'This Week' Transcript: Axelrod

AXELROD: The -- what -- what -- again, I don't want to comment on the -- but what nobody seems to disagree on is that the president wanted to bring Valerie Jarrett here to the White House...

TAPPER: Balanoff said that, too, absolutely.

(CROSSTALK)

AXELROD: ... and that no -- no offers were made in order to promote her candidacy and so on. And that -- those are the essential facts that I think people want to know and need to know.

TAPPER: All right, David Axelrod, thanks so much for joining us this morning.

AXELROD: OK. Thank you.

TAPPER: Arizona's new immigration law takes effect on July 29th. Already seven lawsuits have been filed to try to stop it, including the one filed by the Obama administration this past week. It's a legal and political debate that will play out throughout the rest of the year and the foreseeable future.

This morning, a special "This Week" debate. Representative Luis Gutierrez is chairman of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. He opposes the Arizona law. Representative Brian Bilbray, Republican, chairs the Immigration Reform Caucus, and he supports it.

Gentlemen, thanks for being here.

GUTIERREZ: Good to be with you, Jake.

TAPPER: So, first of all, Congressman Gutierrez, just to establish our parameters here, is there a serious crime problem in Mexico that's spilling into the U.S. and necessitates more secure borders before an immigration reform bill should be worked on?

GUTIERREZ: I think we have a problem at our border. I think we have increased -- when I got to Congress, there were 5,000 Border Patrol agents. Today, we have 20,000 Border Patrol agents.

TAPPER: Do we need more?

GUTIERREZ: We may need more. We should do everything we need to do in order to secure that border. But we should do it in a comprehensive manner. And we should do it in a bilateral manner.

I mean, let's face it: It is also the craving for the drugs here in America which is driving the drug trade from Mexico to the United States.

So this is what we have. We have a border which we have put a lot of resources on, which the president has committed more resources to, but shouldn't we segregate -- that is, divide -- those criminal elements that exist, that are causing damage on both sides of the border?

I mean, there are people in Mexico dying every day, prosecutors, justice department, police, fighting these criminal elements. They're also damaging us. Should we have a joint response? Shouldn't that joint response say, we're going to secure that border. We're going to do everything. But let's separate those that are coming here, crossing that border, looking for jobs, who are also a victim and prey to that very same criminal element, from the criminals, and have laws the effectively combat the criminals and resolve our immigration problem?

TAPPER: Well, let's -- let's talk about that, because, Congressman Bilbray, I want to -- there's been a lot of overheated rhetoric in this debate. And I want to play this clip for you from last month. Here's the Arizona governor Jan Brewer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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