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MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript

Interview

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REP. CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS (R), WASHINGTON: Once again, the House is
taking the lead on legislation that is going to help create job jobs.

CANTOR: We believe this was the first step forward in terms of trying
to address the need for modernization in our visa laws.

REP. PAUL LABRADOR (R), IDAHO: The Democrats had two years to do
something about immigration reform. They had a White House. They had the
House. They had the Senate. And they did nothing about immigration
reform.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: Joining us tonight, Congressman Xavier Becerra of
California. Congressman, great to have you with us tonight.
You just heard Mr. Cantor say that this is a step forward. Do you
agree with that?

REP. XAVIER BECERRA (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, only for the Tea Party,
perhaps, because we have a chance to do real sensible immigration reform
working together on a bipartisan basis. Republicans never reached out to
Democrats. They knew this was an inferior bill. They knew it pits
immigrants, as you said, against each other. It really hurts immigrants or
families who are of African ancestry who want to bring family members the
right way from Africa and also from eastern Europe.

They do it to no real benefit to the American people, because America
workers might be disadvantaged because there are no protections for
American workers to make sure that these newly-authorized green cards for
these very educated workers, which we do need -- that those pay -- the pay
for those folks isn`t undercutting the salaries that current American
workers get for those same kinds of jobs.

SCHULTZ: So it creates as many problems as they think it solves. But
is there anything in this legislation that could be salvaged, that you
could agree with?

BECERRA: Well, there is a STEM bill that we can pass. And what the
Democrats did today on the House floor was say, look, this is the
bipartisan bill that we can all agree to, that doesn`t play the zero sum
game, that doesn`t undercut American workers when we do this. Let`s vote
for that.

But I think the Tea Party is still driving the ship in the House
Republican Conference. Until that changes, it will be tough. But there
are good folks on the Republican side who are interested in trying to do a
bipartisan bill.

SCHULTZ: Well, it`s discriminatory, no question about that. Because
it`s a zero sum game, it hurts Americans who are here and those who want to
come here as well. And what is it about the African-American community in
this world that the Republicans don`t want to allow into this country?

BECERRA: Well, you know, it`s unfortunate because too often it`s
tough for a lot of families who have relatives from Africa to bring them
here. Those diversity visa -- they`re called diversity visas because it`s
to try to make sure we diversify the base of people to come to this
country, Eastern Europeans, folks from different African countries.

So they have had always had -- these families have always had a tough
time getting their relatives here. You eliminate those 55,000 visa
opportunities, it`s almost impossible. That`s unfortunate.

SCHULTZ: Is there a little political theater here? They are saying
that they are getting something done while we`re in the middle of this
fiscal cliff fight, and blaming the Democrats for not doing it previously.

BECERRA: And Ed, the worst part about this is, I don`t even think the
high-tech community believes this is real. They would have been lobbying
and asking a lot of us to vote for us. They didn`t even come, lobbyists,
to do something, to push this through, because they knew it wasn`t going to
go anywhere.

But more than that, Ed, I think what is becoming very clear is the
Latino community is no longer buying this kind of stuff.

SCHULTZ: That`s my next question. Will this win over anybody in the
Latino community? Because, of course, the Republicans have certainly taken
a hit at the polls with that portion of society.

BECERRA: I can`t see how it does. The Latino community has grown
accustomed to seeing Republicans propose things like the Arizona law, SB-
1070, the proposals to deny children born in this country their
citizenship, even though they are born in this country, proposals to deny
the opportunity to bring your family with you if you do it the right way.
It`s been tough. Remember, Republicans -- I heard the piece where
Representative Labrador said that Democrats had two years to try to do
something. Well, perhaps Mr. Labrador forgets, we passed the DREAM Act in
the U.S. House of Representatives. The Senate actually had more than a
majority vote in the Senate, but because Republicans used the filibuster,
we couldn`t get the bill to the president for his signature.

So Democrats have done things. We`re ready to do them again. We`ll
do them bipartisanly.

SCHULTZ: Congressman Xavier Becerra, great to have you on THE ED SHOW
tonight. Thanks so much.

BECERRA: Thanks, Ed.

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