This morning on CBS’ Face the Nation, two members of the bipartisan Gang of Eight, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), talked about the current developments in crafting a comprehensive immigration bill. Schumer said that an initial draft of a bill will “hopefully” be ready by the end of this week, while both the senators said that the process is just the beginning. They also said some other interesting things from the quotes we share later in this post, including this quote from McCain: “”We need to have a path to citizenship and we need to have secure borders. And we also have to address the issue of 40% of the people who came here illegally, they didn’t cross our borders, they came on a visa and overstayed their visa, and that means we have to have a robust guest worker program so that people will not hire someone who is here illegally.” Did you hear that, German homeschooling family facing deportation?
Here is the full video. The immigration sessions begins at 2:43 of segment.
The senators shared several points, including these:
Schumer’s comment about the prospect of a bipartisan agreement: “I think we’re doing very well, I think we hope that we can have a bipartisan agreement among the eight of us on comprehensive immigration reform by the end of this week.” When pressed about this claim, Schumer said that it was “hopefully by the end of this week.”
McCain about Senator Marco Rubio’s reported last-minute reluctance to a final version of the bill: “He’s been very helpful and important in this whole effort that we’ve been making. He’s reached out to conservative sides, including talk-show hosts and others. Marco has been very important.”
After sending Schumer a little Senate love, McCain said the following: “We need to have a path to citizenship and we need to have secure borders. And we also have to address the issue of 40% of the people who came here illegally, they didn’t cross our borders, they came on a visa and overstayed their visa, and that means we have to have a robust guest worker program so that people will not hire someone who is here illegally. And finally can I just say that we need to have a secure border because back in 1986… when our beloved Ronald Reagan, we gave amnesty to three million people, and we promised that we would secure the border, we now have 11 [million]. I’ve got to assure the people of this country and Arizona that we’re not going to have a third wave 10, 15, 20 years from now. And most Americans agree that if you pay back taxes, if you pay a fine, if you learn English, if you go to the back of the line, then you can, and should be, eligible for a path to citizenship.”
Later in the segment Schumer said: “There are always disagreements on each one, but the desire to of all eight to meet in the middle and come to an agreement is so much more important than each little thing that we might prefer one way or the other… has carried through this far. And I am very hopeful and optimistic [it] will carry us through the whole way.”
McCain followed up : “There will be a great deal of unhappiness about this proposal because everyone didn’t get what they wanted. There are entrenched positions on both sides of this issue, as far as business and labor. But I’ve also got to give some credit to both business and labor. They have engaged in some fairly good-faith negotiations, and I’d like to give them a little credit here as well.”
Schumer agreed, and said the following: “Well, there’s a long road. We first have to go through committee, and Senator Leahy has agreed, and we have that we will go to through a full markup. There are people on both sides who are against this bill, and they will be able to shoot at it in the committee, but John was there in 2007, and that’s sort of a good thing, because in 2007, we didn’t go through the committee, and then it collapsed on the floor. This will be a test, a crucible. Then hopefully by some point in May, we’ll be through the markup and we can go to the floor, and I am hopeful that we get a good vote on both sides of the aisle. We don’t want this bill to be, you know, 53 Democrats and just a handful of Republicans, because we need broad bipartisan support, particularly to get a bill done in the House.”
Then McCain added: “Some are saying, ‘Well, we’re not having enough hearings, we’re not having enough… first of all, we know the issue. But second of all, the Judiciary Committee will act. There will be amendments. There will be debate. Then it will go to the floor of the Senate. There’ll be plenty of time for discussion and debate. So I reject this notion that something is being railroaded through. This is the beginning of the process, not the end of it.”