Did Obama Overstep on Immigration?

The "This Week" powerhouse roundtable debates Obama's executive order on immigration, and how Republicans should respond.
6:54 | 11/23/14

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Transcript for Did Obama Overstep on Immigration?
We now return to a brand-new episode of "Schoolhouse rock." Say, what's that piece of paper doing here? Oh, you mean me? I tell you who I am. ? I'm just a bill yes I'm only a bill ? ? and I'm sitting here on capitol hill ? ? and if I pass the legislative test then I wind up on the president's desk ? ? and I -- President Obama, what's the big idea? That bill was trying to become a law. I realize that, but you know, son, there's actually an even easier way to get things done around here, it's called an executive order. ? I'm an executive order and I pretty much just happen ? "Saturday night live" last night. Now let's bring in our powerhouse roundtable joined by Dr. Ben Carson and the editor and publisher of "The nation" Katrina vanden heuvel, our own political correspondent Matthew dowd and James Carville. Let me begin with you, a lot of people skeptical with the president and thought he should have given the new congress a chance to act but did he grab the initiative here? Well, he definitely grabbed the initiative in a way to put his policies through. I think one, we need to do something about immigration, it's absolutely crucial that we do something about -- the manner in which the way the president did it doesn't do anything to help the political discourse or fix the fundamental problem that exists in Washington which is the means of governing is broken. On both sides of the aisle and as I said earlier this week where obstructionism meets arrogance, dysfunction is born. The white house would answer, it may not fix dysfunction but helps 5 million undocumented immigrations. It does. What can't be forgotten here, it's human costs of inaction and, you know, on the action front, John Boehner passed the bill. I mean, you can get -- it's been 18 months, right, 516 days, 68 members of the senate supported it. The human costs -- So when our constitutional democracy doesn't work for somebody then we just go past it? Putting aside -- the president has law on his side. Every president since Eisenhower has used executive orders or prosecutorial discretion to deal with immigration issues, but, George, you ask the right question. This is a family values immigration reform because it's keeping parents and children together, and the human costs of inaction are grim. It's also the political calculus, this is a hard won victory for a movement. People, millions of people have protested, have pressed, have demanded change, and movements have -- One of the questions will be, can it last? Dr. Carson, what should the republicans do in response? Well, I think they, first of all, have to recognize that we do need immigration reform, and they need to be putting out their version of it so that people can see it. What we've managed to do is to take things that are relevant to all of us and make them into gigantic political issues that further divide us, and we have a mechanism for doing these kinds of things, and we need to emphasize what that mechanism is. It is not for one individual to seize control. If that was the case, why not do that when he first came into office when he had full control. What's the answer to that? That's exactly what happened. The senate passed it. He says, look, I'll give you a political win if you take this off the table, if you give me a policy win. They said, no, we're not going to do that. They had 516 to 15 days to do it. It was an utter brilliant political move. Every democrat is smiling. Every republican said how could he do this? Because they -- because Boehner couldn't bring it up. Although there was a majority of people in the house and he just walked up and cold cocked him and it's there and now they don't have the policy. Now the politics are going to dominate the 2016 republican nomination. James and I get along and agree on most things. I totally disagree. I think the politics of this are very bad for the president and very bad for the democratic party. I think in the end the country looks at this and says Washington is completely broken. We've sent two presidents there to fix the problem we have in Washington and now we have both sides of the aisle that say on the far left on the far right that say, listen, this has to be fixed so we'll use any means necessary to fix the problem. In the end I think it's going to hurt the democratic party. I couldn't disagree with Matthew more. They pass if they have 515 days and a majority of the house ready to vote for it and Boehner won't bring it up. And it's the president's fault? No, it's their fault and he exposed them brilliantly. Every democrat I know says, ha, ha, and every republican says, how could he do this to us? You know, I think -- that's the problem. Everything is made into democrats and republicans. Why don't we deal with things that are pro-american. One of the things we have to recognize is we have millions of people in this country in our inner cities, in our rural areas, in appalachia who are suffering just incredible -- Right. But that's the answer. Why don't we deal with them. Wait a minute. Why are you pitting those people against the undocumented immigrants? The reason -- can I tell you why? I agree this shouldn't be a democratic or republican problem yet the gap between the two is so clear. And for the Latino community they know whose side -- which party is on their side. But this is about lifting those up who are suffering from a recovery which isn't helping them and this should be about lifting wages for all. This should be about a humane moral politics, which is what I meant when I said this was a hard-won victory for a movement. All of that is true. A movement -- 97% of the democrats are -- in fact, 35% of the republicans do. They couldn't do it. They had 515 days. He said, I will wait. I will hold off. You just pass the bill and Boehner wouldn't bring it to the floor after the election. He wouldn't promise to bring it to the floor. And then he came up -- James, as you know, I have spoken a long and pushed long and hard about the republican party dealing with the Latino issue, dealing with immigration. If I were the republicans and I were in the house and the senate when it took over in January, I would pass an immigration bill and send it to the president's desk, their version, their version of an immigration bill and send it to the president's desk and watch him veto it. The president is not interested in figuring out a way to do it together. He's only interested in doing the specific things he wants to do. They had 516 days -- The majority -- That's how our democracy works. Matthew worked with George W. The politics of the republican party today are not George w.'s. I mean, you have -- That's absolutely true. Absolutely true. You have a republican party driven in large measure by a no nothing nativism anti-immigrant stance. Real quickly, Dr. Carson, would you vote for the senate bill? As it exists now? Yeah. I would have to read it thoroughly before I

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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