All-Star Panel: Status of immigration reform deal in Washington

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," April 1, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: A Republican weighing in on the president's motivations.  We're back with the panel. Charles, it seems that that security issue and linking it to the path to citizenship is crucial for Republicans at least.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: And clearly the way the president was speaking in that quote and the secretary of homeland security, they are not serious about enforcement at all. She says it's not -- we don't have to have any trigger. So there should be no connection between enforcement and legalizing the 12 or so million illegals. And the president says, well, you are never get 110 percent enforcement. That's a straw man. His usual straw man. No one is asking for 100 percent enforcement. What we are asking for is to change a river of illegal immigration into a trickle. And that can be done, and you have to find a way in which it is put in language that is in the law. And that is why Rubio and others are troubled when they hear the president speaking about this. And we have all been insisting for a decade, if you get enforcement we are very happy to legalize the illegals because it will be the end of that. It won't be like '86 was a bait and switch. We had legalization of the three million at the time and no enforcement. If the American people have a sense that this is the last cohort, they will willingly, openly legalize. But the problem is that what the president says is saying we don't really care about that. We're just going to shove this down everybody's throat, legalization without enforcement.

BAIER: A.B., just so everybody understands, once you get agreement -- if you get agreement of the group of eight you still have the hurdles to go through in committee, on the Senate floor and then of course the House before it gets anywhere to the president's desk.

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE HILL: That is true. It sounds -- it's not going to be that it won't be met with great challenge along the way. The way that Senator Schumer and Senator Graham described it – a Republican and Democrat this weekend -- is that all of the substantive issues had been dealt with by the 'Gang of 8,' and that the last guest worker, most contentious provision had been worked out between these business and labor groups that was really the last huge problem, and that Marco Rubio was involved in all these discussions along the way.

No, it's not a bill yet, but over on the House side where it is quieter and there is not as much momentum, there is serious work being done. It's being done very quietly over in the whip's office on the House Republican side. They are educating members about just how many people are here illegally not because they went over the border, because their visas expired. And the entire education process about the visa system and how we need to change it, is actually changing minds and moving it along. It won't move as fast as the Senate. But I actually – I can out-doubt anybody, and I'm here to say that I think this is possible. And I think it's possible this year.

BAIER: President Bush tried, Dana.

DANA PERINO, FOX CO-HOST, THE FIVE: The climate in May of 2013, it was very different from the climate of May of 2007 when President Bush pushed. Senator Obama at the time was one of the people who voted for a poison pill, Senator Reid lets the Senate go. Senator Kennedy calls President Bush and says I think we are not going to be able to do it.

A lot of education has been done since then, a lot of changing of minds. And a lot of this broad rhetoric is easy to talk about when you come on cable TV. But when you go to put pen to paper and write the language, that's when things get a little bit sticky. And so Marco Rubio has this hard time of making sure – everyone just be quiet. We need the Goldie Locks approach. Not too fast, not to slow, not to hot, not too cold. Just get this thing in place so that we can have this nice bill in place so that we have this big debate. I think things are better than they were but I would say suspicions are running high on both sides.

BAIER: Much more time to talk about this before a bill actually hits the floor. That's it for the panel. But stay tuned for a follow-up on a big story we brought you here on "Special Report."

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