Meet the Press   |  July 07, 2013

3: Rep. Labrador, panel talk immigration reform

Rep. Raul Labrador, and a Meet the press panel discuss the debate over immigration reform and whether the lawmakers in the House will pass a bill.

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

>>> this was the scene during the african trip. president obama and former president bush dedicating the memorial there, laying a wreath at the site of the terrorist attacks back in 1998 . chuck todd , the pure politics of immigration, i mention president bush because he'll speak out about this, he's been reluctant to do so. he'll put more pressure. a republican congressman, conservative columnist arguing the merits of this. this is a big debate in the republican party .

>> huge debate. the question is does president bush 's voice enhance the argument of sort of the business wing of the republican party , which is the ones that are pushing to get this done in a pragmatic way and those who look at this issue with hispanics and say let's just get this behind us, or does he make it worse? one of the reasons he's slowly gotten back into positive territory in his poll numbers is he's not gotten involved in politics. this is a step. something else, david, the white house have been so confident they were going to sign immigration reform this year. for the first time i'm hearing that there is some doubt seeping in, that they think maybe the house won't act. what they need is something to sort of force boehner like at the last minute bring it to the floor the same way the fiscal cliff deal happened. the problem is there is no trigger at the end of the year, there isn't this congress. i don't know how this happens at the end of this year and suddenly now the white house doesn't see a path.

>> fires all around them, no real second-term agenda when they have to deal with all these problems.

>> immigration was going to be the one thing they could have pointed to. i think that conversation with john boehner and the president, the president don't have a whole well of trust in boehner saying, you know, hang with me, i can get this done by the end of the summer . boehner still doesn't have the support and you heard what congressman labrador has been saying, they don't have a marco rubio on the house side who can try to work around this and bring it together.

>> it was supposed to be paul ryan --

>> and he's gone silent.

>> paul ryan has never been brave on the political front. always on policy but never on politics.

>> there are republican constituencies out there, the business community that are pushing for immigration reform . and you have to imagine that the house republicans, even the tea party -backed republicans are going to hear from people in their district and people for whom they raise funds.

>>> well, and congressman, there is you, somebody who's been pushing -- you're an immigration lawyer. you've been pushing for reform. i'll paraphrase something you were quoted as saying in june in the " national journal ," that we've got to fix the system and that hispanics have essentially stopped listening to republicans. isn't that a bigger concern than some of these policy differences that you have with david brooks or others who would support the senate legislation?

>> actually think if we don't do it right politically it's going to be the death of the republican party . if we do it right, i think it's going to be good for us, but if we don't do it right, what's going to happen is we're going to lose our base because we're still going to have a large number of illegal immigrants coming into the united states , and the hispanic community is not going to listen to us because they're going to always listen to at this point to the people that are offering more, that are offering a faster pathway to citizenship, all those things. so i think we lose on both groupds if we don't do it right. if we do it right, cut down illegal immigration by a large percentage, do it in a way that actually brings more legal immigrants to the united states -- one of the problems with the senate bill that we haven't talked about is that the non-ag guest worker portion of the senate bill is actually -- starts out at 20,000 guest workers per year. think about that. i've had some congressmen say do you mean 20,000 per county? 20,000 per state? and it's not. it's 20,000 non-ag guest workers per year for the entire united states . you're not going to cut back illegal immigration by only bringing 20,000 guest workers to the united states .

>> there was another moment of the week that before i run run out of time i want to get to. it had to do with two first ladies, a current and former, talking about life in the white house , michelle obama making some comments. here's a portion of it.

>> i've just found it just a very freeing and liberating opportunity.

>> not a prison?

>> there are prison elements to it. but it's a really nice prison so --

>> with a chef.

>> can't complain. but there is definitely, you know, elements that are confining. it's a great privilege. so while people are sort of sorting through our shoes and our hair and whether we cut it or not, you know --

>> whether we have bangs.

>> whether we have bangs.

>> who would have thought.

>> andrea, the white house is prison.

>> and i'm so glad you played the whole thing because it was cokie roberts quoting from martha washington , i believe she'd written a book on first ladies, described it as a prison, and that's what michelle obama swuz responding to in that way and also giving some serious thought to how it's such a privilege to be first lady. and of course the, you know, glog sphere, the conservative blogosphere took off on michelle obama describing it as a prison, which is not what she did.

>> she said it's a very nice prison. that was an honest answer.

>> the chef said --

>> i thought it was only supposed to be us reporters that complained of the prison confines of the white house . look, i do think it was interesting to see the two of them. you know, michelle obama has never been ecstatic about how life is like in the white house . this was a professional woman, had her own business career and all this stuff and suddenly it's gone. but she's gotten more comfortable.

>> quick break here. my thanks to congressman labrador as always. we'll speak to you soon.