Thomas Roberts | October 24, 2013
>>> this isn't just the right thing to do. it's the smart thing to do. securing our boards, modernizing our legal immigration system, providing a pathway to earned legalized citizenship, growing our economy, strengthening our middle class , reducing our deficits, that's what common-sense immigration reform will do.
>> common sense immigration reform . that was president obama just a short time ago trying to jump-start the conversation in washington, d.c., about that very topic. let's bring in today's j enda panel and maria teresa is the president and ceo of voto latino.
>> you went to the white house for this speech. is the president trying to deflect the conversation away from the obama care rollout and how that seems to be taking a lot of oxygen out of d.c. and any type of legislative agenda?
>> i would have said so except that darryl issa , the congressman from california, the republican actually gave an outline yesterday so i think what the white house wants to say is encourage the conversations that darryl issa had put forward. what i did find today that was significant is that he had vice president joe biden by his side, someone that they haven't deployed lately, but when you start talking to joe about immigration reform he really believes that it's a parallel conversation that his ancestors had with irish roots and understands the obstacles that immigrants face and they go behind closed doors on capitol hill and have one to one discussions with folks in rural areas and i think it was significant that the vice president join the president today. it's a really good observation today and let me ask you because as maria teresa points out, this could be an attempt with darryl issa coming up with his own type of legislation and a way to craft or unearth the growing divide within the republican party . would you agree with that?
>> it was not a mistake that there was a campaign theme and a campaign setting to president obama 's speech here. the same political dynamics that we've seen on the budget fight exist for this immigration fight and even if darryl issa is proposing to introduce his own plan, house speaker john boehner has said he prefers a piecemeal approach, this is recruiting season for candidates and the democrats would like republican congressmen to be challenged by their right by more conservatives and they would like to encourage more democrats to fight with their seats.
>> and do you think we'll see something come to the floor by the end of the year and would boehner use the hastert rule?
>> dennis hastert himself has said there is no hastert rule and that is something they use on privilege. if boehner stepped up to the leadership position and recognized that 2014 is so critical for the republicans, there are enough votes now to pass the senate bill and even if the republicans decide to do a piecemeal approach that folks have been talking about, they can still reconcile it in committee. frankly, something is better than nothing otherwise republicans will come have a hard time come the 2014 elections.
>> we have a press release saying more than 400 conserve conservatives will meet with congress to push the immigration reform . how much influence do you think that these conservatives will have and then take in the tea party element and add that to the equation?
>> that's the relevant question right now. you have a battle over the republican party and you have mainstream business interest who are trying to pull it back to the center and these are people who favor immigration reform and you have the tea party and this group of 30 to 40 conservative congressmen who want nothing and no part of it and it will be an interesting battle to see how this plays out among republicans.
>> mario teresa kumar and terry goddard , great to see both of you. our agenda panel. you can find out more on our website, msnbc.com/thomas-roberts.