UP WITH CHRIS HAYES
February 2, 2013
Guests: Steven Horsford, Hilda Solis, Arturo Carmona, Aaron Pena, Eliseo Medina, Ruben Martinez, Aaron Pena, Ruben Martinez, Jim Antle, Lorella Praeli
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good morning from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
A new report from the Veterans Administration says that about 22 veterans
committed suicide everyday in 2010. A 10 percent increase since 1999. The
country`s overall suicide rate went up 31 percent in the same time period.
New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and the Israeli counsel general will
speak on Monday at the public funeral service of former New York City
mayor, Ed Koch, who died yesterday at the age of 88.
Right now, I am joined by Hilda Solis, former Obama secretary of labor and
a former Democratic congresswoman from California, Arturo Carmona,
executive director of Presente.org, a national Latino online organization,
Lorella Praeli, director of advocacy and policy for United We Dream Network
and co-founder of the Connecticut Students for a Dream, and Congressman
Steven Horsford, Democrat from Nevada.
Welcome to program. Great to have you here.
REP. STEVEN HORSFORD, (D) NEVADA: Thank you. Thank you.
HAYES: In a bipartisan news conference this week, a group of eight
senators offered a framework for comprehensive immigration reform
legislation. There are four main pillars of the proposal. Number one,
create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already here
contingent upon strengthening the country`s borders.
Number two, reform the nation`s legal immigration system. Number three,
establish an effective employment verification system. And number four,
create a better process for admitting future workers into the U.S. The
four Democratic and four Republican senators are hoping to capitalize on
what seems to be an emerging political momentum around immigration reform.
For Democrats, the main tenets to the plan are fairly consistent with the
immigration proposals that president laid out in the campaign last year.
But it`s the very broadness of the principle`s outline by the so-called
"Gang of Eight" that mass the deep divisions and complex there will be
between and within parties as the specifics of the policy are hashed out.
For his part, the president sounded amenable to compromise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`ve been debating this for
a very long time. So, it`s not as if we don`t know technically what needs
to get done. There will be rigorous debate about many of the details, and
every stakeholder should engage in real give and take in the process. But
it`s important for us to recognize that the foundation for bipartisan
action is already in place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The operative word there was details because despite all the
headlines of a bipartisan group of senators ripe for comprehensive
immigration reform, success will come down to the details of the proposal,
details that will matter a tremendous amount to millions of people, and
it`s the details that might prove the legislation`s undoing.
So, I want to talk about the details because the news this week was at this
kind of broad level of principle and what the principles are in the four
pillars, and they match the Senate and the White House. And the first
thing I want to talk about is what we mean by path to citizenship, because
I think -- here`s my very cynical view of this, and I would like you to
maybe disabuse me, tell me I`m being overly cynical.
So, you`re the Republican Party and you got this political problem, right?
You`re hemorrhaging votes among Latinos, you`re getting killed. It`s hard
to win natural elections if you`re losing 75-25. So, immigration reform
and supporting it is a way of essentially stanching the bleeding, OK?
But, if it`s successful, you bring 11 to 12 million new people onto the
voter rolls who may vote 60-40, 65-35, 75-25 against you. So, how do you
square the circle? Here`s how you square the circle? You sign on to
immigration reform. You get to go around saying we`re tolerant and
compassionate and we support immigration reform, and there`s a pathway to
And oh yes, that pathway to citizenship takes 40 years, right? If you can
find a way behind the scenes to make the pathway to citizenship essentially
impossible to get through, you can lengthen that path. You can put all
sorts of obstacles and hurdles to jump over in the path, right? If you can
do that, then you can kind of have your cake and eat it, too.
You can sign onto the bill. You can vote for the bill. You can try to get
the political benefits without paying that price of having all these new
voters on the rolls. So, my question to you guys is what are you looking
at in the details of what the pathway to citizenship looks like that is the
difference between essentially a fictional aspirational pathway to
citizenship and an actual pathway people can get on, walk down, and end up
HILDA SOLIS, FMR. OBAMA SECY. OF LABOR: First of all, it should be
comprehensive, and it should actually set timelines. And you shouldn`t be
penalized if you are taking right action to get on that path. And I really
do think that it is very cynical to the sense that we`ve seen in the past
the patterns are where there are roadblocks that Republicans will put up.
And even some Democrats who are rather conservative.
We still have a lot of work to do here, but my sense is that we really do
have to continue to educate the public. That`s where the real action will
be. Yes, you`ll have leadership in the Senate and the House talking back
and forth, but the reality, I think for some of us who`ve been in town in
Washington is that we`ve got to make some movement.
And the political will of the Republicans, I think, to engage with the
Latino community is somewhat real in certain sectors. You still have to
remember the makeup of the Congress is still dominated by individuals who
don`t represent minority districts.
SOLIS: And so, that`s going to be the real test. And I -- you know, my
hat goes off to the new members of the House and the Senate and the reality
that Latino -- the dreamers and other people are realizing how important it
is. This is an economic issue as much as a security issue.
LORELLA PRAELI, UNITED WE DREAM NETWORK: I think it`s important to
underscore that it`s the first great step, that there`s a bipartisan group
in the Senate working on this, that there`s a group also meeting in the
House working on this. And that the --
HAYES: You`re asking me not to harsh the mellow too soon. Like, we should
be applauding --
PRAELI: I think you`re right. I think the devil is in the details, and a
pathway to citizenship cannot be contingent on a commission with people
like Jan Brewer, right, talking about the border. It cannot be contingent
on, you know, this politicized group of people coming together to determine
whether or not it`s OK to move the pathway forward.
So, our parents are here. We`ve been here for a long period of time. And
we can`t wait a generation long line for our parents to be U.S. citizens.
HAYES: Are there conflict points on this? You represent really
interesting district. It`s a new district in Nevada. It`s about 25
percent Hispanic, 16 percent African-American, seven percent Asian, and
this is an issue -- it was actually in your district, if I`m not mistaken,
REP. STEVEN HORSFORD, (D) NEVADA: The president came and laid out the need
for the comprehensive immigration reform to be passed now, and I think
that`s the issue. The moment is now. And I agree.
The fact that we`ve made this much progress, the fact that there is
bipartisan agreement in the Senate, and I hope in the House, that we will
be able to move a bill that provides for pathway to citizenship, that does
continue to strengthen our border, that enforces some of the employer
responsibility around not hiring workers who are not legal, and also making
sure that we`re keeping families together.
I think that is the cornerstone of this policy. We have to keep in the
forefront. this is about people.
HORSFORD: It`s about lives. It`s about families. And immigration policy
has always been about keeping families together.
ARTURO CARMONA, PRESENTE.ORG: It`s important to highlight that, you know,
what we saw this week with the Senate blueprint and with the president`s
speech, you know, it`s an important step forward, definitely progress.
But, I think you raise some very important questions. I think that it`s
like, when we saw these proposals, it`s like going back to 2007, and a lot
of these questions that we raise late in the game.
So, I`m glad a lot of people are starting to talk about these questions
now. How many people are going to be left out of this ultimate package?
This blueprint that`s coming out talks about all these requirements.
There`s research now we can reference and say, hey, with this English
language requirement, you`re going to leave out potentially millions of
undocumented immigrants from a possible solution.
There`s research now from reputable institutions that say these different
requirements that you`re putting in, the employment verification. Richard
Trumka from the AFL on Monday said that potentially millions of workers
could be left out of a possible solution. We need to talk about those
details early on, and we need to look at that so we can create a bill
that`s truly pro-migrant.
And if we`re going to set the goal post at 11 million, we need to create
policy that gets us there and has an honest debate about where we`re going
to get to.
HAYES: So, I want to show two bits of data that actually your organization
first brought my attention to. This is from the Immigration Policy
Institute. This is the percentage of undocumented workers left out of
comprehensive reform based on where you put the English language
proficiency, right? So, if it`s level three proficiency, that would leave
out 35 percent of undocumented immigrants.
Level 4 would leave out 56 percent. So, that`s a big difference. And
that`s a sort of thing where there`s not going to be an A-1 "New York
Times" headlines saying Senate changes English language level proficiency
from three to four, but that`s maybe what, two million people`s lives on
PRAELI: And I think for Dreamers, we were encouraged to see that there is
movement in this, right? That there`s a real desire to move forward, but
there are serious concerns about who will be left out and what it will
mean. This bipartisan proposal suggests that one has to register. The
first thing that one must do is register.
PRAELI: So, what does it mean if you don`t qualify? What does it mean if
you don`t meet those requirements? Do we then expect mass deportation or,
you know -- or if someone left in this kind of provisional or temporary
legal status indefinitely --
SOLIS: How do you decide also if you`re an in home health care worker or
someone who`s working with two or three employees at a small restaurant and
you`ve had a history of working there but maybe you`ve been paid under the
ground, you know, so to speak? How do you come out and say, look, I have
paid taxes. Maybe I even used someone else`s Social Security number.
Am I going to be penalized? Does that disqualify me from being a part of
this? What happens to all those family members? What happens to people
who wanted to work but couldn`t find any employment legitimate? You can`t
penalize these people in that way.
PRAELI: And I think we learned a lot from the deferred action program for
Dreamers who can now have a work permit and kind of have some temporary
reprieve from deportation that the fee is also a huge issue in our
PRAELI: And so, you`re asking people to pay back taxes, to pay penalties,
to pay fees, but you`re really not really creating this pathway for people
to go from a provisional status to anything else.
HAYES: Well, and here`s another example of this, the sort of what the
fines are going to be? It`s more data from the Migration Policy Institute.
$1,000 fine would affect two percent of the undocumented population. And
as you scale up, if it`s a $10,000 fine, that`s maybe knocking out a
quarter of the folks that we`re talking about.
Congressman, I mean, one of the things I think is interesting is when we
talk about these requirements, it seems to me that the requirements for the
pathway to citizenship were reverse engineered around the campaign trail,
right? So, the message that tested best and the thing that got -- that
sort of soothed the minds of voters the most was to give this litany of
"tough but fair" to quote the Senate language, right?
Go to the back of the line, pay your back taxes, fees, learn English,
right? This is like a dual responsibility thing, and that`s where the
policy is coming, reversed engineered around what is best. I want to talk
to you about what the politics of this are in your district right after we
take a quick break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: There are few things that are more important to us as a society
than who gets to come here and call our country home, who gets the
privilege of becoming a citizen of the United States of America. When we
talk about that in the abstract, it`s easy sometimes for the discussion to
take on a feeling of us versus them. And when that happens, a lot of folks
forget that most of us used to be them.
OBAMA: We forget that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s the president speaking in your district earlier this week.
And when we talk about what the lay of the land is in terms of what you`re
going to go back to your constituents and talk about and what the questions
you`re going to get, the angry ones and the worried ones, what are you --
how are you going into this thinking about what matters to your
HORSFORD: Well, in actuality, I focus on immigration really as the civil
rights issue of our time. This is about providing equal opportunity,
justice for every individual. And, it`s just like the civil rights
movement in the 1960s. It`s just like the women`s rights movement before.
It`s about providing opportunity on an equal basis.
We want to move workers from poverty to the middle class. It starts with a
strong immigration policy. You want to improve health care in the long
term so that people can obtain and sustain their health benefits. It
starts with a strong immigration policy, education and the like. And,
this, again, is personal. I had a group of citizens. I formed a citizens
advisory group to help me do what I can to make this bill strong.
I`m on the homeland security committee, which is one of the two committees
that has jurisdiction on immigration policy in the House. And, when we
met, they brought up some very strong points. For example, I have
constituents right now whose children are in foster care because their
parents have been deported, and they can`t get the children to their loved
ones who want to care for them because we have a broken immigration system.
So, the status quo isn`t working. And we have to move to something that is
more comprehensive, but it is about getting the language. It`s about
seeing it in writing. It`s knowing what these preconditions mean, and then
responding to it. And I would say to the entire American public, for those
who really care about doing this the right way, in a way that preserves and
instills the civil rights for all people, that, you know, you contact your
You contact your Congress people, and you tell them what it is you want to
see out of this comprehensive immigration package.
SOLIS: I get really concerned about worker safety and protection, because
right now, we currently have people that are immigrants or low skilled
workers in many industries. They`re currently experiencing wage step.
They`re not even getting paid minimum wage and overtime. Many of our
individual -- folks that we care about don`t even know what their rights
And we have to make sure whatever enforcement comes into play here, that
the employer is responsible for making sure that they meet their federal
commitments and state commitments.
HAYES: You touch on two issues here that are part of the four principles,
right? One is the future flow issue and the other is employer enforcement,
HAYES: There seems like there is now kind of a consensus around employer
enforcement. It strikes me that there`s been movement towards that as what
everyone wants, right? That`s in the president`s plan. Well, but I want -
- yes. So, why should I be more skeptical that if you say to me as a
voter, look, you`re an employer.
You can`t hire people who are illegal. That`s against the law,
definitionally. So, we`re going to create some system that verifies it.
That sounds to me like a perfectly reasonable thing to do.
SOLIS: It is if you can maintain a system that is accurate and doesn`t
have a big error rate, because currently, the verification system to e-
verify, does have an error rate. So, that has to be improved. And what
about small employers, midsize employers? I mean, what happens when bad
information comes up because the names look the same or they`re mixed up
because the inputted material was put in wrong.
You can throw somebody out right away. That happens. But the other thing
is, also, I`m thinking that what happens to people that legitimately are
trying to get work here, and they have used maybe false documents before,
Social Security numbers. They`ve been paying into the system, and maybe
they work for someone who hasn`t really given them a pay stub, but yet,
they can show that they`ve earned income somewhere.
Maybe they have a bank account or something. How are we then going to use
that information to not penalize that person to show that they can support
themselves, that they can pay into a system to do back wages, to pay back
whatever penalties that they have to pay.
SOLIS: We have to come up with those details. And right now, I don`t know
that anyone is even thinking about that.
HAYES: And part of this also is the infrastructure available. You talk
about the deportations. I mean, if you, overnight, are going to take the
system as internally (ph) constituted with the numbers of staff and
immigration courts. Immigration courts, by the way, America, go to an
immigration court. It`s a total disaster. It really -- I`ve done some
reporting from immigration reports. It`s really -- the whole system seems
totally overwhelmed and totally dysfunctional and totally broken.
If you take the overwhelmed, dysfunctional, broken system as it currently
is and you say these 11 million people, you need to now enter into that
system, right, because the idea is everybody gets in the same line, right?
So, if the line is now, you know, you wait ten years, and then you say you
11 million people are going to go through the same channels, that`s just
going to destroy -- I mean, the infrastructure has to change if that`s
going to work.
CARMONA: The Latino electorate sent a very powerful message in November of
last year. I think, you know, they voted for citizenship. They voted for
legalization. To start talking and introduce the debate talking about
enforcement, talking about e-verify, a flawed system that beyond the error
rate has been tested and documented to be a very problematic program.
When you start talking about all these different requirements and you start
kind of shrinking the overall number of immigrants that are actually going
to make it through the process, that`s a big problem.
HAYES: Why is e-verify -- is the problem with e-verify -- e-verify is the
name right now for the actual proprietary system that is actually used,
right, by employers. Is the problem with employer -- is there a problem in
the practice and implementation or in the principle? What is your
Is the objection that principle of employers having this role as the
verifiers or is the problem with like the no-fly list, that it`s just
really buggy and you get all sorts of people?
CARMONA: Yes. And I think that our problem is that you really need to
look -- we`re in a different period of time. 2007, this was kind of
predominant in the conversation. But the problem back then was different
than today. Illegal border crossings were different. We`re at a negative
rate in terms of illegal border crossings.
We need to start the discussion talking about legalization. How are we
going to get to the 11 million mark? That needs to be the goal post. And
we need to figure out policies that get us to that 11 million.
And I think that the problem now is that -- and one of the reasons we were
disappointed with both the president`s speech and with the Senate proposal
is that it starts -- it`s kind of a false start, right, starting off from
the wrong position. We need to be focusing on the problem of today.
Again, the 11 million.
HORSFORD: And I don`t dispute that we need to start with the pathway to
citizenship as the focal point, and it`s what I have concern with the
Senate option on, but I do feel that, as the president said, you have to
take all of these solutions together as a package.
There does need to be accountability from all sides, from, you know, the
individuals who are here, to the employers, to the government that has a
responsibility to protect our border and to have an infrastructure for our
visa program, and that is going to be on this Congress to work those
details out, but we have to look at all of those --
HAYES: Let`s talk about that and the future flow question, right, which
is, are we fixing this only to have it broken again in 10 years right after
HAYES: All right. A few relevant facts, I think, to bring to the
conversation here as we talk about what the actual policy details of the
comprehensive immigration reform. One is something, Arturo, you just
mentioned, which is the flow has really drastically decreased, right?
1991, the number of annual immigration from Mexico is 370,000. By 2000, it
was up to 770,000, right?
And a lot of this has to do with the housing boom and the economy, right?
The economy roars, there`s more people coming in. The economy goes down,
and what we see now is we have net in of about 140,000. This is just
specifically from Mexico. I should note. So, that`s a big change, right?
I mean, things change depending on where the economy is and where the flow
is. The other thing, I think, is just useful if we really think about is
when we talk about immigration in this country, we only talk about illegal
immigration basically, right? I mean, we don`t talk about -- there`s a
whole legal immigration apparatus, right?
And just so you know what the pie chart looks like, right? There`s about
40 million immigrants in this country who are documented. That means they
immigrated and become citizens or they have green cards, right, permanent
legal residency. There`s about 3.5 million of guest worker visas, about
two million who got student visas, and then, the rest are undocumented,
So, this is what the pie chart looks like. We`re talking about bringing
that red slice, right, into the blue slice. That`s a big part of what this
is. But the other place that red slice can go, if you`re looking there,
right, is for -- when we`re thinking about the future is into that guest
worker visa or student visa, right?
There`s other kinds of ways you can create legal status for people that is
not citizenship. And one of the big fights traditionally, particularly,
between labor and capital over immigration has been the notion of how much
you want to -- how many guest workers you want to create.
Is that still a sticking point, Hilda, because I feel like the chamber and
the AFL have been sitting down for a long time and trying to come to some
place that they cannot end up blowing up the deal over their disagreement
about what that future flow looks like?
SOLIS: Well, I think that, you know, the business community obviously
wants to have workers coming in, and they want to be able to determine what
amount, what timeframe, so they can get whatever they need done.
I really am concerned, though, that when people think that somehow allowing
for a separate program that doesn`t allow for a pathway to citizenship and
at least give that individual a chance to become legalized and earn it
because they`re working, they`re paying their taxes, and I just feel that -
HAYES: Meaning a guest worker program that isn`t you`re a guest worker
first and then you become citizen, but a guest worker program that is a cul
de sac of guest workerness, right. There`s nowhere else to go, but to go -
SOLIS: And that`s what I worry about, the devil is in the details, because
I haven`t really heard any clear definition. It`s too soon to determine
that, but I`m assuming there`s discussions going on now. But I know that
the AFL-CIO is strongly behind comprehensive immigration reform.
In fact, the lead union individual is Maria Elena Torazo (ph) out of Los
Angeles, who`s been phenomenal in this area, talking about civil rights,
worker protections, making sure that we don`t abuse workers that are here,
don`t displace U.S. workers also, but make sure the ones that are here that
are undocumented have a clear pathway, and it`s legitimate and that
employers are held and accountable to that.
CARMONA: Most Americans don`t understand and don`t have a recollection
about what the Bracero program created.
HAYES: Explain what Bracero --
CARMONA: Bracero program was a guest worker program that brought in
millions of workers, primarily from Mexico.
HAYES: This is the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.
CARMONA: 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. And there was an unprecedented level of
abuse, of sacrifice that was done by these workers. Many of them were
actually deported back. Tremendous mistreatment. I think it`s
fundamentally important as we look at an immigration solution that we look
at workers protections, that we look at the ability of these workers to be
protected, have a pathway to citizenship.
Future (INAUDIBLE) are critical. When you start looking at Mexico,
Philippines, and other countries, you have a waiting period right now of
over 18 years. That`s just --
HAYES: For legal, legal immigration.
CARMONA: Legal immigration. So, there`s no question that it`s a central
issue. But you have to look at -- you don`t want to create a permanent
underclass through this new --
SOLIS: And cut wages.
HAYES: I worked with someone who was once on a work visa. And, you know,
when you`re working, you know, and you have kids, particularly, a mortgage,
getting fired is like a cataclysmic thing, right?
But if you have a kid in school and you have a mortgage and if you get
fired, you`re going to be sent back to another country, think about how
that affects the way that you deal with your boss, how that affects labor
power, right? There`s a huge, huge thumb on the scale.
All right. You mentioned the border. The border is a huge part of this.
Enforcement, deportation, the border. What the border really is and what
it means after this.
HAYES: The most contentious details in the senators bipartisan plan for
immigration reform is called -- is a call for a border commission. This
would be a group of governors and law enforcement officials from south
western states who would decide whether the border was secure enough before
immigrants could begin the process of obtaining citizenship.
There seems to be some confusion over how much power the commission would
hold. Appoint senator Chuck Schumer tried to clarify on Thursday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: The purpose of that committee is to get
input from them, to have them be part of the process, for them to
understand we`re not trying to roll over them but get a great deal of
input. But as Senator McCain points out, it would be unconstitutional to
delegate things to that committee. And what we`ve proposed is that the DHS
secretary, whomever it is, will have final say on whatever metrics we
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Of course, the debate about when and if the border is secure passes
over the fact that the federal government is currently allocating more
money and personnel to border security than ever before. In fact, in
dollar terms, it`s become the federal government`s biggest law enforcement
priority. Check this out.
In 1986, the total amount budgeted for the INS was just over $574 million
compared to $2.2 billion for all other law enforcement agencies combined.
Compare that to last year when $18 billion of federal government spending
on immigration enforcement agencies was 24 percent more than federal
spending for the FBI, DEA, secret service, U.S. marshal service, and ATF
Also, the number of deportations has increased every year since President
Obama took office. In 2008, President George W. Bush deported just under
370,000. In Obama`s first year of office, he deported almost 390,000 and
topped more than 400,000 deportations for the first time last year.
Everyone in the immigration debate seems to take for granted that the
notion that securing the border is a laudable goal, but the enforcement
first mentality has had a host of unintended consequences not to mention
human costs. And the focus on the border as a physical, defendable
boundary ignores so much about the realities of migration in the 21st
Joining us on the table is Elisio Medina, international secretary and
treasurer for the Service Employees International Union, and Aaron Pena, a
former member of the Texas House of Representatives, founder of the
Hispanic Republican Conference of Texas, now senior vice president of a
public relations from Crosswinds Communications. Gentlemen, great to have
you both here.
AARON PENA, HISPANIC REPUBLICAN CONF. OF TEXAS: Thank you.
ELISEO MEDINA, INTLS. SECY. TREASURER, SEIU: Thank you.
HAYES: Aaron, I want to start with you because you are from the border.
And, how has the border changed during the period that you`ve been there
both previous to the ramp up of enforcement that we`ve seen into now when
we have this -- we have many more border agents, we have fencing, we have
put a lot more resources into making that as impermeable to people that we
don`t want to cross as possible.
PENA: OK. Let me first tell you, I`m from deep south Texas. And
historically speaking, the largest city close to us was 300 miles away and
that being San Antonio. On the Mexican side, it`s Monterrey, Mexico, which
is about 2 1/2 hours away. So, we grew up as an independent culture, the
border culture. And so, both the Mexican side and the American side, we`ve
always thought of ourselves as one community.
We don`t think of ourselves as two different nations, like the nation
thinks today. After 9/11, that changed. Prior to 9/11, we went over there
for lunch. We went over there for socializing. People come over. In
fact, my home community of McAllen, Texas, the business community can
increase twofold because much of Monterrey comes over to go shopping.
That changed because the border got hardened, not only from law enforcement
perspective, but the cartels came in. If you want to cross the border
illegally, you literally have to go through the cartels in order to get
across. So, life has changed. Many of the wealthy and upper middle class
have moved to Texas. They no longer feel safe in Mexico.
HAYES: Interesting. Interesting.
PENA: And so, there`s a brain drain that`s occurring. We, in turn, are
prospering. Their money is coming into our banks. Texas --
HAYES: So, problem solved. It sounds like this has been a smashing
PENA: Problem solved for us, but not for Mexico.
HAYES: That`s interesting.
PENA: OK. So, this causes other problems. The drug trade increases.
People are moving across at great risk to themselves. Immigrants who used
to cross the river by physically crossing the river used to just do that
without the cartel presence. Literally, you may have to transport drugs or
do some other criminal activity or subject yourself to rape or some other
form of --
HAYES: By criminalizing entry, you are turning people into criminals, not
just legally, but actually practically. Like, you have now created a
system in which crossing is criminal, and so, it is run by genuine
criminals who want you to do criminal activity if you cross.
PENA: That`s exactly right. It makes it very difficult for our community
to prosper because the people who want to shop in our community from Mexico
don`t want to come across. They have to fly across, and that is more
costly. It`s more difficult. And so, for those at the lower economic
scale, it`s more difficult to come across, to have that one community that
we used to have.
MEDINA: But if I may -- excuse me. If I may, in addition to everything
that Aaron has said, in the last several years, 300 people have died
crossing the border. They come across through the middle of the desert,
just carrying a jug of water. And, many of them wind up dying through
exposure or they wind up being assaulted by gangs. And, I think that in
our country, we should not have a system that leads to that many deaths.
HAYES: Yes, but you know, I completely agree, but let me play devil`s
advocate for a moment. You know, look, what is a sovereign nation? A
sovereign nation is a state that has control over its borders. It seems
almost a precondition for what we think of as sovereignty, right? You can
say who can come in and who can come out.
You have borders that are defensible. Within those borders, you have a
Democratic policy or whatever kind of regime you have. The state has a
monopoly use of -- this is all sort of constituent pillars of what it means
to be a country.
And so, when you say there are these negative costs to defending that
border, making that border, you know, impenetrable or defensible, I think
there are some people out there who say, well, look, there`s costs to
everything, right, but this has to be a priority because in some
existential sense, we cannot be a nation, unless, we have this kind of
SOLIS: Yes, but there are differences with class, and what I think Eliseo
is talking about is why is it that enforcement comes out so heavily and so
strong against people who are maybe from rural parts of Mexico or Central
America? Why is it that you can allow for other countries to have access
here as soon as they touch the shores?
And why is it that you can pay your way into this country also if you come
from Indonesia or China or other areas and have citizenship granted to you
in a matter of time? And so, there`s a lot of distinctions there, and I
think people need to be aware of that, of what occurs.
But also with respect to security, my understanding is that El Paso is
probably one of the safest places now where we have seen border security
enforcement and everything working well. Crime is down. The cartels and
all that. I mean, I was just there a year ago, and, in fact, that`s what
my security detail told me.
HAYES: I want to get your thought as someone who represents a border state
and also someone who actually came across that border right after we take
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was the president, speaking at the State of the Union but not
really quite speaking. So, let me just tell you what he said. He said, "I
believe as strongly as ever we should take on illegal immigration. That`s
why my administration has put more boots on the border than ever before.
That`s why there are fewer illegal crossing since (ph) I took office. The
opponents of action are out of excuses. We should be working on
comprehensive immigration reform right now."
And I think what this is is this kind of enforcement first mentality,
right? Border security is a threshold issue. And once you get that, then
you can talk about everything else. And that`s what we`ve seen has been
institutionalized in the Senate program, and I wonder what you think of
that approach as someone who represents a state that is on the border.
HORSFORD: Well, the issue that I have is what you just laid out and the
president talked about, which is we`ve gone from 10,000 to 20,000 border
patrol agents. We have, you know, fewer individuals crossing the border
illegally than we`ve had in some time, and we`ve invested over $17 billion
in enforcement of the border, more than any other enforcement of any other
thing in the country, including drugs, which, you know, begs the question,
where is the war on drugs?
And so, as a lawmaker, as I look at this bill, once we concede in writing,
I`m going to be asking those questions. Who`s benefiting from a policy
like that? Absolutely, we need to continue to strengthen our border. It`s
about having a process where individuals who are coming through the border
legally can be safe. No woman should have to be raped by an illegal cartel
in order to come to our country legally, and it`s our job to make sure they
And so, we have to make those investments in infrastructure, and that`s
another reason why we do have to continue the border security, but do it in
a way that`s smart and that ensures that people aren`t profiting from these
type of investments.
HAYES: You think that`s possible? Eliseo, you crossed the border before
9/11 and before the bonanza of border security, and how did that experience
shape your thinking on this?
MEDINA: Well, let me just tell you, you know, my experience with this
immigration system goes back to the 1940s and 1950s. My father was an
undocumented worker. He also came to work in the U.S. as a guest worker,
HAYES: In the Bracero program.
MEDINA: During the Bracero program. And he told us about the abuses of
both of these systems and how the human dignity gets sacrificed to this
system. And so, this forms my opinion about why we need to change this
system. And the problem that I have with the conversation with the border
is that it really is not focusing on how we have a system that actually
For example, 40 percent of the undocumented did not come through the
border. They came through airplanes. They came student visas, and then,
they overstayed. So, putting all this money and personnel on the border is
not going to fix that part of the problem. Secondly, that it is focused on
nannies, farm workers, factory workers, and not criminals.
It`s not focused on the people that Aaron is talking about who are
committing all of these crimes on the border. Can you imagine, if we have
our comprehensive solution that legalizes the people here, that makes --
has a process for future immigrants to come through a legal process, not
risking their lives through the border, then all of those boots on the
ground, all of those 18 million can focus on criminals, not on immigrants.
HAYES: I want to bring in Ruben Martinez who`s author of the book, "Desert
America: Boom and Bust in the Old New West" and English professor at Loyola
Marymount University. Ruben has been writing about the border. And Ruben,
we`re going to take a quick break, and when we come back, I want you to
talk about how the border has changed during the last 10 years right after
HAYES: Going to play you a scene from a film called "The Border" with Jack
Nicholson and Harvey Keitel -- having a little technical difficulties.
Ruben Martinez, I want to ask you as someone who`s been chronicling life on
the border and across the border, how the border has changed in this period
that Aaron describes really beginning with 9/11?
RUBEN MARTINEZ, AUTHOR, "DESERT AMERICA": Certainly. It`s become a
phantasmagorical scene down there. Certainly, the drug war has made it a
scarier and darker place. But also, the insecurity that`s been brought to
the border in the name of security.
The billions have been poured into the border patrol and customs
enforcement, in general, have lead to a situation in which there`s been 18
shooting deaths on the border of undocumented immigrants on both sides, by
the way, on this side of the border and on the Mexican side of the border
in which border patrol officers have used lethal force in rock throwing
incidents, which makes the U.S.-Mexico border sound almost like the
occupied territories in the Middle East.
So, we`ve seen a place that was always contested, always tense, turned into
a much, much darker and scarier place. And it`s all part of this culture
of punitive enforcement, really, that the emphasis has been purely on that
for years and years and years. And for this new legislation, for the
debate to start with talking about the first talking point to be more
enforcement before we get to a path towards legalization, to me, is really
the wrong place to start.
HAYES: OK. But you`re talking about the negative sequences, unintended
consequences of border build-up. And, it`s pretty obvious I`m sympathetic
with that line of reasoning. But, I do want to play devil`s advocate
because, I mean, look, the flow has declined massively. Right? Now,
that`s probably a combination from the people that I`ve spoken to of the
economic situation and the fact that, yes, if you put $18 billion and
doubled the number of border enforcement troops and you make it more and
more difficult to cross over, fewer people are going to cross over, right?
That`s the basic logic. So, why is it not a success? I mean, for years,
people said things like, if you build a ten-foot fence, they`re going to
find an 11-foot ladder, right? But during this period in which we have
massively increased the amount of enforcement and enforcement mechanism, we
have reduced the flow across that border. Isn`t this a big policy success?
MARTINEZ: I don`t think it`s us that have reduced the flow across the
border. I think the vast majority of that reduction is basically the
economy. When the economy was roaring, people were roaring across the
border. And now that the economy has cooled off for the last several
years, it`s definitely been the opposite.
The deterrent -- I will talk to you about deterrents on the border. I
wrote a book several years ago about a family that lost three brothers on
the border due to a border patrol chase and a type of (ph) car accident.
Several people were killed in that accident, among them three brothers in
one small town in Michoacan, Mexico.
The surviving members of that family continued to cross the border in the
wake of their brothers` deaths and have done so ever since. So, deterrence
-- the border has always been a scary place. It`s scarier now. But if you
see the economy start ticking up here again, you will see people crossing
that border. There are ramps that go over the highest parts of the border
today that we will never be able to seal a 2,000-mile long border
And indeed, a lot of the technology that was much ballyhooed about sealing
the border perfectly such as the surveillance watch towers that Boeing put
down there at the cost of a couple of billion dollars couldn`t tell the
difference ultimately between a cow and a human being. So, we need, I
think, to look elsewhere if we`re going to talk about security.
HORSFORD: Well, I want to be clear here. I am not in favor of the Senate
plan, which has additional border security and a litmus test before we can
have pathway to citizenship, but, I do believe that we have to continue
efforts to strengthen the border. Why? For the reason the guest just
said, which is as the economy improves, then we may see an uptick in
individuals who are crossing the border illegally.
And that is not what we want from a good immigration policy that works. We
want a process where it`s legal. Look, we are a nation of immigrants and
laws, and we need people to follow our laws, but we need a law that works,
and that`s why we need comprehensive immigration reform.
HAYES: So, one of the things I`d like to ask you is, if this emphasis on
border patrols -- so there`s been a number of ways in which this
enforcement is done, right? Doubling our border agents. We now have
aerial drones that are going over. We have built a physical fence in a
bunch of places.
We`ve also built an electronic fence so called in other places, which has
been, as Ruben, I think, alluded to very buggy and dysfunctional and kind
of a boondoggle in a lot of ways. John McCain has said that there`s been
real improvements in border security and asked if it helps the politics of
reform. He says, I think it helps a lot.
And he argues the situation has improved and calls the concern overhyped.
And so, one thing is there`s a political idea here, which is that this is a
necessary precondition to get reform. My question to you is, what is our
ideal border look like? If what we`re doing now is the wrong thing, what
should it look like?
I want to talk about that right after we take this break.
HAYES: Hello from New York. I`m Chris Hayes here with Hilda Solis, former
Obama secretary of labor, Eliseo Medina of the SEIU, Aaron Pena of the
Hispanic Republican Conference of Texas, and Democratic congressman, Steven
Horsford of Nevada. Joining us on satellite is Ruben Martinez, author of
"Desert America: Boom and Bust in the New Old West."
And we`re talking about the border which has become a flash point in the
nation`s immigration discussion, and we`re talking about what has been
happening on the border, which is a tremendous amount of increased
enforcement, and I think in some ways are transformative policy that if you
-- aren`t down there, it doesn`t matter, right? It doesn`t affect your
daily life, but in that region of the country, it`s been really a tectonic
And the question before we went to break, if the way that we`ve gone, more
enforcement, more boots on the ground, higher fences, drones, et cetera, is
the wrong way to go, what`s the right way to go, Aaron?
AARON PENA, HISPANIC REPUBLICAN CONF. OF TEXAS: Well, first of all, I
don`t disagree with the enforcement policy. We need to have enforcement.
We do have real crimes. The cartels are there.
Most of the crimes occur on the Mexican side of the border, but we
occasionally have assassinations or shootouts on our side of the border as
well. And we`re concerned about that. We`re concerned about the effect it
has on business and people crossing.
But to throw a monkey wrench in our discussion here today.
PENA: The conservative perspective is, look, we`re going to have
immigration reform. I fully expect it to pass after much handwringing and
whatnot. But from a conservative perspective, what they see is 11 million
people eventually becoming citizens, and then the magnet is still there.
We`re going to have more people, and like Simpson-Mazzoli that we had in
the past, where we legalized 3 million people --
HAYES: This is the `83 or `87 amnesty.
PENA: The amnesty bill. It doesn`t stop. We have more people coming.
So, one of the solutions that we see in Texas is we need to have a guest
worker program. We need to have a way to deal with this market demand for
labor in some industries.
And right now, we don`t have it. I don`t think the Obama administration
plan deals with the issue, but it`s something that we in Texas see as a
solution to the need for these people to find work and the solution of
dealing with the workers that we need in some of our industries.
REP. STEVEN HORSFORD (D), NEVADA: Can I touch on that?
HORSFORD: Then let`s invest in programs that train people here in the
United States. You know, I find it fascinating that the conservatives are
so interested in making sure that they have access to workers through a
guest worker program, and yet they won`t invest in education or employment
or training programs or other things that help train and prepare the
American work force for those jobs --
HORSFORD: -- and the jobs of the 21st century.
HAYES: OK. But the jobs we`re talking about is agricultural workers.
It`s not a question of training. It`s the lowest part of the wage scale.
HORSFORD: We have high wage workers who are coming through immigration
processes. We have engineers.
HILDA SOLIS, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: H-1B.
HORSFORD: Right. And so, this is where immigration isn`t just about
Mexico. This is not just a Latino issue only.
HAYES: That`s right.
HORSFORD: This is about affecting the Asian community, Africa, Caribbean
HORSFORD: And the full spectrum of skill sets that are needed. So I
think, if we want to have a real conversation about the needs in our
workforce, then let`s talk about the investments in education and job
training and other things that will get us to what we need.
SOLIS: Why does it make sense to bring someone from India or China who`s
an engineer who`s going to get paid maybe $1,200 a month as opposed to a
U.C. Berkeley graduate or Cal State graduate from Cal State L.A., who after
graduation in four years could be pulling down maybe $4,000 a month?
Those are economic differences and challenges that are going on, and that`s
also a part of this debate.
HAYES: But we just went through -- wait a second. We just went through
the looking glass.
I want everyone to note we just went through the looking glass, which is
that, you two just made the restrictionist case, right? You guys just made
the case, the case that, if you turn into Lou Dobbs, you turn into FOX
News, what they say is they`re coming and taking our jobs. The two of you
just said they`re coming and taking our jobs.
SOLIS: We`re talking about fairness.
HORSFORD: When I said it`s about civil rights and equality. And you don`t
bring individuals to the United States and keep them in low wage jobs,
benefit from their labor, and then they never have the pathway to
I come from a state where immigrants and minorities, particularly African
Americans, built Las Vegas. They built our hospitality industry. They
built our construction sector.
And why would you allow individuals to come and help you build your economy
and then not give them a pathway to citizenship.
HAYES: Here`s the argument I would make. We`re talking about a guest
worker program. Again, I`m not -- I`m sort of playing devil`s advocate
But there are people who want to come and work in the U.S. and don`t want
to be citizens. They want to live here and they want to go back and forth
every day, and there used to be an institutional way to do that.
And why should we -- here`s Ronald Reagan, fellow Republican, Aaron, making
the case in 1980 for exactly this kind of almost open border policy for
this sort of flow of labor. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Rather than making them -- or
talking about putting up a fence, why don`t we work out some recognition of
our mutual problems, make it possible for them to come here legally with a
work permit, and then while they`re working and earning here, they pay
taxes here? When they want to go back, they can go back and cross and open
the border both ways.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Why force people to immigrate if they don`t want to immigrate, they
just want to work?
ELISEO MEDINA, INTL. SECRETARY-TREASURER, SEIU: Well, I think that one of
the perverse things of the build-up on the border is it`s made people have
to stay in the U.S. because it`s too hard to come back if they leave.
MEDINA: See, what I think we need to do for the future is, first of all,
fix the problem with 11 million people. The next question is what do we do
with future immigrants and how do we make sure that there is opportunity
for people in the U.S.? That`s why we call it comprehensive. We need to
take a look and fix it from all aspects.
And one of the things I think we do need, if there`s going to be a
temporary worker program in the future, it has to be different than what we
have today. It cannot be the program that my father entered into 70 years
ago. People need to come with full protection of our labor laws, of our
wage and hour laws, and they need an effective way of enforcing it. That`s
not the way it works now.
So I think what we need is open up opportunities and fill in where we need
RUBEN MARTINEZ, AUTHOR, "DESERT AMERICA": If I may, I just love the clip
of Ronald Reagan showing that the Republicans at that point were to the
left of where the Democratic Party, President Obama, is today. That`s kind
of the Orwellian twists and turns the immigration debate has taken over the
I think part of the problem with the idea of guest worker is the very name
guest worker. For people and immigrant rights advocacy, for people who
know the history of the border, that name, which translates to bracero in
Spanish, is tinged with just institutionalized exploitation. It began in
World War II and continued all the way to the 1960s, and just horror
stories of the way workers were treated.
I think we need a whole new term for that type of worker. If somebody
crosses the border back and forth, maybe it`s a trans-border worker, maybe
that`s too highfalutin a term, but something that takes into account the
actual reality of people moving back and forth. And like Eliseo Medina,
said really that labor has to be on both sides of the border, making sure
these workers have all the protections available to them that only labor
reform can give.
HAYES: And one of the ways we institutionalize incentives for labor across
the border is production to move across the border, through NAFTA, right?
So, a lot of production moved down right across the border in Mexico and
use the labor pool here. One of the histories here is about the kind of
arbitrage that capital can do to find the cheapest labor, whereas labor is
more heavily restricted in its movement, that imbalances a huge part of
what is at the core of the way the global economy looks in the 21st
century, which is, you can pick up your plant and move it to a country with
low wages. If you`re a worker, you just can`t pick up and decide whatever
country you want to go work in.
And that makes me wonder, like, are we -- what Ruben just said, are we
afraid to advocate the logical conclusion, which is something that actually
does look like open borders? Like is that the solution and everyone is
just essentially too scared to say that because it would be politically
toxic? You, Congressman, can I get you on the record for open borders?
MARTINEZ: I think one day we`re going to have a Mexican president who says
to Washington, President Obama, bring down this wall. That`s going to
happen one day when there`s real leadership in Mexico.
MARTINEZ: We are a nation of laws, and we have to have a process, and that
has been the case with our immigration policy. And so, my question on this
guest worker pieces, is this about labor and the economy only, or is it
about families? How are you affected as a child by that policy? What
happens when individuals come under a guest worker program to their
I have constituents in my district, DREAMers, who were brought here no
fault of their own, they played by the rules, they graduated from high
school, only to find out they can`t be full participating members in our
society and have been denied opportunities to move on.
I`ve got, you know, Dream Big Vegas, that`s out there right now fighting to
make this immigration reform bill a reality. So what happens to the
children and the families under a worker, guest program, and shouldn`t we
be balancing those interests?
HAYES: That`s a great question.
MEDINA: Well, I think it`s absolutely right.
First of all, when you have children left either in the U.S. because of
this broken immigration system or in Mexico, when people have to come here
and are locked in the United States, that doesn`t work for families. That
doesn`t work for children.
That`s why we need a 21st century model of immigration reform. Take care
of the ones here, figure out how the immigrants of the future are going to
come here in a way that they`re not exploited, and then turn our border
enforcement into chasing criminals, not nannies and farm workers.
HAYES: So, one -- yes?
HORSFORD: I think that`s what adds to the hypocrisy of those on the other
side who advocate for a guest worker program, who also say they stand for
family values. I believe our immigration policy should keep families
HORSFORD: They should promote the parents taking care of their kids and
kids being able to pursue their education and career goals and serving in
PENA: I agree. You could do both. You just need to be smart about it.
HAYES: One of the points that Eliseo made that I want to hammer home, and
I think it`s really important. I worked with folks who are undocumented in
restaurants and different settings, is the way that border enforcement
means that people come and stay, right, in that periods where the border
enforcement is lower, people would go back and forth a lot. You come and
earn money, you know, undocumented, go back, and maybe build a home and get
a job in Mexico.
And instead, we have created increasingly a forced choice. The more that
we`ve ramped up border enforcement, the harder it is to go back. The more
it means, OK, I`m going to say good-bye to my family and not see them for
12 years or 14 years.
I talked to a family of a woman from the West Indies this week in reporting
I was doing, and she hasn`t seen her family in 25 years, right, because
it`s too risky to go back. And so, that`s a big part of this.
Ruben Martinez, author of "Desert America: Boom and Bust of the New Old
West", Eliseo Medina of the Service Employees International Union, and
Democratic Congressman Steve Horsford of Nevada -- thank you so much, all
of you, for joining us this morning.
All right. Can Marco Rubio lead the Republican Party to Latino voters or
vice versa? That`s next.
HAYES: When President Obama was reelected in November with 71 percent of
the Latino vote, a 44-point advantage over Mitt Romney, everyone quickly
realized Republicans simply have to get a larger share of the Latino vote
in the future if they ever want to win a presidential election again. Not
only are Latinos increasing as a share of the voting population, but
they`re increasingly voting Democratic, and that`s largely due to the fact
the Republican base is so hostile towards immigration and so fearful of the
country`s Mestizo future, that they allow their presidential nominee to
talk like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Almost half the jobs
created in Texas were created for illegal aliens.
Instate tuition for illegal aliens.
People who are here illegally today.
Sanctuary cities, giving tuition breaks to the kids of illegal aliens.
Four years of college, almost $100,000 discount if you`re an illegal alien.
You can`t have any illegals working on our property. That`s -- I`m running
for office for Pete`s sake, I can`t have illegals.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: After Romney`s defeat, Republicans pivoted almost immediately to
But as both Democrats and Republicans know, from just six years ago,
getting immigration reform through Congress is an extremely difficult task,
thanks largely to vociferous obstruction of precisely vocal core of the
Republican base voters to whom Romney so effectively pandered.
But, now, enter Senator Marco Rubio, the appointed Republican spokesperson
on immigration and a member of the so-called gang of eight, backing the
Senate`s reform package.
Rubio now presents himself as the only way out of the corner in which the
conservative movement and the Republican Party have painted themselves.
Through his unique history, ethnic background, linguistic fluency and
credibility with the Tea Party base, he offers them a way out of their
demographic dead-end, which is why he found such a welcoming reception this
week from conservative TV and radio hosts who in the past have been against
policy proposals identical to what he is now advocating.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: It`s the most thoughtful proposal that I have
heard, and you explained it better than anybody.
MARK LEVIN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: He`s a problem solver. He`s a
conservative, and he`s right. We have defector amnesty, and you could set
a light bulb off.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Here`s a guy who does not fear talk
radio. He embraced it.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: Despite the adulation from party elites and much of the
conservative media machine, the Republican Party still has the exact same
base it had a year ago when Mitt Romney was throwing the word illegals
around like a verbal grenade.
One of the most fascinating questions of 2013 is whether Rubio can
basically sell the conservative base on more or less the same comprehensive
immigration reform proposal that precipitated an all out revolt just six
Joining us now is Jim Antle, senior editor of "The American Spectator" and
the editor "The Daily Caller News Foundation." Back of the table, Lorella
Praeli from United We Dream Network.
Jim, I`m fascinated by the internal dynamics here. I actually think --
there`s this political question. There`s two questions on the table. One
is, will the base of the Republican Party allow this? Can they be sold on
this? Will they view this as inimical to their principles, of things they
believe in? The rule of law, et cetera?
And number two is, is this committing demographic suicide to bring 11
million or 12 million new voters who might vote 75 to 25 against you?
And "The National Review" wrote this article about the fantasy of Latinos
being a Republican constituency. "If we`re to take Hispanics at their
word, conservative attributes toward illegal immigration are a minor reason
for their voting preferences. And while many are in business for
themselves, they express hostile attitudes towards free enterprise in
polls. They`re disproportionately low in income and disproportionately
likely to receive some form of government support.
More than half of Hispanic births are out of wedlock. Take away the
Hispanic surname and Latino voters looks like a great deal like many other
Democratic constituencies. The idea that amnesty is going to put Latinos
squarely in the GOP tent is a fantasy."
Your thoughts, Jim.
JIM ANTLE, DAILYCALERNEWSFOUNDATION.ORG: Well, immigration has become the
classic "heads I win, tails you lose" issue for the Republicans.
Immigration has been framed as a referendum as to whether you accept the
role of Latinos in American society, and Republicans are viewed as having
placed themselves on the wrong side of that question. I don`t think that
would change if you were to vote against legislation.
But we do have some experience with this type of legislation in the past
when what was openly described as an amnesty passed in 1986 and the post-
amnesty cohort was more Democratic in its voting preferences than the
Hispanic Americans prior to that. So it didn`t really benefit the
HAYES: This is just important. Can we show this line graphic again?
Because I think you`re making an effort from a descriptive level, an
important political case, right?
In 1984, Mondale beat Reagan among Latinos 24 percent. In 1988, after the
amnesty, Dukakis beats George H.W. Bush by 39 percent. So the swing
towards Democrats was plus 15 percent in between the two elections in which
the amnesty program happened.
ANTLE: Which was signed by a Republican president and had strong support
from Republicans in Congress.
Pat Buchanan supported that particular amnesty. So, why would legislation
signed by a Democratic president really earn the undying loyalty of these
voters to these Republican Party?
PENA: Well, look, the Hispanic population is not monolithic, OK? So, you
can`t say we`re going to pass a bill and they`re all going to come along.
We`re very diverse. I come from a rural community, and rural people in my
state are conservative. You have second, third, fourth, fifth, 12th
generation Hispanics living in this country, and they`re all very, very
Most of the young Hispanics live in San Antonio who are third and fourth
generation only speak English, they don`t speak Spanish. So, if you find
Hispanics third and fourth generation earning over $40,000 a year, you`re
probably seeing a conservative Republican.
Like other demographics --
HAYES: Maybe in Taxes.
PENA: I`m talking about Texas. But look at Italian Americans who are
Catholic and follow many of the same cultural traditions that Hispanics do.
You can say that many of them are conservative and Republican.
It`s going to take some time. It`s not going to happen with one vote.
However, immigration on the glasses are the prism by which my community,
the Hispanic community, as diverse as it is, sees the Republican Party.
And if you`re told you`re not welcome, your people carried diseases.
LORELLA PRAELI, UNITED WE DREAM NETWORK: Stereotypes.
PENA: Or some other stereotypes, you`re going to be offended, and you`re
going to respond the other way.
HAYES: Rush Limbaugh is talking about how Cubans are light-skinned and
hard working and Mexicans are dark and not as hard working.
PENA: Oh, don`t start. I mean, the difference between the Cuban American
community and the Mexican community are very different. Our historical
paths are very different.
HAYES: Immigration, obviously.
PENA: So, that`s the point.
HAYES: Let me ask you. Not to interrupt, but what year when you were a
Democrat and became a Republican, what year did you do that?
HAYES: You did that in 2010 after -- you`re saying this is a threshold
issue after the Sensenbrenner that would have criticized undocumented
workers in this country, after the huge revolt against McCain-Kennedy,
after John McCain had to run away from the bill that had his own name on it
because of what the demands made by the Republican base -- after that, you
decided to become a Republican. I want to find out right after this break
HAYES: All right. So, Aaron, you switched party after all this real anti-
immigration backlash. Why?
PENA: OK. Like the rest of the country, my state is becoming more
polarized. Democrats are becoming more liberal. Republicans are becoming
I was always the target of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. And
my values, which are business friendly, socially conservative, were more in
line with the Republican Party.
This is where the work really is. This is where I can make a difference in
So I`m very comfortable with my decision. I`ve never looked back. I think
that Hispanic Republicans can make a difference. We are literally the
liaisons of two different communities.
And we tried to make a difference. We tried to educate my colleagues, for
example, that there`s certain words that offend us. Anchor babies, for
example, we were having a discussion about that. That is an offensive
PENA: Sure. It takes away from the issue that needs to be debated, when
you use terms that are offensive, or when you talk about deporting my
grandmother. That is offensive.
HAYES: But can I say this? It`s not -- the words, yes. But it`s the
words that are there because there`s a constituency that feels that way.
It`s not just the people -- anchor babies is a word fell out of the sky.
Anchor babies, illegals, all of this is channeling a feeling about
invasion, besiegement, impurity, the -- a future that looks nothing like
the past, that is a deep feeling of many people in the Republican base, and
I think sometimes for really nefarious reasons.
I think sometimes because of all sorts of dislocations that happen in
modernity and through global capitalism, et cetera. But those are real
feelings. It`s not just the words of there. Those words are attached to
sentiment in the Republican base.
SOLIS: You know, I think that, you know, when I think about Republicans, I
think of the changing demographics within, for example, the Chamber of
Commerce, with the local business communities that are starting to reflect
and be more open about talking about immigration in a way that is more
humane and that actually helps both sides.
I get the business part of it, but I think there has to be more humility.
I think that some of the chambers at the local level are doing a better
job, and they need to educate the Washington, D.C. chamber, who says they
represent everybody and is really myopic in terms of how they view
PRAELI: I have to say something. I think it`s more ignorance for most
people. I think very few percentage of that number that you`re talking
about of the anti-immigrants actually feels that way. I think for the
rest, it`s really a lack of knowledge about who is who, right?
And this is what DREAMers did. Before DREAMers were DREAMers, they were
just illegal immigrants, they were just illegal students. And when we
introduced ourselves into America, and America recognized that we`re not
criminal, that we`re not dangerous, then we were embraced by America.
And it`s the same thing that hasn`t happened with our parents yet, and
that`s the work that needs to be done throughout this debate. But that
humanizes people, and that moves away from this notion of these people are
all dangerous, and they`re taking over our country.
HAYES: Jim, here`s someone who, my sense is opposes the proposals, the
gang of eight proposal. Is there a way -- (a), is there a way to make that
argument in a way that won`t be viewed as offensive, or won`t be viewed as
essentially more of the same that will further alienate voters? And number
two is, the consistency of people that are opposed within the conservative
movement, within the conservative journals opinion, and -- how much power
do they have?
Because you have David Brooks now columnizing in favor of immigration
reform. Marco Rubio is out there. You know, it seems like the momentum is
all on that side.
ANTLE: Sure. I`m not sure David Brooks is much of a departure, but
certainly Mark Levin and Sean Hannity and Bill O`Reilly and Lou Dobbs do
mark a bit of a shift on the issue and perception that Republicans need to
get right on this issue if they hope to win future elections. I think a
big change was in the 1990s, the face of restrictionism, the face of
immigration enforcement was Barbara Jordan, African American congress woman
from Texas, a Democrat, who is appointed to an immigration reform
commission by Bill Clinton, and the Clinton administration briefly flirted
with supporting her proposals, which would have reduced illegal
immigration, which would have toughened enforcement.
And in the last decade, the face of restrictionism has been Joe Arpaio and
that, I think, has produced much less favorable political conditions for
what essentially in many respects could -- there are some liberal ends to a
stronger immigration position. I mean, what you`re seeing, a tighter labor
market at the lower end of the income scale would benefit an American
working class that`s disproportionately black and Latino.
HAYES: Yes, we`re not -- I should say the data has been very murky and
increasingly less murky that the wage effects of our current immigration
regime don`t hit, for instance, high school dropouts or low skilled workers
like in the labor hierarchy that are native born, as hard as previously
thought. There are some dissenters in that, and George (INAUDIBLE), an
economist at Harvard is one of them.
But the literature on this, I think, is -- was murky and seemingly point to
interaction that you`re not actually hurting native born workers? But I
can see a political argument in that respect.
I want to hear from you what you think about the figure of Rubio, because
he`s now the kind of central axis for this whole thing. And I think it is
fascinating how craftily he`s positioned himself as essentially the -- you
know, like you said, the liaison between these different worlds and
essentially the Arc de Triomphe of Republican electoral victory, right
after this break.
HAYES: Marco Rubio, savior of the Republican Party, self-appointed, I
think. Although, actually, there`s a growing bandwagon that wants to
Do you think he`s going to be able to pull this off?
PENA: That`s really the question. I would say he`s in a tough spot
because Republicans, conservatives went from seeing immigration as an issue
that was used in midterm elections to win elections, and now, we`re having
to deal with this because of the last election and the change in
demographics in the country. He`s having to bridge both worlds, and it`s a
very difficult spot for you.
Amongst movement, conservatives, my sense is that there will be growing
skepticism. But I think he`s going in the right direction.
HAYES: We have not seen the Rubio backlash yet. It`s been a week, right?
I think it`s interesting, Erick Erickson of "Red State" said, his headline
was "I don`t like Marco Rubio`s plan". But he said, "There, I said it.
You`d be surprised how long I`ve taken to say this. I`ve let multiple
friends vet the various drafts, of posts I`ve written, and they all wind up
arguing with each over the details."
What I think he`s so reluctant, right, at this point, this kind of aura
around Rubio is strong enough, but do you think that`s going to last, Jim?
ANTLE: It depends. Marco Rubio, when you look at the gang of eight, is
the only new face there. Even among the Republicans, they were generally
supporters of the McCain-Kennedy legislation. So Rubio has kind of put
himself in a position where he legitimates a comprehensive immigration bill
with a certain number of House Republicans and with a certain number of
But he has set it up in a way where there`s all these enforcement
conditions that could put him in a position where there could be a backlash
if agrees to legislation that doesn`t really meet that or the outcome of
the legislation doesn`t satisfy that. But at the same time, it positions
him in a way where, if the negotiations on the bill move to the left, he
can bail, he can pull out and say, well, I tried to play ball, but they
didn`t want to agree to the concessions.
SOLIS: I think it`s fascinating you have a Cuban American just elected
also, Ted Cruz, coming out very conservative. I think there will be a
clash. And it start -- I mean, it may happen at a different level.
Just think back what happened with the Congress. We didn`t change that.
We did win some seats, the Democrats, but it`s still very conservative.
That`s really where the game will end up.
HAYES: You`re saying on the House side.
SOLIS: On the House side, absolutely.
HAYES: Right. I mean, that`s a big question in all this, is like can
anything get through that House that is going to -- you`re on the hill a
lot, right? I know you`ve been in meetings with different members,
different staffs from -- you know, this is this is fine if you get a Senate
deal that can get 60 votes and you have the president sign on.
But that House --
PRAELI: I think we can`t -- we can`t pretend it`s not going to be a hard
fight, and it`s going to be like hell to try to get anything moved through
that House. But there`s now also a group in the House working and meeting
and talking about comprehensive immigration reform.
What I feel there is it`s a new environment, really like everyone wants to
be a player in this game except for the Lamar Smiths of the world. But
everyone -- you know, even people who may otherwise not be talking about
immigration reform, it`s what everyone wants to be a part of at this
HAYES: Meaning, they -- this is a fascinating part of legislative
psychology. If you think a bill is going to pass, right? It`s a foregone
conclusion the bill is going to pass, you want to get in there and get the
best you can out of it, right? The train is leaving the station. Everyone
runs on board.
But it`s a real tipping point, right? Because it can -- if the momentum or
an aura of inevitability falls away and now it looks like you can actually
kill the thing, right? Then everyone`s incentives and calculations shift.
PRAELI: And it`s not just -- the details are not just in the policy. It`s
also in the strategy, right? So, the House is talking about maybe
releasing something. What happens if the House releases something before
the Senate has moved and drafted its bill? Does it move everything in the
Senate to the right?
I mean, so I think people have to be very careful about not just the policy
and the details but also the way the strategy, both in the Republican and
Democratic parties are moving.
SOLIS: We`ve seen movement with the STEM-related issues, you want to get
green cards and citizenship a pathway for STEM, for those people in the
high tech --
HAYES: Science, technology, engineering, and math.
SOLIS: Yes. And you also have the ags, agriculture business industry
there. So you`re seeing different convergence going on anyway. And that`s
kind of a backup plan.
My fear is at the end of the day, they`re going to cut away and be able to
push forward on those maybe two or three issues, which won`t be
satisfactory to a lot of people, including folks on our side of the aisle,
a lot of folks.
HAYES: Where are Texas Republicans on this? Ted Cruz, your new senator,
he`s not sounded particularly amenable to this.
PENA: Texas Republicans are where Ted Cruz is. Look, this is an issue --
HAYES: Someone wrote something hilarious the other way, after John Cornyn,
the other senator, voted against John Kerry. He said, I now discovered
that Ted Cruz has two votes, not just one. Because Cornyn is so worried
about a vote to the right, that whatever vote Ted Cruz makes, John Cornyn
is going to run to the floor and make the same one.
PENA: Most of our senators represent the state`s conservative position.
And quite frankly, I think this in the end will be a negotiated resolution.
Everybody staked out their positions, and now the devil`s in the details.
So, we`re going to see.
HAYES: No, but the question is it`s not in the details if they can kill
it. I mean, my point is I covered McCain-Kennedy. I covered McCain and
Kennedy. The switchboards -- I mean, there was this tremendous mobilizing
power that was Numbers USA and a bunch of different anti-immigration
groups, restrictionist groups, combined with talk radio, hammering this
thing six hours a day, and congressional switchboards just lit up.
And they really scared the pants off legislators. So, I want to ask why
that`s not going to happen this time. What has changed? Right after this
HAYES: So my question is, why the armies of talk radio won`t rise up and
inundate the switchboard on Capitol Hill and kill this the way they killed
PENA: The last election changed everything in Texas, OK? Texas is a state
that will soon be in play. Maybe not now, maybe `20, `25, thereafter. If
we lose Texas, we lose the presidency for the remainder of my lifetime and
my children`s lifetime.
And so the demographics are changing. We`ve got to go back to the Bush
numbers in terms of getting Hispanic votes. And so, we don`t want to see
So that empowers Rubio and other Republicans, the business Republicans --
like I said earlier, there are two Republican parties. One is more
business centric, and the other is movement conservatives, grassroot Tea
The business conservatives will be on board with the immigration bill, but
you will see push-back from movement conservatives.
PRAELI: I think it`s more than just demographics and elections. I really
do think there is a movement now, whereas in there wasn`t before. So, in
2010, when we lost the DREAM Act, when we lost -- we fell five votes short
of passing that. We lost that. We lost the legislation.
HAYES: Five votes short of overcoming the filibuster, we should note.
PRAELI: Yes. But we won. We won the Collins. We won the faxing, like we
have never won that before.
HAYES: You mean, in terms of the metrics of how many calls were coming in
and how many letters you`re winning that.
PRAELI: And so, there`s a real movement both on social media, like
DREAMers are able to change, to stop deportation using social media. We`re
able to mobilize a tremendous amount of people and quickly.
HAYES: So, has the restrictionist infrastructure demobilized, is it less
funded? Is it less activated?
Is it just that essentially the base of the Republican Party do what their
elites say, which is you`ve got to go along with this or lose elections?
ANTLE: I do think the grass roots shares a lot of the same concerns --
HAYES: About electoral viability?
ANTLE: -- that the party elite has about electoral viability. I think
that does impact things in certain ways.
I also think that the past six years of somewhat stepped up enforcement,
having reduced illegal immigrant in-flows has -- and reduced the numbers
present in the country, has made it recede somewhat as an issue, that the
salience of the issues wasn`t as high as it was in 2006/2007 to a lot of
HAYES: The president -- where do you think the president is on this?
Because I think this is one of those things where, like we said at the
beginning, you can imagine a wide spectrum of results inside the details of
that bill. It`s going to come down to who is really in there fighting and
saying across this line, no more, right?
HAYES: And I`m curious where you think the president is going to be on
SOLIS: I think he`s going to -- I think we`ve yet to see everything come
about. He`s going to wait. He`s going to see what proposals come about.
He said he`s going to take action. He`ll put forward his own piece of
Meanwhile, he`s going to be talking throughout the country about these
issues, helping to mobilize people. To me, the game is outside the bubble
of Washington. It really is. So, the DREAMers very important. People --
business people who get it that you need to have in-flows, but you also
have to have a good stabilized economy and a work force.
And I agreed with the previous discussion we had on the panel regarding
training. You have 11 million people here. People should be trained up
for the high tech jobs. If you need people to come in to do ag and maybe
other service sector jobs, we ought to be able to make sure there`s
enforcement, that these people don`t drive down wages, that just before
they come in from Mexico or Latin America or Asia, that somehow those wages
are going to be sub --
SOLIS: -- they`re going to create another cast of workers. That can`t be
And those are our principles that the president and most others would like
to see, that there`s fairness and justice.
This is a moral issue for many people. We didn`t even say moral all the
time we`ve been on the panel. To me, it`s a moral issue.
PRAELI: But he did, right?
SOLIS: He did.
PRAELI: So, I was proud to hear the president talk about this is not just
politics, it`s not just policy. We`re talking about real people. We`re
talking about our families, right?
And I think what the president has to do is to set some markers.
HAYES: Yes. We`re going to see where those markers are. I want to give
People should keep their eye on Chuck Schumer, who`s taken a very big lead
on this, and there`s a lot of folks around this in the immigration reform
movement who are a little worried about what exactly he`s willing to give
away, whether he just wants a deal that he can sign off on or whether he`s
going to fight for those markers. And so, people should keep their eye
very closely attuned to Senator Chuck Schumer from my home state of New
York about what kind of role he`s playing in these negotiations.
So, what did we know that we didn`t know last week? My answers after this.
HAYES: So, what do we know now that we didn`t know last week?
We now know that Democratic senator and new chairman of the Foreign
Relations Committee, Robert Menendez, will be investigated regarding free
flights he took with a political donor in 2010 to the Dominican Republic, a
donor who owes the IRS $11 million and whose offices were raided this week
by the FBI. There`s also allegations that while in the Dominican Republic,
Menendez paid prostitutes for sex.
On Wednesday, the senator said he reimbursed the donor for the flights and
denied all allegations about prostitution. We don`t yet know this claim`s
veracity, but we are waiting for the senator`s full side of the story.
We now know that after five years of official denials women of Ethiopian
origin in Israel had been receiving, sometimes with coercion, sometimes
without their knowledge, injections of a long acting contraceptive Depo-
Provera. We know the Israeli health minister has now director HMOs there
to end the practice. We also know that this is far too late to change the
fact that birth rate of Israeli`s Ethiopian community dropped by almost 50
We know that in 2012, the U.S. Treasury Department signed off on every
single one of the 18 requests it received from bailed out firms, AIG,
General Motors, and Ally Financial, for increasing executive pay. Thanks
for report this week from Christy Romero, the special inspector for the
Troubled Asset Relief Program or TARP, they also know that treasury
official Patricia Geoghegan approved these raises, along with pay packages
of more than $5 million, even though they violated the guidelines set by
the 2008 bailout legislation.
We know that G.M. has yet to pay back $21.5 billion in taxpayer funds it
received. Or Ally Financial still owes $11.4 billion.
And, finally, we now know that after seven seasons and 14 Emmys, we have to
say good night to the rural juror. On Thursday night, Tina Fey and the
cast of "30 Rock" bid farewell in their series finale. "30 Rock", the show
about a show, was absurd and ridiculous, as it was smart and daring, funny
always came first. Fey and company took on the issues of corporate culture
to discrimination, "30 Rock" never felt preachy, but it was jam-packed with
the most biting social satire.
We don`t know what Tina Fey`s legacy will be. We know a lot has already
been written about her impact on comedy as a woman. We know the path of
women in comedy is already well worn, and that Tina Fey helped to pave it
"30 Rock" wasn`t just ground-breaking because it was created by a woman, it
was ground-breaking because it was so damn smart and packed with so many
jokes, you had to rewind your DVR to catch them all. It set a new high
standard for comedy. Sadly, from now on, we`ll all just have to work on
our night chews alone.
I want to find out what my guests now know they didn`t know at the
beginning of the week.
And I`ll begin with you, Hilda Solis.
SOLIS: Well, I think that this debate is going to be very healthy. I like
what I heard today in terms of the different perspectives and how people
can look at where we have come from and where we`re going to go. And
hopefully the public will be more engaged. I think that the DREAMers and
the folks out in America, whether it`s rural America or the inner city,
that we come together and figure out where to go as a country in
Can we do this humanely? Can we do this in a way that can help our
economy? And can we all work together to help improve what we have here in
this beautiful country which is about freedom, social justice, humanity and
And I think the moral issue for us is immigration reform. It is needed to
be done and it`s broken.
ANTLE: We learned that the U.S. Senate is not the last office that Ted
Cruz will run for. His performance during the hearings for Chuck Hagel,
his confrontation with Hagel, and giving some Republicans who oppose the
Hagel nomination hope that maybe a filibuster or a hold would work. And
also his positioning on the immigration issue.
HAYES: That was with demagoguery like none I have seen in a long time.
PENA: Well, from the Texas perspective, we think that Ted Cruz is doing a
fine job and he`s holding the feet to the fire.
OK, now, trying -- pivoting to the immigration issue, what I have learned
is that I have a sense that both sides want to resolve it and put it behind
them, and hopefully we can resolve it once and for all.
PRAELI: I think this week, we`ve learned that there`s real appetite in
Washington to solve immigration or to work on immigration reform. But even
more so, the DREAMers and our communities will be holding the Democrats or
Republicans and the president accountable. The president set a marker,
right? He talked about the LGBT families and including them in this bill,
and the Senate bipartisan did not.
So, we also know that there`s a House Judiciary hearing on immigration this
Tuesday. So, we`re almost --
HAYES: This is first time the House will take a bite at this. It will be
HAYES: My thanks to Hilda Solis, former secretary of Labor in the Obama
administration, Jim Antle from "The American Spectator", Aaron Pena, former
member of the Texas House of Representatives, and Lorella Praeli from the
United We Dream Network -- thanks for getting UP. It`s a great
Thank you for joining us today for UP.
Join us tomorrow Sunday morning at 8:00. We will have Nobel Prize-winning
economist Joseph Stiglitz.
Coming up next is "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY". On today`s "MHP", Melissa breaks
down the three factors converging to make right now a unique moment in time
that could lead to real changes in immigration policy. That and Rosa
Parks, beyond the bus. What you don`t know about the civil rights pioneer.
There`s a really fascination story about the background of Rosa Parks and
her career after her time in the bus. You`re definitely going to want to
check that out.
That`s "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY" coming up next.
We`ll see you right here tomorrow at 8:00. Thanks for getting UP.
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