tv Senators Durbin and Graham Reintroduce DREAM Act CSPAN July 20, 2017 2:14pm-2:39pm EDT
prices. there's been a draft of executive order on drug prices that could be in favor of pharmaceutical companies, unclear if that proposeded orer is related to today's announcement. we'll have it live for you when it happen, 3:00 eastern is the scheduled time, live here on c-span. on friday, sara huckabee sanders involvement ut her with politics as the daughter of former arkansas governor mike huckabee. a profile interview begins friday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. earlier today on capitol hill, south carolina republican senator lindsey graham was joined by illinois democrat and minority whip dick durbin. they talked about an immigration initiative they're spearheading. this is about 25 minutes.
mr. durbin: i want to thank my colleague, senator graham, for joining me as we reintroduce the dream act. we'll be joined by senator schumer and senator flake as co-sponsors. i have introduced this bill over many years. started 16 years ago. it has two basic premises. two basic reasons. first, we don't belief that young people should be held responsible for the errors or the illegal actions of their parents. number two, we believe that those who were brought to the united states as children, have grown up in this country, have no criminal record, who are prepared to serve this country in a variety of ways, should be given that chance to make america a better nation. over the years we have tried many times to pass this legislation. we've been able to pass it in
the senate one year, in the house another year, we've never quite brought it together. we need the dream act more than -- act now more than ever because of the uncertainties these young people face all across america, not just with the dream act but the daca program itself, an executive order of president obama. i've been fortunate to have as my friend and ally on this issue senator lindsey graham of south carolina. we were part of the gang of eight back in the day, produced a bill which passed a bipartisan bill which passed comprehensive immigration reform on the floor of the senate with 68 votes. we had 14 republican votes that day and 11 of them i believe are still in the united states senate. so we believe that those who have voted for the dream act as part of comprehensive immigration reform we hop can be persuaded to join us again and perhaps bring in some new converts to our cause. we have a lot of work to do but i myself am strengthened, if not
emboldened by these young people. they have come forward, they've come out of the shadows a risky proposition, they have identified themselves so that america can understand what -- who the young people are who would be affected by this law. i've met them. teachers, engineers, medical students, just wonderful young people who have made a great life in america. they've grown up pledging allegiance to this flag, singing the star spangled banner in the only country they've ever known. all they're asking for now is a chance to earn their way into legal status, earn their way into citizenship. that's what the dream act does. i couldn't have a better partner in this effort than my friend, lindsey graham. mr. graham: thank you. to the great grandfather of the dream act. dick has been at this for how long? 16 years. so i don't know how much longer it's going to take but i'm hopeful it won't take much longer. so let me tell you to the trump administration.
i appreciate the fact that you've focused on getting the bad hombres out of the country because nobody wants crooks to stay in the country, legal or illegal. so the idea that president trump has focused on criminal illegal aliens is a good thing. the fact that president trump wants to build a secure border, create a secure border is is a good thing. the fact that president trump has said, when it comes to these kids, they're really great, i have a heart for these kids, that's a good thing. so what are we trying to do? a good thing. and 10 state attorneys general are going to go back into court and make the argument that the 800,000 daca kids can no longer be given legal status through
executive action by president trump, that what president obama did was beyond the scope of the power oof this -- power of the president and if president trump continues that practice, that also will be outside the scope of the president. by september 5, we will have a decision. i don't know how the court is going to rule. but i think there's a very good argument that the president doesn't have the power to just grant legal status, no matter how sympathetic the group would be, to 00,000 people. -- to 800,000 people. here's what i would say. these daca kids have come out of the shadows at the invitation of their government. we're in a dispute about the power of their government, but they took president trump up on the offer, identify yourselves,
come out of the shadows, and if you're a nonfelon, you meet the criteria of not being a bad hombre, or a bad lady, then you can stay with a legal status that is renewable. the question for the republican we tell these people? how do we treat them? here's my answer. we treat them fairly. we do not pull the rug out from under them. as to this population, the dream act covers more than the 800,000. there's well over a million people who were brought here as young people, some as babies, some as grade schoolers, by their parents. illegally.
and if you told them to go back home, they would go to where they were raised. they are no more connected with a foreign country than i am. the truth of the matter is, most of them since young children have been raised in our country, have assimilated into being an american, would like to stay here, and would add value if we're smart enough to say yes. we're talking about people who have been here for a long time, not a short time, came here before they were 18. haven't committed a felony -- delny. they graduate from high school or get a g.e.d., they're pursuing higher education, either serve two years in the military or work lawfully for three years. fulfill an english language requirement. have undergone a criminal
background check and paid a fee. what i've described would not -- would knock half of my family out. the english-felony thing gets a lot of them. you can't stay here out of an act of charity you stay here if you can prove that you're moving in the right direction, you can add value to our country, and if you can do all the things i've described under our bill you can stay and one day get a green card and become an american citizen. to the dream act population. -- there there may be some bad but overwhelmingly you're good. i've met you too. i'm excited about giving you a chance to live the rest of your life in america. i'm excited about taking this burden off your back. i am -- i embrace you.
i want you to succeed. many of you will go into the military, some of you may not. many of you will create jobs. start businesses. do big things. most of you will do the small things well. so to president trump, you're going to have to make a decision. the campaign is over. to the republican party. who are we? what do we believe? the moment of reckoning is coming. when they write the history of these times, i'm going to be with these kids. to my good friend john mccain. you ask me how he's doing, he's called me three time this is morning. no more woe is me, lindsey, he is yelling at me to buck up, so i'm going to buck up.
how did i get started in immigration reform? the state of south carolina, the good news for me is i do well in hispanic the bad news is we can fit them all in the room. not a big spanish population. i got involved because when john ran for president in 2000 , he wanted to fix a broken immigration system because he is from arizona and he sees the downside of illegal immigration where criminals come across. he sees the abuse of the coyotes, he sees women living in the shadows that have no rights and are being exploited and on and on and on. so i started because john asked me, i have been doing this with senator mccain and others now since 2005 and 2006. i have come to believe that comprehensive immigration reform, whether done in piecemeal fashion or done
comprehensively is absolutely essential for our national security. it's absolutely essential for our economic viability. and as i want to stop the third wave and never do this again, we have got to have a practical solution to the 11 million. i am hoping we can find a pathway forward with president trump. wouldn't it be ironic if the man who started his campaign talking about illegal immigration in a very tough way would be the man who started the country on the path of solving the problem? this problem will not fix itself. i am from south carolina. i have been doing this for well over a decade. working. till i convinced the people in my state that i will stop as best i
can a third wave of imgreags. i'll secure your border and i'll make sure that illegal imgrant hiring becomes less likely because we're going to put people in jail when they hire illegal immigrants and we'll have an economic based immigration system in the out years and all i ask of you is to allow me to work with people like senator durbin to find a way to deal with 11 million people who came here mostly because the rest of us looked the other way. you get 11 million illegal immigrants in your country, you pretty much look the other way. as to the dream act kids, of all these young n, eople have the most compelling story. president trump, as you fix a broken immigration system, that you have the power
to fix lives as well. use that power. mr. durbin: any questions? reporter: what's the biggest hurdle we're facing in passing this legislation? r. durbin: the biggest hurdle? mr. schumer: big bills are hard to explain. if you're in the house it's easier to vote no because immigration reform is not a popular topic in a republican primary. here's what i think. i think president trump -- mr. graham: i think president trump is right to focus on criminal aliens, he's right to focus on border protection, he's right to say these kids are good kids. here's what changed. you have a president who if he said tomorrow the border was secured, most people would
believe him on my side. i could put alligators on the border and i'm not getting there. in 2008 or whenever the gang of eight bill was, we literally militarized the border but i don't have the power he does. to tell the republican base that we have achieved border security. what has changed? you have a president who could in a snap of his fingers get the republican party united more than bush could. persuade people who feel threatened by illegal imfwrigs that they're going to take their johns and commit crimes against their family and persuade them this is a fair thing to do. unlike president obama was able to do. what has changed? a man in the white house who could take the people who object he most and with a coherent,
from the heart speech, change verything. reporter: senator graham, how about the white house yesterday, they had white house officials telling certain media outlets that trump is not going to sign any dream act because his priority as he promised during the campaign is enforcement first. mr. durbin: senator graham and i have been actively engaged with the white house for weeks, if not months. in conversation about daca, the bridge act and the dream act. we believe there are people within that white house who want to continue this dialogue and conversation an we are going to work with them. we're not giving up on, as senator graham said, appealing to the administration to join us in this effort. there are certain things which republicans can't do in the process. there's certain things democrats can't do. we're trying to find that sweet spot that middle ground, that takes care of the dreamers and border security.
reporter: i want to ask about your friend john mccain. for those who celebrate him in a way as he begin this is fight, how is he senate different without senator mccain here? mr. graham: it's quieter. it's usually different because john is a fighter. you know, he jumps into every cause. no matter how hard it might be. the energy he provides. he's coming back. the disease. i think they got it. he's going to go through radiation and chemo. i'm not a doctor. it may come back again and he'll fight it again. right now he's in good spirits. it was a really tough operation. but john is ready to come back and i ask one thing, just give him a chance for what time he's got left and i've got left to be relevant. i think john is a force, dick can tell you about, that is unique to him. he has done things that most
people could not do. and going forward he's excited. quite frankly. about getting a second chance to finish things that have been stuck. when he comes back here, i hope he'll talk about immigration. hope we'll listen to him. reporter: how big the universe of people is that could be included in this bill? mr. durbin: there's 780,000 signed up for daca so far, i've heard a million. >> upper age limit? mr. durbin: you had to have come to this country age 17 or younger, and you must have been in the country four years. eporter: in regards to sentiment -- [inaudible] mr. durbin: i think that this is the one area of immigration where we can find common ground.
there are conservative republican senators who have never voted on the issue who have come to me privately and said i want to work with you on this. there's got to be a way to do this. i'm hopeful that even in an anti-immigrant climate from the last election, when it comes to solving this problem and others like border security, we can find some common ground. mr. graham: there are a lot of republicans who make a point i agree with, if you give these kids, amnesty or legal status, aren't you enticing more to come? the key is to be fair but to what our friend ronald reagan wasn't able to do, enforce the border and change immigration so people don't have to cheat. i wouldn't be doing this unless i believe there's a way forward to prevent the third wave. but these kids are running out of asphalt. they're running out of runway. they came out of the shadows at
the invitation of their government. they've identified themselves. and their legal standing is now in question. it becomes, i think, almost a moral decision. if you ask people to show yourself, identify yourself to your own government, and you do that, then you pull the rug out from under them, you take their legal status away, i just don't think that's what america is all about. i think most americans, including most republicans, have zero problem allowing these kids to stay if they do the things i described, they're not crooks, and that they did come here as young people, no fault of their own. to the people who object to this , i don't want you to vote for me. because i cannot serve you well. i just don't see the upside of
telling these kids they have to go back and live in the shadows or send them back to a country they have no idea about the country. if you send them back to their native country, some of them have never been there as anything other than a baby. so i just think most americans would support president trump if we could work out a plan to deal with these kids and secure the border. i think most republicans would. so what have i done? i've stopped letting 30% of the people who are mad about immigration determine how i behave. to those who feel like you should deport these kids, boy, i couldn't disagree with you more. reporter: what about health care, we had a new c.b.o. score -- > can we stick on topic? reporter: secretary kelly has said he'd be in favor of supporting the young people provided there's legislation.
have you engaged with secretary kelly? has he shown any indication that he's backing this piece of legislation? mr. graham: when john kelly speaks, everybody listens he says you need legislation not executive actions to deal with the immigration system. he's calling on congress to fix it. secretary tellly -- kelly serbs at the pleasure of the president. i think john kelly is the guy we should go to and say come up with a border security plan that you believe will protect our nation from illegal crossings and also do something about the 40% of illegal immigrants who overstay their visit. he's a four-star marine corps general. he was in charge of southern command. if john kelly came out with a border security plan it would be hard for most of us to vote no because he's so qualified.
general kelly has said as to these kids, he has no animosity. he has called on congress to act. here's what i bet. he came out with an interior border security plan that was rational and met our needs as a nation and there was legislation that would deal with these kids, knowing general kelly the way i do, he would be inclined to support it. reporter: i know you've been working on this for a long time but the bill seems, you were saying that it affects people who came here as children but if i'm reading it correctly, it includes some people from the border surge of 2013, some much more recent arrivals. folks would eventually be able to get citizenship. it's a much broader, you know than daca. mr. durbin: the bill doesn't
include that provision with sponsored parents. it gives them a path to green cards and ultimately a path to citizenship. beyond that, it doesn't speak to the families and how they would be treated. but we have always tried when we write this legislation to put in a timetable so that no one can game the system. we hear they're doing dream act, let's head for america. so four years, you have to be here four years. you know. as of the effect i have date of the bill. so it'll include people who fit within that category but we have created, we tried to eliminate the incentive to come racing to america because lindsey graham and durbin had a press conference. but we are not changing that law. we're not changing any of these laws with this. thank you very much, everybody.
>> at the white house, president trump is afternoon set to make an announcement regarding pharmaceutical packaging and prices. we'll have live coverage here on c-span when it starts. on friday, deputy white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders will talk about her involvement in politics as the daughter of former arkansas republican governor mike huckabee and she'll talk about why she joined donald trump's presidential campaign and how she approaches her job now. "a profile interview" friday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on crnspambings. now while we wait for the president a conversation with south carolina congressman mark sanford from today's "washington journal"." -- host: