tv Town Hall Event Immigration MSNBC November 16, 2010 2:00am-4:00am EST
let me say it again, we would love to have him. congress elect west, if someone on your staff is vog this, i would love it. we'll be fair. it might be fun. i'd love to have you clarify this in your own words rather than me making sense of them for you. now, beyond border lines. >> illegal immigration, it's the hot topic on america's southern border. >> we need an immigration policy that works, a policy that meets the needs of families and businesses while honoring our tradition as a nation of immigrants and a nation of law. >> flash points in the congressional campaign. >> i don't know how anyone of hispanic heritage could be a
republican. okay. do i need to say more. >> tonight we tackle the issue head on with americans whose lives have been directly affected. latinos who are here to say. >> i feel american. i am american. this the community that saw me grow up. >> voices of americans that want illegal immigrants gone. >> they are coming in, grabbing what they can get. >> immigration, can we get beyond the border lines. that's our topic tonight. >> announcer: beyond border lines, live from the university of san diego. [ applause ] >> good evening. i'm lawrence o'donnell and welcome to the university of san diego. we're going to talk tonight, and, yes, maybe argue a bit
about the issue of immigration in the community. there are 15 million latinos in america. they are our fastest growing minority. millions are here illegally. the political debate over what to do about that has deeply divided americans especially in border states. before we begin, please welcome my partner tonight maria teresa kumar, executive director of voto latino and an msnbc contributor. maria teresa, thank you. thank you for joining us. we're going to drill down on latino immigration, including legal and illegal immigration. the immigration story in this country is bigger than that. >> we're the only country where it's built on self-selecting, coming to the country and empowering. it's a different wave of immigration. it's interwoven who we are fundamental. that's why i'm excited to be here. >> the place for politic, we've discovered latinos is a very
significant voting bloc now. they decided the election for harry reid and others. what is happening in latino voters participation now and going forward? >> they keep surging. i think the number one thing is immigration is a critical part of the immigration filipino voters. what's happened is immigration has reached such a heated point we can't have an honest conversation. that's what this is about. yes we need to talk about global asian, competing on a global level as immigrants, national security. but more importantly we're talking about families. people who we're talking about are parents and families torn apart. how do we get to that conversation. >> let's get to the conversation.
let's go right to the heart of the battle of immigration, the feeling by millions of americans that illegal immigration is harming their country and in some cases their way of life and communities. we went to fremont, nebraska, a town of 26,000, where some people are worried about a surge in illegal immigration. their answer was new local laws to do what they say state and federal laws are failing to do. here are make of those people in their own words. >> fremont has that small town feeling of ride your bike anywhere, great school systems. hardworking people, too, i'd say. >> you have the farming community, meat packing. the population is around 25,000. it's a close-knit community. it's like everybody knows everybody.
i've lived here my whole life. >> it's just a great community. >> it's very frustrating. >> people are fed up. >> there are a lot of people that are very angry. >> everybody sitting here is proud to be an american, and it bothers them to see the way of life change so drastically because of something that shouldn't be there. >> the problem was that we had illegals starting to become greater in number in the city of fremont. >> all of a sudden you'd be at the grocery store and everybody is talking suspicious around you. where did this come from? we're about as far away from the border as we can get. i think that became very disconcerting to people around here. i think it bothered them. we're middle america, mainstream. we're not flashy. i think people felt like it was intrusion put upon them that these people weren't invited and they are here. we're not getting doctors and
lawyers and itt techs and finish carpenters, we're getting whatever is rolling down the river. >> which is causing the crime rate to go up, police cost to go up, school cost to go up, hospital cost to go up. >> they are not paying into our system. unfortunately they don't have health system, illegals. they use emergency services that cost a ton more than if they saw a normal doctor. >> we're footing the bill for those people that are here illegally. they are stealing. they are basically stealing from the rest of us. >> within our school system you saw a lot of programs for the gifted kids just get wiped out. more money was going towards speaking spanish kids to speak our language and a big expense for free and reduced lunches. >> these people are making no attempt to become u.s. citizens or try to blend in with society, learn the language, try to adapt and say, you don't see community service by these people. they are coming in, grabbing what they can get.
>> before they start every council meeting, they have to say the pledge of allegiance. well, there was a handful of hispanics, legal or illegal that refused to stand up and say the pledge and put their hand over their heart. we're for immigration. we're just against illegal immigration bringing drugs, gangs, economic burden. >> not loving our country as we do. that's all we're asking. love our country, follow our rules. try to be an american. that should be first. >> what we're trying to do is get an ordinance passed to which we did make the city enforce the ordinance to make it illegal to have anybody hire somebody here, that was here illegally or rent to them. >> basically you could not hire, rent to or harbor illegals. if you were caught, if you were a business, you would lose your business license.
>> it just seems pretty ridiculous that we would have to go take a petition, get signatures, to get an ordinance passed to enforce a federal law already on the books. it seemed asinine. we shouldn't have to. >> the federal government isn't going to do anything about it. >> it's frustrating. federal governments, city and state, aren't doing anything about the problem. they turn their head and let it go. >> some people were afraid to speak out, too, just because of the fact you appear very hateful if you're against illegals. >> what's the worst thing you can call a person, a racist. a lot of people don't want to be called a racist, because it's probably the worst thing you could call somebody.
>> there's nowhere in our ordinance that said any kind of a race. we were addressing illegal aliens. i don't care what country you came from. >> we have laws. this country is built on laws. let's follow the laws. we follow them. why aren't they following them? i feel we're fighting to try to keep the country a country. keep the country from going down the tubes. >> strong words and strong feelings from fremont, nebraska. to respond we are joined by a familiar face, especially if you were in a movie theater this weekend, actor activist and co-founder of voto latino rosario dawson. and from houston, texas, a man who deals with the reality of illegal immigration every day harris county's first latino sheriff adrian garcia. rosario, if you had shot your new box office hit "unstoppable" in fremont and had a chance to sit in that coffee shop with those people, what would you want to say to them. >> looks like we could have actually. there's a lot of freight trains going through there. one, i would say change is scary.
there's been an influx of people coming into this country for the majority of our history. i think it was very scary for the native american people to see people show up and say we hate europe, can we move in. as part of american history we've had illegal immigrants and legal immigrants that came in and changed the fabric of this country. the trains that were going across were laid down by chinese. we've created internments, things to respond but basically they are here to say. making sure populations are going to be permanently living with each to understand each other's cultures and start working together as americans. >> sheriff garcia, i'm hearing some fear in those voices. frustrations with government, with unenforced laws and a little bit of bewilderment of how did this happen. they are talking about how far they are from the southern border. new york city is farther from the southern border. if you want to hear languages you've never heard before drop in there for lunch. what would you want to say to those people? >> as rosario touched on, i
think immigration has been a natural part of our country. it's really the fabric of what america is all about. we are a nation of immigrants. but by the same token, whenever you start to have some issues, as in my business public safety concerns, then people again to try to -- their fear builds around it regretfully. regardless whether it's true or how much it contributes to that, the perception of fear begins to take hold. >> maria teresa, it's not unique. communities around the country are trying to pass local laws, if you rent to illegals, these penalties will occur. what is happening in these local initiatives? are any of them taking hold and in any way working? >> some of them are. there's a case in a small town in georgia where they passed those ordinances, all the legal
immigrants left. the town was devastated. we're missing the broader point. folks are getting recruited to come to this country. they are coming for work. how do we deal with the work. how do we start talking and talking seriously about the business aspects. >> there are meat packing in the midwest like those in the nebraska communities that refused to be unionized and they aren't anymore and it's opened up. you said you started off on this subject as a liberal and you've now moved over to being a conservative. why are you traveled that road? >> really, it's my mom's fault, >> there are meat packing in the midwest like those in the nebraska communities that refused to be unionized and they aren't anymore and it's opened up. you said you started off on this subject as a liberal and you've now moved over to being a conservative. why are you traveled that road? >> really, it's my mom's fault, because when i was much younger and still understanding at all, my perspective was pretty much what we're talking about, if people are working and here trying to contribute, what's the big concern about it.
by the same token, i am the product of a guest worker, my father helped build rail lines in california. so my mother really straightened me out and said, wait a minute, there's a way to do things. and your dad waited in line. he completed his contract. he returned home when he was supposed to. he followed the rules. so i think there's that balance that we have to try to achieve. >> can i jump in there? i think the bra zero program is no longer available now. when you say get them in line, how would you address that and how would you address business? >> you have the wrong guy to address those issues. we need our legislators to address those issues. by the same token i think there's a lot being said about the workforce being demanded today.
as you say, people are being recruit freddie other parts of the world. regretfully it creates a supply and demand issue we are all trying to struggle with. regretfully it puts local law enforcement in the middle of this conversation. >> rosario, there's so many different facets. there are people that want to talk about sealing the border first and other things. there's a very large population here, illegal population, 12 million maybe. there aren't enough guys with badges in this country to move 12 million back across that border. everyone acknowledges that. what should we think about how to deal with the 12 million here and staying here. >> first of all we need to stop making latinos synonymous with immigrant. it's changed many times over the years. >> illegal immigration. big numbers in chinese and many other organizations. >> going back to the supply and demand.
the reason why we need comprehensive immigration reforms is because the laws on the book didn't work anymore. if they did we wouldn't have this problem and be talking. we need to think about what's right for 2010. we can't keep going back to old pieces of paper. according to old pieces of paper i'm not allowed to vote and that's why we need to inject humanity. thirty years ago it was easier for my grandfather to come from cuba and make a life for himself. it's much more difficult now. that's why these are new problems. we need to tackle them with new fresh ideas because that's the only way we're going to be able to move forward and be globally competitive. as we're arguing about these menial jobs that go to high school diploma owners or left, bill gates is importing people from china and india. has he jobs he would love to give to americans but we don't qualify, because we're 21st in math.
should we be pushing ourselves as a culture that's why it can't be talked about in a vacuum outside of health, education. >> we'll get to the first e-mail question when we come back and meet a former ins officer who says it's too late for immigration reform. stay with us. i'm looking to save in insurance. don't want to deal with a lot of flibbity-flab or mumbo-jumbo. sounds like you need to name your price. no gobbledy-gook? never. do i still get all the dagnabbit coverage i need? sure. we give you a quote and you can adjust your price
i think the people of arizona have the right to pass their laws under the tenth amendment. i think it's clearly a result of the federal government's failure to secure our border and to enforce our laws. >> americans are right to be frustrated including folks along border states. the answer is to undermine principles that define us as a nation. >> we're back here at the university of san diego with rosario dawson and sheriff adrian garcia and also joined
now by mike cutler, a longtime immigration enforcement agent who works for the center for immigration studies in washington. we're going to the first e-mail question from mike rojo. mike, you get the first question. what do we do with the illegals that are here now? maybe ask it a few times if you don't get an answer. >> there is an answer. you're right. we're not going to lock up -- there's more than 12 million. >> how many do you think? >> maybe 30 or more. >> double. >> in 1986 we were told there were a million illegals given lawful status with the amnesty then. we wound up with 4 million. 11 or 12, who knows. this is like the weight of a black hole. who knows. the problem is immigration laws are designed to keep people out of a country whose presence is harmful.
it's the way a homeowner looks through a peephole before they let someone in they can't trust. we can create an environment that is not conducive or encouraging -- there's a section of law that says it's a felony to encourage, induce, aid or abet. what you do, if you can't get a driver's license. you can't get a job. you can't open a bank account, why would you remain? if you sat in a restaurant and said the power is off in our refrigerator, the food is spoiled, we can't serve you, you wouldn't stay very long. we need to discourage. i'm the son of an immigrant.
>> your answer to the question of what do you do with the 12 or more million that are here now illegally is you do nothing except try to get them to leave through these environmental -- >> you don't get all the speeders that are speeding down the highway. in new york we had a problem with drunk drivers. we started seizing cars. we didn't seize all the cars. >> sheriff garcia, how does that sound to you? >> you have to make sure you're providing public safety. people understand when you commit a crime, there's consequences. that's the way we do it in harris county. we're not taking it to the extreme the way other places do trying to figure out who is walking down the street and what their status is. rather we're basing it on the fact when someone commits a crime, we're checking them and we're cooperating with ice and having that process.
public safety needs to have good information. needs to have a relationship and confidence of the community otherwise it won't work. >> he's talking about making life more difficult than what the arizona law is contemplating. what do you think the behavioral reaction would be with illegal workers now? >> i think the picture that mr. cutler is providing, actually, would devastate the united states economy period. because what we're talking about are individuals working in agriculture, health care, also working in manufacturing. to wipe them out doesn't seem to be an option. i do have a question for you. you've been working with the ins for the last 30 years and you've seen what works and what doesn't. what would you change of our laws today, if you could start all over. if the president and congress came up to you and said, you have, michael cutler, with your experience of 30 years, how would you change our immigration laws today.
>> actually in some ways they have done that. i've done about 15 -- >> i'm asking how you do it. >> you need more manpower. first of all, if you think we're enforcing the immigration laws we're not. we have about 3,000 dedicated to enforcing immigration law. new york has 35,000 police officers. the likelihood that an illegal alien will be able to run or border or overstay their visa or terms of admission is quite high. what we need to do is increase likelihood if you're here illegally. we l they are on their way to legal citizenship. that's more -- >> what would you do -- >> every year we lose 100 to 200 billion -- >> that means their family aren't here.
>> if you legalize them the families would come here but the unscrupulous employer -- this is something no one talks about -- the unscrupulous employer will go with the magic card and say i'll keep working for you but not at $6 an hour. they were fired and the next batch of illegals were hired. what do we do with 20 million people losing their jobs, brought families here because comprehensive reform would allow it. we don't know who they are. they take any name they want. wives and children, breadwinner out of work. wind up on welfare, unemployment, communities going bankrupt. how do you pay for all this. >> rosario, what we're hearing from mike is the strict enforcement school. seems it sounds a little like arizona on steroids. what i want to get, rosario,
what do you thinks illegal, undocumented population here already, how do you think they would react to the kinds of things mike is talking about? do you think we would see this mass migration across the southern border of tens of millions of people because they can't get a checking account? >> yes and no. the reality is we're talking about people born on one side of an imagine area line or another. people go where their livelihood can be the best. we're talking about millions and millions of individuals who all decided to risk their lives and try to be an entrepreneur here, in some way, shape, or form to work here, just to work. that's where it gets really dangerous.
it would be easy to say all of you are illegal and you need to leave. how do we do that and stay humane. a law that has us pointing at people, are you a criminal? are you? it would be easier if people would be honest in that way. again, it is about employers encouraging people to come here as much as bad policies in their country affecting their lively hoods and driving them out. as long as we encourage people to come here the same way employers are sending american jobs overseas, this is a tremendous problem why we're here where we are. these employers are looking for cheap labor. americans like to have things as cheap as possible. if we try to combine the two it's problematic. that means all of our costs are going up, we'll lose the tax money we're getting from all the undocumented people who are here. or we get arrived all these people and we're just here -- or we keep them here and figure it out, what's going to happen with all the situations -- >> i think what we're saying is we don't have a system where we can get the unskilled worker we desperately need now. how do we create that pathway.
>> we have a comment over there on micro phone one. >> thank you very much. i'm craig vargas, a professor at the university of san diego. this program began by people talking about bringing humanity to the debate. i arrived in 1978. i'll tell you what my experience with people coming across the border has been. i will concede there are issues of crime and people crossing illegally. when i look around san diego i see people coming from south of the border working very hard at jobs that make very little money. it seems difficult to bring humanity to the conversation when these people are demonized so readily. how do we have true immigration reform when we, in fact, do demonize these people? >> rosario, what is the feeling in the latino people about this point, the demonization? we saw a commercial running, demonizing, showing people running across the border. what is it like?
>> people especially running for election seem to forget people can watch, if they are speaking in spanish they are watching in spanish but they are watching english ads. they are quite polarizing. there's ads out there saying don't vote at all. there's when sheriff arpaio put out an e-mail, which he says he wasn't attached to, in arizona that e-mail went out to 800,000 people to tell them that we had to stop them illegals from voting and make sure they couldn't go to the poll. everyone knows undocumented people can't vote so what that meant was voter intimidation. you've seen the backlash against meg whitman in california, people are paying attention to these issues. latinos are going to vote how they are going to vote. they are not a monolithic voting bloc. they are paying attention to ads, seeing how they are talked
about, especially people for generations. i was here before the imaginary line crossed me in american history in arizona. you can tell me by looking at me you can tell me i don't belong. people are going to get upset. this is going to get more convoluted as we step through the facts. >> it could not be more ironic that we're having this conversation in a spot that used to be mexico. >> yes. >> we're going to break when we come back we're going to get to politics, the latino vote. we're going to get to more e-mail questions. the latino vote is changing american politics. we're going to talk about that
when we c >> i'd like to read you something that i hope sounds familiar. all persons born or naturalized in the united states and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the united states and of the state where in they reside. that is the 14th amendment to the constitution of the united states. it says very clearly that anyone born in this country is a citizen. but apparently that clear language isn't clear enough for some people. and when we come back, we'll talk about a growing political effort in state houses and congress not to amend the constitution but to reinterpret the 14th amendment to exclude children of illegal immigrants.
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>> i don't know how anyone of hispanic heritage could be a republican. okay? do i need to say more. >> i think every speech should begin with a shot of tequila. >> welcome back to the university of san diego. we're going to turn to the politics of immigration latinos are a huge factor in our elections so is the fear of illegal immigration. that played out in the midterm elections and how it will play in 2012 is the question now. we're joined by campaign strategist for democratic strategist and alfonso aguilar, executive director for latino partnerships and conservative principles and jose diaz-balart from our sister network telemundo. we saw the latino vote be decisive, the majority of the united states senate in the state of nevada. what else did we learn about the latino vote in the last election and going forward.
>> we saw three things. we saw it was decisive in maintaining democrats in the senate. it could easily be decisive in maintaining a democratic president in 20 $12.we saw that even if latino voters initially were disengaged. it wasn't about identity politics but issue politics. it was about candidates who spoke to the immigration issue. we saw immigration was a wedge that didn't work very well. only 8% of the voters overall said immigration was a wedge issue for them they did vote republican. the voters on election eve overwhelmingly two-thirds support comprehensive immigration reform. we refused to allow this to be a wedge issue. >> alfonso, harry reid said he can't understand why any latino would ever vote republican. what is it he cannot understand. >> i think as a latino, i find that comment insulting, condescending.
i think latinos are independent. yes, the majority voted for democrats. we've seen a modest but important increase in latinos who voted for republicans. remember george bush in '04 got about 44% of the latino vote. so latinos can consider republican candidates, either republican candidates open themselves to the latino community and propose solutions to immigration that are constructive but to generalize. and typecast latinos and say they are all democrats i think is pretty ridiculous and pretty insulting. >> also ridiculous and insulting like sharon engel did in nevada and other places. >> absolutely. >> i think you as a conservative would not say you could not support someone like that either. >> i agree 100%. we have to understand that the republican party also is not a monolithic party. the majority of republicans --
the last under ronald reagan, george bush worked hard to get immigration form in '07 and we're almost there. but i think republicans, the majority of republicans sadly are remaining silent. it is time now for those republicans who are for immigration to stand up and say we have to do something constructive that goes bond just enforcement only options. those people like sharon engel and others have hijacked the discussion of immigration within republican ranks. republicans have to stand up and say we're the party of free market, freedom of opportunity, speak for us. we're going to do something constructive on immigration. >> it seems that hijacking has been successful. it seems a long time since we've heard a republican candidate talk about immigration reform. with they used to. george bush did, john mccain did.
>> even marco rubio had to soften his stance on immigration in order to be elected statewide in florida. a quick question, what you're saying and the audience can agree, republicans are talking two sides of their mouth. they are talking definitely about issues that a lot of latinos would hear about when it comes to small businesses, also family values, but it is hijacked by this larger engels and brewers. how would you advise the next presidential candidate, whether it be sarah palin or huckabee, how would you advise them to tackle this issue? >> well, i think you'll be very surprised with some of the presidential candidates including sarah palin on this issue. we still don't know what she thinks about broader immigration reform. i think you have to propose something constructive that is more than just enforcement only. we have to go back to our free market principles and recognize we are the party of the free market.
the problem as you very well outlined at the beginning of the show is that this economy has an incredible demand for foreign workers. we need a mechanism to bring those workers in. why don't we have a guest worker program like george bush supported. that's where many democrats who are controlled by unions oppose a guest worker program. >> all right. we're going to hold it there. when we come back we have questions from the audience ready to go. we're going to be looking forward to what's going to happen in 2012. will latinos be the determining factor in the presidential election? we'll be right back.
and we're back with our immigration town hall at the university of san diego. questions and comments from the audience. go ahead. >> yes. my name is dylan hayden, i'm a sophomore here. i was wondering if you could address kind of the duality that exists right on the border, the border fence. on the one hand it seems to be kind of a daunting thing for
individuals that live on the other side of the border. on the other hand we're hearing that millions of people are crossing the border annually. so maybe if you could talk about that and talk about why or why not you think it's successful. >> we'll pick that up as we move along. go ahead. one more. >> when will our republican leaders across the nation and we heard the sheriff from texas and now the new governor-elect for new mexico with continued enforcement and really lack of understanding or suggestion in fixing the problem. you know, we seem to be really aware about our border -- for example border patrol tripling since 2001 in agents. we've stripped driver's licenses, tried to take the right of undocumented immigrants from renting, kind of resulting to driving without driver's licenses or insurance or renting under horrible conditions. but none of them seem to know about how we're going to fix the problem. governor-elect from new mexico republican ran on the platform of fear and really enforcing immigration laws but had no knowledge of the dream act, which is one of the most prominent legislations that is actually going to be in the lame duck session this upcoming week. >> alfonso that is the impression voters are getting from republicans. >> i'm a daughter of immigrants and a young lawyer.
today the supreme court upheld ab 540 which really waves tuition requirements for students. what we do as a nation if we don't encourage access to education and opportunity. if that had not been the case for me i would not be standing before you as a lawyer. >> in california, there is in the california system, university system, if you are a resident of the state you pay a certain tuition level. if you're a resident or montana, some other state you pay a higher tuition level, and what the california supreme court decided undocumented in california will pay the residential -- california residential rate if they live in california. over here. >> we keep talking about this foreign immigration we're clearly focusing on mexico-u.s. immigration situation. how do you think other immigrant countries will act on the law pretty much focused on the u.s.-mexico immigration situation. >> we have experts later in the segment that will deal with that. >> i'm linda vargas. i'm curious given jobs are the
biggest draw for people from across the border what do you think employers would legitimately embrace to stop employment of illegals in this country? >> jose, you know this community. you've worked on this story. you know the reality of life here on the ground for the undocumented worker, for the employers. what do you think would work on the employer? >> lawrence, thank you for doing the show. i think it's important to recognize and respect what you all are doing at msnbc. [ applause ] >> so many things to talk about. first of all, for the young man who started it's not untold millions that come across the border every yore. let's be clear. let's not create more confusion. it's not untold millions across the border. for the gentleman that talks about republicans and what they are not doing to help understand the need for immigration reform, i would say democrats have also promised immigration reform and
didn't come through. that's part of the apathy we've been seeing in hispanic voters for sometime now. the key here is we have to analyze there different perspective. there are almost two different worlds. there's the man who comes here, two brothers born here in the united states. he came when he was three years old. obviously didn't come of his own volition. his parents brought him here. he has dreams and future plans and wants to be part of the united states armed forces and contribute here, yet he's penalized for something he did or didn't do. let's talk about his parents. let's talk about the millions already in this country and know no other country. let's talk about what we do with them. i'll wrap it up.
but let's also see if there's not a common ground we can find with the ranchers in the arizona border that feel they should have the right to not have untold hundreds of people coming through their property every week and they don't know who they are and they may be led by a guy with an ak-47 who back in mexico was cutting heads off. everyone has a right to be safe but so do the people who are here and really do have dreams and feel as american as you and i do. >> maria teresa, how do you get a subject change with people in this conversation? by that i mean there are people who focus almost exclusively on border security, on a fence, on tripling the personnel on the southern bored. we did triple the personnel on the southern border between presidents reagan and clinton. we tripled it. and the illegal crossovers increased with the tripling.
how do you get people to get out of the one little solution or the one little hole they want to keep this conversation in? >> i think what you're talking about is right now the lack of comprehensive immigration reform, everything we do from now until then is a band-aid affect. we're not addressing the core issue. the core issue is we have to modernize our immigration system. we're using antiquated rules and asking people to play by antiquated laws and not giving them the opportunity to reflect what our country needs. number two, also what jose said and always alfonso, we have to get the republican and democrat party to offer solutions. they are not doing it because they are catering to the extreme and not moderates. >> what's the realistic possibility. you understand what's driving democratic candidates and you understand what's driving republican candidates on this issue. what's the realistic possibility of some kind of agreement in what kind of timeframe? >> first of all, this is an area where the voters are way ahead of the politicians of both
political parties. the dream act overwhelmingly supported by the public should be passed united lame duck session. right now there are republican votes, democratic votes. i was just saying to alfonso, we need his leadership there, maybe we should nominate him on the democrat side for office. there is the will in the public. there hasn't been the will of the elected officials. we need leadership and we need leadership from the president. >> we're going to have to leave it there for that segment. lots more in the next hour how this debate effects young people and what we can learn from our own history. you'll meet one young man who says he is an american but the law says he's not all of that when we continue live from the university of san diego. mom, i want to drive. it'll cost a fortune to insure you. nationwide insurance, we need a freeze-frame here. let's give parents a break, right ? let the discounts they've earned be passed down to their teens. save mom and dad up to 25% versus the competition. we'll call it the nationwide family plan.
immigration debate, the children of illegal immigrants. brought here at very young ages. raised here as young adults. american in every way you can imagine. but not in the eyes of their government. and as they try to lead adult lives, they begin to confront the terrifying reality of a life in hiding. arizona is one of the places that fear is greatest. and it's where we met some of these young, well, you decide if we can call them americans. ♪ >> since i was little my dad would tell me, don't tell anybody you are from mexico. >> i consider this my country and, you know, i would be more than proud to serve and protect our freedom. >> people talk about getting in line. but what line do i get in? >> i think around high school is
when it really started hitting. the fact that undocumented was going to be a barrier to overcome. they can't say that i don't belong here, that i'm not welcome here, that i'm not needed here. because i am. >> it is our home because, like for me, personally, i was here since i was 4 years old. >> i have been part of this community since i was little. part of this state, this country. i feel part of it. i feel american the i am american. this is the community that saw me grow up. >> there is like a police car next to us and it starts flashing its lights, your heart starts pumping. >> i think there is a certain all. fear that i live with, that we all live with because there is a lot of uncertainty as to -- what the, the consequences are going to be for a traffic light stop. the important thing to remember is there is an even greater fear, greater uncertainty especially in my case of going back to a country which i don't know. >> i would be scared to go to mexico. right now because of all of the violence.
>> i was told, you know, get an education. go to college. do great things. and here i am stuck. it's kind of tough. in fact won't sugarcoat it. it is amazingly tough. >> to me it is very difficult and sad at the same time to know once i graduate, you know, i'm going to be graduating with this degree, i'm hopefully going to be able to get into nursing school, get my nursing degree. but then after that -- what am i going to do? if i don't have nine digits of the social security i can't get a job, you know they want you to be that statistic that they tal about. they want you to be that person that they talk about on the news. doing something wrong. but here we are, you know, doing everything we can to go against it and actually doing what we can to pursue our education regardless if we can't get the job after we have that diploma. but we are doing it.
and we're not letting the nine digits, nine digit number stop us. that's the most frustrating thing for me, that everything that we are doing, can amount for nothing. yet we are doing it regardless. >> a lot of us, we get pushed down so much to the point where we just give up. but then there are some of us who say "you know what, i am just going to prove you wrong. i am just going to go out there. i am going to j kate myself. i am going to make a better future for myself." >> if we have talent here in the u.s. if we have people that can contribute to the economy, then we should be able to use them. i mean, use me. you know? >> i believe in the goodness of people. and i know that there is actually people out there fighting for us. but as for politicians, i don't think any of them want to actually, you know, stand up for what they believe in.
>> this is my home. i am not going anywhere. >> we are joined now by one of the young people you met in that piece. his name is selzo, also, delores huerta, along with caesar chavez, of the united farm workers union, and immigration enforcement agent mike cutler. selzo, thank you for doing this. i know it isn't easy. we showed some tape earlier in the show, some people living in nebraska who are dealing with a new immigrant population in their community. they are, they feel many things. i think including fear. in fact, you know we invited them to come here to san diego. they couldn't to join us with this, with this dialogue we are
having tonight. but you know there is all this fear of the immigrant population and what they are, what they're coming here to do, what they might mean to, to this -- to this country. but on the other side of this issue you are living in fear on a day-to-day basis. fear of what might happen to you, someone in mike's job if they find you might have you shipped out. and fear of what your future can be even if you are -- able to stay in this country. >> yes, i mean. i think both sides of the argument have fear. fear is what is keeping us from
solving the issues that affect us. this issue of immigration. i think that if both of us, both of the sides of the story, can start to come together and overcome the fear. for example, right now, i can say i am undocumented and unafraid. i say that so i can share my story and let you know that -- that my values are the american values that i grew up with. i grew up in this country wanting to serve after high school. and i couldn't. but i continued with my education. so -- yeah, we need to -- get over that fear. to start that dialogue. >> delores, you have watched generations of latinos come across our southern border legally and illegally to work here, to work as farm workers and in other occupations. what do, what do your decades of experience tell us about where we should go from here? >> well, first of all, we are not going to solve the problem of immigration unless we solve the issues of our trade policies. what people don't realize when they talk of the anti-immigrants, anti-illegals, whatever, they don't realize why do people come here in the first place? whey do they leave their beautiful homes, where we go to
as tourists, to come here and suffer. and they do that because there is no opportunities. why aren't there opportunities? because we ship our corn to mexico. our subsidized corn goes to mexico. the maize is from mexico. they put farmers out of work. what will they do? they come north. we have giant stores, wal-mart, they go up there, tens of thousands, displaced from shop keepers. we have the big box, big box factories, right, and what happens then. like in juarez, mexico, one day to the next, 80,000 jobs shipped from mexico to china. these people are all displaced. unless we solve the trade policies and use our united states technology, resources to help the people, not only mexico, central america, those countries rebuild their own economies, people don't leave because they want to leave the they leave because they have to leave. they're not going to starve. this is the big picture, global, not just united states, happening in the europe. punishing immigrants who are victims. putting people in prison who are victims. this is wrong. you have to change that. corporations they pass dollars
across borders. we have materials that come from the united states to china and then they bring them back. so they can be sold here. so if we can have money cross borders, materials cross borders. but if a person tries to cross a border then we make them a criminal and put them in prison. this is wrong. people say i don't want to be a racist. when we talk about the people that were recruited to work in the meat packing plants in nebraska. if those were canadians you would not have the problem you are seeing there. very, very different. at the bottom, this has been a really increase, and been -- propagandaized, against the people of color, against the people from mexico and the people from central america and latin america. >> mike, i want to take you back to the question in introducing the video of celso, is this person here sitting here an american? >> by law, no. because one point i really have to respond to. for me it was never about race. as an immigration agent, i spent years at times arresting and investigating people from
europe. i was marine intelligence officer. most of the people i arrested were from greece. arrested canadians. work closely with the royal canadian mounted police. mexico has built its own fence to separate itself from guatemala. nafta has been a nightmare. this goes back to political finance. we get the best government money can buy. agents aren't allowed to accept a cup of coffee. politicians take money with both hands and do bidding of the corporations. >> mike, to get back to what you would look to do going forward. make life for celso even more difficult than it is now, prevent him from getting a credit card, checking the account, anything like that. celso, if everything mike wants to happen, happens. you can't get a checking account, you can't pay rent to, to, to someone who would safely
be able to rent you an apartment, would you leave? would it make you give up and go back across that aboarder? >> i don't think anything will make me go back across the border. because i group in arizona, phoenix, that is my community. i plan to contribute to the community that saw me grow up. so, at this point, i don't see anything getting in my way. >> mike, tell me, one more quick point. tell me what it is like the you had the badge for 30 years. you were in a position to handcuff people like this and get them back across that border. when you, no doubt had to do it, with, with, guys like this who are obviously here to contribute, they're not here to cause trouble. not part of any crime issues or any of the things that we don't want in the country he is in fact exactly what we want in this country. we just don't have a documented way. what was it like for you when you had to handcuff one of these people and drag that person -- >> we can't make policy on the exceptional case. you need to look overall at whether or not what we do or don't do encourages more people to violate borders.
half the world lives below the poverty line. on one of your programs, one in five american children, american children don't have food. not enough food to have safe lives, where they're being harmed. we have to take care of our own first. america is like a lifeboat. if you and i were on a lifeboat and it was going down. >> i think, mike, first of all you said, because, you wouldn't, you would have to deport him because of the law. if you had the opportunity would you change the law? >> you are missing my point. >> would you change the law? >> no, i wouldn't. i will tell you why i wouldn't. because the whole world, half the world lives below the poverty line. if we don't make -- >> you don't think there is any room. >> we admit 1.1 million plus americans every year on the pathway to citizenship. at what point do you say that's it? >> let's consider. i want you to consider a pathway to citizenship being considered. harry reid has said in lame-duck session of congress he wants to take up the dream act. nancy pelosi wants to take up the dream act. outline for us what the dream act is and how it would help celso? >> the dream act what it does it
provides a pathway to citizenship for individuals that are 16 years or younger and been here five years and have demonstrated one they want to serve the military as celso would look to do. and number two if they would lock to go to school. a pathway to citizenship. not guaranteed. the issue, when we start talking about our american identity. who are we? we start talking about pulling ourselves by the bootstraps. going up and against all odds, and fundamentally trying to beat those odds. who more than a dream act kid would be able to demonstrate that? >> one quick point. the dream act. the dream act -- [ applause ] the m in dream act says minor. if you look at the house bill, aliens up to their 35th birthday would be eligible. the senate bill has no age cutoff. one of the problems we have with the debate is the language very often is deceptive and misleading. i think american people are upset.
we are a generous people. we are the 911 to the world. when there is a crisis we show up and show up with more than anybody. >> we're immigrants. that's our identity. when you start saying. you are incredibly qualified. >> the age cutoff? >> one of the biggest tragedies we are telling people. you know what we need teachers, we need health care workers, we need engineers. we have them. >> you would be for a dream act if the age cut off was for minors. minors here before they were 16. >> numbers that we can deal with. right now. >> we are getting somewhere. we can negotiate a version of the dream act with mike before the night is over. jose. one thing mike has been saying is that we are on a lifeboat. this is a limited resources country. can't take any more of the people. they're a drain. they're costing us money.
that is ignoring the fact that in fact they are contributing massive low to social security. billions and billions of dollars. by the way, not making claims on it because many of them are using fake social security numbers. that money goes straight into the trust funds they don't withdraw. we have about 5% to 10% of the social security trust fund are due to in grant labor coming into the country the a very big contribution. what other things do you hear in this discussion that are getting distorted from the realities of what you know covering this story? >> by the way, talk about contributions. invite you to go outskirts of phoenix where you can see people at 118 degrees fahrenheit in the summer picking peppers for a five-gallon barrel of paint for $1.25. and they're there day in and day out. and, you don't find a lot of people that were born here willing to do that. but having said that i want to say one thing. i think both political parties are playing political football with this. they're exploiting the hispanic community each in their own way. my conservative friends and my liberal friends, both are not willing to deal with the
reality. which is, there are 11 million people here. 80% of the kids born to undocumented immigrants are like celso, born in the united states, or were here when they don't know any other country. and it is incumbent upon both political parties to quit the crap and get down to brass takes and figure out what things they can do together to figure out in graduation reform. they're not willing to do it either one of them. because they're willing to exploit for their political short term advantage. >> there is a lot of exploitation. there was a hearing that chuck schumer held, alan greenspan talking about the visas where fraud runs rampantly. mr. greenspan said we have to eliminate the difference in walk ins between skilled and unskilled workers. his words, he accused middle-class americans with skills being the privileged elites. if you in the middle-class think you are privileged elite. god help all of us. we are bringing in foreign workers who undercut americans who are trying to support themselves. you want to give to charity, you
don't give to charity when your children are going to sleep hungry at night. america is in crisis. we can't bring the world. this isn't about race. the people losing their jobs it is every flavor of american who loses the job. >> mike, we will have to go ahead. >> i would have to say, i graduated in business management. i want to employ and solve that problem of hunger by creating jobs. i want to create opportunity. so, give me that chance to contribute to this country. that's all i am asking. >> that's the last word for this segment. when we come back, more questions and comments from our live audience here at the university of san diego. stay with us.
>> yeah, that is something that we have to work on. right. to make sure that people can be here with the right kind of papers, right? that's exactly right. >> we're back. our in graduation townhall here at university of san diego with comments from the audience. go ahead. >> my name is rosemary johnston, a member of the immigration rights consortium.
i live in a state where one in four residents is foreign born. in a community where one in four is foreign born and 86 languages are spoken the i am proud of that. i also live in the city that has the busiest migratory corridor in the world. i think in another 30 years when our european counterparts are facing severe labor shortages because their birth rate has fallen below 2.0, the united states will thank its immigrants brothers and sisters, we will have a healthy, plentiful labor force. >> we'll get to exactly that point. over here. >> how are you, mr. o'donnell. thank you for coming. and mr. cutler, thank you. i am the 911, you are talking about, in the navy, 15 years, serving proudly. thank you. thank you. thank you. but, i have traveled, luckily, to nebraska for example and i can tell the people of freemont, sad they couldn't come here the they could go a cup hours westbound, towards the panhandle, go towards alliance,
nebraska. you go there, and this is a 10,000 people population. this town is supported by the 50% of them who are immigrants. mexicans who work there in the field. they transport all the good that are coming out, potato and whatever else they have coming out of there. this town remains vibrant because of the immigrant influence you have there. i want to know how you as a commentator, journalist, pundits, politicians how they can reencourage and rekindle that, that basic need for main street america to think about working in the fields. because that's where all the good that we are nourishing ourselves from. that's where they're supposed to be coming from, from our own local backyard, not from the grapes that i bought yesterday from trader joes that came from chile for example.
i want tomatoes that i can buy here, avocados from california the i like that. i have been in this country for 15 years. i came straight from mexico. i used to be a teacher over there before i joined the navy. and -- i don't know if i will go back to mexico when i get out. i get out in five years. i can stay here. i can have a great job here. i can go become to mexico and have a great life over there. celso, his wife has been here he wants to be here the i hope he can stay here with the dream act. thank you. >> we'll come back to the dream act. one more over here. >> my name is wendy, from east los angeles, by way of el salvador. i find the comments, some of the comments being made completely insulting and belittling. i as an american citizen don't want a legacy of america that says we have to take care of us before we take care of the rest
of the world the i believe most americans feel the same way. in el salvador, it cost the same as the united states for gas, milk, and eggs. and, a salary is about $200 a month. that's because of the continued marginalization of the united states towards latin america. and other countries. i hope that we're able to have a discussion of coprehensive immigration reform as it deals directly with international foreign policy. >> we're going do that, and realistic framework economic issues. many small government types yell about sending undocumented people back. what size government agency would they create to execute this? >> well i think. >> you estimated 30 million undocumented people in this country. how many millions of government
workers would you have to hire to move them back across the border? >> it's not just moving them back the we need a system that has integrity. we naturalize 30,000 people four years ago without their files. lost 111,000 files. the agency handles citizenship. >> not talking naturalizing them. we naturalize a small number. 30 million or 20 million. very small number in this big picture that we are talking about. how many people would you have to hire to do this? >> i would look to see probably as many i.c.e. agents for the country as there are new york police officers? >> 30,000. that can't take all 13 million people. >> it creates an environment that discourages illegal immigration. how many speeders get caught speeding but we don't do away with the speed laws the you create a climate of deterrence. >> we actually do know. i think this is where you kind of interject. 40% of undocumented folks. >> work without permission.
>> we have a tracking system. >> we don't even. >> part of the conversation we have to first recognize there is two different types of folks. you keep criminalizing the undo undocumented. >> they're workers, they're parents. they serve in our military. that is okay. once we can open up the conversation. we are not criminalizing a person. >> let me say one thing. let me make one quick point. when some one runs the border weivated them. i arrested some one working wanted for murder. one guy came back, escaped from a federal penitentiary. when some one runs the bored we're don't know why they did. >> we need a way so we know who is living. >> you would wind up -- >> no. legalization would weed out the type of people that you are speaking about. when people become legalize they'd have to be fingerprinted right.
i remember when the program ended we legalized a half million people without any legislation. it kind of just happened. right. you know the thing is this has been the policy of the united states from day one. every single immigrant group that came to the united states has been legalized one time or the other by some method. we're asking for legalization of undocumented peep not from anything we have always had in the past. same thing. we need new do it. when we talk amnesty law in 1986, democratic congress passed the law, senator kennedy along with howard berman and others. what happened we had four million legalized. guess what? the world didn't end. people assimilated. people did the work. >> it encouraged more. >> the thing, we have to start thinking the future. we said earlier, rosario dawson. can't think of doing things in the past. think of the future, think of
globalization, people as human beings, not, not punish the victims. because they are the victims. we keep punishing them. >> for this, recognizing that you have been an active, such an icon in our community, when you start talking undocumented immigrants. talking immigration. where would you stop? we can't open all of our borders, right, where would you stop what do you think is sensible? >> as i said before, ultimate answer is that we have to have other countries develop their own economic systems like we did with japan, germany after world war ii. we had the marshall plan, money to build their economies. american corporations didn't go to japan and take over. we gave them money to build economies, japan, germany. same thing with ireland. you know, european union did the same thing. poverty there the we have to think big picture. not just keep punishing people coming here to work. >> quickly, a last word from you on, the dream act.
secretary of defense gates is in favor of the dream act. because of people like lance corporal jose gutierrez one of the first casualties in iraq, came legally from guatemala, died 22 years old fighting for country. he was granted citizenship when he was in his grave by an instantaneous act of our government making decision that okay, he has contributed enough. what can we do, do you think, to get that citizenship award made, made earlier, made when we recognize the kind of kid that jose was on his way to being? >> well that, part of that solution is in the dream act. there is a military aspect where you have an opportunity to either get a college education or serve in the military. either of which would allow temporary residency. get in the line. get in the process to become a u.s. citizen. not automatic citizenship. but to go back to, to where we
were talking earlier the we can't just focus on -- on -- enforcement only. yes, we do have to secure our borders. we do have to make sure to, to undocumented people that are criminals. that will not solve problem. a problem in place because of a system broken. a broken immigration system we need to fix. we need to change the laws. >> we'll broaden the focus next segment. we have to take a break here. when we come back, everything old is new again. a look forward by looking back. if you think all batteries are the same... consider this: these duracell batteries were given... to the mattel children's hospital, u.c.l.a. because when it comes to kids and healing... you're not just powering a toy.
so your community is changing. suddenly english isn't the only language you hear, your schools are getting crowded with in grant children. sound familiar? welcome to america. 100 years ago. what our own history can teach us about in graduation when we come back. [ female announcer ] light up your season with a brighter, whiter smile. with crest 3d white professional effects, you'll start seeing a whiter smile after just three days.
we all do it. but you don't have to. thanks to secret flawless renewal... with odor-absorbing micro capsules that capture... odor and release a fresh scent. it's still working, so you can stop checking. on january 2nd, 1892, a 15-year-old irish girl, annie moore became the very first immigrant to be processed atel if -- ellis island. for 62 years, ellis island was america's gateway for millions of immigrants. so if we're going to learn something about this issue from our own history, there is no better place to start.
we went there with one of america's leading experts on the history of immigration, professor marcello suarez arrozco of new york university. 5,000 people a day came through here at the peak. 1/3 of our country. 100 million people owe their citizenship to the people who came through the great hall. >> millions of dreams. stories about working to realize a better life. >> the sounds we are hearing in the immigration debate today in the country. the anxiety, the fear. we have heard all that before haven't we?
>> yes, there is nothing more apple pie nan anxiety and ambivalence about in graduation. >> we hear a lot of worries about crime with the illegal immigrant population in the country now. hasn't that always been a worry that crime will come with them? >> yes, in fact the data show that immigrants including and otherwise immigrants are less likely to engage in crime than comparable samples of nonimmigrant folk in the population. but the concern has been with us from the very, very beginning. a huge fear about being from ireland. it is amazing to think a century after the irish first begin to arrive in huge numbers, here in new york, boston, that it took jfk to put to rest that enduring concern over loyalty, over trust. that has been at the center of every immigration wave in the history of our country.
>> at what point do we say immigration is good for us? >> at times of economic anxiety today or back then there is always a push back. when the unemployment rate in our country is below say, 5%, 6%, immigration is not an issue. when the unemployment rate begins to climb, the debate over immigration becomes, "they're stealing jobs. they're taking jobs away." when, in fact, economists have reasonably established that immigration generates a very vigorous surplus to the u.s. economy. >> we hear complaints about immigration from different sections of the country. our southern border towns,
obviously very upset about it in many ways. >> the solution to our immigration problems is not going to be the control of the border. today, unlike 100 years ago. education will play a much, much more fundamental role in the making of new, new citizens, new workers, new americans. citizens who can function in more than one language, who can have, insight into -- into cultural practices, business practices, from other parts of the world will give huge advantages moving forward. the question is -- do we as a country have the energy that it takes to take on that challenge? or have we given up on -- on the shining light that lady liberty symbolizes to the entire world? [ applause ]
joining us to talk more about where we have been, where we are going -- professor suarez arrozco and joining us, direct over it transporter institute and associate producer here at the university of san diego. [ applause ] once again, actor/activist/co-founder, rosario dawson. professor, when we were at ellis island i believe i heard you bring a reality check in debunking too much on what we have heard here tonight. on the crime issue, it is hard to describe to people how suspect the irish were as an immigrant population in relation to crime. in fact, in boston, when they appointed the first irish police officer there was a protest about that officer saying, his name was bernard mcginniskin. you can't make him a police officer, it would be a conflict
of interest, they are criminals. we have heard all of this before the what does our history tell us, what we have been through in the past 100 years, with this subject, what does it tell us where we are going? >> lawrence, what history tells us, is that the rate of immigration has remained relatively stable. in fact, contrary to the heated temperature, heated nature of the debate to day, the rate of global migration has remained roughly 3.2, 3.5% of the, entire global population. the rate of immigration in our country today is lower than in previous waves of large scale immigration. when they -- when the irish, when the eastern europeans, when the italians, were coming in huge numbers to our country, the proportion of immigrants to the native population was substantially higher than it its today.
so in a way we are a country where immigration is both our history and it its -- it is also our destiny. moving forward if there is no more migration into our country. the fastest growing sector, comes from the echo immigration generates from children and grandchildren of immigrants. been here, done that. we need to lower the temperature. we need to let the -- the better angels of our nature guide what is obviously a difficult conversation. it was a difficult conversation then. it is a difficult conversation today. >> professor, you study the transborder issue. you are living on this border kind of a laboratory and possibly something that looks like a to churp. what is the country going to look like. >> thank you for coming to the global laboratory, san diego, america's finest city, and tijuana. thank you for coming to talk to america's finest students who are all right here with us today. thank you for being here. i think that america is going to look very different because of
>> professor, you study the transborder issue. you are living on this border kind of a laboratory and possibly something that looks like a to churp. what is the country going to look like. >> thank you for coming to the global laboratory, san diego, america's finest city, and tijuana. thank you for coming to talk to america's finest students who are all right here with us today. thank you for being here. i think that america is going to look very different because of the current wave of migration, not, it's not about undocumented immigration. we have a large latino population now, as that population continues to grow we will see the face of america change. the nice thing is that every new wave of immigrants makes america's face more beautiful. i think that is what is going to continue to happen. once we get past this sort of ugly phase of the tensions between cultures and different groups start to ameliorate, in a decade or so. the next decade will be tough.
>> does that history give you any encouragement, to see that we had other populations, irish and others go through the same kind of negative reception that people are getting coming across our southern border now? >> well the entire part of our conversation that we continue to have of people coming up and saying, well, just the latinos turn in line to get yelled at. you know the thing that, that we can go back to always is our own passions, our own personal history the for me i was raised on a squat in the lower eastside in an abandoned building, my parents as tenacious, said i will put in heat, water and electricity and live out of the slum apartment to have an opportunity to provide for my child more than i can now. when the squats were taken over by the city, all of the rhett wreck in the newspapers were saying they were taking so much money from the city that's why we had to get rid of the squatters. the squatters fought back against a tank, military tank that came down 13th street.
when they're fighting back with rocks, urine, helicopters going, s.w.a.t., empty buildings ended up being watched with 24 hour surveillance for four years. that cost the city millions of dollars. one of the things that fuels me now. we don't always hear our history even when it is happening correctly. that's what is happening now. we are in elections flooded with lots and lots of money and buying people's votes. elections are decided by votes. the person most comfortable going in to vote, talked to the most, a the lot of latinos who are feeling, antagonized they're not going to vote. and bunch of people going and driving to the polls because of fear and anger. you have a very small group of people deciding our history. that's why it is important to get young people to be part of this decision making. they're the ones inheriting the country. they're the ones that will lead it out of trillions of dollars of debt. and the ones that have to deal with health care, education in the climate regardless of the color of their skin.
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welcome back. i'm joined again by maria teresa kumar,professors suarez and shirk and actor rosario dawson. what do you think, quickly, frank, gets lost in the way the media treats this issue now? >> we mainly focus on is there a problem? when we all agree there's a problem. we don't focus enough on the solution. we talk about comprehensive reform. we need to define it. it combines strong enforcement at the border, cracking down on bad employers who engage in illegal hiring and giving people here who are not legal and not criminal, giving them a chance to meet certain requirements. then you have to enforce the system going forward. that's why two-thirds of the
american people want it. quite frankly the only thing that's lacking is the political will to do what the public wants. >> you are certainly trying to get latinos to the polls. it's a nonpart son group. what is the impact you expect in a larger, if you could get a larger latino turnout? >> i think 2012 everybody's trying to figure how to win the 2012 election. you need at least 4 % of the latino vote. lawrence, we recognize that a perfect bill, no one is going to be completely happy with. as frank said, it's broken. that's what we heard from mike cutler and other guests. we need to tone down the debate, have a conversation and fix the problem. when we talk about 12 million undocumented, we're talking about 4% of the population, right? it's not just la teen knows. it's south asians, chinese. we have to bring them into the conversation and humanize it.
at the end of the day if we don't humanize it, keep talking statistics, we fail ourselves as americans. >> what can we do in the media to try to keep the dialogue within the bounds of reality? >> lawrence, to paraphrase harry truman, immigration is too important to leave it to the politicians. >> yes. >> we need a national conversation. we need a rational national conversation. i applaud you for beginning what will be a process of re-encountering, rediscovering the fundamental essence of what our country has stood for in the eyes of the world over the last 200 years. the opportunities, the fundamental human agency that gets mobilized when people pick up to join a society of consent, a society of loss, a society of rules that welcomes newcomers.
germany today has a real immigration headache. most of the issues we are contending with are issues that, with good faith and with a mature rationale engagement from the political class, we can fix. no american politician will say what the german chancellor said two weeks ago. immigration in germany failed. immigration in our country has not failed. we invented the computer because of an immigrant. we developed the basic technologies for a bypass because of an immigrant. if you google -- >> google is an immigrant.
>> rosario, i just want to get a quick final take from you. >> i believe that we, it's a really healthy thing to get more people to be a part of this conversation. it shouldn't just be politicians who are having this conversation. we need to take it not only and have it in your homes but take it out, march to the polls and make sure people really hear us. once again, when you start talking about going, well, in this past election, you see there's a rejection of this, moving towards that, you're talking about a couple hundred or a couple thousand people making these votes, determining our history. if you want to see what real people every single day in this country have done in this country, read the people's history of the united states. it's not just about people who are in political standings that really are talking about what american values are. sometimes they are separate from what's happening in politics. >> our professors have books to sell. >> and tonight, maria teresa kumar will get the last word.
>> we have to recognize this is an opportunity that is before us. an opportunity to actually modernize our immigration system, they consent to come here and build off of that so we can continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the 21st century. >> i want to thank all of you for participating tonight, especially our guests. maria teresa kumar and our other guests. thank you here and out there watching.?l"!ij÷ s a you know, the immigration debate has been part of the american conversation for a couple cell triz now. of course, there is much, much more to say. we'll be sure that all sides continue to be heard right here on msnbc. good night from san diego.