'This Week' Transcript: Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Charles Schumer, and Sen. Jeff Sessions

Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Charles Schumer, and Sen. Jeff Sessions on 'This Week'

ByABC News
April 12, 2013, 4:33 PM

WASHINGTON, April 14, 2013— -- A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday morning, April 14, 2013 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

KARL: Let's make a deal.


SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ, R-N.J.: All of the major issues have largely been agreed to.


KARL: Congress is finally moving forward on immigration. Plus...


SEN. PATRICK J. TOOMEY, R-PA.: I don't consider criminal background checks to be gun control.


KARL: A bipartisan breakthrough on guns. But will either deal survive? We've got key players on all sides. Republicans Marco Rubio, and Jeff Sessions, and Democrat Chuck Schumer. Then our powerhouse roundtable on all the week's politics. The president jumps into the budget battle.


OBAMA: I've already met Republicans more than halfway.



BOEHNER: Listen, why don't we do what we can agree to do?


KARL: And, Jay-Z's rap on his Cuba flap. Plus, we celebrate Jackie Robinson's legacy with baseball legend, Mariano Rivera, only on this week.

ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Reporting from the Museum in Washington is Chief White House Correspondent, Jonathan Karl.

KARL: Hello again. George is off, and it's great to have you with us. The last session of Congress was the least productive in history, but there are signs that may be about to change. There is a lot of talk about bipartisan compromise this week, including indications that the long awaited immigration bill is about to be revealed. So, what's in the plan? We're joined by the Republican Party's point man on immigration, Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Senator Rubio, thank you for joining us.

RUBIO: Thank you, Jonathan.

KARL: So you are considered the key to getting immigration reform passed. My question this morning is, do we have a deal?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, let me say, I am not the key. I think there's 92 other senators and eight (ph) that I've worked, so (ph) many (ph) others that I've worked with that are key to this as well. So I am just here today to communicate to you the importance of this issue, and hopefully what we've agreed to.

Let me say this about - you asked me if there was an agreement. The answer is, we've been working very hard, and I think we have come to a position now where we've been able to tell our staffs to draft something. We need to read that, and that's what we're in the process of doing. But I am very optimistic that we're going to have something very positive to share with the American people here very, very soon, perhaps as early as this week.

KARL: But to be clear, you're talking about something that will give a path to citizenship for those that are in the country illegally right now, and in fact, give them legal status six months after this becomes law.

RUBIO: Well, first of all, I think it's important to understand it does not give anything. It allows people access to the legal immigration system. Number two, some people won't qualify. They haven't been here long enough; they've committed very serious crimes. They won't be able to stay. Number three is all people will get an opportunity to apply for things, to apply for a legal status, which isn't awarded on day one. I mean, there is a process for that. You have to pay an application fee and a fine, and you are going to have to stay in that status while you pay taxes and prove that you are not a public charge. And you don't qualify for any federal benefits. And after some period of time, over 10 years that's elapsed, the only thing you will get - assuming that the border is secure, that e-verify is in place, that an entry exit system is in place for tracking visas, then the only thing you get is the chance to apply for a green card, like everybody else does. The only thing you are earning here is an opportunity to apply for temporary status, and ultimately potentially to apply for a green card, the way everybody else does. And that's the process that we are outlining.

KARL: But you are already taking heat from some of your own natural allies on the right. Congressman King, Steve King in the House is calling this amnesty. He said this week that what you're talking would, quote, "pardon immigration lawbreakers and reward them with the object of their crime." And Senator Ted Cruz, Republican in the Senate, was just as harsh. Listen to what he had to say.


SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: If we pass something that allows those here illegally to achieve citizenship, it means you're a chump for having stayed in your own country and followed the rules.


KARL: So? Your response?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, the existing law allows people that are here illegally to gain access to citizenship. What it says is you have to go back to your country of birth and you have to wait 10 years, and then you can apply for it. All we've done here is create an alternative to that that they can access, and the alternative we've created is going to be longer, more expensive and more difficult to navigate. It will actually be cheaper if they went back home, waited 10 years, and applied for a green card. And so, secondly, we've not awarding anything. All we're giving people the opportunity to eventually do is gain access to the same legal immigration system, the same legal immigration process that will be available to everybody else. And number three, in exchange for all of that, we are going to get the toughest enforcement measures in the history of this country. We're going to secure the border to the extent that's possible. We're going to have an entry and exit system to track visas, because 40 percent of our illegal immigrants are people that entered legally and overstayed, and we are going to have e-verify, universally, which means that you will not be able to find a job in the United States if you're not legally here.

KARL: Now, one of your toughest Republican critics on this, Senator Sessions, is listening to this interview right now. And he asked the question, is this bill enforcement first or is it legalization first? And the bottom line is, with legalization being in just six months, the answer is, this is legalization first, isn't it?

RUBIO: Well, first - yeah, but it's, well, but it's important to understand that. If you do just – that was my original position. The problem is what do we do in the meantime? While you're doing all these enforcement mechanisms, what do you do with the millions of people that are undocumented? Is it a big game of cat and mouse, where if we catch you, you have to leave, but if we don't catch you, in the future you get to apply? I want to know who's here now, and I want to freeze the problem in place so it does not get worse. That's the first thing. The second thing is we don't want a rush on the border. We don't want people to think, well, they are still doing this enforcement stuff, but at some point in a few years, they're going to actually start some process, so let me sneak in now to take advantage of it. We don't want that either. What I want is to freeze the problem that's in place.

Look, I'm not happy about the fact that we have millions of people here illegally, and quite frankly, those decisions that led to that happening were made when I was in ninth grade. But that's what we have. This is not a theory, it is the reality, and what we have today is we don't do anything about it. It's de facto amnesty. What I'm saying is, let's bring these people out so we can figure out who needs to leave and who we're going to give a chance to earn their way towards one day being able to apply for a green card, the same way everybody else does. And I think that's why that is a better approach.

KARL: All right, let's talk for a second about the politics here. What is at stake for the Republican party here? What will it do to your party if the conservatives who oppose this succeed in killing it?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, look, I think that I am looking to the other 92 senators weighing in, because I think they're going to make it better. There are eight of us that have worked on this, and we've worked very hard, but there are 92 other people with their own ideas, and I have tried to incorporate as many of their ideas as possible, given the bills that they have filed in the past. Some of them have submitted letters that outlined concerns, and we have answers for all of those concerns. But I look forward to how they can improve this bill and this product.

As far as the Republican Party is concerned, I just want the Republican Party to be what it's always been. I want the conservative movement to be what it's always been about, and that is solving problems in a way that's true to our values and the principles of the greatest nation on earth. And immigration is a problem. Even if we didn't have a single illegal immigrant in the United States, we'd have to do immigration reforms, because our legal immigration system is broken. Immigration is a problem because our laws are not enforced. They are not enforced. We have no way to track people that are overstaying their visas. We have no way to keep people from taking jobs away from Americans, and we have not secured our border, leading not just to our immigration problem, but to a national security sovereignty and humanitarian problem on the border. And this bill hopefully achieves progress on all three of those fronts, and I just hope that I can convince people that leaving things the way they are now is much worse than approaching it the way we've outlined.

KARL: OK, I want to move to the other big bipartisan compromise that emerged last week or this week, which is the deal on guns. Now, when you were in the Florida state legislature, you supported background checks, and back in 2007, you said that - let me see if I can get the - "if someone is a dangerous person who has shown a proclivity for using firearms to hurt other people, then we don't want them having a permit, much less ownership of a firearms. So my question to you is I assume you still believe that. You don't want dangerous people with a proclivity to commit crimes.

RUBIO: Everybody believes that.

KARL: So why not have background checks to buy a gun? What's wrong with having background checks at gun shows?

RUBIO: First of all, we do have background checks. And for example, I have a –


RUBIO: -- de facto background check. Are they going to –

KARL: But Senator, we don't have background checks for all sales at gun shows. We don't have background checks for all sales online. What the Manchin-Toomey compromise would do would say all of those sales, too, have background checks. What's wrong with that?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, do you want the background check, because the background check system right now does not work because it's not being enforced. Number two is, criminals don't care about the laws that we pass with regards to guns. They never follow the law. That's why they are criminals. Look, here is the bottom line. I think everyone is in favor of any law that could effectively keep criminals or dangerous people from getting access to guns. The problem is that all these laws that people are discussing will not effectively deal with that problem, but will infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. And so, what we need to look for is a compromise that actually accomplishes that, that does not infringe or place additional burdens on law-abiding citizens, and in fact is effective at keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people, and that begins by enforcing it. Are we going to start prosecuting people that are trying to buy guns and fail a background check? Because they are not prosecuting those right now. Are we going to honor conceal-carry permits from across state lines? Because someone who has a conceal-carry permit has been background checked. That's why they have one. Are we going to honor those in a gun show in other parts of the country? I think that should be part of the bill.

And here is my bigger point. This debate about guns, we are missing a golden opportunity to have the real debate we should be having, and that is a debate about violence. Guns are what they're using to commit the violence, but the problem is violence, and no one is focusing on why this society has become so violent, why young people in America are committing these horrifying acts, and we are missing a golden opportunity to discuss that, and not simply just focus on gun laws that only law-abiding people will follow.

KARL: Senator, we're almost out of time, but I've got to ask you about the Cuban vacation for Jay-Z and Beyonce, going down to Cuba on a cultural visa from the Treasury Department. You obviously said you thought that was a mistake to allow them to go down there. Jay-Z was pretty harsh. You know what Jay-Z is saying, let's be clear, was pretty harsh about critics like you, saying what's wrong, he's not a criminal for simply going down to Cuba. So what's your message back to Jay-Z? You can rap it if you want. He rapped his message to you.

RUBIO: Well, I won't rap it, but I'll say, I mean, first of all, I think Jay-Z needs to get informed. One of his heroes is Che Guevara. Che Guevara was a racist. Che Guevara was a racist that wrote extensively about the superiority of white Europeans over people of African descent, so he should inform himself on the guy that he's propping up. Secondly, I think if Jay-Z was truly interested in the true state of affairs in Cuba, he would have met people that are being oppressed, including a hip-hop artist in Cuba who is right now being oppressed and persecuted and is undergoing a hunger strike because of his political lyrics. And I think he missed an opportunity. But that's Jay-Z's issue. The bigger point is the travel policies. The travel policies need to be tightened because they are being abused. These are tourist trips, and they are – what they're doing is providing hard currency and funding so that a tyrannical regime can maintain its grip on the island of Cuba, and I think that's wrong.

KARL: All right, Senator Rubio, thank you for joining us on "This Week."

RUBIO: Thank you.

KARL: And we're joined now by another member of the gang of eight, New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer and Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions.

Senator Sessions, you heard Senator Rubio's pitch to conservatives like you, in fact you specifically. Are you convinced?

SESSIONS: No, I'm not convinced. I know Senator Rubio's heart is exactly right. And I really respect the work of the gang of eight. But they have produced legislation, it appears -- although it looks like now it may be another week before we see it, that will give amnesty now, legalize everyone that's here effectively today and then there's a promise of enforcement in the future. Even if you pass laws today that appear to be effective, it doesn't mean they're going to be enforced.

And we have in this administration, a failure to enforce. So that's a big deal right now.

KARL: But doesn't Senator Rubio have a point that those that are here now effectively have amnesty? I mean, nobody is prosecuting the 11 million undocumented immigrants that are in the country right now.

SESSIONS: You're exactly right. We have got a real problem with that situation. And what we need to do is to analyze how to handle it, how to make sure that we do the right thing for America. I think it's incumbent on Republicans, Democrats, and every one of us to ask what is going to happen to working Americans whose wages have been falling since 2000 who are unemployed at a very high rate. It will impact them adversely. We have to ask how the new flow of workers is going to be maybe double the current flow of legal workers in the future, in addition to those who will be legalized, 11 million. How that will impact them.

So, I think the public interest is to figure out how we can deal with the crisis we face, how we can have a lawful system that serves the national interest without hammering, as the civil rights commission members have said, the average low-income worker, the African-American and Hispanic worker that's here.

KARL: So, Senator Schumer, is this amnesty first?

SCHUMER: No, not at all. This is a very balanced bill. The American people have told us to do two things. One, prevent future flows of illegal immigration and then, come up with a common sense solution for legal immigration. And that's what our bill does.

You know, we've worked long and hard on this so, we're very, very close. Every major -- every significant disagreement among the eight of us is resolved. And I expect we will -- the eight of us will introduce a bill on Tuesday. Obviously, there have been problems. But last Friday night, this past Friday night, under Dianne Feinstein's leadership, the last problem, agriculture, was agreed to. The growers and the farm workers are there. So of course, we've all said, until the eight of us sign that bill, put our names on it, Tuesday, we don't have final agreement.

But I see nothing in the way. And I think you'll see a major agreement that's balanced but fair, that will have the widespread support of the American people on Tuesday.

KARL: But you know, Senator Schumer, I've talked to some of those who have been advocating this for a long time who say the Republican Party has their back against the wall on this, with Hispanic voters, that Democrats are driving this and that you guys are giving up too much.

I mean, under this compromise, as I understand it, somebody would have to wait ten years before even getting a green card, 13 years before, at the very earliest, they could be eligible for citizenship. Even somebody who has been in the country for 20 years. Have you given up too much on this?

SCHUMER: Well, I'm not going to get into specifics. But the eight of us have met in the middle. And I think that's where the American people are. They want a solution to immigration, as Marco Rubio said, and he's been a tremendous asset here. As Marco Rubio has said, the present situation is untenable.

This is a balanced approach that both prevents future waves of illegal immigration, but has common sense solutions.

Look at what we do now. We turn away people who could actually create jobs in America. And at the same time, we let people come across our border who take jobs away from Americans. Who wouldn't want to fix that in a fair and balanced way? And that's what we're doing.

KARL: So, let me ask you, Senator Sessions, you have said there are just too many unanswered questions about what this does. You put out a bunch of them. You have got one of the principal architects of this compromise right here. Fire away. What's your question?

SESSIONS: Well, I would ask Senator Schumer this, if this legislation is established by reputable economists as pulling down the wages of already suffering low-wage American workers, will you continue to push for it?

SCHUMER: The bottom line, that's not going to happen, Jeff.

SESSIONS: Well, you have to read the statistics. You didn't have hearings with these top economists who studied this over the years publicly, to determine the impact. And they say it will have that impact, as does the civil rights commission members.

SCHUMER: First of all -- let me just answer. First of all, it's very logical, right now, who's pulling down wage rates? Illegal people who cross the border and will work because they're illegal and have no protections for much less than Americans will work for.

Second, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, one of the most conservative true blue economists said this will raise wages and increase GDP. Cato institute, people who you usually agree with, Jeff, say this is going to be a shot in the arm for our economy because we'll take people in who will create jobs and prevent people who are coming in from lowering wages and taking away American jobs. It's such a logical approach.

It's logical...

SESSIONS: Well, it's logical that if you bring in a massive supply of low-wage workers, you're going to pull the workers down.

SCHUMER: They're already here, though, aren't they?

SESSIONS: Well, you're talking about almost doubling the...

SCHUMER: That's the point, isn't it?

SESSIONS: You're bringing in huge more numbers of legal workers, Chuck. And the ag people that you've been listening to are getting what they want, others are getting what they want, but it will impact and...

KARL: Very quickly, and then I have to move on -- Senator Schumer...

SCHUMER: Jonathan, the bottom line is very simple, the number of illegal people will greatly decrease and the number of legal people will not equal the number of illegals who cross the border. But they will have to be part -- let me just finish. They will have to be part of our society. They will not be able to bring down wages, work for less than minimum wage, be in the shadows, et cetera. So, it's very good.

Why do you think labor is supporting this proposal, not because it will bring down wages, but because it will be a real opportunity for Americans to gain more jobs.


So, I need to move on to the other big compromise -- and I know you guys also don't see eye to eye on this, this guns compromise.

And, Senator Schumer, obviously you were part of crafting this Toomey-Manchin agreement on background checks, which looks like it has a chance. But can you be blunt, honest, candid, forthright with me here, the other aspects of the president's agenda are going to go nowhere, right? We are not going to see an assault weapons ban come out of the senate, are we?

SCHUMER: Well, look, we're going to fight as hard as we can for -- I am anyway, for assault weapons ban and limitation on clips. But the sweet spot is background checks. It will do the most good, according to all the experts, in terms of preventing criminals and those adjudicated mentally ill, from getting guns and at the same time, has the best chance of passing.

Having said that, Jonathan, it's a hard road. Not all of the Republicans who voted to allow debate are going to vote with us on background checks. So, it's going to be a tough fight to even get the 60 votes we need for the Manchin-Toomey proposal.

KARL: And in fact you're not going to have all of the Democrats. You had a number of red state Democrats who simply don't like what we're seeing, even on the background checks. Let me look at two of them, Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, said in our party -- in our part of the country, this isn't an issue, this is a way of life. This is how people feel. I'm going to represent my state.

And Senator Max Baucus, Montana, said I don't support the bill. Montanans are opposed to this bill by a very large margin. How are you going to convince Democrats to get on board?

SCHUMER: Well, we're going to have the overwhelming majority of Democrats be for this. But as you know well, Jonathan, in the senate, you can't get anything major done because you need 60 votes without bipartisan support. And we're working really hard to maximize both, the number of Democrats who will be the overwhelming majority of those who vote for it, and a number of Republicans.

The key battle is with a handful of Republicans who voted for closing debate, but haven't yet committed on background checks, even the modifications that Manchin and Toomey have proposed. And there as a no, but both got A-ratings from the NRA in the past.

KARL: Probably not any more.

Senator Sessions, you obviously oppose this. Are you going to be able to stop it or are background checks going to pass?

SESSIONS: Before I get that, I just want to say this bill as we understand it, on immigration, will increase the legal flow of low-skill, low-wage workers and it will adversely impact workers.

KARL: But very quickly, are you going to be able to defeat the background checks?

SESSIONS: I don't think it's going to pass. The president of the United States has allowed, each year he's been here, the prosecutions of gun cases to go down. I was a federal prosecutor. I prosecuted those. He needs to prosecute the laws that we have today. They've declined every year since President Bush left office.

KARL: Senator Schumer, before we go, need to ask you about somebody who -- some have called your former protege, Anthony Weiner, obviously left congress in disgrace, now is considering a run for mayor. I don't expect you to make any endorsements in the mayor's race, but tell me, does Anthony Weiner deserve a second chance?

SCHUMER: Look, I'm not going to comment on that.

How did I know you'd ask that question, Jonathan?

KARL: You're not going to comment at all? Do you think he...


KARL: Not even whether he deserves a second chance?

SCHUMER: No comment.

KARL: No comment at all? That is rare. We have Senator Schumer with a no comment. Thank you very much, senator. Appreciate it. Thank you for coming on "This Week."

Senator Sessions.

SCHUMER: Time and season for everything, Jonathan.

SESSIONS: Thank you. I appreciate the talk and the work they've done. We've got a lot of work to do yet. And we need to read their bill.

KARL: All right. Thank you very much.

Coming up, our powerhouse roundtable on guns, immigration and the secret recordings of Mitch McConnell's campaign strategy sessions.

Plus, our exclusive on Jackie Robinson's legacy, with another number 42, Yankee legend Mariano Rivera.


KARL: Twitter got more crowded this week with President Bill Clinton jumping in, thanks to Stephen Colbert.


STEPHEN COLBERT, COLBERT REPORT: Would you like to break into the 21st Century right now and send your first tweet?


COLBERT: ...just spent.

CLINTON: ...amazing time with Colbert.

COLBERT: Sound good?

CLINTON: Is -- question. Is he sane?


COLBERT: Is he sane?

CLINTON: He is cool.


Sir, welcome to the future.





MANCHIN: I'm a parent. I'm a grandparent. I can't imagine, I just -- I can do something. I can do something.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: I urge them to use their lives to give meaning to Hadiya Pendleton's life. I urge them to dream as big as she did and work as hard as she did and live a life that honors every last bit of her God-given promise.


KARL: That was the first lady and Senator Joe Manchin, part of an emotional week in the gun debate. We'll get to that in a moment, but first, we have our roundtable. George Will, as always, Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post, Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, Republican chairman of the judiciary committee, Luis Gutierrez, Democrat of Illinois, Kim Strassel with the Wall Street Journal.

George, right to you. You heard a debate among Republicans on immigration, which side should the Republican Party come down on?

GEORGE WILL, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: Every conservative sympathizes with what Jeff Sessions was saying about not rewarding law breaking, however, conservatism begins with facing facts. The facts are that of the 11 million people who are here illegally, two-thirds have been a decade or more, 30 percent, 15 years or more. They're woven into our society. They're not leaving. And the American people would not tolerate the police measures necessary to extract them from our community.

Therefore, the great consensus has to be on the details of a path to citizenship.

The most important thing Rubio said in your interview was, even if the system weren't broken, if you had no illegal immigrants, we'd still need to do something about this because we need the workers, as the baby boomers retire, and as the birthrate declines. We need something to replenish the workplace to sustain the welfare state.

KARL: The framing from Rubio was interesting, saying we really already have amnesty. Nobody's prosecuting the undocumented immigrants here now.

MARCUS: Absolutely, I want to say I'm going to really enjoy saying this next sentence. I completely agree with every syllable that George Will just said. And I think that the stars are in alignment for many of the reasons that he said. The issue is less of a hot button that it was, in part because net migration from Mexico is zero.

Technology has been our friend on immigration, both in the workplace and in terms of drone surveillance on the border. It's easier to achieve enforcement. And Republicans, most of them, have realized not just the facts on the ground of immigration, but the political facts on the ground, that their party is going to have to get right on this issue.

KARL: But Mr. Chairman we've been here before. I mean 2006, the Senate, 61 votes I think it was 62 votes passed Immigration Reform. And it died in the House. Because Republicans in the House wouldn't even bring it up. Is that going to happen again this time?

GOODLATTE: I would argue it died in the Senate as a result of the American people to --

KARL: But it passed in 2006.

GOODLATTE: OK well look, the fact of the matter is we have to learn the lessons of both 1986 and 2007. In 1986 we passed an Immigration Law that allowed close to three million people to get here, to stay here and get permanent resident status. And if they wanted citizenship. And we had --


--by every president, not just the current one, have been only honored in the breech. That is a key question that has to be addressed this time. The second time, 2007, I think it failed because it was done from the top down. And the Senate right now is at a critical point. They have worked a small group with, we found out today, a representative of the White House in all of the meetings, in helping to draft this when the staff meetings --

KARL: Is that a problem for you?

GOODLATTE: Not a problem for me. But it is a problem how they go from here. It is absolutely important that they follow regular order, Marco Rubio is right, that they have a full exposition of it. He said this morning to you, it would be wonderful to have the other 92 Senators have their full input in this process and bring it from the ground up. The same thing you see happen in the House.

KARL: But a quick bottom line, do you think what he's talking about, what Rubio's talking about, could you envision it passing in the House?

GOODLATTE: I think, I think the specifics of that bill will be different than the specifics of the bill in the House. But we have to address legal immigration and reform, we have to address enforcement. And we have to address what we do with 11 million or more people who are not lawfully here.

And I think we can do that in a bipartisan way. We got to get the enforcement part right. And not just what the law says, but making sure that no one person, President of the United States, can flip a switch and not enforce the law as many presidents have done before.

That's going to be a key, key question here.

KARL: Congressman?

GUTIERREZ: I haven't seen in my memory, at least my 20 years, such a dramatic and sudden change in attitude towards a public policy issue, like the one we've seen after November 6, among the members of Congress and the House of Representatives.

The fact that Chairman Goodlatte and I can be on this program together and agree that we're going to move forward on resolving our broken immigration system, I think demonstrates that sea change that exists.

Look I've been working on this issue for 20 years. We're making real progress. I see real history being written in this Congress, and I see it written this year and signed by the President of the United States.

Next Tuesday, next Monday, the 22nd, Representative Paul Ryan is going to come down from Michigan and join me before the City Club.

KARL: You guys always hang out so, sure.

GUTIERREZ: Ryan and Gutierrez are always the best (inaudible). Interestingly enough, they sold out in 12 minutes, they went online. Everybody thinks --

KARL: So bipartisanship is breaking out on Capitol Hill. Kim, you're skeptical?


STRASSEL: Just to put a little bit of downer on this. I think it is amazing what we have seen so far. And yes it's all incredibly optimistic. This is the point that things become difficult. Now you're going to have language in a bill, it's going to come out. You're going to have hearings.

And I think one thing to keep your eye on too is that there has been some focus on Republicans being the ones who have not been in favor of this in the past. In fact, if you go back and you look back at the legislative record, the real problem with immigration is you've had common cause within those on the right and on the left.

So on the right, those who don't want immigration, on the left, often unions, for instance, who don't want a guest worker program, who don't want some of this. And you've seen Republican and Democratic members come together to poison pill some of these pieces of legislation.

We don't know if that's going to come out yet. It's good news the people who are leading this, are coming out very boldly and talking as strongly as they have been. And we also don't know too what role the White House is going to play in this yet.

GUTIERREZ: But I think you haven't seen the kinds of conversations that exist --

STRASSEL: I agree.

GUTIERREZ: In the House of Representatives, I mean Raul Labrador, from Idaho, a Tea Party favorite, is leading on this issue. There are, those, I mean I remember reading, they said, well you can't put Luis Gutierrez and Raul Labrador, an extreme left and an extreme right person in the room and reach a bipartisan. I think we are going to work to reach that.

Let me just also suggest, 1,400 people are deported every day. So to say that the system doesn't have an ill effect on a community and that there is no enforcement, 1,400 will be today, tomorrow, 1.6 million. It's having a devastating effect. And to just follow up on what George Will said one of the things that he didn't mention that we could act, there are millions of American citizen children, their parents are the undocumented. We need to resolve this for those children.

MARCUS: And I think Kim makes a really good point but it's the reason I'm optimistic. The usual frictions between labor and business, I think have been largely resolved. The business community, small business and big business, is much more unified than it has been. I think the civil rights community, the Latino community, the White House is in a very, very pragmatic approach. They're not insisting on an instant get citizenship tomorrow or five years from now.

I think the big sticking point is going to be the trigger for enforcement. What will, is this going to be bring me the witches broomstick enforcement, where you'll never be able to certify, that yes you can have this path. That's a sticking point. But I'm feeling very optimistic.

STRASSEL: You're also (inaudible) new issue --


KARL: Kim and Ruth are both right.


KARL: Here's the thing. If we don't get the enforcement right, not just from the standpoint of what the law says but how it's going to be carried out. We haven't yet talked about for example, are we just going to rely upon the federal government? A thin group of 5,000 Enforcement Agents across this large country, to enforce the law in the future, or are we going to allow state and local law enforcement to participate in this in a way they've not been allowed to in the past.

GUTIERREZ: And I think we can do them both at the same time. Look here's what I believe, the community, the Immigrant community voted, the vote on November 6. It was to say, take the 11 million and put them in a safe place. That is, stop the deportations, allow those parents to raise those children, get them right with the law. Give them a Social Security card, put them on tax role. Give up their fingerprints. Everybody keeps telling me, well Republicans, they like this more, the more they hear about background checks for the immigrants. The more they hear that they're going to have to learn English --

KARL: They like the enforcement and that's what Rubio was telling --


GUTIERREZ: But that's fine. There isn't a problem. Because what immigrants are saying to me is, where do I write the check out to pay the fine? Where do I take that English class so I can get right with the law?

GOODLATTE: To answer your first question to George, I think the key to this is making sure that Conservatives understand that this is an opportunity to fix a broken system and get it right. And so when we see things in the Senate bill, when we see things that the House Group of Eight are working on in a bipartisan fashion, it's been going on for years by the way. When we see them, and we don't like them, we need to say, here is how we will fix that. As opposed to here is how we will be opposed and not address this problem.

KARL: I've got to move on to the other big bipartisan thing we saw this week, which was gun control. The President had, did something extraordinary over the weekend. He turned over the weekly address to Francine Wheeler, her six-year-old son Ben, was killed at Newtown. Take a listen.


WHEELER: In the four months since we lost our loved ones, thousands of other Americans have died at the end of a gun. Please help us do something before our tragedy becomes your tragedy."


KARL: So the NRA actually lost a vote this week. I mean, you know, the vote, procedural vote to move forward on gun control. But doesn't the NRA still hold the cards here?

STRASSEL: Well I think gun rights are, people, gun owners out in the country are what most of these senators are concerned about. And that is the problem. You talked about a bipartisan compromise, you had one Republican Senator. He's been joined by a couple more, to come out --

KARL: Yeah but Pat Toomey is not exactly a squish. I mean this isn't like (inaudible).

STRASSEL: No but here's the real issue on this. What you really want, and what happened in Newtown, it's worthy of all the emotion you're seeing this week OK? But there's an obligation to do something that is effective in actually dealing with this.

I think one of the problems that this amendment is going to have is that what you want is a system whereby law abiding gun owners who make up the majority of people who own guns, have the ability to go, and you help them to be able to check and use a background system, if they need to, to see and reassure themselves that they are actually selling their gun to somebody who's not a bad person.

That's not what this does. This expands the current system. Government, big government reach. You're also going to be required to keep records that law enforcement is going to be able to access.

KARL: Well it extends --

STRASSEL: This (inaudible) a huge no-no of gun owners, and it's, why because they decided to go as far as they did on this amendment, that you're not likely to get both a huge number of Republicans or even a lot of Democrats, as you mentioned.

WILL: It should be, as Kim says, effective. It also should be congruent with the Bill of Rights of which the Second Amendment is a part. Now, it is part of the tragedy of this tragedy is that it occurred at Sandy Hook, immediately as the President began after the election.

He has spent an inordinate amount of time and energy in what will be the most precious moments of his second term probably, the early months here, on this. We're not going to get a ban on what are meretriciously called assault weapons that are simply semi-automatic weapons.

KARL: Right.

WILL: Forty percent of all weapons sold in the country. We are not going to get universal background checks. We're not going to get a ban on magazines. Does anyone at this table believe that when the Senate and the House do whatever they're going to do, that it was make a particle of difference toward preventing future --


KARL: There you go.

MARCUS: I do. Will it, I do not think we're going to get assault weapon ban.

KARL: Yeah.

MARCUS: I do not think we're going to get magazine limits. I think we're at a rather extraordinary moment where it's easier for Republican and Democratic politicians to support same sex marriage than it is for them to support the same law that was passed in 1994.

None and so there, to the extent that there is the possibility and I think there is the possibility of progress. It's going to be limited progress on expanding the background check system that is already in place.

Would that have prevented Newtown? No. Could that prevent future Newtowns? Yes. Will it stop everybody who's determined to buy a guy who isn't entitled to buy a guy from getting one? No. Will it stop some people? Yes.

The existing background check system where if you fail your background check, you can just go buy one at a gun show has gotten two million, stopped two million transactions. Some of those people went and got other guns. That would be harder under this. But some of them didn't go and get other guns.

KARL: Well what's wrong with background checks?

GOODLATTE: Well first of all, the issue is, are you going to require law abiding citizens to face greater burdens to no effect. That, in my opinion, is the issue here.


GOODLATTE: What you've got to deal with here is, this administration --

KARL: It's a quick check though isn't it? I mean, two days, maximum.

MARCUS: It takes seven minutes.

GOODLATTE: And there's no distinction between a sale online or a sale offline. There's no sense, you can't mail a gun through the mail from somebody after they buy it from you online. You still have to go and get it from them. It's illegal to mail the gun.

Draw the line between commercial transactions and individuals selling guns --

STRASSEL: Private.

GOODLATTE: And then enforce the law and work to get more data in the mix.

GUTIERREZ: I'll tell you who is applauding and who's clapping any lack of success on gun control, gang bangers and drug dealers across this country. They're happy and delighted. Because they are murdering and killing young people each and every day.

KARL: Yeah.

STRASSEL: But they don't follow the law now.

GOODLATTE: You think they're going to do a background check?

GUTIERREZ: Yet I think it is the beginning of a conversation we need to have in America to control guns.


GUTIERREZ: I need to do everything I can to ensure that another young woman like (inaudible) doesn't get murdered on the streets of Chicago.

GOODLATTE: I'm all for the First Amendment conversation, but not at the expense of the Second Amendment.

GUTIERREZ: But it isn't at the expense. It's at the expense of our youth, our youth in this country.

KARL: Very quickly --

MARCUS: Don't get the issue that (inaudible) and I, (inaudible) and I are both big believers in the constitution, we interpret it slightly differently. What is the infringement on Second Amendment rights to ask people to have a background check and to keep some record of that? The government is going to go rifling willy-nilly through people's files. It's going to give them ability, if there is a crime committed with the gun you've sold, to maybe go back and trace it to you. Everybody should welcome that.

GOODLATTE: Can I answer that?

KARL: Sure, go ahead.

GOODLATTE: So we have determined that the 76,000 people who were found to have liked on the background check in 2010, 4,700 were referred by the ATF for further investigation, prosecution, 62 of them were prosecuted.

Every Republican on the House Judiciary Committee signed a letter to the President and the Attorney General asking why that is? And why there isn't greater enforcement. Enforcement's down 40 percent overall in his administration. The answer we got about the background checks was those are "paper crimes."

Well they're not paper crimes, they're felonies because they're perjury and if you set the example of lying when you do a background check and prosecuting them, you'll have fewer people trying that. But why would the solution to that be in creating more paper crimes.


GUTIERREZ: And so we should enforce the law also, and also make sure that we improve the law. So I'm with you on it. So just so that we get clear, George Bush's presidency had the same dismal record on enforcement of the background checks as this presidency has during the last four years.

Let's improve it together so we can improve the quality of life.


GUTIERREZ: I think 9 out of 10 people in America have said we can do reasonable background checks without infringing on people's right to bear arms.

KARL: We're just about out of time. I do before we leave, want to talk about this Beyonce Jay-Z, there's a serious issue about whether or not we should have a Cuba Trade Embargo, Travel Ban. Jay-Z in his response on this said, I'm in Cuba, I love Cubans. The communist talk is so confusing when it's from China, the very mic that I'm using.

I mean, he has a point George. This has been an odd policy. Trade with countries that are far worse on human rights than Cuba.

WILL: The Cuban Embargo may have made a lot of sense during the Cold War. The Cold War is over. And it is hard to think of a policy more firmly refuted by events than the policy of the embargo which is supposed to weaken one of the, it turns out, most durable dictators in the world.

KARL: That might be something Ruth Marcus also agrees with you on. Thank you very much.

MARCUS: I'm getting a little scared here.

KARL: I think you to all of our roundtable. Up next, Jackie Robinson's legacy. Our conversation with the greatest relief pitcher of all time, Mariano Rivera.


KARL: Mariano Rivera straight ahead but first the Sunday Funnies:


KIMMEL: Did you hear the latest from Iran today? The Iranian government is claiming that their scientists have developed a time machine, which could explain how their leader got all those 1980's Members Only jackets.

O'BRIEN: Jay-Z and Beyonce created a controversy by traveling to Cuba. And the Treasury Department is now saying that when they OKed the request, they didn't know it was them. Yeah the Department said, yeah we thought it was a different Jay-Z and Beyonce.


KARL: That was a clip from the new movie, "42" telling the story of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier. Tomorrow all the Major League Players will wear Robinson's number in tribute. But there is only one play who wears the number 42 at every game, Yankee legend Mariano Rivera.

We caught up with him at Yankee Stadium earlier this week.

(Movie clip)

KARL: You are the last major league baseball player that will ever wear the number 42.

RIVERA: Yes I have the privilege to be the last one to wear.

KARL: What does that mean to you?

RIVERA: It's not only privilege and satisfaction, its responsibility. I felt the challenge because what Mr. Jackie Robinson represent, what he did, and the legacy that he has, for us, you know, he lived for us. And as a minority, come from Panama and be the last one to wear number 42, I think it's a lot of pressure in there. I have tried my best. And tried to keep the responsibility and do my job well.

KARL: You've done all right.

RIVERA: I try, I try.

KARL: I know you go out to every stadium in major league baseball, number 42 is out there, retired.

RIVERA: Yes. Yes it is.

KARL: And you've got it on your back.

RIVERA: Yeah, the only one. The only one, I got it on my back.

(Movie clip)

KARL: So are you going to see the movie?

RIVERA: Oh yes, yes.

KARL: He faced so much, he had so much adversity. Some of his own teammates, most of them wouldn't even shake his hand when he came out on the field. Can you image that?

RIVERA: Yeah I can't imagine that. I can't see that now. It took a man like Jackie Robinson to break that barrier.

KARL: Yeah.

RIVERA: And Thank God for him, because we enjoy these moments now because of him.

KARL: I always think of him, in the old footage, you've seen him play, stealing home. Which he did 10 times.

RIVERA: I always talk to (inaudible) about that play. He say, (inaudible) he was out. They call him safe.

KARL: Now before you go, I do have a favor I want to ask.


KARL: You have the most famous, most effective pitch in the history of relief pitching. I want to know how do you throw the Rivera Cutter?

RIVERA: Well the pitch --

KARL: I won't tell anybody. You can just tell me.

RIVERA: It's just four things, you got the ball like this.

KARL: Yes.

RIVERA: And that's that.

KARL: All I've got to do is grab the ball like that?

RIVERA: Just like that. You throw it like that and it cut. OK you throw it like that. I will throw it like this.

KARL: Wait why are you throwing it like that?

RIVERA: Because I'm a (inaudible). You will throw like that. I will throw like this.


RIVERA: So that's the way it works. You don't, I won't give you my tip, you won't give --

KARL: And George Will is back with us. George you have a rare photograph of Jackie Robinson stepping onto the field moments, you know, a couple hours before his first game. That moment was big, not just for baseball, this was way beyond baseball.

WILL: Well Jackie Robinson is the second most important African-American in our history. And April 15, 1947, was the most important day in the protracted, slow-motion emancipation of Africa-Americans, since the Civil War.

Jackie Robinson was the fuse that lit the fire that was fanned into a conflagration by Martin Luther King who was 18 years old on that day when Jackie Robinson took the field. And by the time he took the field, three years after he, 11 years before, Rosa Parks refused to go to the back of the bus, Jackie Robinson as a Lieutenant in the Army was court martialed for refusing to go to the back of the bus in Ft. Hood, Texas and he won his case.

KARL: And he was also a great baseball player. I mean how great?

WILL: Well first of all, he was on a field what African-Americans had been discouraged from being in life, confident, aggressive and aristocratic. Four-star athlete, four-sport athlete at UCLA, football records, NCA champion broad jump, lead the Pacific Coast in basketball shooting. And he didn't get to the big leagues until he was 28.

KARL: George Will, thank you very much. And now we honor our fellow Americans who serve and sacrifice. That's all for today. Thank you for sharing part of your Sunday with us.

Check out World News with David Muir tonight and don't miss our web extra, I'll be answering your questions. Plus my interview with Yankee's slugger Robinson Cano, on the man he is named for, Jackie Robinson. It's all on abcnews.com/thisweek.

George is back next week, we hope you will be too.


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