Meet the Press   |  April 14, 2013

Immigration reform: Where’s the bottom line?

Sens. Mike Lee and Kirsten Gillibrand examine the potential outcomes for bipartisan immigration legislation that’s expected to debut in the Senate.

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

>>> and we are back with our roundtable. joining me republican senator from utah, mike lee , and democratic senator from new york, kirsten gillibrand . columnist for "the new york times," david brooks , washington correspondent and anchor for bbc world news america , katty kay , and white house correspondent, our political director, chuck todd , who might have to take over at any time. thank you for being here. senators, let me begin with you and get reaction to senator rubio. on immigration what is the bottom line here? are there going to be poison pills that ultimately kill this legislation or do you see it surviving?

>> it's something that might well survive the senate with a few republican votes that appear to be on it. it could get through especially if a few others join it. what we do not know are the details, the fine print of the bill. some is say it could be as long as 1,500 pages. i look forward to seeing it.

>> what are you concerned about as you hear senator rubio?

>> i think we need to undertake this in a step-by-step fashion. i agree with 70% or 80% of what they've been talking about. i think we're best served if weigh start with border security and move on to modernization, the entry/exit system. we can get those things passed. there's broad based bipartisan consensus. it will be easier to deal with the 11 million.

>> is the pathway to citizenship a real deal breaker to you?

>> the pathway to citizenship right now before those elements are in place is a deal breaker for me. it's not necessarily something that would be a deal breaker down the road. i think we need it to get the other things in place first. it's a matter of sequencing.

>> some of that is very processed. it seems what conservatives want is a real down payment literally and figuratively on border security before they're willing to open up the pathway to sit citizenship piece of it.

>> i think this conversation is so important because the bottom line is immigration reform will strengthen our economy, strengthen our security, and really honors our tradition as americans that this kcountry was founded on immigrants. it's the richness and the diversity that strengthens our country.

>> what's different now than when president bush pursued this with senator mccain ? what has changed fundamentally that can get conservatives to a place they don't appear to be which is to support the pathway to scitizenship?

>> i think the national debate has changed. the country has shifted. and we know that if you have comprehensive immigration reform , you are going to strengthen the economy. you are going to have more people pay into the system, pay into social security , paying their taxes. you're going to raise wages so you have more people investing in their local communities and our small businesses. we want to see economic growth . there's an economic engine and, again, i mean, we believe that diversity strengthens our nation. it's what our country was found founded on. so this comprehensive approach and this balanced approach that does really focus on national security issues as well is something that i think will garner long-term bipartisan support.