Several Republican lawmakers are working to pass a discharge petition to force House votes on several immigration measures, including some that would offer amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. FNC's Tucker Carlson asks GOP Rep. Jeff Denham why nothing is being done:
TUCKER CARLSON: Shouldn't we figure out how many illegal immigrants are in this country before we encourage more to come?
REP. JEFF DENHAM: What we should do is actually secure our border. And the only way we're going to get the border secured is actually working together to pass something off the floor.
The president continues to talk about 25 billion and secure border, making sure these caravans aren't coming across, the catch and release program. This is the only way we actually bring up that debate and actually put something on the president's desk.
CARLSON: But wait a second. Giving amnesty to people encourages more people to come here illegally. We know that. It was tried in 1986 and that was its effect. It's its effect every single time.
So, before we get more people coming across – and border security, nobody takes it seriously because it's always been a joke – why shouldn't we know how many are here and why isn't Congress determined to find out how many are here? It seems like kind of a baseline issue.
DENHAM: Yes. Tucker, rather than just doing a census to figure out how many people are here, why don't we stop them from coming here in the first place? Doing nothing means another 500,000 people will cross our border every single year.
I've been in the majority now for 8 years. That's 4 million people. Shouldn't we stop right now and actually do what the president is asking us for? Like, even something the Democrats had proposed a few years ago and actually provide the funding, build the border security, do the surveillance, make sure that we actually have a guarantee to the American public that we've stopped this influx across our southern border.
CARLSON: OK. Well, how about this? Would you support punishing any employer caught employing an illegal alien? Really punishing them. Checking every employer in America with e-verify, universal, and making sure that nobody is employing illegal aliens in lieu of American workers. Why not do that starting, I don't know, tomorrow?
DENHAM: Well, as you know, any government program, especially a new government program that needs technology, doesn't start tomorrow. I do support e-verify. I do support a comprehensive –
CARLSON: Universal e-verify?
DENHAM: Yes, absolutely. But we have to fix the rest of our immigration process first.
Right now, we have said – Republicans have said for quite some time now, we will not pass a comprehensive bill, but yet that's what that's what's being proposed today.
I want to support what the president has talked about dealing with border security, dealing with our DREAMers right now because they are in a different situation after following our government and signing up for DACA. We need to resolve that issue.
CARLSON: Following our government? We encouraged them to come here illegally with their parents?
DENHAM: No. We had a president that passed an executive order, which I disagreed with, but nevertheless the president of the United States passed an executive order that allowed DACA recipients to step forward.
So, these kids who have graduated from our high schools, who have grown up in this country, who know of no other country or no other home, they've done what their country has asked them to do and they've signed up for this executive order under DACA.
CARLSON: What do you mean their country? It's not their country? They are not citizens. OK. OK. OK. Let's just back up.
DENHAM: Well, they've been here for decades.
CARLSON: Look, I feel sorry for them. Well, hold on.
Right. But I'm just saying, in a world where there are a lot of priorities, why is this your number one priority? In your state, you've got more than 100,000 people living on the sidewalk. Those are American citizens. Why don't you deal with a problem like that first or secure the borders first before you start passing out citizenship to people here illegally? I don't understand.
DENHAM: Yes. That's kind of an argument that I get from some of the liberal networks. Why would you have a priority or this priority? I believe on addressing a number of different issues at the same time.
CARLSON: What are you doing about the 100,000 Californians living outside tonight?
Look, giving citizenship and voting rights to people who are here illegally is not a way of securing our border. So, why wouldn't you secure the border first?
DENHAM: Because we have two issues that the president has asked for, including his four pillars, but the main thing that he continues to talk about, the president asks for a solution on DACA and for border security. I believe that we can give him both.
CARLSON: OK. Let's leave the president out of this. Just as someone who is hired to represent American citizens, speak slowly so I can understand, why would we give citizenship to anybody here illegally, give voting rights to anyone whose family snuck in, who came here illegally before not a single new person crosses that border illegally? Until you can look your voters in the face and say our border is secure. Now, maybe we can give citizenship to illegals.
DENHAM: Sure. And that dynamic changed under the previous president. But, first of all, I don't believe in giving anybody anything. This would be an earned pathway.
By all of the different bills, it would be at least a 10 to 12-year process. So, you'd first sign up for five years of a temporary green card that would allow you to work or go to school or sign up for the military.
And at the end of five years, after you've passed the background check, you have paid your fine and your fee, you've actually proven that you are not on government subsidies and you are out there working or going to school or serving your country, at the end of five years –
CARLSON: None of that's real. None of that's real. You know that none of that is –
DENHAM: But the gift that you're talking about is another five years, doing it all over again. So, it' a 12-year process, 10 years before you would actually be able to get a legal permanent residence card.
CARLSON: But why not just do it like everybody does it? Look, millions of people want to come here. Why would you give a path to citizenship for people here illegally ahead of people who are waiting in line, obeying our laws? I don't understand. I'm confused, I guess.
DENHAM: And it's a 12-year process. And I believe that this earned pathway, this earned 12-year process would put you at the back of the line. But, certainly, somebody who's been here, who's graduated from our schools that has been in our community that has followed the executive order under Obama should have that opportunity.
CARLSON: OK, I guess. I mean –
DENHAM: I'm elected to lead. I don't get an opportunity just to sit back and wait and see what happens.
CARLSON: OK. You know what, as a congressman representing California, you've got a lot of problems.
DENHAM: California has a lot of problems. Yes.
CARLSON: Yes, you do. So, like, why would this be anywhere near the top of your priority list? I'm just completely confused. These are not American citizens. You've got tens of millions of hurting American citizens in your state and you're putting these people ahead of them and I don't understand it.
DENHAM: Well, you're elected to lead and we've got to do something. And the president campaigned on border security. The only way we are going to get that – because you know the rules of this House and the Senate, you've got to get 60 votes.
The only way you're going to get the 60 members on a bipartisan border security bill is with this solution that is equally as important that the president of the United States is asking for.