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Can Republicans find compromise on immigration reform?

Immigration is a central tenant of Donald Trump’s domestic policy agenda and a topic of major division among Republicans. Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill get two views from Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., and Daniel Garza of the LIBRE Initiative.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And now we turn our focus now to a major tenet of Trump's domestic policy, immigration.

    It's a subject that's split Republicans for years. George W. Bush failed to pass reform, and there is a divide between what he advocated for and what's in Trump's platform right now.

    We get two views, Republican congressman Tom Marino of Pennsylvania, and Daniel Garza. He's the executive director of The LIBRE Initiative. That is the largest conservative Hispanic political group in the country.

    Welcome to both of you.

  • DANIEL GARZA, Executive Director, The LIBRE Initiative:

    Thank you.

    REP. TOM MARINO (R), Pennsylvania: Thank you.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Let me start with you, Congressman Marino.

    What most people know about Donald Trump and immigration is, he's going to build a huge wall that's going to run the length of the border with Mexico, and he's going to deport all 11 million illegal or undocumented immigrants. Is that pretty much all there is?

  • REP. TOM MARINO:

    No, it's not all there is. You know, as far as deporting 11 million people, you have got to realize that the numbers that we're talking about, about half — or even not half of those individuals are on visas that have expired.

    And that's one good way that we can address the issue. Call those people in, let's review it, where are you? What are you doing? And that's going to have a factor on it. But do we need a wall in between the United States and Mexico? Absolutely, we need a wall. We see what's coming into the country. We see how open the borders are.

    That's the main point of a problem, but we need to have more security there. We need to be screening people. Look, I was a U.S. attorney for years, and I worked with Border Patrol, I worked with the ICE people.

    And I'm hearing now consistently that they can't detain people, they can't stop people from coming in. And we need to be checking anyone coming in this country. We need to do a background check on everyone. I don't care what race they are, what country they come from. We have to be strong on border security. Terrorists are coming into this country. Look at the criminals that have come in and murdered people.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Let me give Daniel Garza a chance to respond, because you're in a particularly unique position, because you represent a Latino, Hispanic group — Latino conservative group, and you know that 84 percent of Hispanics are saying they're not so pleased with the Republican Party right now.

    How do you bridge the gap between what you hear the congressman saying and what you're saying to your constituency?

  • DANIEL GARZA:

    Well, we will continue to do what we have always done, which is to advance ideas, policies that are going to eliminate barriers to opportunity, that are going to increase educational opportunities to folks.

    Look, there is no secret that we have made very public our opposition to Donald Trump's stated positions on immigration. We feel that they are counterproductive, that they would interrupt our economy, and would rip families apart.

    So, what we want to see is some alternative policy position that is actually more sensible, that is market-based and that actually addresses market forces, but also keeps families together. That's important for us, because a lot of the children of the undocumented folks are citizens, and I think we should be working towards policies that induce family cohesion.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Congressman Marino, what about that? Can there be some moderate modification of what Donald Trump and you believe to accommodate the kinds of things…

    (CROSSTALK)

  • REP. TOM MARINO:

    Well, there always has to be discussion and opened-mindedness.

    And Donald will be opened-minded about discussion. But what do you tell the people? I just was at a swearing-in in my state, where there were 35 people sworn in as American citizens. What do you tell those people that wait in line and have waited in line for years? They did it the legitimate way. They did it the legal way.

    There's no — we cannot and we shouldn't accept the fact that, because they're here, that justifies the fact that we should violate the laws that we have in place. And it's unfair to anyone else who wants to come into this country legally. But we need to work together to do this.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    You talk about working together. Unity has been a theme of this convention.

    Daniel Garza — and, Congressman, I want you weigh in on this — how is it possible? How do you end up in the same place?

  • DANIEL GARZA:

    The consensus is what worries me about Hillary Clinton, for example, on the issue of immigration.

    She is promising Latinos, if you vote for me, I will get you immigration reform. What she doesn't tell Latinos is, if you vote for me, I will give you immigration reform, as long as I get everything I want.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Well, what about your party?

  • DANIEL GARZA:

    You have a Republican House majority and a Republican Senate majority. You both have to come to the middle. That means either Donald Trump, who has taken a harsh position, or Hillary Clinton, who is writing a check she cannot cash, and she knows it.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    But where is that middle ground, Congressman?

  • REP. TOM MARINO:

    That middle ground comes — we don't know where it's at this point.

  • DANIEL GARZA:

    I could provide it…

    (CROSSTALK)

  • REP. TOM MARINO:

    But individuals like you and Donald Trump and myself and other people who are working on this issue, we need to sit down in a room, check the egos at the door, lock the door, and say we're not coming out of here until we get this resolved.

    And to make promises — look, the Democrats and Hillary Clinton are making — are promising things that they can't produce, they shouldn't produce.

  • DANIEL GARZA:

    They're pandering, flat out.

  • REP. TOM MARINO:

    They're pandering.

    And also what they're doing is, you think they're really concerned about having new immigrants come into this country and become Americans? No, because it's the greatest voter registration scam that you would ever see.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    But what's the holdup, then? Is that the holdup?

  • DANIEL GARZA:

    Well, what you have is, on the one side, you have a fixed position of immediate citizenship. On the other side, you have the concern that you have to address market forces.

    So, what we're saying, OK, if we cannot achieve the optimum, ideal situation of a path to citizenship, then what is the next best thing that's acceptable? And for us, individual sovereignty is important. And that means that a work visa bill that would include circularity, job mobility, family unification, and, if you're not going to be advantaged to get in front of the line, at least you're not disadvantaged by getting in back of the line.

    (CROSSTALK)

  • GWEN IFILL:

    It sounds like a priority question, though. Is it securing borders which is the most important part or this idea about work…

    (CROSSTALK)

  • DANIEL GARZA:

    I don't want securing borders to hold up the other pieces.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Well, what about that?

    (CROSSTALK)

  • REP. TOM MARINO:

    I have many, many hardworking Hispanics in my district.

    I have a very agricultural district. They come in on the visa program. We should make it simpler for them to come in on a visa program.

  • DANIEL GARZA:

    Yes.

  • REP. TOM MARINO:

    They pick crops. They work in our hotels. They send money back. They pay taxes. They send money back home. Sometimes, they go back home, then they come seasonally.

  • DANIEL GARZA:

    Like my parents, who were farmworkers.

  • REP. TOM MARINO:

    Exactly.

    And my grandparents came into the country the legal way. But we have an issue here, where both sides just are not listening to each other. There are promises. There are pandering. The pandering is making it extremely difficult. Donald has changed his position. Just like — he says, yes, we need to review this process but we first…

    (CROSSTALK)

  • DANIEL GARZA:

    The last thing that was similar to what Donald Trump is proposing is Proposition 187.

    I will remind you that, in 1990, Republicans lost a governor position in California by six points. By 1994, they lost it by 46 points, and 61 points four years later.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And why isn't that a lesson for Donald Trump?

  • REP. TOM MARINO:

    It's not a lesson.

    What it is, is an example of how the Democrats have been pandering, pandering to the Hispanics about how to get into this country and not follow the law.

    Let me come back here a little bit. All three, Obama, Bush and Clinton, should have dealt with these issues, and they haven't.

    (CROSSTALK)

  • GWEN IFILL:

    I guess my question, though, is, we're at the Republican National Convention. And I would really like to hear how you're going to deal with these issues, not spend a lot of time talking about what is going to happen — what the other guys are going to do. They will have their opportunity next week.

  • DANIEL GARZA:

    That's been my concern with the Trump candidacy, that we get a lot of 10,000-foot-level kind of rhetoric, but we never get specifics on issues like taxes and regulations on school choice, on eminent domain, on many issues that matter to Latinos, the economy, education, health care, the security of the country.

    I want specifics, so I can have the certainty of who I'm voting for. I haven't heard…

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    One final word, quick.

  • REP. TOM MARINO:

    OK.

    Talk about specifics. What we need to do is — we can't do comprehensive. This is too complicated. We sit down and we list the most important issues from one to 10, and we start ticking them off one by one.

  • DANIEL GARZA:

    Love it.

  • REP. TOM MARINO:

    And by the time we get to 10, we're going to have the problem resolved.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Congressman Tom Marino, thank you.

    Daniel Garza, we thank you both.

  • DANIEL GARZA:

    Pleasure.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Thank you both very much.

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