Meet the Press   |  March 31, 2013

Immigration reform: Is a deal done?

Sen. Chuck Schumer discusses the current negotiations on an immigration overhaul and the progress on a border security resolution that’s been made as part of the measure.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> all right. so we've framed the discussion. i want to pause it here. i want to talk about immigration. so joining me now from new york, one of the leaders of the so-called gang of eight, democratic senator chuck schumer . senator, welcome back to "can meat t meet the press." is a deal at hand for immigration reform ? we know about the issue having to do with visas and wages between the business lobby and the labor lobby. is a deal done?

>> well, with the agreement between business and labor, every major policy issue has been resolved on the gang of eight. now everyone, we've all agreed, that we're not going to come to a final agreement until we see draft legislative language and we agree on that. we drafted some of it already. the rest will be drafted this week and so i am very, very optimistic that we will have an agreement among the eight of us next week. senator leahy has agreed to have extensive markup and debate on the bill in april, and then we go to the floor, god willing , in may. i hi we're on track.

>> you were quoted as saying the deal is near, the deal is at hand, and all of that coverage got senator rubio, the republican, part of this gang of eight to say, whoa, whoa, whoa, no deal yet. that we're closer. so is there disagreement between the two of you on how close you are to a deal?

>> no, it's semantics. business and labor have an agreement on the future flow which has been the issue that has undone imfwrags reform in the past. this is a major, major obstacle that's overcome. each of us has to look at the language and approve it. i don't think on the business/labor side there's any disagreement. there's lots of but as and he's correctly pointing out that language hasn't been fully drafted. i don't think any of us expect there to be problems.

>> if you lost senator rubio in this gang of eight, if he walked away from the negotiations, would that put the entire immigration bill in jeopardy?

>> well, first of all, i don't think he'll walk away . he's been an active and strong participant. he's had a lot of input into the bill. obviously his views are not the same as the other seven of us. every one of us has different views, but i expect that we're going to have agreement --

>> but you need it. if you don't have him, this bill is suddenly in jeopardy?

>> i'm not even going to speculate about that. i talked to marco yesterday. we had a great conversation and he is protecting some of the things that he thinks are very important in the bill, but i don't think that will stand in the way of any final agreement. i think we're all on track.

>> you say this issue between business and labor was the last major hurdle, but is border security solved, this issue of metrics and border security solved? i want to play a little bit of what president obama said in an interview with telemundo on that issue.

>> regardless of how much additional effort we put in on the borders, we don't want to make this earned pathway to citizenship a situation in which it's put off further and further into the future. there needs to be a certain path for how people can get legal in this country even as we also work on these strong border security issues.

>> you spent last week on the border with some of your members of the gang of eight including jeff flake who will be on the show here in just a minute. this issue of border security and the metrics involved before launching the pathway to citizenship, that's been resolved?

>> well, i was very glad to go to the border and you see the expansive -- it's huge and the terrain is different in many different places and it gave me, someone from new york city , a real appreciation of the different problems in arizona so, look, we've come to a basic agreement which is that, first, people will be legalized. in other words not citizens but they will be allowed to work, come out of the shadows, travel. then we will make sure the border is secure and we have specific metrics that are in the bill. i'm not going to get into what they are to make sure that happens. and after that happens, there's a path to citizenship and i think there's agreement among the eight on all of us and i think most of the american people agree with that, that we should certainly do -- we made a great deal of progress in securing the border. i'm sure jeff would say that. but i would join him in saying we have to make more progress.