Sen. Schumer and Sen. Sessions on 'This Week'

Senators Charles Schumer and Jeff Sessions on immigration and gun control.
10:24 | 04/14/13

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Transcript for Sen. Schumer and Sen. Sessions on 'This Week'
Thank you. 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. Are you convinced? I'm not convinced. I know senator rubio's heart is exactly right. And I expect the work of the gang of eight. But they have produced legislation, it appears. Although, 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. And that's a big deal right now. Doesn't senator rubio has a point? That those here now effectively have amnesty? No one's prosecuting the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country right now. You're exactly right. We have 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's going to happen to working americans, whose wages have been falling since 2000, 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 the 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 that public interest is to figure out how to deal with the crisis we face. How to have a lawful system that as the civil rights commission members has said, the low-income worker. Senator schumer, is this amnesty first? 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 illegal immigration. That's that's what our bill does. 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. 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. You know,enator schumer, I've talked to some of those who have been advocating this for a long time. Saying the republican party has their back against the wall on this, with hispanic voters. Democrats are driving this. And you guys are giving up too much. 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? 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 said, the present situation is untenable. This is a balanced approach that both prevents future waves of ill immigration, 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. Let me ask you, senator sessions. You said there's too many unanswered questions about what this does. You put out a bunch -- you have one of the principal architects of this. Fire away. I would ask senator schumer this. If this legislation is established by reputable economists, as pulling down the wages of suffering low-wage american workers, will you continue to push for it? The bottom line, that's not going to happen, jeff. Well, you have to read the statistics. You didn't have hearings with the 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. It's -- 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, will work for less than one of the most conservative economists, said this will raise wages and increase gdp. Cato institute. People who you usually agree with, say this is going to be a shot in the arm for the economy because we'll take people in who will create jobs and prevent people coming in from lowering wages and taking away american jobs. That's such a logical approach. It's logical -- it's logical that if you bring in a massive supply of low-wage workers, you're going to pull the workers down. They're already here, though. Well, you're -- that's the point, isn't it? You're bringing in huge more numbers of legal workers, chuck. And the ag people you've been listening to are getting what they want. It will impact and -- very quickly -- and I have to -- senator 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. They will have to be part -- let me just finish. They will have to be part of our society. They wilbe 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. Okay. I need to go on to the other big -- it's this guns compromise. And, senator schumer, you were part of crafting this toomey-manchin agreement on background checks, which looks like it has a chance. 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're going to fight as hard as we can, 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. 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. 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. Two of them, 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 onboard? We're going to have the overwhelming majority of democrats be for this. As you know, 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 they both got a-ratings from the nra in the past. Senator sessions, you obviously oppose this. Are you going to be able to stop it? Are background checks going to pass? 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 workers. And it will adversely impact workers. But very quickly, will you defeat the background checks? I don't think it will 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 declined every year since president bush left office. Senator schumer, before we go, need to ask you about somebody -- someone your former protege, anthony weiner. Left congress in disgrace. mayor. I don't expect you to make endorsements for the mayor's race. Does anthony weiner deserve a second chance? I'm not going to comment on that. How did I know you'd ask that question, jonathan? You're not going to comment at all? Nope. Not even whether he deserves a second chance? No comment. No comment at all? That is rare. We have senator schumer with a no comment. Thank you very much, senator. Appreciate that. Thank you for coming on "this week." Senator sessions. Time and season for everything, jonathan. Thank you, jon. I appreciate the talk and the work they've done. Got a lot of work to do yet. And we need to read their bill. Thank you very much. Coming up, our powerhouse

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

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