him of dragging the debate to the left. this is not a left-right issue there are a lot of republicans , a lot of business people , the honest business people want to resolve this.
>> i thought amnesty meant peace.
>> it does.
>> i thought amnesty meant can't we all just get along? i mean, they've been here for a long time. i also think that there is going to be a trust level here involved that if you tell folks that if they come out of the shadows, but better be giving them guarantees that they are not going to have any retribution against them whatsoever. and i think this fine thing and paying back taxes is going to scare a lot of them, and fear is going to be a factor in all of this. we can go on forever. great to have both of you with us tonight, karen finney and e.j. dionne . thank you to both of you. remember, answer the question at the bottom of the screen and on twitter and facebook. we always want to know what you think. president obama kicks it into high gear . but john boehner says the president needs to what? get to