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MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript


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Linda Sanchez is a Democratic congresswoman from California. Thank you for
joining us. And Stephanie Cutter is the former deputy campaign manager for
President Obama`s reelection.
You know, Congresswoman, as you know, like most Americans, I`ve always
thought it idiotic on the part of the Republicans to even talk about
sending home over 10 million people who`ve been living here in this country
for years. It`s not going to ever happen. It would be a hideous pogrom,
almost, to watch it in effect, people being ripped from their families.
But I also believe that no true reform is ever going to work nor should it
be approved that doesn`t have enforcement behind it, that isn`t going to
stop the people racing across the border tomorrow night as we watch it on
NBC News (INAUDIBLE) pictures look like. Unless that stops, the other
thing isn`t going to be effective, either.
Do you think this bill has both teeth and a good thing for the people
living here -- both?

REP. LINDA SANCHEZ (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, it`s important to remember that
what the "gang of eight" today unveiled is sort of an outline. It`s
actually not a written bill yet. So there are details that still need to
be worked out.
But the very fact that there is agreement and the very fact that it`s a
bipartisan effort and the very fact that Republican senators are now
supporting this earned pathway to citizenship, or legalization, is a
tremendous, tremendous aboutface from where our immigration policy has
been. So I`m very hopeful...

MATTHEWS: But we`ve seen all this before. Look, I`ve been around long
enough. We`ve done immigration before. We passed a big, comprehensive,
bipartisan bill with all the signatures and everything and everybody
smiling, and it was a joke. It was called Simpson-Mazzoli. Alan Simpson
still thinks he was screwed by it because it never had any teeth in it.
It looked nice. It got some people here legally, but it never solved the
problem of illegal immigration. So, just because it`s bipartisan,
Congresswoman, do you believe that means it`s going to work?

SANCHEZ: Well, I think that it`s definitely a sign of positive things to
I mean, the devil is always in the details. And, yes, enforcement is being
tied in this bill to the pathway to citizenship, but you have to remember,
too, there are a lot of moving parts to immigration. And you touch one
piece of it, and you have to work and tinker with other parts of it.
And I think, ultimately, with the stepped-up enforcement -- we have seen
stepped-up enforcement in the last four years. We have seen much tighter
border security. We have seen fewer people coming into the country
illegally, and I think if we can separate out those who want to come for
legitimate reasons and those who come for criminal reasons and alleviate
that pressure at the border, I think that we are well on our way to an
effective immigration solution.

MATTHEWS: Stephanie, you`re in politics. And I cover politics. And you
know the politics of this. It needs to have both sides to it. If people
can still come in the country tomorrow and there`s no real work permit
that`s really effective, like you have in every other country in the world,
including Mexico, where you have to have a right to work somewhere, you
have to have permission to work in the country -- we don`t seem to have a
way of doing it.
We know our country is filled with people working in every kind of job,
whether it`s restaurants or it`s working on people`s houses or it`s cutting
their lawns or working at golf courses or in hotels. We know it`s all over
the place, people here who have come in the country illegally.
Nobody, I think, has confidence -- I certainly don`t -- that any bill
passed by Congress that we have seen before will stop that. You can bring
everybody in here into our system. You can give them the opportunity for
full citizenship, but if we have to do this again in 23 or 25 years again,
we have gotten nowhere. We have to be a country that`s organized enough to
say who comes in and who doesn`t, it seems to me. Your thoughts?

I agree with you. And I don`t think that there`s anybody that would
disagree with you.
And the congresswoman is right. The devil is in the details, but it seems
like what the Senate -- the bipartisan group of senators put out today does
have some real teeth in it. And what the president has put out previously
also has some real teeth in it.
Let`s not forget that the president has made historic increases in border
security, that net migration with Mexico right now is basically zero. And,
you know, let`s remember all the criticism that he got over the last couple
of years on the increase in the number of deportations. So everybody
understands that this bill has to have balance, that as the congresswoman
said, once you start tinkering with one part, you have got to look at
everything all together, and it all works together.


MATTHEWS: That sounds like -- people that believe in border protection,
who believe you can stop somebody from coming into this country by higher
towers or more drones or more people working there I think are right-
wingers or idiots. If you want to work and you`re looking for a job,
you`re going to come to America, Congresswoman. You`re going to come in
here and you`re going to find a way in, whether you have to take a boat, an
airplane or swim or whatever you have to do. You`re going to get here.
And my question is, are we going to have a work permit situation that`s
truly enforced so there will be no incentive to do that, because you can`t
work in the United States unless you`re here legally? If we ever have a
system like that, we won`t be having this debate 20 or 30 years from now
all over again.
Your thoughts, because we never stop talking about it.

SANCHEZ: Well, if you let me get a word in edgewise, I will tell you


MATTHEWS: You got all the time in the world to answer my question.


MATTHEWS: Do you have confidence this bill will work?

SANCHEZ: Part -- I am confident, because part of some of the discussion
that`s been going on with the House group that`s been working on this issue
as well as the Senate group has been a stronger E-Verify system.
And, now, E-Verify has not been a perfect system. There are some problems
with that, but strengthening that system will also allow employers to
verify whether workers in this country are here legally or not, and that`s
a key part of enforcement as well.
And I think, you know, 10 years down the line, 20 years down the line
possibly, because our birthrate has fallen dramatically, the birthrate in
Mexico has fallen dramatically, we`re going to need workers from somewhere.
So I think we will have a much different immigration debate in the future
as there is this demand for workers, and perhaps we won`t view immigrants
so hostilely when we actually need them here contributing to our economy.
So I`m confident that with this sort of renewed effort on both sides of the
aisle to work out something that is doable, that will have the proper
enforcement mechanisms, but the proper pathway for people to come in out of
the shadows and be fully participating members of our society, I`m very
confident that we can get there. I really -- for the first time in the 10
years that I have served in Congress, really see this as a very real

My concern is -- I agree with everything you said in terms of economics and
social issues, fine. My concern is a government that cannot enforce its
laws begins to crumble, and our failure to have an honest, open,
progressive immigration policy has been a disaster. And it`s not good for
the future of our government that it can`t do the job of enforcing its own
borders, which is essential to any country on this planet.
Stephanie, last thought. Are we going to do this, this time?

CUTTER: Well, Chris, we have to try.
I think that there`s a reason why we`re talking about immigration reform,
because the current system isn`t working. I think we have done what we can
under existing authority in terms of increasing border security, increasing
enforcement, holding employers accountable for these workers that are
coming in and overstaying their visas.
And, look, we have to try. We have to try comprehensive immigration reform
to finally fix the problem. The business community wants it. The labor
community wants it. Now a bipartisan group in the Senate wants it. So we
have got to try to get it done.

MATTHEWS: OK. OK. My answer is, I don`t believe any of those groups want
it. I don`t think business wants it.

CUTTER: You`re such a pessimist this evening, Chris.

MATTHEWS: They want cheap, free labor. They want cheap, free labor. They
want cheap, free labor. Democrats want support by not offending anybody in
the Latino community.

CUTTER: Well, they want skilled laborers to come in.

MATTHEWS: Nobody really wants to get this done. I think John McCain does
because he`d like to get reelected again.
Anyway, thank you, U.S. Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, and Stephanie Cutter.


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