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San Diego Congressman Juan Vargas To Boycott State Of The Union

January 29, 2018 3:24 p.m.

San Diego Cong. Juan Vargas Talks About Immigration Reform

GUEST:

Rep. Juan Vargas, 51st Congressional District

Related Story: San Diego Congressman Juan Vargas To Boycott State Of The Union

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.


>> PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP IS GIVING HIS FIRST-AID OF THE UNIT ADDRESS TOMORROW, AND PLENTY OF DEMOCRATS, ALONG WITH ONE REPUBLICAN HAS INVITED THE SAME GUESS, DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVAL RECIPIENTS. HE IS EXPECTED TO MAKE A SALES PITCH FOR IMMIGRATION PLAN HE RELEASED LAST WEEK, BUT IS ALREADY GETTING HEARTS FEEDBACK FOR MEMBERS OF BOTH PARTIES. ON FRIDAY, I SPOKE WITH THEM THE CONGRESSMAN -- A CONGRESSMAN WHO REPRESENTS THE WHOLE CALIFORNIA/MEXICO BORDER. THE RECENT GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN WAS ALL OVER A DACA FIX, AND AFTER THE SHUTDOWN, THEY RELEASED SPECIFIC ELEMENTS THE PRESIDENT WANTS TO SEE IN THE FINAL BILL, INCLUDING A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP FOR UP TO 1.8 MILLION PEOPLE WHO ARE BROUGHT TO THE U.S. AS CHILDREN. IS THAT ENOUGH FOR YOU TO BREAK THROUGH THE GRIDLOCK IN WASHINGTON AROUND IMMIGRATION REFORM?
>> NO, PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP PROPOSAL, IT IS ONE THAT WE SHOULD REJECT AND I CERTAINLY WILL NOT SUPPORT IT. IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE TO ME TO TELL THESE DREAMERS THEY CAN STAY, AND BY THE WAY, WE WILL DO FOR YOUR MOM AND DAD. THAT DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE. THEY WANT VERY FIERCE, INTERNAL APPREHENSION. I AM NOT IN FAVOR OF THAT. THE PROPOSAL THAT I THINK HE HAS WITHOUT WILL NOT GOING.
>> THEY SAY OFFERING 1.8 MILLION DREAMERS A PATHWAY TO CITIZENSHIP IS A SUBSTANTIAL MOVE ON THEIR PART. IS IN IT UP TO DEMOCRATS IN YOUR MIND TO MAKE SOME TOUGH CONCESSIONS OF THEIR OWN?
>> WE HAVE MADE SOME TOUGH CONCESSIONS OF OUR ALREADY. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT JUST KIDS. WERE NOT TALKING ABOUT COPPERHEADS OF IMMIGRATION REFORM. IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHERE YOU START WHEN YOU NEGOTIATE. THEY ARE SAYING WE HAVE GOT THESE KIDS, WE ARE HOLDING THEM RANSOM, AND WE WANT TO DO ALL THESE TERRIBLE THINGS AND WANT YOU TO SUPPORT IT, OTHERWISE WE WILL TAKE OUT THESE KIDS.I THINK THAT IS A HORRIBLE WAY TO NEGOTIATE, AND IT WILL NOT GET MY VOTE. I HOPE IT DOES NOT GET ENOUGH VOTES TO PASS. I DON'T KNOW WHERE THESE PEOPLE COME UP WITH THESE IDEAS. INSTEAD OF SAYING WE ARE A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS, WE SHOULD BE HUMANE, HOW DO WE FIGURE OUT SOMETHING THAT WORKS? OPPOSED TO USING KIDS AS HOSTAGES, THAT IS JUST DUMB.
>> I WANT TO BREAK DOWN A FEW OF THE OTHER ELEMENTS OF THE PROPOSAL. THAT PROPOSAL FROM THE WHITE HOUSE WOULD PUT GREATER LIMITS ON LEGAL IMMIGRATION. IS THAT AN AREA YOU THINK DEMOCRATS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO NEGOTIATE OVER IF YOU WANT A DEAL FOR DACA, BEFORE IT EXPIRES IN MARCH?
>> I HOPE NOT. WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT THAT, IT IS REALLY FAMILY REUNIFICATION. I THOUGHT THEY WERE THE FAMILY VALUES PEOPLE, WHERE THEY VALUE FAMILY AND THE FAMILY SHOULD LIVE TOGETHER AND LIVE AS A UNIT AND ALL THESE KIND OF THINGS. NOW THEY WANT TO MAKE SURE FAMILIES CANNOT COME TOGETHER. NO, I DO NOT THINK WE SHOULD NEGOTIATE OVER THAT. IT IS HORRIBLE, WHAT THEY CALL IT. THE COLLEGE JANE I GRATIAN. -- THEY CALL IT CHAIN MIGRATION. NO, THEIR LANGUAGE THAT THEY USE IS SPITEFUL, AND THEY'RE TRYING TO GET RID OF FAMILY REIFICATION. AGAIN, THESE ARE THINGS WE SHOULD REJECT WRITE OUT.
>> WHERE YOU SEE THE ROOM FOR NEGOTIATION? WHERE ARE THE ELEMENTS FOR AND OF -- REFORM THAT THERE COULD BE GIVEN TAKEOVER?
>> I THINK THE RIGHT ONE, WHEN THEY SAY WE SHOULD HAVE SOME PROCESS THAT IS ORDERLY, WHEN YOU SHOULD HAVE FUTURE FLOWS OF PEOPLE THAT IS ORDERLY, I AGREE WITH ALL OF THAT. WE SHOULD HAVE SAFE -- SAFETY ALONG THE BORDER. WE SHOULD HAVE PEOPLE CROSSING THE BORDER ILLEGALLY, WE SHOULD HAVE BETTER INSPECTIONS, THOSE ARE POSITIVE THINGS AND WE OUGHT TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO DO THAT. THE THINGS THEY'RE ASKING FOR A VERY UN-AMERICAN, I THINK, SO I THINK WE HAVE TO PUSH BACK. THAT IS WHAT I'VE BEEN TELLING OUR, WE HAVE TO PUSH BACK ON THIS PRESIDENT AND ALL THE EVIL THINGS HE IS TRYING TO DO WITH HIS IMMIGRATION REFORM. THEY ARE TRYING TO HOLD THESE KIDS HOSTAGE AND WE HAVE TO PUSH BACK.
>> WHAT ABOUT FUNDING FOR THE PRESIDENT'S FAMOUS WALL? CHUCK SCHUMER, LAST WEEK IN THE MIDST OF THE SHUTDOWN NEGOTIATIONS, BROACH THE TOPIC AND SAID DEMOCRATS MIGHT BE WILLING TO PAY FOR THE WALL. WHAT IS YOUR STANCE ON WALL FUNDING?
>> I THINK IT IS THE DUMBEST THING IN THE WORLD TO BUILD A WALL. TO, --
>> WOULD YOU AGREE TO FUNDING IF IT MEANT A LARGER IMMIGRATION DEAL?
>> IT WOULD BE A -- IT WOULD BE HARD FOR ME TO VOTE BECAUSE I THINK IT IS DUMB, HOWEVER, IF THEY WOULD DO A LARGE COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM PACKAGE, WHERE WE ARE LOOKING AT ALL THE PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY ILLEGALLY, UNDOCUMENTED, AND TRY TO FIGURE OUT SOMETHING THAT IS FAIR FOR EVERYBODY, I MIGHT BE ABLE TO LOOK AT THAT AND SAY THIS IS THE DUMBEST THING IN THE WORLD, TO PAY $25 BILLION TO BUILD IT AND $25 BILLION TO TAKE IT DOWN, BUT IF THEY ARE WILLING TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT, BUT THEY ARE NOT. THEY'RE TRYING TO HOLD THESE KIDS HOSTAGES -- HOSTAGE AND SAY WE WILL DEPORT THEM AND SEND THEM TO COUNTRIES WHERE THEY DO NOT EVEN SPEAK THE LANGUAGE. THAT SHOULD NOT WORK EITHER. WE SHOULD PUSH BACK AND SAY NO, YOU WILL NOT DO THAT AND WE WILL PUSH BACK.
>> MEANWHILE, WHILE THE WHITE HOUSE CAME OUT WITH ITS PLAN, YOUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES INTRODUCED THEIR OWN DACA PLAN AND THE BROAD STROKES WAS THAT THEY WOULD TAKE ONE OR 50,000 PIECES A YEAR -- 150,000 PIECES A YEAR AND HE WOULD GIVE THEM TO DR. -- DACA RECIPIENTS, AND ONCE THEY GOT VISAS OVER SEVERAL YEARS, THOSE VISAS WOULD RETURN TO THE PROGRAMS THEY CAME FROM. WHILE THIS IS GOING ON, DACA RECIPIENTS WOULD GET THERE PROTECTED STATUS EXTENDED. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE PROPOSAL?
>> I DO NOT AGREE WITH THEM, BUT I APPRECIATE THAT HE IS ATTEMPTING TO DO SOMETHING THAT ATTEMPTS NOT TO DO ANY HARM. I DO NOT AGREE WITH IT, ULTIMATELY, BUT I THINK IT IS A STARTING POINT, WHERE WE COULD NEGOTIATE. AGAIN, HE IS NOT ATTEMPTING TO DO SOMETHING MALICIOUS, LIKE NOW THAT WE HAVE THIS INFORMATION, LET'S DEPORT THE DADS AND THE MOMS. THAT IS WHAT THE PRESIDENT IS ATTEMPTING TO DO AND IT MAKES NO SENSE.
>> YOU HAVE THE FRAMEWORK OF A PLAN FROM PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, THERE IS A BIPARTISAN GROUP OF SENATORS WORKING ON A DEAL, TWO CONGRESSMEN HAVE A PLANS -- HAVE A PLAN. CONGRESS IS FACING A DEADLINE IN TWO WEEKS. WHEN YOU COME TO A DECISION?
>> I HAVE TO TELL YOU, I WILL CHALLENGE YOUR PREMISE. THE THING I FIND INTERESTING IS THIS IS A MANUFACTURED CRISIS. THE ONLY REASON THIS IS A DEADLINE IS BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT SAID IT. NOW THAT HE HAS MANUFACTURED THE CRISIS, HE IS SAYING IT IS A CRISIS, IT IS A CRISIS, WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING BEFORE THESE POOR KIDS GET DEPORTED. YOU KNOW WHAT, MR. PRESIDENT, ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS SAY WE WILL NOT DO THAT. WE ARE EXTENDING AND CONTINUING TO WORK ON THIS. LET'S UNDERSTAND THAT BEFORE WE GO AND MAKE A DEAL WE WILL REALLY REGRET.
>> LET ME ASK THAT A DIFFERENT WAY THEN. NOT ABOUT THE DEADLINE, BUT THERE ARE A HALF-DOZEN DIFFERENT PLANS IN TWO DIFFERENT HOUSES IN CONGRESS AND THE WHITE HOUSE, ALL SORTS OF GROUPS HAVE THEIR OWN PLAN. WHAT WILL THE PROCESS BE LIKE TO COME TOGETHER ON WHATEVER ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES DECIDE ON?
>> I COULD TELL YOU WHAT WOULD BE FAIR, TO ALLOW THE HOUSES TO WORK THERE WILL, THE TERM OF ART THEY USE, AND PUT A BILL ON THE FLOOR AND SEE WHAT PASSES. I CAN TELL YOU RIGHT NOW IF THEY PUT A CLEAN DREAM ACT ON THE FLOOR OF THE CONGRESS, IT WOULD PASS TODAY. IF THEY PUT A CLEAN DREAM ACT ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE, IT WOULD PASS TODAY. BOTH OF THOSE WOULD PASS. I DON'T THINK THAT ANYTHING ELSE WITH THE POSSIBLE EXCEPTION OF PETE AND BILLS -- OF THOSE CONGRESSES BILL, I THINK THEIR BILL WOULD PROBABLY PAST, AND I AM CONFIDENT IT WOULD PASS. ALL OF THOSE WOULD NOT PASS. I THINK THEY HAVE TO LET US WORK THE WILL OF CONGRESS AND THE SENATE, LET US GO FOR VOTES, AND SEE WHAT PASSES.
>> THE STATE OF THE UNION IS COMING UP IN A FEW DAYS WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR FROM THE PRESIDENT?
>> I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR HE HAD A CHANGE OF HEART [ LAUGH ] AND START TO ACT A LITTLE MORE PRESIDENTIAL.
>> LAST YEAR, YOU BOYCOTTED HIS INAUGURATION AND A FEW DEMOCRATS THIS YEAR HAVE SAID THEY WILL NOT ATTEND THE STATE OF UNION, INCLUDING CONGRESSWOMAN MAXINE WATERS. WILL YOU BE ATTENDING THE STATE OF THE UNION?
>> I WILL NOT BE ATTENDING THE STATE OF THE UNION. I LIKE ATTENDING THE STATE OF THE UNION. I HAVE ENJOYED THEM IN THE PAST, BUT THE REALITY IS I DO NOT WANT TO PRETEND IN ANY WAY THAT I SUPPORT THIS PRESIDENT. NO, I DO NOT WANT TO BE TWO-FACED AND SAY I WILL GO THERE AND HAVE A GOOD TIME. STATES OF THE UNION ARE FUN, IF YOU WANT TO BE TRUTHFUL. IT IS FUN TO GO TO THESE THINGS. I AM NOT LOOKING FOR FUN. I DON'T WANT TO GO THERE AND HAVE A GREAT TIME. I COULD -- I WILL READ HIS SPEECH, BUT I WILL NOT BE PRESENT THERE. I WOULD LIKE TO. I WOULD BE HAPPY TO GO IF HE WAS ACTING PRESIDENTIAL, BUT I WILL NOT DO THAT UNTIL HE STARTS ACTING PRESIDENTIAL, RESPECTING WOMEN AND PEOPLE OF COLOR AND IMMIGRANTS.
>> THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME.

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