Thomas Roberts   |  June 21, 2013

Will the ‘border surge’ convince the GOP to support immigration reform?

The immigration debate is picking up steam in the Senate with a new amendment beefing up border security. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and Telemundo’s Jose Diaz-Balart discuss whether 20,000 new agents, 350 miles of new fencing and drones is enough to get House Republicans on board.

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

>>> good friday, everyone. i'm craig melvin in for thomas roberts . could the longest day of the year finally be enough time for the senate to seal the immigration deal? you're looking live right now at cap toil hill where the overhaul hammered out by the bipartisan gang of eight will dominate today's debate on the senate floor. it picked up serious steam in the last 24 hours with the break through on border security . and an amendment is expected to be filed today. a duo of gop senators wrote it. the goal? to get members of the party onboard. the border surge calls for hiring 20,000 additional border patrol agents. it would complete a 700-mile fence along the border . the price tag? about $30 billion. supporters insist it's worth every cent.

>> some people will describe this as a border surge. and the fact is that we are investing resources in securing or border that have never been invested in.

>> you'll have a border patrol agent every thousand feet on the border 24 hours a day , 7 days a week.

>> we need to fix this. and this is our chance to fix it.

>> even with the new border surge, some republicans still aren't sold. here's senator ted cruz explaining why he's one of them.

>> it starts with legalization and it promises border security sometime in the future, like the famed character wimpy from popeye. i'll gladly pay you tuesday for a hamburger today.

>> and it remains to be seen what the house will do.

>> it's border security and confidence that we've got the border secured before we begin to go down this path of addressing both the legal immigration issues and the illegal immigration issues. but regardless of what the senate does, the house is going to work its will.

>> jose diaz , good to see you. i want to talk about one of the specific items in the new senate proposal, the so-called border surge that calls for doubling the number of border patrol agents to 40,000. here are the numbers. it shows that even though the number of agents has more than doubled in the last ten years, the number ofpprehensions in that time has declined significantly. i want the viewers to take a close look at this graph. ten years ago a southwest border agent on average apprehended about 100 crossers. last year that number about 19. jose, why call for more agents when those on patrol aren't rounding up a fraction of the illegal immigrants that they were just a decade ago?

>> that's a great question. we also have to add to that equation more than a million people deported over the past four years under the obama administration. so less people being caught on the border , more people that are here illegally being deported. and why are there not -- have we note seen an increase in people being captured across the border ? one, less of them are trying to come to the united states since the economic crisis that we have all been living under for years now. and number two, because quite frankly i think people are looking at other ways of getting into the united states . we have to remember that 40% of the people that are living in the united states currently without documents didn't cross the border illegally. they came in legally and they overstayed their visas. so what you have is a really broken system all across the board. and i think that it's going to be very difficult now for those who say that the paramount issue is border security to oppose this current bill after we are talking about it. you're talking about it, 40,000 additional agents on the border . 700-mile fence being completed. drones, all kinds of technology being used. $30 billion for the border ! i mean, how much more are you going to get? those who oppose this simply wouldn't agree to anything.

>> let's say this bill with these border security measures, let's say the bill does pass the senate with 70 votes. that's considered the magic number to get the stamp of bipartisanship. what's your gut tell you about the future of this bill in the house ?

>> i think it's going to be very difficult road to hoe. i have to tell you something, i don't think the issue of border security is no longer an issue if this $30 billion additional surge is included in the senate bill . because i don't think that the stumbling block in the house has been the border issue. the house version, the one that you talk about is the gang of seven, that you have been talking about, is much tougher on the border than the senate bill was until yesterday. so there are other issues that the house is having a problem with. and one is the republicans insist that the 11 million or however many people will fall under the immigration heren documented are not a burden on the the federal, state or local governments. and that includes health care . i think that's going to be the bigger issue in the house .

>> jose diaz , always a pleasure. thank you for your time.

>> pleasure, my friend.

>>> joining me connecticut congresswoman delores, good to see you. you have seen the new details. 20,000 new agents, new fencing, drones, will all of those things be enough to get house republicans behind the bill?

>> let's talk about the senate first. i think what the senate has done is to take a very positive step forward . they have come to a conclusion that with the package of border security measures that they have put together, which they believe can achieve a result, has put to rest any concerns that some of the republican members of the senate have had. and if the senate , as they say, can pass the bill with 70 votes, it is a very, very positive step in moving forward. the question is whether or not that translates to the house , which is what your question is. and i think as i heard my colleague, mario, say, it is a heavy lift . keep in mind, we want a bill. we want a comprehensive bill to pass because the need is so great. we are waiting for a plan from the gang of seven. we also have the judiciary committee that's working on an effort and focused on enforcement. and yes, there will be pressure if the senate bill passes to come over here. i think it still is difficult. keeping in mind that just about a week or two weeks ago in the midst of this trying to bring together a consensus on immigration that in the house we saw one of the members on the republican side bring a bill that would have deported the dreamers. so i think it's a heavier lift here, but i think what the senate has done is a positive step. and i also think they are going to need to calculate the number of people that will support an effort unlike what they did yesterday in the farm bill .

>> yeah, let's get to the farm bill right now. that's a nice segway and talk about what happened yesterday. "the new york times" editorial board calls it a, quote, stunning defeat for speaker john boehner . politico says this, quote, someone in house leadership screwed up again, the defeat of the farm bill shows how massively dysfunctional the house and its leadership have become. what does the failure of house leadership to get that farm bill passed, what does that tell you about the future of immigration reform and other important legislation as well? i.e. the budget?

>> well, let's put -- let's take the issue. the issues are individual issues. and i think we have to -- we have to look at it from that perspective. however, you don't take a bill to the floor unless you have the votes. and i don't care what the piece of legislation is. you need to calculate the number of votes that you have. and if you take a look at yesterday's numbers with regard to the republicans, it's interesting to note that 61 republican members voted for the most draconian cuts to the snap program. the same 61 voted to -- voted against the bill. so in that respect this bill didn't go far enough for them in terms of the cuts they wanted to make. the democrats on the other hand were united in the view that we could not sustain a $20 billion in a cut because it would -- the 2 million people would lose their benefits, a million kids and a couple hundred thousand youngsters could not have access to a school lunch program . but the issue is, one needs to calculate. leader pelosi when she was speaker always calculated whether or not we were going to have enough votes. 62 is not three or four. you can go to the floor and say, you know, you're going to try to make up the difference on the floor, but you can't get to 62. and it was a miscalculation and they brought that bill down.

>> congresswoman, perhaps some have suggested here that democrats, some democrats promised support and pulled that support in an attempt to embarrass house republicans. any truth to that?

>> look, there's no truth to that. it was the overreaching on the republican side in two respects. one respect was the unbelievable attack on the food stamp program . in addition to the $20 billion. they --

>> uh-oh. we apparently lost our feed there. that was congressman rosa delauro . we apologize for the technical difficulties there. the