All In With Chris Hayes, Thursday, November 20th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: November 20, 2014
Guest: Janet Murguia, Maria Teresa Kumar, Maria Hinojosa, Steve Schmidt,
Doug Heye, Luis Gutierrez, Cristina Jimenez
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. I`m Chris Hayes, alongside Rachel
Maddow and this is MSNBC`s special coverage on President Obama`s speech to
the nation, on immigration which, as you can see, will start any minute
There are crowds outside the White House and we should not gloss over the
fact that this was something that was genuinely brought about by grassroots
activism. I mean --
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: By some very, very aggressive, very canny
HAYES: Heckling the president, yes, I mean -- it is really -- there`s an
old adage in politics, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
And this is -- this is -- it`s very similar to "don`t ask, don`t tell."
where we saw activists chain themselves to the White House. They weren`t
quiet. They didn`t just kind of allow, you know, get in line. They were
MADDOW: And they didn`t just attack the people who they were most
diametrically opposed to. I talked with one of the founders of United We
Dream last night and we`ll talk to her tonight after the speech, but she
talked about this decision that they came to when they realized that they
were banging their head against a brick wall when it came to talking to
Republicans like John Boehner and the other House Republicans who,
inarguably, were the most responsible for their plight.
And so they decided, listen, we want to get some bang for our buck. We
want it to have effect so we`re going to go after our allies instead of our
HAYES: And one of those allies who they`ve seen from the beginning as an
ally is President Obama who, of course, campaigned on comprehensive
immigration reform both in 2008, again in 2012. He won Latino voters and
Asian-American voters by massive and historic margins and has supported a
bipartisan bill that came before the Senate. And unlike everyone else, it
dies in the Senate, and dies in Congress, passed by large majorities.
And tonight, the president will be making his announcement about executive
(BARACK OBAMA`S PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS)
MADDOW: President Obama speaking tonight from the East Room of the White
House going high at the end there talking about Scripture and reaching to
the big picture of America. But also getting very, very specific about
what the deal is, as he put it. What he`s offering and about the politics
"to those members of Congress who question my authority to make our
immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where
Congress failed, I have one answer, pass a bill," he said with a little bit
of a tone.
A fascinating speech, it was two speeches. The first part was practical
and tough. He did the thing, the time-honored tradition of Democrats
talking about immigration reform which they`ve been doing for 20 years
because they`ve been counseled by consultants to do it. It`s leave with
enforcement, we`re going to -- the first thing he announces, we`re going to
get tougher on the border.
MADDOW: That`s right.
HAYES: He described the deal in highly practical terms. I like the line,
"all we`re saying is we`re not going to deport you." That actually all the
craziness that will emanate in the wake of this, at the core of it is,
there are some people who`s saying, we`re not going to snatch you.
MADDOW: It`s not citizenship. It`s not a green card. It`s not permanent
residency. Congress would have to draw this stuff -- this is you`re being
relieved from deportation.
On the tough issue he said, "If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your
chances of getting caught and sent back just went up."
HAYES: And it is true that the facts bear that out in terms of illegal
border crossings, people being detained at the border, and the facts bear
out we have net negative migration to this country at this point.
So, the president talked about all that but the last part was really the
emotional compassion core, right?
HAYES: So, he pivots away from this kind of the tough, pragmatic, look, I
understand the politics at the top to say, hey, look, let`s remember who we
are. And he quotes Scripture -- I found that part, because I`m a bleeding
heart liberal, particularly effective, and I thought he did a good squaring
the circle of this politics.
We`re joined by Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of
La Raza, who made headlines last spring for calling President Obama the
Janet, what did you think of the speech?
JANET MURGUIA, PRES. & CEO, NATL. COUNCIL OF LA RAZA: I thought it was
compelling, very powerful and very reaffirming. For us, this moment is a
milestone moment, I think, for so many. It`s a victory for so many
millions of American families who have lived in the shadows, with the
burden of what that means in this country.
And I think it was a victory for this country because we know as the
president laid out there that there will be important changes and benefits
economically and from a national security standpoint. I think it was a
victory for common sense. So, this is a very important moment. Not just
for some of us who have been fighting alongside so many others for some
change and reform, but it`s really, I think, an important moment for the
HAYES: Was it striking to you there was one omission from the speech that
found interesting. The number has been the thing we`ve all been talking
about in the lead-up, how big will it be? And the number was missing from
the speech. What does that say to you?
MURGUIA: Well, I think what the president was trying to capture is the
essence of what this means for us as a country and Americans and I think
for him, I think we all recognize that that number is going to represent
ultimately our values.
And for us, I know we`ve heard it`s up to 5 million possibly people.
That`s a huge victory for so many of us, even though we know that not
everybody will be captured in that number. We know that this is just
important first step but that Congress can really now step in to finish the
job and that`s going to be an important role that we hope they will take on
because this is temporary, as you heard from the president.
MADDOW: Janet, Rachel Maddow here. Thank you for being with us tonight.
I wanted to just ask, I guess your opinion on how we should describe this.
Obviously, the last time we had something approaching comprehensive
immigration reform, a major change to the law, was in the 1980s under
President Reagan. We`ve since had some changes to the law and certainly
changes in the administrative implementation of our existing laws, which is
in effect what tonight is.
President George H.W. Bush did it, President Reagan did that, after that
law was signed.
In the grand scheme of American policymaking on this, should we see this as
one of the big changes that has happened in the last few decades? Does it
rise to that level?
MURGUIA: It does. This is going to be a historic moment for the country
because we will see, I think, this country living up to its values and
saying that we will welcome those who are already contributing and are tied
and rooted to families and communities and there`s no doubt that that --
that will represent a significant change and it will be one of the biggest
changes we`ve seen in decades.
I guess I would just warn those folks who want to fight the president tooth
and nail on this -- that they`re going to be fighting not with the
president or taking on the president. Now, they`re going to be taking on
those millions of families who really already have been contributing and
who understand what`s going to be at stake here going forward into the
future. And so, I hope that they will find a way to actually make a
constructive step and offer legislation and find a way to get a permanent
solution, because for so many of these families, this is going to be
MADDOW: Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of La
Raza -- thank you for being with us on this big night. Thank you, ma`am.
I appreciate it.
MURGUIA: Thank you.
MADDOW: Let`s bring back in Lawrence O`Donnell.
Lawrence, again, you have been zeroing in on what`s available to the
president at this point. What do you think of the speech?
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, "THE LAST WORD" HOST: Well, I want to go to Chris`
issue of the number.
O`DONNELL: And the reason to leave it out, there`s two reason, one is
political and I don`t want to get into this particular number in front of
the large audience. There will be other audiences where I will want to say
But it wasn`t a number. What he described was a concept. What he`s
talking about is parents.
It`s very clear, it`s -- this is about holding families together. There`s
what Republicans would call the family value section of the speech where he
says, "Are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from
That`s who these millions are. This is defined entirely by familial
relationships. That`s how you fall under this.
But, you know, it will be as big a thing as we`re saying it is unless the
next president undoes it, which the next president can undo it faster than
he just said it. And in that case, you would have had a three-year hiccup
in the history of our, you know, process here.
HAYES: I want to bring Maria Hinojosa, who`s host of "America by the
Numbers" on PBS and NPR`s "Latino USA", and Maria Teresa Kumar, president
and CEO of Voto Latino.
To that, how much assurance does this represent? I mean, how much
stability do you think -- how much of an exhale is there tonight given what
Lawrence just said about the precariousness?
MARIA HINOJOSA, PBS` "AMERICA BY THE NUMBERS": Well, look, I think it`s an
exhale because finally people heard from the president, right? So, it was
like, OK, we kind of get this and I hate to be the Debbie Downer, but the
reality is this is all a question of discretion, right.
HINOJOSA: So in my "Frontline" report when I was out with the agents, this
is what they said, "Oh, Washington?"
HINOJOSA: "They`re doing this and we`re down here doing our jobs and our
jobs right now for the last several years have been detain, deport,
because, you know, everybody is getting paid here. There is the ICE
industrial complex. This does not stop tomorrow. There will be people --
I`m sorry to say because I don`t want to do this -- who will be getting a
knock on the door at 6:00 a.m., immigration agents will be there and they
may precisely be exactly the people who the president said, we`re going to
say, we`re not going to deport you.
HAYES: And that`s precisely the contradiction embedded in the policy that
we have as a nation in the president`s speech, which is to describe the
terror of deportation while the president has actually been presiding over
a lot of deportation, part of what has brought us to this moment tonight.
MARIA TERESA KUMAR, VOTO LATINO: Right. But I think we haven`t seen the
whole policy, but some of the stuff we should expect to see is the fact
that secure communities that relationship between the -- between ICE and
local law enforcement is going to change and they actually will set up a
different type of system in order to do it.
But I think something -- something to what Lawrence was saying and I think
it`s very, very important is looking at, yes, something that`s familial but
very important it`s talking about our values, but he also is sending it
back to the Republicans. He didn`t say a number but could you imagine
having to scale back 4 million people?
We`re not talking about 100,000 here. We`re not talking about 200,000.
We`re talking about 4 million. That -- once you give them a taste of
freedom, that you`ve been able to get people out of the shadows, that`s
going to be incredibly hard to scale back that number for any president.
O`DONNELL: But, you know, even -- there is a detail here that`s still
unclear. The president said, "They`re allowed to stay in this country
temporarily." We don`t know what that means, the sense is three years and
do you get to apply again and stay temporarily again.
We don`t know yet. That`s administrative. That hasn`t been clarified yet.
MADDOW: And, again, the path to a green card and path to citizenship is
something that this president -- no president --
O`DONNELL: It`s not in here.
MADDOW: And Congress has to do that.
KUMAR: I think when the president was talking about. It`s been 511 days
since the Senate passed the bill. They can act -- if the Republicans
really are upset --
KUMAR: They can go tomorrow and say, let`s actually have a vote. So, this
idea that they don`t have anything to work with is not true.
MADDOW: One of the things we`re talking about -- I mean, one of the
radical responses the Republicans could have, they could pass a piece of
legislation, I know it`s hard to imagine, but it`s one of the things they
Joining us is NBC`s Andrea Mitchell, who`s the host of "ANDREA MITCHELL
REPORTS" here on MSNBC.
Andrea, let me just ask you -- I mean, big picture, big question in
Washington tonight is how this speech lands, particularly how it lands at
the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue in Congress.
ANDREA MITCHELL, HOST OF MSNBC`S "ANDREA MITCHELL REPORTS": Well, in fact,
that`s the biggest challenge, because I think out in the country, you`re
going to find that there is more of a welcoming attitude towards this if
people listen to what the president said. He redefined amnesty. He said
amnesty is the current broken system. Amnesty is not what the critics are
saying it is.
But I talked to a leading Democratic red state senator just tonight who had
been briefed, the caucus was briefed by the White House chief of staff
Denis McDonough and this senator said, it was a tough go for McDonough,
because some in the caucus believe the president has now made it impossible
by taking this step so shortly so soon after the midterm shellacking that
he took which they blame him for, by the way. That he is then made it
impossible for any of the Republican moderates that they were working with
very quietly to do anything that is constructive.
Now, that said, this senator then conceded, but he couldn`t have done it
beforehand because Harry Reid made it impossible for him to do it before
the midterms. So, the president was damned if he did and damned if he
By taking this step now, though, he has made some enemies on the Hill and
some in his own party.
MADDOW: You know, the Senate did find a way to pass quite a comprehensive
MADDOW: -- and quite a bipartisan and quite a tough bill last year, and
the House Republicans is where that died. And I feel like the thing that I
don`t understand from Washington, sort of the Beltway discussion about this
is if anybody ever saw any path toward the John Boehner-controlled
Republican House ever doing anything on immigration, no matter what it was
-- I mean, has that ever been seen as a possibility regardless of whether
or not the president acted?
MITCHELL: I mean, that is exactly the problem, 68 votes for this more than
a year ago by -- from the Senate, the house did nothing about it. Now,
this new House is going to be even more resistant to it.
MITCHELL: I was really struck if I could just for a moment say that some -
- a conversation I had earlier today with Jose Diaz-Balart, there are two
Washingtons, and this Washington, the Senate caucus room does not bear any
connection nor does John Boehner`s caucus from any connection with the rest
of the country.
On my way into work today, at the gym, I talked to a woman I`ve known for
15 years at least, the receptionist at the desk, and instead of just the
usual "good morning", she said, "this is going to be good news for us
tonight." And she`s never talked politics to me.
Then my next stop, two other people came up to me and said, "What is it
going to be? What`s in it?" This is people we`ve had normal conversations
at the Starbucks every day, but this was a different intensity and
emotional conversation today.
So, these are the people who are affected by it in Washington and outside
of Washington and Las Vegas, where the president goes tomorrow, not the
people in the Senate caucus or the House caucus rooms.
HAYES: It`s -- Andrea, what you just said is exactly, exactly my
experience and my expectation that this ends up becoming a huge landmark
moment in people`s lives who we have never seen as political actors before,
everybody who knows somebody who`s going to be affected by this is going to
be changed forever by what just happened.
Andrea Mitchell, thank you so much for your time tonight. It`s good to
have you here. Thanks.
MITCHELL: Thank you.
HAYES: I should say when I came to work today, I was looking forward to
speaking to some Republican elected officials. And we extended invitations
to dozens of Republican members of the house individually and to any House
Republican who might want to join us to talk about the president`s remarks
on immigration through the NRC and Majority Leader John Boehner`s office.
We also reached out to several Senate Republicans. No one took us up on
But the response the president`s executive action from members of the GOP
elsewhere has ranged from cautious disapproval to outright freak out. In
the later camp, are lawmakers like Alabama`s representive Mo Brooks who
told Slate the President might need to be thrown in jail.
At some point, you have to evaluate whether the president`s conduct aides
or abets, encourages or entices foreigners to unlawfully cross the United
States of America, Brooks said. That is a five year in jail penalty
associated with it.
John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Republican leaders in congress have been
trying to steer their members away from trying to shut down the government
or impeach the president. They have had to walk a delicate line in the
face of an outraged GOP base.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) OHIO: The president has said before that he`s not
king and he`s not an emperor, but he`s sure acting like one.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY: If President Obama acts in
defiance of the people and imposes his will on the country, congress
BOEHNER: We`re going to fight the president tooth and nail if he continues
down this path.
MCCONNELL: It`s like waving a red flag in front of a bull.
BOEHNER: All the options are on the table.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So what happened tonight is big and we do not know, it is genuinely
uncertain what the response will be -- government shutdown, a move to
impeach, or will the GOP establishment decide or convince their base this
is not the right battle to fight?
Joining me now now, Republican strategist and MSNBC contributor Steve
Schmidt. And Steve, I think it`s a Karl Rove line that when you`re arguing
process you`re losing and feel like the Republicans do not want to talk
about the substance, they want to talk about the
process -- the president is a king, the president is an emperor. They
don`t want to talk about deportation, family unification, the comprehensive
immigration bill. Am I right on that?
STEVE SCHMIDT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, look, there are
important constitutional principles at stake here with regard to the
separation of powers. And they may not make for good TV, but they`re
essential to our ability to function as a constitutional republic.
Let me make a couple of points about his speech tonight. First off, for
much of that speech, it was remarks that could have been given by George W.
Bush or John McCain celebrating the spirit of immigration in this country.
I am a long time advocate for immigration reform. What we saw tonight
marks the end of any possibility to pass any comprehensive immigration
reform over the rest of the president`s term with this Republican
I think it is extraordinary that he gave and addressed to the
nation where he did not state the number of people who will be covered by
this. One thing is clear listening to the activists who have appeared on
set tonight, nobody believes that this is anything other than a first step.
And certainly he made a moral case that makes it very difficult not to
embrace people who have been legally in the country for three years.
And I think from Republicans, activists who were supportive of his action,
everybody knows that when he said that your chances of et deported if you
arrive here tomorrow have gone up is simply not true.
At the end of the day here, though he may not have the legal authority to
do this, and that will be tested in the courts, this move is unprecedented.
And it is not analogous to either what President Reagan or President Bush
41 did with executive orders in the face of congressional approval of
legislation. This is a unilateral executive action, a massive expansion of
the powers of the executive at the expense of the legislative branch.
And one need look no further than the possibility of a Republican president
in the future who decides to use his prosecutorial discretion to exempt
millions of Americans from paying an estate tax.
So, while I am someone who has always been a supporter of comprehensive
immigration reform, tonight`s action, I think -- and I
think Republicans across the country will react to it in this way, two
weeks after the president was reputuated writ large in a national election
from coast-to-coast, this is an incredibly divisive action. He is...
HAYES: but Steve, let me stop you there.
SCHMIDT: And hold on, Chris. There`s nothing that stops the
president from, in January, barnstorming the country to build public
support to pressure congress to change this law and that`s what we do in
this country. We do things like this by changing the law, not by executive
HAYES: So, there`s two arguments here, right. There`s a process argument
that this is sort of outside -- either outside the law or outside the
norms, right, and those are two distinct things. I think there`s pretty
good consensus this is lawful. You can make an argument that it is not
within the norm, I`ll put that to the side.
But to the argument that this kills the chance for immigration
reform, you just can`t kill something that`s already dead. I mean, let`s
be honest here. That House, that House has passed one immigration bill,
it`s called the Enforce Act which would deport the DREAMers. That`s the
only thing that came out of that House. And that house has just gotten
more conservative. You, I and anyone who`s watched the election results
understands that. They`ve got the biggest majority they`ve had since the
The idea that that House would pass comprehensive immigration reform,
frankly, is just preposterous.
SCHMIDT: And now we`ll never know. And so what I would say is that the
lack of ability to pass a bill, whether it`s with a Democratic House or a
Republican House, does not give the president the ability by executive fiat
to rewrite the immigration laws, in my view, outside the norm, for many,
many millions of people.
And we should understand, I think, that there is a deliberate reason that
the president did not mention the number of people that will be
enfranchised in. We know from polling that the overwhelming majority of
Americans, including Republicans, support a humane solution to a
fundamentally broken immigration system.
But I think the analysis that the American people will be supportive of
this, understanding how outside the norm of it is just
completely wrong. This will push the president`s poll numbers lower across
the country and it will make our politics more divided than it has been.
HAYES: Steve Schmidt, thank you very much.
A quick note that there -- we should just be clear there is no
enfranchisement in any legal sense. No one is going to get the right to
vote, that is, of course, outside the purview of executive action.
Back with us, Congressman Luis Guttierez, Democrat from Illinois, who has
been leading congressional advocate for executive action on immigration.
Do you want to respond to Steve Schmidt and the president.
REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ, R-ILLINOIS: Yes. first of all, stop whining and
crying about what the president did tonight. You control the House of
Representatives. Under most normal circumstances -- they said they didn`t
want the Senate bill. Well, guess what, they had the votes. They could
have passed a House bill. We could have gone to conference. We could have
resolved our differences.
But in a very cynical manner in June, John Boehner, the speaker of the
House said despite all my efforts, despite all your efforts, Mr. Presidetn,
I`m going to call a bill on immigration. I`m just not going to do it. And
the president fulfilled his commitment to use his pen, as he did today.
So, listen, even today, Chris, these executive orders -- and there are
multiple executive orders -- are going to go into effect January 1 of 2015.
It will take 180 days -- let me underscore that, 180 days -- before any one
of the 5 million people that are affected can go and apply for a work
permit. It takes 180 days.
You control the Senate. You control the House. Call us. We`re ready to
This is a first initial step, and an important step. And I want to say,
too, everybody -- I think what the president did tonight was wonderful,
becuase a community of people that have been demonized during the last
elections, one Senator after another, one member of the House on the
Republican side after another used the porous border coming with criminal
Mexicans and then saying that Ebola was coming and ISIS to win their
Tonight, the president humanized that community of people.
And I think that that`s the debate and the discussion the Repulican Party
is afraid of. If you do not like what the president did, then act. You
control the House. You control the Senate.
MADDOW: Representative Gutierrez, I want to ask about one other thing that
Steve raised, which we`ve heard over and over and over again from
Republicans in Washington, which is that they don`t believe in the border
security part of it. Literally -- not that they don`t think it`s a good
idea, but they don`t believe in it, they don`t think it`s real.
The first thing the president announced tonight in this three-part plan was
yet further resources to the border, yet more resources in terms of
stopping people from crossing in the first place catching them wen they do
and sending them back.
Steve said no Republican in the country believes that is true. That`s
obviously a fake assertion. What`s behind the refusal to believe that
deportations are at an all-time high, that border enforcement is at an all-
time high. Why is that seen as a myth if you`re a Republican?
GUTIERREZ: Because I think -- look, if you want to make it about people
from Latin America, if you want to use xenophobia, if you want to use
bigotry and hatred and prejudice, then you want to mix up the facts.
The fact is that 40 percent of the undocumented didn`t come through that
border, they came through LAX, they came through JFK, they came through
O`Hare, they came through Miami. They came here legally to this country
and overstayed. We never hear -- and one of the congressmen, it said when
they crossed into America, because it`s always about crossing into America.
Well, guess what, they fly into America. And they come on boats into
America and they come here to do a number of different things and they
overstay. They don`t want to talk about it. They always want to make this
about our neighbors to the south.
So I think that that`s part of it. The fact is the president is very
But, listen, Rachel, the Senate bill, they said they wanted 30,000 more
border patrol agents. Do you know what Democrats did? We found a way to
fund 30,000 more border patrol agents. We will give them the kind of
incentives that they believe they need in order to join us.
But here`s the problem, immigration does not unite the Republican Party in
the House of Representatives and Senate. You know what you unites them?
Being against what Barack Obama proposes. And as long as they put
partisanship ahead of good public policy, we`re going to have this crisis
MADDOW: Congressman, Luis Gutierrez, many thanks for that.
And, actually, an excellent point that this would unite Republicans if ever
there was a chance of them getting over their schisms of this issue. I`m
sure we`ve done that tonight.
Joining us now once more from Washington, D.C. is the Reverend Al Sharpton,
host of MSNBC`s Politics Nation.
Rev, I should say is n Washington because earlier today he`s one of about
a dozen activists and leaders who met with the president about this.
Rev, what did you think of the speech? And what do you think
the White House is expecting to happen next?
AL SHARPTON, HOST, POLITICS NATION: Well, I thought the speech was
excellent. I think that for the president to have a near-perfect balance
of talking about the border patrol security, talking about how people that
were here illegally and that were not doing what was
the correct thing in terms of the law there, their chances of hiding and
staying just went up that they`re going to be deported.
And then coming with a specific laid out policy on dealing with people who
really suffered and then really gave a sense of what that suffering is.
and the young lady he`s going to meet (inaudible) Las Vegas to give a
graphic description of what she went through, Americcan people feel for
real people. And I think when he
distinguished between hard working people that did all they could to take
care of their families from people that were in gangs and doing things that
were destructive, that distinction I think is what is going to continue to
drive the American people to support real immigration reform.
And I think he was right to throw the gauntlet down and said if you don`t
want to go what I`m going with or you have a better way pass a bill. And
we hear everything from the right-wing, from the Republicans but a bill.
So I think it was very not only historic first step, but a very
moving speech. And you know it really is effective when the president has
Rachel Maddow excited about scripture. I mean, this is a big night.
MADDOW: Well, you know, not that you`re impugning my spiritual health or
HAYES: Rachel is more pious than you know.
MADDOW: My poor aunts who are nuns right now are actually texting me with
Thanks, Rev. The Reverent Al Sharpton, we`ll check back in with you.
Thanks very much.
Oh, look, now I`m blushing for Jesus.
Some of the most vocal advocates for immigration reform have been the
DREAMers, young undocumented immigrants who came to this country as
children who have not been shy about confronting the politicians who they
hold responsible for blocking reform and for not doing as much as they
could as fast as they could.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How would you feel if you had to tell your kids, at
the age of 10, that you were never coming home?
BOEHNER: That wouldn`t be good.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know. That`s what happened to me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m a DREAMer.
OBAMA: I love you. I appreciate you, too. Thank you. Thank you.
So -- hold on, young lady. Hold on a second.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Rubio, stop flipflopping with our
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are here, Senator Rubio. We came all the way from
Florida, becuase you...
OBAMA: I`ve taken so far, actions...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (OFF MIKE)
OBAMA: I`m about to get to that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m actually a DREAMer myself. And I`m originally
from Mexico, but I was raised here. I graduated from Arizona State
University actually. And Arizona State University. And I know you want to
get rid of DACA, so I want to give you the opportunity if you really want
to get rid of it, just rip mine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Rand Paul finished his hamburger very fast and got out just at the
right moment there.
Incredible stuff. Incredible activism from kids all over the country
targeting everybody, including their allies and their enemies on these
issues. They`ve been relentless in a way. If you`re a student of direct
action politics, they have been a case study for the ages.
Cristina Jimenez came to the United States from Ecuador from her family
when she was just 13-years-old. She is the co-founder of United We Dream.
She watched this president`s speech tonight at a watch party with other
members from her group.
Cristina Jimenez now joins us from outside that party.
Cristina, thanks for being with us, how are you feeling about what the
CRISTINA JIMENEZ, UNITED WE DREAM: Thanks for having me, tonight.
You know, Rachel, it`s a bittersweet moment. I`m a little bit in tears
right now because I was able to call my dad and my mom and let them know
that based on the criteria that has been shared, they will be protected
from deportation. And that is a big victory for
my family and for our community that has been really courageous in
organizing and sharing their stories and putting the pressure on the
president to make this announcement today.
And at the same time, as you saw, we had many families in our
offices today and many of them will now be able to qualify and to get
protection from deportation.
So it breaks my heart, because there`s many people I know know and that I
love, but the message is clear to us. This is a victory that we will own.
We made this happen, our community has made this happen. And we will not
stop until everyone in our community is able to have protection from
deportation and be able to live in this country without fear and dignity.
HAYES: Cristina, it`s Chris Hayes here. Where does this movement go from
here? This is a huge victory. And I agree with you, it is a victory that
has been brought about by your activism. What`s the next step?
JIMENEZ: Chris, for us it`s clear, our work doesn`t stop. We`re going to
keep organizing and engaging more people. We know that the solution is
just temporary. It`s a great first step. But we need ultimately a final
and permanent solution that only congress can deliver that will create a
pathway for citizenship for people like me, my family and many of the
communities that we work with.
So our work doesn`t stop. It`s the beginning. And we will continue to
organize, to protect this victory that is ours and ensure that our
communities are able to benefit from this program and hold the work permit
in their hands and that protection from deportation and move really from
the underground economy to the formally economy, live without fear, and
make sure that we continue to build power so that we can have legislation.
HAYES: Cristina Jimenez, co-founder of United We Dream, thank you very
During the president`s speech, he took the time to tell a particularly very
young moving story of a young woman based out of Nevada named Astrid Silva.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Astrid was brought to America when she was four years old. Her
only possessions were a cross, her doll and the frilly
dress she had on. When she started school, she didn`t speak any English,
she mostly lived in the shadows until her grandmother, who
visited every year from Mexico, passed away and she couldn`t travel to the
funeral without risk of being found out and deported.
it was around that time she decided to begin advocating for herself and
others like her. And today Astrid Silva is a college student working on
her third degree.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: ...with Astrid earlier tonight. She said, quote, Astrid said she
had no idea the president was going to tell her story.
And joining me now by phone is Astrid Silva. And Astrid, what was your
reaction when you heard your name and your frilly dress described?
ASTRID SILVA, DREAMER ACTIVIST: Thank you for having me.
I just -- I was shocked because I didn`t hear the name because everybody
was clapping until he said about the cross and the doll, because that`s how
I came here. And then it`s like that`s me.
HAYES: How are you feeling about the speech tonight? What does this mean
for you, for people in your family? And for the movement you`ve become
SILVA: Well, you know, my dad has an order of deportation and so with this
I think that our family is going to be able to know that
won`t be our last holidays together, but that I know so many families that
didn`t benefit and that we have to keep fighting until congress does
HAYES; Astrid, how long has your father had an order of deportation?
SILVA: He received it in 2001 when he was scammed and they
actually acted on it in 2011. And now he has a stay of removal. Those
guaranteed to be renewed.
HAYES: So this has been 10 years that your family at least more than a
decade has been living with this hanging over you personally.
SILVA: It has been the fear that every single day they`re going to come
back and take him in and that he won`t be with us anymore.
HAYES: Have you been able to talk to your parents tonight?
SILVA Yeah, they were here with me. And they are overwhelmed. It`s been
such a roller coaster from the fear of being deported to actually coming
out and you know to them sharing their stories and then losing their fear,
it`s just been incredible.
I`ve been able to take my dad to congress to try and talk to our
congressional representatives. And it`s just overwhelming.
HAYES: Astrid Silva, thank you very, very much. Really appreciate you
joining us tonight.
SILVA: Thank you very much.
HAYES: Shortly before the president`s remarks, Senator Rand Paul sent out
a fundraising email in which he wrote, quote, "this unconstitutional power
grab violates the separation of powers established by our founding document
and I am 100 percent committed to stopping President Obama`s
unconstitutional immigration executives orders by any means necessary."
Joining me now, Republican strategist Doug High, former communications
director for the
If this is unconstitutional...
DOUGH HEYE, REPUBLIAN STRATEGIST: I`m not a constitutional lawyer.
HAYES: So, here`s my question to you. And I said this to Steve, it seems
to me Republicans want to the process here, but the substantive question is
if this is the wrong way to prioritize deportations, who do you want to
deport? That seems to me the question that if Republicans don`t like
HEYE: I`m not even going to go in that direction. Look...
HAYES: But why not? That`s actually the question on the table.
HEYE: No, look, I`m not going to go and deport this person, not that -- I
think that`s an unfair question and I`m not going to do that.
If we want to talk about the president`s speech, if we want to talk about
what congress can
do, I`m happy to have that conversation. I`m happy to talk to you about
what may happen in
a Republican congress in the Republicans what`s not going to happen. But
I`m not going to tell you
that we`re going to deport these people or not deport them. I`m not going
to play that game.
HAYES: But that`s -- I`m glad you would say that, right. But that seems
to me precisely the issue at the heart. Because at the heart of what the
president is saying is, I have the executive branch. I have this amount of
appropriations. We have this 11.4 million people and it`s my job to tell
that executive branch who we are going to deport and who we`re not going to
So if this is the wrong instructions to give to that executive branch, then
there has to be some response that says what the right instructions are.
HEYE: Well, I think what the Republican congress has been saying, what
John Boehner has been saying, certainly, over the past couple of days --
Rand Paul just referenced it is unilateral action from the president is not
the right way to go.
Believe it or not, John Boehner would actually like to work with the
president on this issue. I`ve been in enough meetings with John Boehner in
the past two-and-a-half years where he`s talked about trying to do
something on immigration.
You`re right, there are tough ways to get that through congress. And there
are tough problems with Republicans in the House, tough issues with
Republicans in the Senate. But it`s not simply an issue of well just pass
the Senate bill, because that`s not realistic in a Republican House of
Representatives. It`s just not.
MADDOW: Well, but what John Boehner came back specifically and said -- he
said we want to do this piecemeal, remember that. He said we don`t want
the big bill, we want to do it piecemeal. And the president responded to
that and said you want to do it piecemeal? Great. Let`s do it piecemeal.
And then John Boehner never moved a single piece of that whole meal.
HEYE: One of the things that we wanted to do -- and you mentioned this
earlier was starting with the border. You know, these are serious issues.
We have serious problems with our border. And Congressman Gutierrez
mentioned earlier, and he was right, it`s not just the border, it`s
airports. It`s people coming on boats. I thought he was going to quote
Neil Diamond for a second there.
MADDOW: But that`s part of what the president, a, has done in terms of his
record is that he has continued to upscale border security, but also
tonight, he just said he`s going to do even more. That was part one was
that there`s going to be increased resources on the border.
HEYE: I don`t believe that. I don`t believe that we`re going to see a
tightened border. And I think that one of the reasons that we have seen...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the tightened border that we have, though.
HEYE: One of the reasons I believe that we don`t have as many immigrants
coming over is because if you`ve looked at America in the past few years,
we haven`t been that beacon of hope to the entire world, or even the beacon
of hope to Americans, to American citizens over the past few years.
American families don`t believe that their children are going to have it
better in the next
general than we have it right now. That message has certainly resonated
throughout the world.
KUMAR: But you know how we fix it? We take people out of the
shadows so that they can compete fairly for wages that Americans
unfortunately are not being able to right now, becuase we have an
underground economy where everybody, every single American, is benefiting
from. So you know how we fix that overnight? We actually say okay, now
we`re going to compete fairly. We`re going to raise our wages. We`re
going to raise our wages. We`re going to address issues of national
security, because I want to know who my neighbor is, but right now my
neighbor I have no idea, because we don`t have a system.
HAYES: Maria, can I ask you, you`ve done so much reporting on this. The
people you`ve talked to, so many people overstay their visa, why is the
overstaying the visa never a part of the discussion? Becuase there`s this
obsession with the border as a physical thing.
HINOJOSA: And guess what, us taxpayers, guess how much we paid to detain a
just to use that.
OK, in 1991, it cost a thousand dollars more or less. How much does it
cost us, as taxpayers now, to detain, process, deport? $29,000. So what
is that? What is that about? And that`s a UCLA study study.
So, we are paying all of this money to ramp up the border when we know that
that is not the problem. And I think that frankly Luis Gutierrez is right.
MADDOW: Oh, you`re saying that number is if you divide the amount of
that we`re spending versus the number of people being stopped and turned
It is crazily expensive now than it was. And again, we have to remember
that`s coming out of our tax dollars.
HEYE: And to be fair, there are a lot of European immigrants who overstay
HAYES: Absolutely. I mean, if you were in Chicago and you know Polish
community in Chicago, the Irish in the Bronx neighborhood I grew up in.
HEYE: Good old Irish bar in Washington, D.C.
HAYES: That`s absolutely true.
There is one lawmaker currently serving in the U.S. Senate who came to this
country as an immigrant. And joining me now, the first Asian-American
woman elected to the Senate and the first U.S. senator born in Japan.
Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, a member of the Senate subcommittee on
immigration refugees and border security.
Senator, your reaction to tonight`s speech?
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO, (D) HAWAII: Good evening, Chris. Great to be here. I
think this was a really big step for all of the advocates for immigration
reform. And what the president did tonight gives all of us hope. And as
you mentioned, I came here with a very courageous mother when I was not yet
8 years old. We were very poor. I certainly didn`t speak any English, but
she had a dream that by bringing us to this country and working hard that
she could make a better life for herself and her children. And that is a
dream that immigrants have.
And comprehensive e immigration reform was purposeful work for me as a
member of the judiciary committee. And what the president did tonight, as
I said, gives some five million people that chance to come out of the
shadows, to be able to work, to be with their families, to be with their
children, to pay their taxes and be a part of our community in the way that
we all dream about.
HAYES: Senator, what about this argument that this has poisoned the well,
that this signals the end of any of a possibility of comprehensive
immigration reform legislatively in congress until 2016?
HIRONO: I don`t buy that at all, because we had over a year after the
Senate passed its comprehensive immigration reform bill for the House to
take action. There is absolutely nothing
preventing the House of Representatives from coming forward and working
with the president. And again with the Senate to pass comprehensive
sensible, humane immigration reform.
So for those who are saying that this is going to poison the well, you know
what I hope that that is no a self-fulfilling prophecy, because the
president has said very clearly this is a temporary approach and what we
need to do is to have comprehensive reform that will enable 11 million
people to be on a path to citizenship and be a part of our economy.
HAYES: Senator,Maria Hinojosa had a question for you.
HINOJOSA: You know, I wonder what you think about moving the dial with
Republicans. I`ve traveled to all 50 states. And my sense is that people
really -- I think the Republican base out there might actually have
understood the change of the narrative that it`s not so much about the
immigrants, but it`s about us, who we are as a country.
Do you think the same thing ion terms of kind of the grassroots, people who
are living with immigrants in their communities that that might have moved?
HIRONO: When we think about -- aside from the native peoples who were
here, the rest of us are immigrants. Most of us trace our ancestry not
very far back to another country.
For myself, I am a first generation. And we know that the majority of the
American public wants immigrant -- they want comprehensive immigration
reform, they want these 11 million undocumented people to be able to come
out of the shadows and be a part of our communities, pay their taxes, take
care of their children.
The majority of the people in America want that. I think it`s the
Republicans who are not hearing that message.
And I hope they do after the president takes this step and all of these
people can come out
and be able to pursue their -- the American dream.
But, again, this is temporary.
HAYES: Right. Senator Mazie Hironi, thank you for your time tonight.
HIRONI: Thank you so much.
HAYES: I want to bring the panel back in.
Maria Hinojosa and Maria Teresa Kumar, quickly, Doug, the possibility that
there is any
movement among Republicans on this statutorially, legislatively?
HEYE: Frankly, I don`t think there`s much. This has been a finger in the
eye for Republicans. John Boehner laid it out clear and Mitch McConnell
laid it out clear, if you take this unilateral
action, there`s going to be no movement.
So, I think what Steve Schmidt said earlier was right. There`s not going
to be any legislation, even on things that we should be able to agree on.
You know, if a foreign STEM graduate -- if a foreign STEM student
graduates, they should have a green card stapled to their diploma.
I think that`s not going to happen right now.
KUMAR: Well, the executive action he actually addresses that idea of STEM.
So, you`re actually going to see folks that are not go to other countries
or to competitors, because they`re going to stay in the country because
they can actually realize the education that they had in this country.
HAYES: It strikes me that if there are areas of agreement, I would hope it
would be the case that everyone can act together and sort of pass those.
HEYE: But we just had this happen last week, a bipartisan majority in the
House voted for a bill. A bipartisan majority in the Senate voted for the
bill, but the president said you know what, I`m not going to pass a
pipeline that`s going to create a lot of jobs for union workers.
So, we can do this. And the president will block these things too...
Doug Heye, Maria Hinojosa and Maria Teresa Kumar, thank you very much for
Our coverage of the president`s speech continues now with Rachel Maddow.
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